“We need to move the heart and soul of the anti-war movement closer to the ground; closer to the average person. Each individual needs to feel that they are contributing to building this mighty movement. The work of Young Democratic Socialists has been key to this. We need you to keep the pressure on because it is not just about opposing war in Iraq; it is equally about opposing steps towards aggression against Iran. It has been great to see and feel the spirit of YDSers!!”-Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a longtime labor and international activist and the former President and chief executive officer of TransAfrica Forum, a national non-profit organization organizing, educating and advocating for policies in favor of the peoples of Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America
YDS Chapters across the country participated in the Iraq Moratorium Project September 21st – 23rd. In an effort to congratulate them for their hard work and inspire other chapters, we have briefly listed their activities below.
Wichita State University Young Democratic Socialists participated in the Iraq Moratorium by wearing black arms bands with “Books not Bombs” on them. Over 30 students and 5 community members joined in the event. An Iraq war veteran from the YDS chapter also wrote a letter to the school newspaper. The article generated talk on campus about what the Iraq war really means to people and what effects it has actually had on people around the world.
BGSU – Firelands
Bowling Green State University – Firelands Young Democratic Socialists made posters and flyers about the Iraq Moratorium Project and plastered them all over their campus. The chapter also posted the information on the university calendar under multiple listings and sent an email blast out to the faculty, encouraging them to speak out about the war. They also handed out many National Youth and Student Peace Coalition “Books not Bombs” buttons to students; many of whom are still wearing them on campus.
Colorado University at Boulder Young Democratic Socialists decided that the most democratic way to express their opposition to the war would be for those members of the school community to place their name on a graffiti wall. The wall was labeled “CU Students against the Iraq War”. This wall was great for several reasons: 1) It was cheap, 2) It was quick to make and 3) all of the students that have bottled their frustrations with the war had a chance to express themselves in a simple way.
The chapter also had a table with YDS material and Iraq Moratorium information. Members wore black arm-bands to symbolize support against the Iraq war and passed out material on YDS’s stance against the War. Next time they would like to go a little bigger, but this was a good start to the year.
During the Iraq Moratorium a campus organization had a special discussion entitled “Buddhist Perspectives in Peace.” YDS Butler University President Dakota Denzel Manuel handed out the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition “Books not Bombs” buttons. The YDS chapter is looking to co-sponsor future events with other like-mined groups around the Iraq Moratorium Project.
The Stuyvesant High School Young Democratic Socialists wore their “Books not Bombs” buttons. They sent out emails telling their friends and classmates about the Iraq Moratorium Project and they are looking forward to future events and opportunities to work with the New York City peace movement.
Michigan State University Young Democratic Socialists members stayed after a meeting to make the arm-bands with the peace slogan “Books Not Bombs.” They wore them to classes, work, and out in public on Friday September 21st. Members promised to talk to people about the Iraq war if they were asked about why they were wearing the armband. The chapter kept it pretty simple this time; however this was just the kick-off and events will get more serious as time goes on. The group had a pretty good discussion afterwards and came up with some other ideas they could use in the future. Because they are located in Lansing, the capital of Michigan, they’re able to do some pretty big actions at the capitol building or at the Congressional representative’s downtown offices.
The Iraq Moratorium started out really well for the University of Central Arkansas Young Democratic Socialists. There were hand bracelets given out all over campus. The bracelets were handmade yellow and black: the black representing the need to bring the troops home while yellow retains the meaning of supporting the troops. There was a great response from people. Those who were reached and got bracelets were very supportive and wanted to know what more they could do. The chapter is going to make sure there is more publicity about the Iraq Moratorium on campus. This event will be the start of many more to come!
The Iraq Moratorium was a huge success at Meadows High School. The Young Democratic Socialists chapter was able to distribute 122 armbands on Friday September 21st in addition to a huge amount of literature during the week prior to the event.
On the day of the Iraq Moratorium the Wooster YDS wore the black armbands with “Books not Bombs” written on them or the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition’s “Books not Bombs” buttons. They used a white out pen to write the message on the rest of the armbands. Some armbands were made at the meeting before the event so members would already have them. Then on that day the group tabled and passed out the armbands, the Democratic Socialists of America’s stance on the Iraq War, and a self-produced piece about the true meaning of peace and violence. Then at 1 PM a speech was given to further explain why we wear the armbands and what peace means to a Democratic Socialist. The tabling continued that night and by the end of it they were out of fabric, which was impressive since they started out with 3 yards. The event went very well and many people were interested not only in the project, but the group as well.