Today, as part of a solidarity action with folks struggling to save public housing in New Orleans, members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) helped to organize a civil disobedience as a part of a larger demonstration outside the D.C. office of Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) organized by the Hip Hop Caucus and the Advancement Project. At the culmination of the rally where the crowd demanded the right of return for New Orleans residents, 6 members of SDS and a local high school student rushed into a nearby intersection and laid down, effectively blocking traffic at three intersections in northeast D.C. When it was clear that the cops were taking their time, the folks lying down, with the support of the rest of the protesters who were standing with them, picked up and moved further into the intersection, shutting down a total of six intersections around the HUD office. After an hour of disrupting busy D.C. streets, folks stretched out on the ground declared victory as the demonstration concluded with protesters marching through the lunchtime streets.
Residents of New Orleans public housing have called on folks from around the country to come down to Louisiana to support their efforts directly or to organize actions in their own cities. The recent Northeast Convention in Philly endorsed this call. This particular D.C. action, due to short notice, was only endorsed by the George Mason University (GMU) chapter of SDS, although members of most local chapters were in attendance. The fight is still going on down in Louisiana, so organize a demonstration in your city to support folks at this critical point in their struggle to return to their homes.
Check out the USA TODAY article for a picture of local SDSers and more details on the situation in New Orleans.
Here is the New Orleans Indymedia article on the D.C. action.
Article by Jasper Conner, GMU SDS