Students for a Democratic Society Conference to Focus on ‘Resisting Trump’

Featured speakers include co-founder of Brown Berets, member of defense team for convicted terrorist


A radical left-wing resistance national student organization will be holding its 12th annual conference at the University of California-Santa Barbara this weekend.

The Students for a Democratic Society conference will focus on "Resisting Trump, Hate, & White Supremacy," and feature speakers like Carlos Montes, the co-founder of the Brown Berets, a militant Chicano rights group modeled on the Black Panthers active in the 1960s and 70s.

Montes was arrested in May 2011 by the FBI for a gun ownership violation, though he has claimed that action against him was part of a long history of politically motivated surveillance and retaliation of left-wing activists. Authorities say the FBI acted to infiltrate and monitor violence prone anarchist cells.

SDS announced that "Montes will speak on his experiences with FBI repression and their relevance to resistance to the Trump administration."

Bassem Kawar of the Chicago-based Arab American Action Network, who served on the legal defense team of convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh in a failed bid to stop her deportation from the U.S., will be speaking on Trump's controversial travel ban on foreigners from certain Muslim majority countries.

Odeh, associate director of the AAAN and a Women's March organizer, was deported to Jordan in September after she pled guilty to immigration fraud in omitting her terror conviction on her naturalization papers. Kawar was active in the five-year campaign dubbed "Justice4Rasmea," which argued that Odeh was tortured by Israeli authorities into confessing to planting the explosives in two 1969 bombings in Jerusalem, one of which killed two university students at a supermarket. Odeh, who is a celebrated former member of Marxist-Leninst terror group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, moved to America after being released from an Israeli jail in a 1980 prisoner exchange.

SDS shared a video earlier this month of an event held by its University of North Florida chapter mimicking the National Football League's anti-racism protests, during which participants drowned out a single UNF student singing the American national anthem with chants of, "UNF ‘take a knee.' Stop police brutality."

"One right-winger tries to pledge the anthem at a #TakeaKnee anti-police brutality event," wrote SDS on Facebook. "Outnumbered vastly by over 100 students who took a knee and blocked him from view. He left a few minutes later."

A UC Santa Barbara spokesperson was not available for comment by press time.

Rachel Frommer

Rachel Frommer   Email | Full Bio | RSS
Rachel Frommer is a staff writer with the Washington Free Beacon reporting on campus issues, including anti-free speech and anti-Israel activity. Prior to the Free Beacon, she was the senior campus correspondent at The Algemeiner. Her work has been picked up by Fox News, Newsweek, and the New York Post. She graduated from Touro College in 2016 with a BA in English literature. Her Twitter handle is @Rachel_Frommer, and her email address is

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