SDS in Chicago


Fifth Estate # 89, October 2-15, 1969

CHICAGO—The toadies of Mayor Daley’s court are working long hours into the night attempting to prepare an official battle plan for the latest onslaught into their domain.

It comes in the form of the SDS National Action set for October 8 thru 11. The scene in Pig City is always chaotic, but this time it may be even more so with two factions of SDS each planning separate programs for the week.

However, the apparent confusion should not obscure the fact that this is the first major action of that section of the anti-war movement which wants to create a militant anti-imperialist consciousness among young people.

All factions are united in their call for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Vietnam and their support of the National Liberation Front (NLF).

One of the major factions of SDS, the Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM II),- meeting in Detroit several weekends ago, has called for a united front against imperialism under the slogan of “U.S. Get Out Of Vietnam—Serve The People.”

From Monday through Friday, they plan to build for a mass march on Saturday. The Black Panther Party and the Young Lords, a revolutionary group of Puerto Rican youth, are co-sponsoring the action.

They plan actions-against institutions which are supposed to, but don’t, serve the people.

A women’s action on a local hospital, a confrontation with the tax men, and a protest against the Board of Education are planned.

Actions in support of “proletarian organizations which serve the people” collecting money and food for the Panthers’ and Lords’ breakfast-for-schoolchildren programs, actually working at the breakfast centers, and taking care of children at the Young Lords’ day-care center, are also planned.

RYM II also expects to leaflet and rap with the young men in the shops of Chicago’s factories and plan a major demonstration against racism at International Harvester.

For the big march on Saturday, RYM II would like to see a disciplined march with Panthers and Lords participating through black, white, and brown working-class neighborhoods on the North Side.

The dominant SDS faction, the Weatherman group, which controls the National Office of the organization, is working to build a very militant action by a hard-core of street fighters. Thus far no other group on the left has chosen to support the action.

The Black Panthers have gone so far as to characterize the Weatherman action as “counter-revolutionary.” The Weatherman people have been doing extensive organizing for the action and see it as the first step in building “a strong red army.”

Their scenario runs like this: a memorial rally for Che Guevara on Wednesday; a Weatherman “jailbreak” action at local high schools and junior colleges on Thursday with a rock concert that night; Friday will be a mass attack on the Federal court building where the Conspiracy 8 trial is taking place; and Saturday will be the mass march.

The reason for the dual actions lie in each groups interpretation of a resolution passed at the SDS national convention in Chicago last June.

RYM II people claim that the Weatherman faction have distorted the sense of the resolution, and accuse them of building a “white movement” with the purpose of their tactics being the increase of militancy by those involved.

According to RYM II, “The main theme of the resolution called for a militant, broad-based action against the imperialist war and its fascist repression of black and Latin people at home.”

They say that the perspective of the resolution was to bring the anti-war movement to the working class with “special efforts to gain black and brown participation.”

Whatever the outcome of the SDS internal strife, the action in Chicago will be heavy with the pigs playing their usual role. No one should go there expecting a picnic.

The latest issue of The Fire Next Time, the Weatherman paper, carries detailed medical and legal instructions—If you are going, it should be read.

Both that and a newspaper from RYM II are available at our office.

Motor City SDS is coordinating train and car transportation to Chicago and has scheduled meetings to explain the politics and tactics of the action. These meetings will be held at St. Joseph’s Church, Woodward at Holbrook, on Sun., Oct. 5 at 3 pm

Discussed at the meeting will be a rundown of what to expect at the action, the time and place of each event, the location of the Detroit movement center that will provide sleeping quarters, and legal and medical advice.

Further information can be obtained from SDS by calling 923-5812 or 833-4323.

If you arrive in Chicago without having made contact with local SDS people call the National Action office at (312) 642-3015.

Details for the RYM II actions can be gotten when arriving in Chicago by dialing (312) 348-2246 or 348-8578. Persons can meet at the Church of the Holy Covenant, 925 Diversity Parkway.