Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Statement on the Walk-Out

Published: New Left Notes, June 30, 1969.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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MIA Note: This is a statement from the PL-dominated section of SDS on the split at the 1969 SDS Convention which appeared in their alternative edition of New Left Notes.

Last night a minority group faction of the Students for a Democratic Society National Convention split off from the original. This faction included a majority of the previous leadership whose anti-working class politics and practices have been exposed and defeated. They have lost the confidence of the majority of the original – both on the campuses and at the convention. Recognizing this, they walked out of the convention hall, held their own meeting, and declared that the Progressive Labor Party (PLP) was purged from SDS. This fallacious attempt to cover up their political defeat was coupled with the false claim that they legitimately represented SDS.

However, there is only ONE S.D.S.: This meeting in the Coliseum is the 1969 National Convention of SDS. This attempt to split and destroy the student movement must and will be fought.

We of this convention repudiate the disgraceful anti-communist and anti-working class attacks of this splinter group’s leadership on the Progressive Labor Party, the Worker-Student Alliance caucus, and in fact on all members of SDS, regardless of their positions on various other questions.

In splitting, this minority faction of the convention shamelessly distorted and lied about the positions of other SDSers. To clarify and correct these distortions, we reaffirm our complete support of the right of all oppressed nations to self-determination and give active support to such struggles as that of the Vietnamese people. By self-determination we mean the political and economic independence of all oppressed people.

We demand the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of US imperialism from Viet Nam and everywhere else in the world. Furthermore, we reaffirm our support for the Black Liberation Movement in this country and we oppose the vicious attacks by the ruling class on this movement, most clearly demonstrated by the severe repression of the Black Panther Party.

The attempt of the old National Office leadership to say that the various interpretations of specific strategies within SDS are in contradiction to these basic principles is a complete distortion of the truth.

We shall not let this struggle end in Chicago. Over the summer and next fall we shall take the SDS struggle back to the campuses. We shall rely upon the people to further repudiate the splinter leadership and reaffirm that there shall not be two SDSs. We know that many people who were part of the group which left the convention do not support them politically and have serious doubts about the action. We appeal to these people to return to SDS and fight for their politics within the organization. The leadership’s attempt to split SDS is a service only to imperialism and it will be defeated!

The class struggle is sharpening internationally. In this country the black liberation struggle is taking the lead. The growing student movement is beginning to lead mass struggles to fight against imperialism, racism, and male chauvinism, and to build an alliance with the working class – the key force in defeating US imperialism. The past SDS national leadership failed to give any direction to that struggle. This convention shall not fail. We have worked out a program today to continue to build this fight!