Announcements

National Anti-Drone Days of Action

San Diego CA, April 4-7, 2013

National Call

The Drone Diego Coordinating Committee invites organizations and individuals to come to San Diego on April 4-7, as we protest and bring attention to the dangers drones present to the people of the world. Join us for nonviolent actions, workshops, street theater and more, or organize your own activities. 

Our opposition to drone warfare is based on our stand for peace and justice. We believe that:

Armed drones are weapons of terror. They kill combatants and civilians, children and adults, men and women, alike. Their presence overhead terrorizes entire communities.

Extrajudicial assassinations by killer drones violate U. S. and international law.

Surveillance drones threaten our liberties, spying on communities and borders, invading our personal privacy.

Drones make our families less secure by making it easier for military and paramilitary agencies (like the CIA) to continue endless war without limits in either space or time.

Why come to San Diego? San Diego is the drone production capital of the world. San Diego is home to General Atomics, builders of the killer Predator and Reaper drones (which may be armed with Hellfire missiles), and Northrop Grumman, maker of the Global Hawk surveillance drone. Surveillance drones also regularly fly along the border between San Diego and Mexico. 

A strong presence in San Diego will draw attention locally and nationally to the hazards posed by these robotic killers and spy craft. We hope that this will be the first of many actions in San Diego 

Of course not everyone has the resources to come to San Diego. We encourage those who cannot come to make April 4-7 days of action against drones in their own communities. 

Kickoff day is Thursday, April 4, with a demonstration at the General Atomics drone production facility in Poway, just north of San Diego. The San Diego chapter of Veterans for Peace is holding a weekly vigil there and we will join them.

We invite other organizations to develop workshops, forums and actions during the four days of action. If you or your organization would like to plan an event, please contact our host committee so we can provide information about locations, venues, and schedule coordination. We also welcome sponsoring organizations (which provide financial or organizational resources) and endorsing organizations (which express their public agreement with our goals) to contact the host committee.

Our host committee will work to provide housing in San Diego for activists who need it. We are also working to establish an encampment, with more details to follow.

For more info about the National Days Against Drones Actions in San Diego, or if your organization would like to become a sponsor or endorser, please contact SDCPJPRC, or Veterans for Peace. We can also be found on the web here and on Facebook 

Tax-deductible donations to support this action can be made online through the Peace Resource Center of San Diego , Scroll down to Donate and specify anti-drone actionfrom the drop-down list.

Drone Diego Coordinating Committee

 

Sponsoring/Endorsing organizations: Peace Resource Center of San Diego, San Diego Veterans for Peace, San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice, CODEPINK, Global Exchange, United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), Canvass for a Cause, Af3irm, A Future Without War.org, Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (COMD), San Diego International Socialist Organization, SAME Alliance, Fresno Light Brigade, Peace Madera, Overpass Light Brigade San Diego, Alameda County Against Drones, ANSWER Coalition San Diego, Party for Socialism and Liberation San Diego, San Diego Libertarian Party, San Diego Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), National Lawyers Guild San Diego, al Awda San Diego, Border Angels, Gente Unida, Activist San Diego, Environmentalists Against War, International Action Center San Diego, Women Occupy San Diego, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace LA, Okupi Damsels in Distress Palm Springs, United Nations Association San Diego, Women’s Equality Council UNA-SD, San Diego Faith Leaders for Peace, Democratic Socialists of America San Diego, Residents Organized for a Safe Environment (ROSE), Green Party San Diego, Officers of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party, Orange County Peace Coalition, Peace Fresno, War Resisters League West, Movement for a Democratic Society, Bay Area, San Diego Committee Against Police Brutality, Pacific Beach Democratic Club, San Diego First Church of the Brethren, Plan of Action in a Changing Era (PACE), People for Social Sustainability, Courage To Resist, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Haritna Restaurant La Mesa, Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS), Uhuru Solidarity San Diego, End the War Coalition Phoenix (CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace, AZ. Alliance for Peace and Justice, Progressive Democrats of America, Women In Black).

BURN THE BALLOT, 2012

JOIN US TO “BURN THE BALLOT, 2012”

From the Burn The Ballot Caucus, Movement For a Democratic Society (MDS)

JOIN OUR FB GROUP

Download .pdf ballot

 

On Monday, November 5th, the day before the Presidential election, members of the Burn The Ballot Caucus of Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS), disgruntled voters and other activists, will burn presidential ballots in protest against what we consider to be a false choice in a fake electoral system of a pretend democracy. There will be ballot flames from Oakland, California to Staten Island, New York to draw attention to the fact that there is no democracy in the United States and that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are two corporate puppet candidates representing the two corporate puppet parties that are the two faces of the United States Empire.

We acknowledge the historic struggles for suffrage. We acknowledge that some people believe the vote to be “sacred.” However, this election is anything but sacred. It is, in fact, profane for many reasons. For some of us, it makes sense to vote on ballot propositions and candidates for local offices. Others of us, refuse to vote based on the beliefs that the US electoral system is beyond redemption and that voting in a bogus system is a vote of confidence in that system. Whatever your perspective, we invite you to burn your real or replica presidential ballots.

The “leadership” of neither party is sufficient on the urgent issues of US imperialism, the environment, and nuclear proliferation. That is because they are beholden to the greedy capitalist corporations who have always put gross profit before people, health, safety, and the environment. What passes for an electoral process in this country is neither democratic nor representative of the will, needs or desires of the people. With the signing of the 2012 National Authorization Act (NDAA), the pretense of democracy is more transparent than ever before. And the mass media system of communications is but a mockery of the idea of a society of free discussion. The mass media is a tool of the corporations who own it.

We believe that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would serve the interest of the 1%, the wealthiest citizens. They would expand American military aggression around the globe. Barack Obama is a proven war criminal, assassin, perpetrator of torture and rendition, violator of human rights and civil liberties and prosecutor of whistleblowers. Either party will give us more endless war and poverty. This election guarantees only continued death and destruction for a global population already under the boot of a murderous US empire.

  • Forty-eight years ago, Mario Savio said, “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”

We find those words applicable today. We will not consent to empire or fascism under Obama or Romney.

Join us in burning presidential ballots. We do not expect Congress to fix the system. We are pledged to no business as usual for the empire. We are pledged to working for real participatory democracy.

Burn The Ballot Caucus, Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS)

SIGN THE PLEDGE ABOVE AND POST YOUR “BURN THE BALLOT, 2012” EVENT ACTION BY EMAILING US YOUR NAME, ORGANIZATION (if any), AND ANY COMMENTS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WHICH WILL BE POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE!

LET US KNOW IF YOU WISH TO JOIN OUR DISCUSSION LISTSERVE

EMAIL US AT:  mdsburntheballot@gmail.com

ON FACEBOOK:

The Event page

The FB Group

Dowload .pdf ballot

SPREAD THE WORD!!!

Statement by MDS in Support of the “Occupy Wall Street” Movement

FOR A HUMAN REVOLUTION
Notes on a Global Discussion of Goals of the Occupy Wall Street Movement
By Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS)
November 2011

Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS) is a multi-generational organization and organizing project growing from the experiences of the 1960’s New Left, especially Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). It was originally conceived by SDS as a framework for continuing, life-long activism after student days. When SDS reestablished itself in 2006, MDS also resumed, inviting memberships and contributing to movement discussions, campaigns and actions.

We are in full solidarity with the Occupy Movement, beginning at Occupy Wall Street. Like “back in the day” only better, the movement has spread, like prairie fire, amplifying the people’s voice in almost 2,000 cities worldwide. MDS members participate wherever we are. We offer the following suggestions to join the on-going process of defining objectives and deliberating actions.

The focus in our name is “democracy,” as a means and as a social goal, essential for justice and freedom.

Our one demand is for a new world society based upon direct participatory democracy and the protection and expansion of human rights, being good stewards of our environments, ending wars, freeing ourselves from elite power, sharing the commons, etc. Other demands and reforms are rooted in and a way to this one central objective. Modern communications and computing technology now make such a society truly possible.

We first demand that modern communications and computing technology be accessible to all people. When the “communication commons” is freely available and communication made democratic, then the people will begin to be able to listen to each other and hear and speak, and power will begin to coalesce from the bottom up.

Occupy the Media is a next step from Wall Street! Breaking the stranglehold of corporate media is essential to achieving democracy. To press the “transition,” allowing the people’s voices to be heard, we urge movement activists to spread the demand that all television and radio stations, broadcast and cable, allocate a substantial prime time schedule for uncensored, and live broadcast of open town meetings, forums and teach-ins (like 3 hours a day.)

As we know, power concedes nothing without demand. To force elites to concede to demands, they have to see the power of the people in more than symbolic ways. We need new rank and file, worldwide coordinations of strikes, boycotts, civil disobedience, nonviolent civil resistance and the use of a diversity of tactics. Where direct action is made officially “illegal,” it is time for stepped up tactics the movements have learned over the years. The movement must be “ungovernable” and must resist co-optation.

Big Considerations and Big Ideas

The process whereby small entrepreneur capitalist enterprises, evolve, over time, into global monopolist, predatory corporations and financial manipulators, hand in glove with imperial militarized governments, is part of the normal operation of capitalism. The economic crises we face have their root causes in the very nature of the system as it has evolved. We cannot end the “corporate rule” of our world, without transcending the age and culture of capitalism, to create a new economy whose logic is meeting human needs, instead of profit above all.

 

Any movement for justice and equality in the United States must expose the original and on-going crimes and atrocities of the U.S. colonizing system against indigenous nations in the U.S. and world wide. We urge movement activists to integrate, into our philosophies, values that respect the rights of indigenous peoples, and integrate indigenous models in environmental, social, cultural, economic, and political designs.

 

More than a fair and progressive tax system for the future, we need a real accounting, a settling and setting to right the past era of bad practices, deregulations and rip-offs. A sort of global “Jubilee” is what the world needs, cancellation of impoverishing debts and re-calibration of the monetary system.
Given the massive changes in income distribution that have taken place in the U.S. since the 1970s, the proportion, and not merely the dollar amount of income going to the top 1% has nearly tripled from around 9% to about one quarter of the total, and is generally rising rapidly. These wealthy were perfectly well off in 1979 — but now their share of total income has increased by multiple trillions of dollars annually. This obscene change has been largely ignored by both major political parties in the U.S., even as cutbacks in public education and other essential services have spread like a cancer in both the U.S. and the European Union. As a modest measure, we insist that at least a trillion dollars a year in extra taxation be directed at the top 1% in the U.S., including subjecting their income above $500,000 to both Medicare and Social Security payments, together with a sharp increase (and not merely a few per cent, as is debated in the mainstream) in federal income tax rates on this high income level. A “Security Transaction Exchange Tax (STET)” could raise many more billions and discourage idle speculation; further taxes aimed at the top 1% should include a return of full force inheritance taxes on estates over several million dollars, and an annual wealth tax on concentrations of wealth above $10 million per person.

 

Finally, income in the form of capital gains made over less than one year or over the rate of inflation at high levels should be subject to high rates comparable to ordinary income. With such taxation, single-payer healthcare, Medicare, public education, eco-industrialization, adequate housing, infrastructure repair and much more could all be easily funded, with beneficial effects on the economy and employment. These revenues could be used for a “bailout of main street”, something voters for Obama in 2008 had a right to expect.

These sharp changes in the tax system, which should parallel those in other nations, are not the kind of fundamental restructuring of the economy needed for a truly just and thoroughly democratic society. However, together with cuts in military spending and the growing prison-industrial complex, such changes could help reverse the current disempowering and impoverishing fiscal trends throughout the advanced capitalist world.

Another urgent priority is the global environment, repeatedly referenced during the last U.S. presidential election as a ‘planet in peril’. This concern must be more than the lip service, accompanied by half-hearted measures, that it has, at best, been in the U.S. today. The world’s leading climatologists on global warming are being joined by a rising tide of popular recognition that current atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases are already too high — and that’s atmospheric levels and not just emissions.

 

The next phase of industrial development needs to be “eco-industrialization”, not only shifting to solar, wind, and hydrogen for energy, but restructuring what is produced and consumed and how. This could be furthered by taxes on pollution and scarce resources, and necessitates a massive public investment in a new technological foundation for modern society.

Corporations can be democratized. Governing bodies of corporations can be constituted with 60 percent control by their workers (for instance) and 40 percent control by the general community. Stockholders as community members need not have any privileged legal power in the governance of corporations.

Corporations through public charters can be redefined as public economic agencies of the people. As public agencies, corporations will respect fundamental rights of free speech, freedom of association (such as unions) and freedom of assembly and due process rights of the corporations’ workers. A corporation is not a person. No law should say otherwise.

The world movement to restore and reclaim the commons can be a shared reference point for political action. Establish use rights to replace private property enclosure rights in land. End foreclosures and evictions. Recognize safe shelter as a human right.

Free public education for all with lifelong learning. Abolish the student loan system and cancel all student loan debt. Give living stipends for full and part time study.

Healthcare is a universal human right. As such, the people of the world are entitled to free, universal public healthcare based on world citizenry, not based on income or geopolitics.

Put solar panels on every building. Shift investments and incentives from fossil fuels and nuclear to clean renewable sources.

Convene into extended session a citizen-initiated World Peace Meeting, seeking to bring to just conclusions the many wars still hot in the world, to address global disarmament and mutual security agreements, and to mark a world shift from the time of the war system of domination, hierarchy, patriarchy, impunity, violence, coercion, etc., to a new time and new social contract of the “peace system” emphasizing partnership, cooperation, generosity, caring, sharing, nonviolence and healing from the time of war.
 

Extend jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and amplify application of the Nuremberg Principles to all United Nations members. Bring Kissinger, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Obama and others to the Court for trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. End impunity. Begin accountability. Figure out terms of “truth and reconciliation,” and moral equivalents of revenge, so there can be “revolutions without executions.”
 

Transfer all nuclear weapons to the jurisdiction of the Security Council and International atomic energy agency for dismantling as part of the complete and total abolition of nuclear weapons and control of fissile material, worldwide.

De-militarize our world. Close or convert all military institutions. Give universal unconditional amnesty for war resisters. Halt U.S. imperialism and hegemony policies around the world and shift our global society to a peacetime economy, creating new jobs and right livelihood for previous war workers and veterans.
 

The United Nations Organization needs to be transformed to become more democratic, better representing the peoples of the world. Permanent member veto power in the Security Council should be abolished. A “People’s House,” paralleling General Assembly representation, can be based on direct election (with recall rights) by the populations. Numbers of representatives of each community can be proportional to the size of its population. We seek neither continuation of the era of the nation-states nor an era of a world state. Instead, we aim to achieve a world of freely associated communities.
 

Dare to Imagine, Together

We ourselves, in MDS, are struggling with how best to express what this system change is about. We hope everyone in this new movement will discuss, debate and share thinking about big ideas we all dare imagine. We want to engage this process.

We are recognizing the approaching 50th anniversary of the drafting of the Port Huron Statement in 1962. Then, we were one generation looking uncomfortably to the future we would inherit.

Now we are 3 or 4 generations, alive, active, conscious, able together better to understand the “sins of the fathers” that have passed down on us and, increasingly, what to do to fix it. We also have the beneficence of many generations of the struggle to strengthen us for a human revolution.

We invite all into a collective writing and meeting endeavor that we are calling “Port Huron plus 50.” This statement is the first public mention of the event. We are planning this event to happen in the spring of 2012.

What would be a “manifesto for now”? We call for the thinking and papers of the occupy movement to be collected and included in this project and those interested in working on this to be in touch.

We welcome feedback and response.

Solidarity and revolutionary love!!!
movementforademocraticsociety.org
movementforademocraticsociety@gmail.com
Post Office Box 7213, Ann Arbor MI 48107

MDS Statement on “Stop The Machine, Create A New World” (October2011.org)

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MDS STATEMENT ON “STOP THE MACHINE, CREATE A NEW WORLD” (October2011)

In May 2011, Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS) endorsed”Stop The Machine, Create a New World” (october2011.org) and joined the October 6 Coalition in good faith and in the belief that the call to occupy Freedom Plaza in Washington DC was a timely and much needed step forward for American protest. Buoyed by thoughts of the Arab Spring and the idea that the time had come to take resistance to the next level, some members joined the Coalition “Steering Committee” to assist in planning a Tahrir Square-style occupation in the US. That is, an occupation in the political sense of the word — taking over a public or private space against the will of government or ownership — as it’s been commonly understood by generations of activists.

Also encouraging was the idea that rather than it being yet another organizational call out of the top down variety, this event would be entirely directed by individual activists of diverse background and ideology. In other words, different. The presumption being that much like Occupy Wall Street, it would be a horizontal and egalitarian effort to build a truly participatory democratic peoples’ movement..This, of course, would be right in keeping with the spirit and raison d’etre of MDS and SDS. Since that time, however, several factors caused us to question the action and the intent of those who characterized themselves as the “core organizers”, and ultimately to conclude that it was not what it claimed to be. In course, we witnessed & experienced controlling top down behavior, bullying, dishonesty, snitchjacketing, censorship, and a total lack of respect for fellow activists.

1 – Permission to Occupy? — Soon after joining the October 6 Coalition we became aware that the “core organizers” intended to seek permits for Freedom Plaza that would cover the first 4 days of the “occupation” (October 6 – October 9) . The rationale was that getting permits would enable the event to have a stage, sound system, bands, performers, and speakers, and that this would draw enough people to allow the action to stay on past the initial 4 days, at which point it would become unpermitted. This concerned us based on the grounds that occupations are by their very nature, not permitted. Promoting such an event as an “occupation” would at the very least be a case of false advertising. We raised these concerns and were assured that despite having permits, sleeping in the Plaza wasn’t permitted and so it would become an “official” occupation the first night. We took heart in this and the belief that the final permit would not be continuous for the first 4 days so that the actual “occupation” could technically begin as early as the evening of Thursday, October 6th. Once the permit was obtained however, we learned that it indeed was continuous and in addition, now would extend from the evening of Wednesday October 6 to Monday, October 10. Again, we raised these concerns but by now our objections were met with even more hostility from some of the “core organizers” which included charges that expressing such contrary thoughts caused “divisiveness” and “disunity”. To make matters worse, on Sunday October 10, the eve of when that permit was supposed to run out and before we planned to join in Washington DC, we learned that a 4 month continuous permit for Freedom Plaza was now being proposed by the “core organizers”. Although it was heralded as a great victory by them, we said even if accepted in the General Assembly, it would now be even more disingenuous to publicly portray this event as an “occupation” since it would be in possession of what amounts to a 4 month lease. Very simply, you don’t get permission to occupy. If the plan was now to use the Plaza as a base of operations for outreach, rallies, marches, CD actions & so forth, and the idea was that a 4 month lease could help facilitate that, simply be honest with the public & activist community and call it what it is. Don’t continue to promote it as an “occupation” simply to cash in on the popularity of that term and the growing Occupy movement.  Doing so is dishonest and does a disservice to the idea of occupation as a political tool and to the movement in general. Particularly to the Occupy movement, where at this very moment, people around the country risk their necks daily occupying parks, squares, and plazas in unpermitted actions that are in every sense of the word, occupations.

2 — Bullying  — In the course of raising these objections we began to receive increasingly hostile off-list emails from at least two “core organizers”. On one occasion we were charged with being an “obstructionist”, and at least twice we were accused of being a “government infiltrator”. This practice, known as snitchjacketing, has long been a scourge to the Left, as it promotes an atmosphere of fear and is poisonous to effective organizing. At other times on the website’s Steering Committee Forum, our posts were met with abusive & disrespectful responses from one of the other “core organizers”. Unfortunately, this open hostility toward contrary opinions resulted in a ratcheting up of tensions when it was never our intention for this to happen. Our intention was to engage in necessary dialogue about the project, not to be drawn further into needless infighting. Other Committee members complained about receiving similar emails from the same parties. In time several members resigned. This is bullying. This has no place in the movement. You can’t bully fellow activists into submission in order to insure greater cohesion. We are thankful to comrades on the Committee who contacted us to say they’d noticed how disrespectfully we were treated and to voice their opposition to it.

3 — Top-Down or not Top-Down? — Although it was claimed that all decision making was done democratically within the Steering Committee and modified consensus was indeed used in Committee meetings, we soon learned that an Executive Committee was instituted for the express purpose of “streamlining” things and for the sake of “efficiency”. In other words, a small group of “core organizers” were empowered to make decisions in lieu of the entire group. While this practice may work in certain limited instances & the intent may have been to speed things along for efficiency, the result was to concentrate power in the hands of a few, and over time those few exerted more and more control over the entire project at the expense of democracy. This control extended from control of the website to control over all incoming & outgoing correspondence on behalf of the Committee to control over media requests. Ultimately, this select group further selected another small group of people to get together with for a brainstorming “retreat”.  There, ideas were exchanged and future plans formulated at the exclusion of the majority of the Steering Committee. While groups of people are entitled to decide how they’d like to structure themselves, we find the stark difference between the top-down practice of October2011 and the horizontal decision-making of the OWS movement, disturbing to say the least. Can the seeds of a truly democratic peoples movement be laid if the process of planning the movement is less than democratic? To our surprise the “core organizers” refused to even concede it was top-down. If empowering a select few to make decisions independent of the whole isn’t top-down, what is? Such decision-making may have a place in certain contexts, but is it in keeping with the spirit of the Occupy movement and it’s attention to radical democracy at all turns? Again, our concerns were met with hostility from the few who accused us of being “divisive” and more interested in “disorganizing” than organizing. All this having the further effect of falsely painting us as the “cause of problems”.


4 – Censorship
— For a time the Steering Committee listserv was de-activated allegedly due to some members belief that receiving “too many emails”  was “distracting to the work”. When it was re-started, without our knowledge, we were shocked to receive an email from one of the “core organizers” stating in part,

“Please try to react to this in as positive a way as you can.  I
really want to figure out what your role in the October2011 effort
is….  So far, it has been perceived as a negative one — at least
that is how some see it — of divisiveness and preventing us from
moving forward….There is talk about bringing back the list serve,
but people (including me) are hesitant to include you because when we
had the listserve in the past you have focused a lot on process,
pushed more discussion than people had time for, resulting in lots of
emails, bickering, back and forth and as a result people were unable
to get things done…..”

That this organizer felt entitled enough to say he/she was personally trying to “figure out” what our role in October2011 was, says a lot in our opinion. That this organizer found it perfectly reasonable to say that a few “core organizers” were now considering not including us in the re-started listserv based on our enthusiasm for open discussion of process, participatory democracy, and transparency, says a lot in our opinion. Since this was a Steering Committee list, to be left off the list would in effect, amount to being thrown out of the Steering Committee. Although the list was re-started at that time and we were included, we were eventually kicked off the list for expressing a dissenting opinion on the 4 month permit, and for having the audacity to ask “If October2011 now has such a long term lease, can it legitimately be called an occupation”? Wouldn’t it be more honest & accurate to call it “Freedom Plaza – A Base for Marches, Rallies & Actions” or the “The Freedom Plaza encampment”?

Kicking people off listservs for expressing their opinion is censorship.

Kicking people off  listservs is not in keeping with the spirit of
the Occupy Movement.

This is not what democracy looks like.

The purpose of this statement is not to single out any one activist. The purpose is to call attention to a string of abuses and a mentality that is destructive to effective organizing and democracy. If we are not vigilant in our attention to the demands of radical democracy, how can we expect to facilitate the creation of a movement that is? These demands are not expendable based on a desire for streamlining, efficiency, and convenience. Especially at this time in the face of a burgeoning Occupy movement that to it’s credit, remains always attentive to the demands of participatory democracy and maintaining a place at the table for all opinions, at all times.

For these reasons, we believe it’s critically important for there to be a movement-wide dialogue on free speech, bullying, truthfulness, what constitutes effective organizing, and what it means to advocate for radical democracy.
We invite all activists, workers, students, scholars & the interested to engage in this dialogue with us.

Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS) is a global association of people on the left. It seeks to create a sustained community of educational and political concern and actions: one bringing together liberals and radicals, activists and scholars, students, faculty and workers in all trades. It maintains a vision of a democratic society, where at all levels the people have control of the decisions which affect them and the resources on which they are dependent. It seeks a relevance through the continual focus on realities and on the programs necessary to effect change at the most basic levels of economic, political, and social organization. It feels the urgency to put forth a radical, democratic program counter-posed to authoritarian movements.

movementforademocraticsociety.org
mdsnow2@gmail.com

Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS)

MDS: An Introduction and An Invitation

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MOVEMENT FOR A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY
An Introduction and An Invitation

From the time of the First International, the International Workingmen’s Association of 1864, until today, the vast majority of the people of the world has suffered from failures of unity in the pursuit of our common needs and interests, in the face of highly organized and tiny elites of wealthy rulers. We keep trying. On the eve of the illegal U.S. Invasion of Iraq in 2003, a protest demonstration was held simultaneously on every continent, including Antarctica. This was not the first worldwide day of action in history. May 1, for generations has been observed as world labor day. But May Day was not organized “overnight”. It took months, years of communication in a world where communication was a major barrier to any global coordination. Today, we have the communications technology to overcome this barrier.
A landmark event took place in Chicago during August of 2006. People from across North America held a convention to re-start Students for a Democratic Society. SDS had not held a convention for more than 30 years. A small number of veterans of the 1960s SDS attended the 2006 convention and held a meeting there to re-start one of the SDS projects: Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS). MDS was conceived as a lifelong extension of the work SDS was doing on the campuses and in the community.
With ecological and economic nightmares popping up everywhere and every time we blink, let alone rest, we urgently need to try again to create a global community of both conversation and coordination.
We cannot afford to wait while we sort out all of our differences. We need to find ways forward on many life and death issues – war and empire, repression, healthcare, climate calamity, the struggle for the commons–even while we continue to express our differences and continue to try to persuade each other of the merits of our analyses of history and of our various visions of a new society.
Movement for a Democratic Society has formed to work on building this effective global community.

Join us. We are multi-tendency and multi-issue. We want people who already belong to other left and progressive organizations. We expressly want to build upon, and hopefully grow, the existing networks of groups in which our members work. And we want members who are not now active in any other group as well.

 

Movement for a Democratic Society Constitution 2009
(This constitution is adapted from the sds constitution 1962-67)
Preamble: Movement for a Democratic Society is a global association of people on the left. It seeks to create a sustained community of educational and political concern and actions: one bringing together liberals and radicals, activists and scholars, students, faculty and workers in all trades. It maintains a vision of a democratic society, where at all levels the people have control of the decisions which affect them and the resources on which they are dependent. It seeks a relevance through the continual focus on realities and on the programs necessary to effect change at the most basic levels of economic, political, and social organization. It feels the urgency to put forth a radical, democratic program counter-posed to authoritarian movements.
Contact Information: San Diego Chapter mds_sandiego@earthlink.net
movementforademocraticsociety.org/

Join MDS. Become an MDS organizer.
“We want the World, and we want it Now!”
OCCUPY WALL STREET! ?

50th Anniversary of Port Huron Statement

The year 2012 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Port Huron Statement, published by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). As part of the observation of this anniversary, MDS is embarking upon a collective writing project. We plan to bring together a wide range of movement perspectives to address both a retrospective analysis of the PHS and a prospective analysis of the question: What would a manifesto for our times entail?

Our movement focus is a global one, not merely a national one. Your suggestions about other groups around the world possibly interested in this project would be most welcomed.

We would like to extend an invitation to any organization or individual to join in this project, in any way, small or large, that you deem fitting. Please get back to us with your questions and ideas.

Solidarity,
MDS Organizing Committee

Full text of the Port Huron Statement: HERE

Wikipedia article on Port Huron Statement: HERE

50th Anniversary of Port Huron Statement

The year 2012 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Port Huron Statement, published by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). As part of the observation of this anniversary, MDS is embarking upon a collective writing project. We plan to bring together a wide range of movement perspectives to address both a retrospective analysis of the PHS and a prospective analysis of the question: What would a manifesto for our times entail?

Our movement focus is a global one, not merely a national one. Your suggestions about other groups around the world possibly interested in this project would be most welcomed.

We would like to extend an invitation to any organization or individual to join in this project, in any way, small or large, that you deem fitting. Please get back to us with your questions and ideas.

Solidarity,
MDS Organizing Committee

Full text of the Port Huron Statement:

http://www2.iath.virginia.edu/sixties/HTML_docs/Resources/Primary/Manifestos/SDS_Port_Huro n.html

Wikipedia article on Port Huron Statement:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Huron_Statement

MDS Statement in Support of Pfc. Bradley Manning

Pfc. Bradley Manning

Pfc. Bradley Manning

Movement for a Democratic Society [MDS] calls for the immediate release of US Army PFC Bradley Manning, incarcerated as of 18 June 2010.
See also http://www.bradleymanning.org/

Media accounts state that Mr. Manning was arrested in late May for allegedly leaking the video of US Apache helicopter pilots killing innocent people and seriously wounding two children in Baghdad, including those who arrived to help the wounded. The video was released by WikiLeaks under the name “Collateral Murder”. Pfc. Manning is also identified by the Defense Department as a “person of interest” in the investigation into WikiLeaks obtaining 90,000 battlefield reports describing thousands of civilian deaths inflicted by occupation forces in Afghanistan, collusion with warlords, corruption and an unvarnished view of our decade-long war.

If these allegations are untrue, we call upon the US Department of Defense to release Mr. Manning immediately.

If these allegations ARE true, we ALSO call upon the US Department of Defense to release Mr. Manning immediately.

The leaked video, released by WikiLeaks under the title “Collateral Murder”, clearly shows that official statements from the multinational force in Baghdad that “there is no question that Coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force” were blatantly false. The leaker of this video blew the whistle on two crimes: the murder of civilians and an official coverup. Exposing these crimes was a moral and legal obligation and a service to the international community. The leaker deserves our respect and thanks—not prosecution.

We express our support for Mr. Manning in any case, and our admiration for his courage if he is, in fact, the person who disclosed the information. As in the case of Daniel Ellsberg, and countless other whistleblowers before, government demands for secrecy must yield to public knowledge and justice when government crime and corruption are being kept hidden. If the United States government demands to use our tax dollars and our own children to fight this war, then we must demand full disclosure of the facts, no matter how unsettling. We demand that the government stop the misinformation and we honor heroes who fight for transparency.

Free Bradley Manning!

Movement for a Democratic Society

MDS Statement Condemning FBI Raids on Activists

The Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS) joins the growing protest against the FBI raids on activist homes and offices, which occurred on September 24, and against the demands for activists to testify in a closed grand jury, under threat of imprisonment. Activists from the Students for a Democratic Society were among those taken in this dragnet/fishing expedition of harassment attempted against the peace and justice movement. As activists now, connected with the old SDS of the 1960’s and supportive of the new SDS, we remember the old co-in-tel-pro, counterintelligence program, and are determined to protest and resist any new cointelpro, as seems indicated by these raids, grand jury hearings and high handed seizure of people’s personal property, and organization property, with no due process of law or basic human respect for the individuals involved, under cover of the “war on terror” and the so called “Patriot Act.”

Even an administration embroiled in wars and military alliances, as with Israel and Colombia, must still remember it is no crime in America to protest, and promulgate policies different from the government. Had that not been the case the current administration and its Attorney General would not have been in office, and there would have been no civil rights movement. Those “laws” which made it a crime eventually fell. So will these.

We urge the Administration to reconsider its own history, and discontinue this harassment of anti-war and international solidarity activists.

Cancel the Grand Jury. Return the activists’ possessions. And apologize.

We urge all activists: call President Obama at 202-456-1111 and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at 202-353-1555

We urge no one to be passive on this slippery slope into the police state and renewal of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

Some believe there are better impulses in the government, than represented by these raids, subpoenas, seizures and threats. At a time when a virulent right wing is trying to take over the Republican party and the government itself, we would hope the Obama administration would see, in the peace and justice, anti-war, and international solidarity movements, allies for a democratic society, not its enemy. The call for freedom will not be silenced, nor the demands for justice and the application of international and human rights law criminalized.

We offer our solidarity and such material aid as we can a to our friends in SDS and other activists as this case and contest with the government develops.

Movement for a Democratic Society
Working Committee, October 4, 2010

JOIN US! — MDS TO HOST WORKSHOP-MEETING AT THE US SOCIAL FORUM

mds-symbol[1]On June 24th, 2010, Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS) and the MDS Organizing Committee will host a workshop-meeting at the United States Social Forum in Detroit. MDS is taking the social forum as an opportunity to present our work, our Constitution, and the organizing model we have developed. This is a critical time for movement mobilization. The workshop and meeting we are presenting is an effort to advance this mobilization.

At this time, we’d like to invite all activists, friends, likeminded allies and the curious to attend, as we, in common struggle and solidarity, work to build a genuinely liberatory, directly democratic movement and society.

What is Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS)?

Movement for a Democratic Society is a global association of people on the left. It seeks to create a sustained community of educational and political concern and actions: one bringing together liberals and radicals, activists and scholars, students, faculty and workers in all trades. It maintains a vision of a democratic society, where at all levels the people have control of the decisions which affect them and the resources on which they are dependent. It seeks a relevance through the continual focus on realities and on the programs necessary to effect change at the most basic levels of economic, political, and social organization. It feels the urgency to put forth a radical, democratic program counter-posed to authoritarian movements.

Why should I attend the MDS WORKSHOP-MEETING at the USSF in Detroit on June 24th?
The workshop is entitled, “Organization: what are the best structures
for political (and more) association, adequate for our needs in these times?””
As people on the left, we speak of the need for better movement organization, more effective focus, sharper actions, wider reach, participatory democracy, bottom-up process, horizontal connections, and greater transparency. In 2009, an organizing committee for Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS) undertook the drafting of a Constitution, to describe the working form of such an organization and to incorporate the best practices we have learned.

On July 4, 2009, our proposed Constitution was released to the MDS member body for input and analysis. On October 11, 2009, it was voted upon and adopted in a multi-city membership conference call. At the Detroit workshop, we will present this document for review, discussion, and to elicit proposals for improvement, and implementation.

MDS has a rich history and legacy. Current members are moving forward based on that legacy, the strength of the organization, an openness to new, more cooperative ways of working together, a unique, multi-tendency approach, and a desire to see that approach continue.
Discussion will center around the importance of multi-generational organizing, working with allied groups, inter-organizational cooperation, non-hierarchical structuring, a commitment to direct action, sustaining a multi-issue approach, building a network of local chapters, a “one struggle, many fronts” orientation, and developing an international reach.

Topics include but are not limited to:
** A historical review: “How SDS became MDS”. What has MDS been doing on a local and national level?
** A mission statement: What are our needs?
** The international view. How do we tie into global networks and structures?
** Understanding and fully utilizing new modes of communication
** Cooperation and competition among organizations .
** Common actions based on shared values and issues

Following this presentation and discussion, members of MDS will hold a membership meeting at approximately 3:00 PM, to reflect on the workshop and conduct organizational business – putting into practice the principles we discussed.

Join Us!

Thursday, June 24 – 1:00-5:30 PM.
Room 02-35 Cobo Hall, 1 Washington Boulevard, Detroit, MI

We want the World, and we want it Now!

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