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SDS Constitution
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Melbourne, 1968

A founding document of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), circa mid-1968.
SDS was established at the University of Melbourne in August 1968. The founding members were undoubtedly influenced by the example and early (i.e pre-1968) ideas of the broad-based, North American student organization of the same name.

In mid-1968, the founders of SDS established an off-campus headquarters in an old but large building on the corner of Palmerston and Canning Streets Carlton. (The building had formerly been used as a hotel, and previous to that, apparently, as a brothel). The two-storey building, now called The Centre for Democratic Action, was ideal as a location for radical student activist activity – a rabbit warren of rooms and corridors suitable for living quarters and political meetings, and a sizeable garage suitable for silk-screen poster production, gestetner and off-set press.

The initial hard-core group of SDS activists included Harry Van Moorst (Secretary), Michael Hamel-Green, David Day (Treasurer), John Layfield, Ian McIvor (President), Dianne Crunden and Fran Newell. Most, but not all, early SDS members were students. About eight SDS members lived at the headquarters.

In May 1971, in recognition of its reach beyond the student milieu, SDS (still operating from 57 Palmerston Street) changed its name to Radical Action Movement (RAM) and began publishing the broadsheet "Troll". - [Ken Mansell]