Wednesday/ a student protest in 1969

The 6th floor in Seattle Central Library houses large collections of bound magazines, some more than 100 years old.

Oops! I realized today, my library books are overdue, better take them back. I hopped on the bus to the Seattle Central Library downtown. Mission accomplished as far as returning the books, I meandered through the treasure trove of magazine racks on the 6th floor. Hmm, here’s Weyerhaeuser World magazine. I worked there for four years, when I first came to the Seattle area, so let’s see what happened in 1969.

Check it out below: a report of a student protest at the University of Washington here in Seattle. The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) protested against American imperialism – in the time of the Vietnam war and all that, after all. This protest was specifically against  Weyerhaeuser’s ‘exploitation of 12 million black South Africans’.  I’m not sure if the workers deemed not to be paid fair wages, or if it was about their working conditions. It could have been both. For a long time in those years, wage earners in South Africa, especially in the mining industry, were treated very unfairly.

Anyway: the SDS splintered up and disbanded at the end of 1969, but was an important influence on student activist groups in the decades that followed. A new incarnation of SDS was founded in 2006. My advice to young people: protesting is fine and well, but the nature of the beast is : you really have to vote.  Only 40% of eligible voters typically vote in midterm elections. For young people, it could be as low as half that again: 20%.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *