Struggle for a Democratic Society (SDS)

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Previous/other names: N/A

Prominent date(s) of activity: 1968- 1970

History: The Struggle for a Democratic Society was founded at Port Huron, Michigan, in 1961. By 1968 the organization boasted 40,000 members at 300 campuses across North America, including a chapter at UNB Fredericton.

Considered to be the central force of the New Left, the organization attracted persons from a variety of political positions, including socialists, anarchists, communists, and humanist liberals.

Activities: The organization sought to alter the fundamental structures of society through radical protest and demonstration. Members supported the struggle of black Americans for freedom and self determination, and they sought the abolition of the class system. They also wanted an academic system that emphasized discussion and ideas rather than grading by marks, and they discouraged a societal focus on monetary success or reward.

In the Fall of 1968, members of the UNB chapter of SDS protested the mandatory use of student identification cards to access services around campus. This protest led to the Strax Affair. The local SDS chapter also participated in an international protest against the war in Vietnam in the fall of that same year.

By 1970 many members of the SDS had migrated to a newly formed student group called the New Brunswick Socialists. This group utilized less radical methods for the promotion of leftist ideas, including watching movies, sponsoring guest lectures, holding literature tables, and communicating their concerns through media.

Source(s):

  • The Brunswickan, vol. 102, no. 3, September 1968, p. 3.
  • The Brunswickan, vol. 102, no. 3, September 1968, p. 1.
  • The Brunswickan, vol. 103, no. 11, November 1969, p. 2.
  • The Brunswickan, vol. 103, no. 16, January 1970, p. 1.


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