YDS Semester Highlights

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Wichita State University (Kansas): WSU YDS members helped registered nearly 500 new voters at the largest Wichita Democratic caucus. The chapter also co-hosted a talk with Wichita’s mayor. They’ll end the semester with a movie showing and a panel with national speakers on the issue of student debt as part of YDS’s “Education is a Right – Not a Privilege: Campaign Against Student Debt.

New York City YDS: NYC YDS is working with Socialist Alternative to bring socialist education and activism to New York University. A joint club, Socialists at NYU, has done several events. One featured a debate, entitled “What Kind of Change Do We Really Need?” between Socialist Alternative, YDS, and the College Democrats on the 2008 Presidential election.

CU-Boulder (Colorado): Boulder YDS is working on a campus newsletter featuring student-workers, workers, and student-labor activism, and highlight different union formations in the local areas. The bulletin will also focus on YDS’s local work with the Coalition of the Immokalee Workers concerning Chipotle’s policy towards its tomato pickers.

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William Paterson YDS (NJ): This new YDS chapter’s rally for education was one of it’s the most successful activities. The event featured students, professors, and YDS organizer David Duhalde speaking about the need to prioritize education and end the crisis in student debt. The gathering was featured on the local news. Check the YouTube here:

Stuyvesant High School (NYC): As part of the Student Labor Week of Action (SLWoA) the Stuyvesant H.S. YDS Chapter held a viewing of a PBS Point Of View episode titled "Waging A Living." The mini-documentary highlighted the struggles of America's working poor, chronicling the stories of five real men and women who live paycheck to paycheck. After the viewing, they held a small discussion about the lessons to be learned from "Waging A Living," each rhetorically wondering why such conditions exist in the richest nation on Earth.

College of Wooster (Ohio): Wooster Democratic Socialists have kept busy with socialist education and traditions. This semester they held socialist game nights and will end with May Day celebrations. They’ll carol with an IWW song book and have a panel on the history of May Day with union organizers and professors. In addition to the SLWoA, they are co-hosting a talk with a Colombian flower picker about the poor working conditions in the industry. Lastly, they are also placing attention on the American Health Care industry in their Relay for Life fundraising.

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University of Central Arkansas: UCA YDS held its third annual Tent State. Tent State is a whole week of workshops and cultural activities ranging from feminist theory to do-it-yourself living to student union building. Tent State was created by Rutgers students as a response to administrative cuts and attacks on education. They organized a counter–week to celebrate education that is about empowerment, not just job training.

Emporia State University (Kansas): The ESU YDS chapter cosponsored Women’s Day, The Vagina Monologues, and a panel on feminism. They are preparing for Earth Week and a debate on the merits of Wal-Mart.

Hampshire College (Massachusetts): Hampshire College YDS hosted an event with Democratic Socialists of America National Political Committee member David Knuttunen on our Economic Justice Agenda and did voter registration for the upcoming elections.

Butler YDS (Indiana): This new YDS chapter held its first event, “Universal Health Care: How to Do it Right,” featuring professor emeritus of philosophy at Indiana University-Bloomington Milton Fisk. Fisk is author of Toward a Healthy Society: The Morality and Politics of American Health Care Reform. The event was cosponsored by the Philosophy Club and Department.

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Michigan State University: MSU YDS hosted two important topical forums. One panel discussed the housing crisis with speakers from Michigan Emergency Network Against War and Injustice. The latter, as part of the national “Education is a Right – Not a Privilege” campaign, featured DSA member David Heck, president of American Federation of Teachers-Michigan, liberal lobbyist Darrel Tennis, and YDS organizer David Duhalde.

Redlands High School (California): Despite residing in one of the most conservative counties in America and facing stiff opposition from the administration, the new Redlands YDS received unanimous approval from the student governing body for recognition as a student group.

UVA-Wise (Virginia): UVA-Wise YDS, as part of their ongoing campaign against the war in Iraq, laid out trash bags to read “Five Years Too Many” on the hill of their campus.

YDS & the 5th Anniversary of the Iraq War

The grim milestones of both the fifth anniversary of the US -led invasion of Iraq and the death of the 4000th American soldier coincided in March. Increasingly, our country appears stuck in a military quagmire, yet new hope comes from the anti-war movement. A great sense of urgency springs new unity. The Young Democratic Socialists continue to oppose the war both in the form of events remembering the war’s fifth anniversary and the monthly actions for the Iraq Moratorium Project.

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Wichita State YDS (WSU YDS) remains one of the most active chapters working against the Iraq War. WSU YDSer and veteran Marco Fernandez spoke at a 5th anniversary protest in Wichita with his chapter mates in the crowd. He addressed how defense industry privatization is making a few people wealthy while the vast majority suffer. The group spent a week getting hundreds of signatures on a banner titled "Shockers for Peace." On March 25th, they held a flash protest with the names and showed the documentary "Baghdad ER." WSU YDS's anti-war activism in both the local and campus communities keeps alive the need to address causes of the war and demand its end.

Michigan State YDS's (MSU YDS) fifth anniversary actions exemplified our belief in building broad-based coalitions. MSU YDS worked with progressive campus clubs such as Students for Economic Justice, Chicanos y Latinos Unidos, W.E.B. DuBois Society, and the Muslim Student Association alongside local community groups to mobilize a large protest. Four-hundred and fifty people (to the eight reactionary counter protesters) marched from the administration building to city hall. YDS Co-Chair Nicole Iaquinto told the local television news about the importance of not just ending the Iraqi suffering, but that the occupation is used as an excuse to cut domestic social programs.

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YDS actions against the war were also national. YDSers joined together in Washington D.C. for "Funk the War" and other 5th anniversary actions. The March 19th events, sponsored by the anti-war coalition, United for Peace and Justice, brought hundreds of young people together for a day of direct action against U.S. imperialist aggression. YDS, Students for a Democratic Society, and Campus Anti-War Network meeting, planning, and marching together for the first time shows new unity among anti-war student activists.

Our work is based upon the socialist principle that imperialism is a destructive force here and abroad. We must work to defeat the forces that keep us at war and limit our freedoms and quality of life at home. Only by curtailing the right-wing's power can we begin to push for a progressive, better future.


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