Subject: Support Olympia SDS and FREE SPEECH - May 21
Date: Tue, 13 May 2008 00:04:59 -0700 (PDT)
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
CALL OUT FOR SUPPORT OF OLYMPIA SDS AND FREE SPEECH
On Wednesday, May 21st the Olympia chapter of Students for a Democratic
Society will hold a rally for free speech leading up to our last and final
appeal with The Evergreen State College administration regarding our
student group's suspension. The rally will start at 3pm in Red Square at
Evergreen. All community members are welcome to attend this. Now is the
perfect time that our comrades, allies and supporters from Olympia,
Cascadia, the US of A and beyond put pressure on the Evergreen
administration to reinstate SDS as a student group, with full funding,
complete rights and no strings attached.
Here's who you can put pressure on. You can make the demands listed above,
and feel free to add in any more information (see below) you want. Wendy
Freeman will be presiding over our appeal on May 21st, but Art Costantino
and Les Purce both have been putting a lot of pressure on SDS.
Director of the Career Development Center
Vice President of Student Affairs
WHAT HAPPENED TO SDS?
Olympia Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was suspended by The
Evergreen State College administration as a student group. We can no
longer access our budget, have meetings, book events, or do many other
functions that regular student groups do. SDS was originally suspended
from until January 1, 2009 and will then face probation until March 13,
2009. After an appeal was held, our suspension was shortened and our
probation will go until January 1, 2009.
WHY DID THIS HAPPEN?
Olympia SDS planned a series of events for Friday March 7th. The first
event was a panel discussion on the San Francisco 8 to discuss issues of
torture, police and government repression, COINTELPRO, the Black Panther
Party and political prisoners. The second event was a folk show with
musical artists David Rovics, Danny Kelly and Mark Eckert to raise
awareness about anti-war activist Carlos Arredondo whose twenty-year-old
son Marine Lance Corporal Alexander Arredondo was killed in Iraq.
Just two days before the events were to take place, the administration
decided to cancel both events, using the "moratorium on concerts" to
cancel both the folk show and the panel discussion.
The so-called "moratorium on concerts" was created by the administration
following a Valentine's Day dead prez show on campus that led to an
uprising of concert goers after a black man named Kaylen Williams was
arrested by a white cop. Concert goers peacefully demanded he be let go.
He eventually was, but police from several other local agencies came in
and, without any warning, started clubbing and pepper-spraying people.
Countless people were injured and one member of SDS was hospitalized that
night for internal bleeding. The crowd responded to the violence and
racism of the police by throwing bottles, rocks, garbage and other
objects. The cops retreated, leaving a cruiser behind which was then
flipped and some of its contents taken. Nine people have been charged with
various felonies and misdemeanors since the uprising, and the
administration and police continue to hunt the student population for more
"rioters". Art Costantino has gone so far as to encourage the police to
investigate the Hip Hop Congress, SDS and prominent port protesters in
their hunt and students' records have been given to the sheriffs.
When word went out that the SDS events would be canceled, members of SDS
consulted with the musicians, panelists, and community members who helped
organize the event and decided to go through with it on the two conditions
that there would be no further advertising for the event and that in case
police came to the event to shut it down, that SDSers would deescalate the
situation. In addition, members of SDS and many other students not in the
group approached administrators Phyllis Lane, Art Costantino and Les Purce
to try and go through with these events. But all three administrators did
Because SDS went through with these two events (which are protected by the
First Amendment and free speech rights), the administration decided to
suspend SDS's group status. We in SDS also believe this suspension came
about for our group's official condemnation of the racist, violent police.
SDS has also worked in various ways to support those who have been used as
scapegoats by the administration following the uprising.
WHAT IS OLYMPIA SDS, ANYWAY?
Some people may be unsure about Olympia SDS and what it is exactly. The
mission statement of the group states that Olympia SDS is a
non-hierarchical radical anti-authoritarian student organization dedicated
to promoting radical political and social change through action/praxis
rather than rhetoric in a movement working to build an educated world that
is democratic and free of all forms of exploitation and oppression.
Olympia SDS formed in May 2006 and has been organizing around issues of
campus democratization, poverty and homelessness, the prison industrial
complex, political prisoners, the war and occupation of Iraq, port
militarization resistance efforts, labor struggles, immigration and many
other issues. Some of its most recent projects have been centered on
creating a Free Student Union, establishing a free health clinic,
supporting the San Francisco 8 and working to make Olympia a Sanctuary
City for undocumented workers and GI war resisters. Olympia SDS is part of
a network of over 250 SDS chapters with 1,000s of members. SDS takes its
name from the 1960s-70s SDS which was rooted in ideas of participatory
democracy, student syndicalism (unionism) and was active in the civil
rights and anti-war movements at that time.
If you have any questions, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also,
if you would like to make donations for the legal defense of Kaylen
Williams and/or others who were arrested following the uprising, email us
This message was not written by Olympia SDS as a group, but by one SDSer.
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