Radical Rush Week Fall 2011

15 Sep

Radical Rush Week: Sept 18-Oct. 7

Radical Rush is a week (or two and a half) of events to get YOU involved in the growing and active community here in College Park.

A bunch of events are planned by students to build power on our campus and in our community towards a more democratic and sustainable University. It is a great way to make new friends and find lots of things to do. Everyone is welcome and all of the events are free!



Fall 2011 Disorientation Guide!

15 Sep

From cpactivism:

THE DISORIENTATION GUIDE 2011 IS HERE. A zine about many of the activist groups at UMD, a guide to Radical Rush events, and awesome info on dumpster diving, gender-neutral bathrooms, fixing flat tires and more.

Download links below:

CPSDS to host Facilitation Training October 12th 7pm

6 Oct

Register for CPSDS Facilitation Training – October 12th!

Do you want to learn how to run a good meeting?Want to accomplish more in your group or organization? Want to be more aware about how power works in groups? Want to be a better facilitator?

CPSDS is hosting a facilitation training workshop in to learn about and share these skills and be better organizers! The workshop will be October 12th at 7pm in Jimenez 1124 and will be led by Samantha Miller and Jon Williams, two amazing and experienced DC-based organizers. RSVP below! Invite your friends, too!

Click here and fill out the form to RSVP.

CPSDS @ One Nation Working Together Rally

4 Oct

CPSDS reppin’ it at this weekend’s One Nation Working Together Rally in DC.

CPSDS @ One Nation . . .

The End of Capitalism (?) at UMD

28 Sep

Alex Knight leading the End of Capitalism? Workshop during Radical Rush Week 2010

College Park Students for a Democratic Society hosted activist/writer Alex Knight and his workshop, The End of Capitalism(?) last week, and it was AWESOME. Alex writes a blog The End of Capitalism and is working a book with the same title. He’s a Philly-based teacher and a former organizer with the new SDS. Here’s a description of the workshop:

Alex’s workshop explored the End of Capitalism Theory. The theory goes that Global capitalism is “ramming up against limits to growth.” This ramming is causing “massive shocks” on the surface.

Where did capitalism start?

Alex starts with the feudal crises of primitive accumulation. He cites Silvia Federici’s Caliban and the Witch, which posits that the witch hunts of Europe in the 16th century were part of the state violence that was necessary to boost the capitalist system into existence. BUT there were other ways out of the crisis of feudalism, and people were fighting for these alternatives. Take the Hussite rebellion, for example: a liberation struggle in the area now called the Czech Republic. The Hussites were brutally put down by the Catholic church. Most of the Pope’s crusades were against Europeans, heretics. This violence created the enclosures of capitalism. Displacement as a result of the enclosures. The enclosures were fences or hedgerows constructed when Feudal lords took Peasant land. The results is many landless peasants left to be labor for emerging industrial factories and early forms of mass production. Landless working class (proletariat) and slave trade are important features of these changes.

Why were women attacked? Why were women burned at the stake? Women were leaders in their communities and in heretical communities. Women were able to reproduce. Capitalism cares about a lot of desperate people eager to work shitty jobs for not very much money. Attacking women was one way to control their reproduction. Patriarchy of the wage: women lost their roles, violently, and forced into the role of a housewife. Women were doing labor that help up the community but weren’t receiving any recognition or wage. Public festivals, orgies, etc . . . capitalism targeted and erased them because they existed in a non-productive space.

Capitalism is a system that depends on the violent exploitation of human life to turn a profit, and must do so at an increasing rate. Now there are new forms of violence that enclose people within capitalism.

Consider the Congo, for instance – there is a civil war going on. Why? Control of resources; militias fighting with the government over Coltan, a mineral found only in the Eastern part of DRC and used in many consumer electronics.

What is Capitalism?

Workshop participants brainstormed a sweet list of some of the characteristics of capitalism: profit, supply & demand, markets & distribution, alienation, private property, externalization, specialization, fluid, unequal distribution of wealth, suppression of alternatives, violence, and competition.

Brainstorming characteristics of capitalism

“Capitalism is kind of nasty business.”

Why are we in this crisis?

Here’s Alex’s suggestion: there ecological and social limits to capitalist growth. Limits to growth are a good thing.

Ecological limits are the inability for the earth to sustain the growth in the capitalist system. Capitalism demands an ever growing supply of resources.

Let’s talk about oil. Peak oil: the point at which the oil industry is producing the most oil that it ever has or ever will.

A few facts: peak oil is a real phenomenon, US oil production peaked in 1970. The discovery of oil reserves peaked three years ago, the production continues to increase. What about solar and wind? Great on a decentralized basis, but neither provide enough energy cheaply enough to replace oil.

How did we get to this place? Doesn’t capitalism offer solutions to crisis of energy? Sure, but we know that alternatives to oil would be super profitable, and we haven’t seen it yet. Remember that 40% of the energy the economy runs off of comes from oil.

Social limits are the limits imposed on the system by people, societies, and communities. Social movements are extraordinarily powerful. Ever since oppression has existed there have been people working against it. Pretty much all good things that have happened in the US have come from social movements.

Global Justice Movement – people getting together against the policies of the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and Washington Consensus. The Global Justice Movement was called for by the Zapatistas to disrupt the spread of neo-liberal economic policies. The Global Justice Movement was remarkably successful: the WTO has failed, the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) was never born, the World Bank and IMF have been discredited in the Global South. Latin America has been transformed as a result of social movements – right-wing, US-backed dictators have been replaced by populist and leftist governments.

In the past year, the Chinese Labor Movement has been becoming increasingly militant and have embarked on scores of strikes demanding higher wages and benefits. These workers are a brake on global capitalism – challenging the exploitation of multinational companies and ever-increasing growth.

What comes after Capitalism?

Two roads: 1.) Fascism, nationalism, militarism 2.) Democracy, sustainability, justice

Breakout groups brainstormed answers to the following questions:

Q: What have you seen occurring that would indicate a movement towards fascism? Reasons to be afraid . . .

A: surveillance, corporate control of elections, restriction on travel and migration, racism & xenophobia, corporate media and propaganda, the Tea Party, private prisons, and police militarization.

Q: What have you seen occurring that would indicate a movement towards democracy? (This is a harder question. Why?) Reasons for hope; change we can actually believe in:

A: localization, access to information, drugz, gay rights, people working together, co-ops, radical spaces, “green” movement, the US Student Movement (March 4), positive masculinities, mining resistance movements, DIY culture.

Alex pointed towards a common-sense radicalism. Instead of looking for dogma, we must use our experiences to explain the world and the root of systems of oppression. We need a holistic approach to social change. There is no vanguard. We need to work inside the system. We need to work outside the system. We need to build alternatives to the system. All at the same time.

Alongside this sense of common-sense radicalism is, what Alex posed as, a politics of healing. The notion that the Revolution is about becoming whole people and whole communities and capitalism is a global system of abuse and control and violence that must to be named as such and broken.

Mentioned for giggles: Dude you have no Koran:


Radical Rush Week! You should come!

21 Sep

Upcoming Events
(SdS and related)

  • The End of Capitalism? SDS @ 7pm TOMORROW in armory 0117 RADRUSH EVENT
  • YES MEANS OH YES! Feminist for Sexual Health, Co-sponsored by Feminism Without Borders, Sisterhood of Unity and Love, Students for a Democratic Society, and the Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Program office.@ 7pmWEDNESDAY in the Nanticoke room in Stamp RADRUSH EVENT
  • I only sit with People like ME. Community Roots @ 6pm THURSDAY 1112 Hornbake Library RADRUSH EVENT
  • Fantasy Meets Reality: Burlesque Sketching. Pride Alliance, Co-sponsored by SEE, Terpoets, Satanic Mechanics @ 9pm FRIDAY in the Stamp at the ALL NIGHTER RADRUSH EVENT

Disorientation Guide 2010!

13 Sep

Check it out! SPAC, the Student Power Action Community released the, new, improved, informative, and sassy Disorientation Guide 2010! The guide is a collection of pages about student groups, fun things to do on and around campus, ways to get involved, and the 3rd annual Radical Rush Week.

Disorientation Guide UM 2010

Click to download your very own copy!