Archive for the sds press Category

sds in the press again

Posted in sds press with tags on January 22, 2008 by Jasper Conner

So before we get to the actual content, I just want to let folks know that I am one view away from crossing the 100 views threshold. Thats right, the big time.

This article was written by a member of the French Press (not the coffee sort, the
news sort),
Karin Zeitvogel about the youth movement and young voters. An
sdser, who shall remain nameless, said that this was “maybe one of our best pieces of media ever.” She will remain nameless because it makes her comment more intriguing, and intrigue is the key to successful blogging, so I hear.

Although I’m not sure I agree that this is our best media coverage yet, it definitely shows us looking smart and on top of things. Word to Samantha Miller (DC sds) , Lindsay (Tuscarura High School sds, Frederick MD), and everyone else who did solid press work and made us look so awesome.

Candidates take note as young Americans re-embrace politics

WASHINGTON (AFP) – America’s youth are undergoing a political rebirth, and politicians have noticed.

People under 30 are flocking to the polls and leaving their mark on the 2008 White House race. Long moribund activist groups are being revived. Nickelodeon, a television station geared to teens, is holding mock primaries.

“We’ve been hearing for years, ‘Where is the youth movement?’ Well, it’s been growing slowly and now it’s here,” said Samantha Miller, 22, who helped to revive Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), a left-wing group that has lain dormant since the late 1960s.

A report issued late last year by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) and the Charles F. Kettering Foundation showed that university students in the United States today are “hungry for political conversation” that is “free of ‘spin’.”

That contrasts sharply with the attitudes of students surveyed by a parallel study in 1993, who said politics were “irrelevant to their lives”, the report said.

Paul Buhle, a lecturer at Brown University in Rhode Island, confirmed what the report said.

“The view from my students in the 1990s was that everything was going to hell in a handbasket but they couldn’t do anything about it and ‘I’m going to have a great career’,” the 63-year-old told AFP.

“Jump up to now and you have the war, the US doing stupid things in the world and global warming on the front page as opposed to banished to page 78.

“It reminds me of watching the Cuban missile crisis unfold in 1963,” said Buhle, who was an activist in the left-wing SDS the first time around.

“A lot of young people said to themselves then and are saying now: ‘We can’t wait around because adults are going to blow up the planet and we’d better do something.'”

Sixteen-year-old Lindsay was drawn to politics by her concern over global warming.

“It got me mad that people were denying it or doing nothing about it,” she said during a weekly meeting of her high school’s SDS chapter, which was attended by half a dozen members aged 14 to 18.

“It’s definitely worth my time to be politically active because if I’m not paying attention to these kinds of things, how can I change them?” Lindsay said.

Karlo Marcelo, a researcher at CIRCLE, said that, for the first time since 1972, candidates for the White House are paying more than lip-service to the youth vote.

“They’ve mentioned young people and young issues in debates and their speeches,” he said.

“They are actually speaking seriously to young people about their issues, and that engagement between young people and politicians is something that hasn’t happened since 1972.

“Several of the Democratic candidates have full-time youth directors, and among the Republicans, John McCain has a part time youth director and has his daughter blogging. Everyone’s realizing they need to focus on this generation,” Marcelo said.

This month’s primaries in New Hampshire and caucuses in Iowa saw a sharp rise in the under-30 turnout compared with four years ago, with the youth vote credited for helping Democrat Barack Obama prevail in Iowa.

In Iowa, 13 percent of voters under 30 turned out for the caucus, against four percent in 2004, while youth turnout in New Hampshire surged ahead from 18 percent four years ago to 43 percent, according to CIRCLE.

No comparative figures were published for the Michigan primary, which was not contested by the Democrats.

“This generation, for pretty much all of their political lives, has known only one president, and for a lot of young people, the reaction to that president hasn’t been good,” said Michael Dimock of Pew Research Center.

“The idea of participating in this election — in which no matter which way you vote, it’s going to be for a new president– is particularly engaging to younger voters.”

The rising tide of youth activism is benefiting the more liberal Democrats and groups that are further to the left, such as the SDS.

A report issued this month by Pew Research called today’s youth the “least Republican generation,” with only one-third of young voters identifying with the Republicans and nearly half with the Democrats.

Charlie Smith, the 23-year-old head of College Republicans, a broad grouping of conservative students, tried to put a positive spin on young people jumping the Republican ship.

“It’s in the nature of our demographic — we’re more idealistic.

“But they’ll have time to turn away from their chemistry books or work-study jobs to study the key issues like Iraq or government-funded healthcare, and make a decision by election day.

“I think they’ll come back to our side,” he said.

      NYC sds featured in the New York Times

      Posted in sds press with tags on January 7, 2008 by Jasper Conner

      The New York Times just wrote a rather lengthy article about sds, focusing largely on internal dynamics and our ideas about how change is made. The article quotes Pat Korte (New School, NYC) extensively but also includes lots of insight from Raychel Haut (Queens College, NYC) and Jessica Rapchik (Antioch College, Yellow Springs OH) as well as an interesting anecdote from Aaron Petcoff (Wayne State University, Detroit MI).

      Check out the article here.