Students for A Democratic Society
The decade of the
1960s in American History consisted of endless social turmoil due to the civil
rights struggle and the conflict in Vietnam.
It also stands out as one of the only times in American History, and
perhaps World History, that a generation of youth significantly impacted
politics and society. As students
from relatively affluent families attended universities in record numbers, they
possessed the means to become socially and politically active. These students did not need to worry about earning a living
since the majority of their parents provided a majority of them with a means of
support as they received an education. Being concerned with their own interests
alone, many of these students looked outward to society and the problems
developing in America. Starting
with civil rights and ending with the war in Vietnam, these activist students
were rarely at a loss for a cause to support. Many student groups focused on a
single issue or were ideologically based. For
example, Tocsin, a pacifist group, concentrated their protest on the Vietnam
War, and the W.E.B. DuBois Club chose and fought their battles according to a
communist ideology.1 While these
one-issue and ideologically-driven organizations had some successes, one
organization accomplished more-and received more media attention and
members-than any other student organization during this time: the Students For a
Democratic Society (SDS). In
contrast to groups such as Tocsin, the SDS refused to focus on only one issue;
their vision was a greater one in which American society could only be reformed
by recognizing the interconnectedness of all of America's problems, be they
social, economic or political in nature. Unlike
the DuBois Club, SDS originally refused to subscribe to a single ideology,
welcoming people of almost any political affiliation including, liberals,
socialists, conservatives (although they were difficult to find in SDS), and
communists. These two factors
attracted many members since they would not be required to possess any dogmatic
political beliefs and could be active in a variety of causes within a single
organization. Independent chapters
could easily be formed in universities because of the decentralized nature of
SDS, which will be discussed subsequently in greater detail.
While decentralization of authority and lack of ideology provided the
basis upon which the SDS formulated their document of intent, The Port Huron
Statement, the organization found these aspects difficult to maintain as it
matured. A unified vision of
societal reform accomplished through community organizing and peaceful protest
gave way to ineffective, violent resistance and squabbling factions.
What caused the SDS to abandon their original vision and fall into
irreparable disarray? Were these
causes external, or were they inherent in the SDS from its formation?
These questions will be answered by examining the organization's
strategic development throughout its ten year history.
Splits From LID
LID wanted the SDS to serve a purely educational
function within the realm of the American Left, but some members of the SDS,
such as University of Michigan graduate student and SDS's first president Al
Haber, had different plans. Haber
had been surrounded by leftist politics, especially on the campus level, all his
life. His father, William Haber,
was an active LID member at one time, and was involved with SLID when he was a
professor at the University of Michigan. Al
Haber, inspired by his father's activism, dropped out of school to create an SDS
much different than LID leaders envisioned,
an SDS that took political action.5
For example, in 1961, Haber planned to send out a civil rights newsletter
to thousands of people. LID did not
approve of such actions, fearful that it might endanger their tax-exempt status. The organization almost expelled Haber for this activity.6
Other members were also clearly upset with the SDS situation under LID.
One board member wrote, supporting Haber's actions, that "the LID
has not even made a pretense of activity...I do not think we can afford to
prolong the current inactivity unless we resign ourselves to the LID as a
functionless sponsor for SDS activities." 7
Many other factors separated Haber's SDS from LID's SLID.
LID wanted their student arm to function as independent chapters at each
campus. Haber possessed a greater
vision of an SDS that brought together existing campus groups, and coordinated
them to serve their needs on a national scale.
He thought this could be done by publishing newsletters, distributing
literature, and organizing conferences so that a larger movement could take
place. Finally, Haber wanted to do away with the ideological problems that
burdened leftist groups such as LID. The
SDS, according to Haber, should be a nonsectarian group that would not focus on
single issues, but would realize the connections among all of the issues.8
Haber believed that "in its early stage, student activity...does not
go beyond a single issue, or see issues as inter-related...It does not, in
short, seek root causes." He
describes the "challenge ahead" as the appraisal and evolution of
"radical alternatives to the inadequate society of today."9 Because of
Haber's differences with LID on these matters, he managed to unofficially break
with them, allowing SDS to decide its own ventures, approved or disapproved by
Although SDS did not formally break away from LID until
1965, they were essentially a separate organization from the beginning.
The rift between LID and SDS became even larger when a manifesto drafted
by University of Michigan student and then SDS President Tom Hayden was revised
and adopted by the SDS at the 1962 convention in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Hayden encompassed the beliefs of many radical students at the time.
His views were always leftward leaning, but when President Kennedy
promised the nation a "New Frontier", Hayden viewed the gains by
blacks in particular as being only token reforms.
At that point, his thinking become more radical and he became more
distrustful toward liberals, and he found an outlet for these thoughts in his
drafting of the SDS document.10 The
Port Huron Statement outlined the organization's belief in participatory
democracy, its belief that the university was central to societal reform, and
its definition of the "New Left".
viewed itself not as a single organization with specific, set goals, but as a
part of a larger "Movement" that looked to transform society through
the formation of new
and the reform of existing institutions.11
Humans beings, SDS believed, were "infinitely
precious and possessed of unfulfilled capacities for reason, freedom and
love", and should not be manipulated. They are
inherently capable of directing their own affairs.
This anthropological view led
to the organization's belief that
the only society in which mankind could fully live in freedom was a
participatory democracy. 12 At the time, SDS
thought that the United States was not living up to its original ideals, and
that stagnation and apathy had overtaken the masses, creating a bureaucratic
system that was no longer "of, by and for the people".13
Their solution was a participatory democracy that included decision
making by direct participation of the people, politics as a means of ending
people's isolation, helping them to find meaning in their personal life, and
politics serving to "clarify problems in a way instrumental to their
solution".14 In other words, a
participatory democracy, and politics in general, should build community, enrich
people's everyday lives, and develop realistic, workable solutions to social and
economic problems as efficiently and judiciously as possible. American society, according to the SDS, did none of these
things. Politics isolated
individuals and groups, alienating people according to class and race, and did
not satisfactorily deal with the numerous problems society was facing.
The Port Huron Statement envisioned a society of decentralized politics
in which the power of decision-making lay solely with the people.
Structure of the SDS
The SDS attempted to act as a microcosm of the ideal
political system. The organization
frowned upon permanent leaders, hierarchical relationships and parliamentary
procedures. Local chapters acted
autonomously, and were the organization's primary source of strength.15 They did, however, elect officers every year, but some
labeled this system as "overstructured".
In 1967, members abolished the posts of president and vice-president, and
replaced them with a triumvirate of secretaries elected by delegates at an
annual national convention.16 In
order to be a voting delegate at an SDS convention, members had to pay the
National Office five dollars a year in dues (a fee that was required to be an
official card-carrying SDS member anyway), and be present at the convention.17
Meetings often erupted into chaos, precluding any sort of successful
decision-making. Many of SDS's internal problems arose from the lack of
organzational structure. Local
chapters often resented the National Office for making statements, or taking
certain initiatives without consulting them.18
The entire organization almost always agreed on the issues, but with no
central authority, members were unable to agree on strategic approaches to the
issues. This, as will be seen later, brought their idealistic visions crashing
to the ground.
Understanding the students' background is a key to
understanding their beliefs. Most
SDSers were post-World War II baby boomers whose parents were raised during the
Great Depression. These parents
took full advantage of the post-war affluence of the 1950s, seeking security and
stability through material acquisition.
They sought this stability in the newly formed suburbs where maintenance
of the status quo provided what
appeared to be a fulfilling life. While blacks fought for equal rights in the
South and struggled with poverty in the northern ghettoes, middle-class whites
lived a life more comfortable than any prior middle class.
The idea of "the American Dream" developed with the growth of
the suburbs, but not everything was as satisfactory as it seemed.
The Cold War held subtle terror over everyone's head; school children
ducked and covered as their fathers built bomb shelters in the backyard.
Politically and socially, most middle class people at this time were
fairly apathetic. After the
harrowing experiences of the Great Depression and World War II, many middle
class Americans were content to live in a stable nation, and were not about to
rock the boat. Being raised in financial security and privilege caused many of
the students to question why others should be denied the privileges that they
SDS President Todd Gitlin believes that the above reasons all prompted the baby
boomers to become more rebellious, but also thinks that popular culture during
the late 1950s contributed greatly to their state of mind as well. During this
time, MAD magazine became popular, especially among the high school students who
would form the original SDS radicals. MAD,
along with television personalities such as Steve Allen and Sid Caesar consisted
of "indiscriminate hilarity" that badgered the "American way of
life" with a hint of subversion.
Another type of subversive attitude also came to the fore in the form of
the teenage rebel. James Dean brought the archetype to the screen in Rebel
Without a Cause, and from that point on, rebellion became an expected phase of
young adulthood. Music also greatly
influenced the future SDSers. Rock
and Roll music brought black culture in contact with young whites, allowing them
to identify and become more familiar with the blacks, thus allowing them to be
more empathetic towards them in their struggles.
These factors of popular and the juxtaposition
of apathy and affluence within the new upper-middle class white America struck a
chord with the aware, liberal-minded college student of the early 60s.
These dissatisfied students, along with 'red-diaper' babies20 formed the
core of the New Left movement.21
Emergence of a "New Left"
Because of the apathy these students saw encompassing
America, action became their answer to society's problems.
The actions of these radical students lacked the historical, dogmatic
nature of their Left-wing predecessors. SDS
did not cite Marxist texts, or look to the working class for reform, since they
considered so many workers to have become middle class.22
SDS also believed that the traditional working class constituency of the
Left had fallen prey to "pillars of the Establishment" such as unions
and the Democratic party.23 By
highlighting these differences they had with the "Old Left", SDS had
to define what constituted "New Left".
A "New Left" had become necessary because a generation gap had
formed within the left due to the threat of McCarthyism.
The Old Left had been devastated by McCarthyism, leaving few twenty to
thirty year old radicals during the 1950s that could serve as exemplars for the
next generation.24 In their
development of a definition of a "New Left", SDSers were probably
partly inspired by C. Wright Mills' "Letter to the New Left" in which
he called attention to student movements in other countries, and said that in
the United States, the New Left should be based on the possibility that the
students and not the Marxist workers would be the agency for change in
society.25 Thoughts similar to these appear in the Port Huron Statement.
The New Left must have "real intellectual skills" that can be
utilized in an environment where the political life and academic life exist
adjacently in a complementary relationship.
A New Left must be "distributed in significant social roles
throughout the country," and must consist of young people-including
socialists and liberals-who must practice effective insurgency throughout the
Role of the Universities
According to the Port Huron Statement, the university
is an ideal place for all of these occurrences, and therefore, a perfect place
for the genesis of a New Left movement. In
The Port Huron Statement, SDS based
their tactics on the idea that the university provided the ultimate base for
societal upheaval and reform. Universities
were located in a "permanent position of social influence". If change were to take place on campuses across the country,
the nation would be forced to listen, and the students' endeavors would have an
effect upon society as a whole. Since
the university was the "central institution for organizing, evaluating, and
transmitting knowledge," the
ideas of the New Left could be easily accessible to the intellectuals and
activists, creating an almost effortless means of broadening the Movement.
Most importantly, SDS viewed the university as the only "mainstream
institution" open to participation by individuals of any viewpoint.27
This allowed people of varying ideologies to become involved in the SDS,
including communists, which would, as will be examined later,
prove to be extremely detrimental to the SDS' goals.
From the beginning, they viewed the university as the harbinger of reform
in an apathetic, materialistic society.
While initially concerned with the university as an
agent of social change, SDS's first actions were not campus-related.
The 1960s brought about a rash of civil rights demonstrations in the
south, many of them organized by the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee
(SNCC). SNCC was first formed
in 1960 in Raleigh, North Carolina, and gained extensive media attention as it
organized sit-ins at lunch counters, freedom rides, and other forms of peaceful
peaceful protest. Black and white
activists worked together for civil rights in SNCC, breaking racial barriers
that had rarely been crossed before. It
was this group's actions that first inspired Al Haber and company to desire an
activist attitude in the SDS. Haber,
Hayden, and other members traveled south to participate in SNCC activities such
as sit-ins and freedom rides. These actions drove a wedge between LID and SDS
since older leftists wanted them to remain an educational group.28
LID's disapproval could not stop the SDS, however.
During 1961, on some of their first flyers, SDS described themselves as a
"northern arm" for SNCC, attaching themselves more to the civil rights
group than to their parent organization.29
Although their admiration of SNCC was strong, SDS knew that an array of
goals broader than those defined by the civil rights movement was necessary for
the expansion of the New Left.30
Organizing: ERAP and NCUP
The SDS did not completely abandon the civil rights
question, but decidedly changed their focus when the UAW gave them five-thousand
dollars in 1962. The SDS
National Office allocated half of this grant to establish the Economic and
Research Action Project (ERAP).31 This
plan involved activists living in poor neighborhoods and assisting the residents
in organizing for community improvements. SDS
wanted ERAP to ultimately achieve an "interracial movement of the
poor" in which those who had least stake in society's preservation and the
most immediate need for its improvement would be the people who were reshaping
it. One of the most successful
actions of ERAP-and of all SDS ventures-was the Newark Community Union Project (NCUP)
started by Tom Hayden, who by this time was an SDS National Secretary.
SDS activists lived in a poor, black section of Newark, New Jersey, took
surveys of the residents and used the results of the surveys to rally for
change. They achieved this through
the organization of rent strikes and sit-ins,
many of the same methods used in the SNCC's struggle for civil rights.
They ran into problems with police and city officials at times, but
overall NCUP achieved some satisfying results.
A number of buildings were repaired, houses inspected, and codes
enforced. According to
Hayden, NCUP achieved "the development of a group of people with no
previous political connections who are able to speak and act without being
embarrassed or dependent on higher ups."32
The initial success of ERAP caused Hayden to push community organizing as
SDS's top priority. Haber, however, thought that the organization of college
campuses should always be the primary focus.33
At the June 1964 Convention, the delegates supported Hayden's proposal.34
This decision made little difference as enthusiasm for community
organizing quickly waned. The
slow-coming results of the endeavor frustrated the young activists, and their
growing refusal to work with the "Establishment" hindered the goods
and services they could obtain for the poor.35
Unfortunately, their most successful and practical reform action
completely died before it had a chance to achieve any lasting results. ERAP
signifies the last of their movements to reform society actively.
After their community organizing stint, they were less concerned with
choosing specific, local causes to get practical results, and more concerned
about dramatizing what they considered to be wrong with society.
This change in mindset marks their initial stray from Haber and Hayden's
original intentions, their rising influence among students and the New Left, and
the beginning of their downfall.
Vietnam War: Confrontation and Resistance
The first issue the SDS found that could easily be used
to display America's problems was dramatic: the conflict in Vietnam. On March 8, 1965, American forces arrived on the coast of Da
Nang in South Vietnam, ready to defend democracy against the supposed menace of
Ho Chi Minh's communism.36 Many
left-wing groups, along with the SDS, thought the American forces in Vietnam
threatened the precious values of participatory democracy so strongly defended
in the Port Huron Statement. SDS
officer Carl Oglesby expressed the SDS's concerns in his "Trapped in a
System" speech given in October 1965, stating that America's "dead
revolutionaries would soon wonder why their country was fighting against what
appeared to be a revolution." He
determined that America's Vietnam intervention stems from its imperialistic
tendencies to protect its own interests.37
This disregard for man's ability to choose his own government pushed many
young Americans to protest actively. Not
long after the conflict began, sit-ins and
anti-draft movements were being organized. A shift from dissent to resistance among young radicals
began as they burned draft cards and obstructed military induction centers.
SDS put themselves at the center of anti-war activity.38
This shifted their focus from fighting the oppression of others to
fighting something that had a direct effect on their lives due to the
threat of being drafted. At a
national council meeting shortly after the Da Nang landing, SDS officers
proposed an anti-war march on Washington, which was initially voted down.
Many rejected organizing around a single issue and thought the march
would have little or no effect. The
proposal eventually passed, however, and the march was set for April 17, 1965.39
The March on Washington was the pivotal event in the SDS's growing
leadership among the New Left. With
about 25,000 people participating in the march, the sheer numbers demonstrate
the significance of the affair. Not
only did the march draw large numbers, but, more significantly, it drew large
numbers of communists, including members of the Progressive Labor Party, who
would later prove extremely detrimental to the SDS.40
This intermingling of SDSers with communists and the bold activism that
threatened LID's tax-exempt status caused LID to disown SDS officially later
that year.41 Besides this synthesis
of ideological groups, the March also allowed a stage for the dramatization of
America's dilemma through the oratory of then-SDS president Paul Potter.
In his speech, "The Incredible War,"
he outlines a position on America that soon became the universal belief
of the New Left. Potter's arguments
would later lead the SDS down a more militant path, and cause them to abandon
the original Port Huron vision. Potter
does not blame the war on President
Lyndon Johnson, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, or National Security
Advisor McGeorge Bundy, even though their decisions "have led to the
mutilation and death of thousands and thousands of people."
He instead blames "the system", asking, "What kind of
system is it that allows good men to make those kind of decisions?", and,
"What kind of system is it that justifies the U.S. or any other country
seizing the destinies of the Vietnamese people and using them callously for its
own purpose?" He calls on the
activists to "name that system, describe it, analyze it, understand it, and
change it."42 This could
almost be looked upon as a call to revolution, and could have created a method
of resistance if the SDS had engaged in an intellectual analysis of the system
and not simply jumped straight into "changing" the system, as
will be discussed in subsequent chapters.
Potter's speech pinpointed the resistant nerve of the New Left that would
first manifest itself in the anti-draft movement.
In October of 1965, SDS officers Carl Oglesby and Paul Booth proposed a
movement encouraging all draft-age males to file as conscientious objectors. The proposal proved less than popular among SDS members.
Many were concerned about the possible illegality of the action, whereas
some opposed it because they did not think the National Office had a right to
establish national policy due to the
autonomy possessed by the local chapters.43
Membership at this time took the structure of SDS seriously, still driven
by the desire for participatory democracy, and still hesitant to break the law
blatantly in protest to war. As the
war's intensity increased, however, SDSers appeared more readily disposed to
illegal activity. They
justified their actions by saying that when a government participates in
acts construed as immoral, it is one's right to protest.
SDS's belief was that the Vietnam War prevented people from practicing
"self-determination", and by that reason alone, SDS viewed the U.S.
government as immoral. In addition
to the stifling of Vietnamese freedom, the government was killing innocent
Americans and Vietnamese in their attempt to stop the spread of communism.
Because of these atrocities, SDSers felt obliged to act in opposition to
the Espionage Act of 1917, which forbade activity jeopardizing war effort during
a national emergency.44 This
defense mechanism allowed many SDS activists to become more daring and radical.
Resistance to Revolution
SDS members also rationalized this more frequent civil
disobedience and resistance on the ground that the "Establishment"
fails to listen when protests are "merely verbal."45
At the 1967 convention, SDSers were extremely hesitant to endorse an
anti-war march. Secretary Carl
Davidson gives the reasons for this hesitancy:
"Marches are just not enough. They won't stop this war.
More important, they won't stop the military-industrial complex, the
powerful institution that decide the fate of people in this country."46
Davidson labeled himself an advocate of "revolution" as opposed
to "sweeping reform" or "radical social change".47
Davidson's thoughts represented the feelings of many SDS members at this
time. An ideology of resistance and
revolution began to evolve. This
ideology focused on the inability of individuals to make meaningful decisions
for themselves in society because they were deprived of power by a corporate
elite that manipulated them politically and economically.
SDS thought these conditions could not be overcome by mere reform, and
would have to met with resistance and, eventually, revolution.48 Members also
began reading Marxist historians such as William Appleman Williams, who viewed
the U.S. as an imperial power with an history rife with imperialistic
ventures.49 Because of ideas such
as this, the SDS began viewing the war as "not a mistake of an essentially
good government, but the logical result of a government which oppresses people
in the U.S. and throughout the world."50
Previously, the SDS had pleaded for both sides to negotiate, but as their
thoughts turned more toward revolution, and against the U.S. government, support
for the National Liberation Front grew stronger within their ranks. 51 In a speech given on October 27, 1967, Davidson stated that
the "possibility for peaceful change in America has died."
He thought that what the SDS had to do at that time was
"destroy".52 Talk of
violence did not meet with much resistance among the SDS's ranks.
Many members wanted to see results that were not being accomplished by
their peaceful marches and sit-ins.53 The
SDS of 1967 had forgotten, or chose
to ignore the statement made in the Port Huron Statement five years earlier in
which the SDS found violence to be "abhorrent" because it transformed
a human being or a group of people into a "depersonalized object of
Carl Davidson and other SDSers saw something to emulate in
The intensified resistance students felt toward the war
erupted onto the campus scene almost immediately.
Prior to the escalating conflict in Vietnam, the SDS limited most
activity to off-campus walks and rallies, and restricted most of their campus
activity to "educational programs", holding conferences and
distributing literature. The issues
dealt with on campus had always pertained to university reform issues such as
dormitory hours and curriculum reform.58 Rarely
were the SDS's actions directed against their own colleges or universities
because they had seen their role as mainly a detached movement to free the
oppressed. All of this changed with
the Berkeley Free Speech Movement.59
Berkeley Free Speech Movement occurred in 1964 when Berkeley University students
returned to school after a summer of civil rights protests in the South.
Various organizations, including the SDS set up literature tables around
the campus to distribute literature about civil rights.60
The University Administration attempted to shut down the information
booths, and were met with enthusiastic protest.
The student activists viewed this as a violation of their right to free
speech, and over eight-hundred students protested by occupying an administration
building. All of the students were
arrested, and more protests ensued. The Free Speech Movement did not immediately
incite nationwide campus uprisings, however.
It was not until 1967 that the SDS became interested in such tactics, and
employed them on a larger, more radical scale.61
Free Speech Movement involved the use of "direct action" to emphasize
the wrongs being committed within an institution.62
"Direct Action" can be defined as actions of protest such as
picket lines, demonstrations, sit-ins, marches or strikes, and were viewed as
the quickest road to publicity, good
bad.63 The Berkeley Free Speech
Movement inspired student activists to identify universities as bureaucratic
institutions of political socialization whose main purpose was to train students
for corporate America.64 Because of
this identification, students began to desire the same structure for their
universities as they had for the nation: participatory democracy.
SDS believed that students should control the universities, thereby
destroying the schools' links to corporate and military power.
The Port Huron Statement suggests, "the fundamental qualities of
life on campus reflect the habits of society at large."
Therefore, the students thought that in order to change society, they
must start by changing the university. According
to the Port Huron Statement, the student has learned by his "isolation to
accept elite rule within the university which prepares him to accept later forms
of minority control."65 They challenged the claim that universities were autonomous
and neutral, and wanted to expose the financial and institutional connections
with the government.66 They
accomplished this goal by taking an issue, such as the draft exam, or the
release of class rankings to the military, and ask for a referendum or a vote,
as was the case at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1966.67 By focusing student action on an issue such as the draft,
students not only addressed their own issues concerning student control of
universities, but also addressed the larger issue of the Vietnam War.
These actions tied together foreign policy problems with domestic
conflicts which made it much easier for the SDS to dramatize America's problems.
In all of this campus protest, SDS still depended upon the Port Huron
Statement so as not to lose touch with their original intent.
SDSer Michael Spiegal stated the organization's intentions at the time:
"Our goal is not to create a free university within an unfree
society. Our goal is to create a
Early in 1968, as on-campus protests increased, so did
activity in Vietnam. The January 30
Tet Offensive heightened tension, and students became even more concerned in
February when the National Security Council abolished draft deferments of youths
enrolled in graduate school.69 As
Vietnam activity came to a fever pitch, so did campus activity among radicals.70
On April 23, 1968, the local Columbia University SDS chapter in New York
held a rally to protest the University's relation to the Institute for Defense
Analyses, the school's 'racist' policies toward neighboring Harlem, and the
disciplinary probation in effect against some SDS members pertaining to earlier
activity. The president of the
university at this time was Grayson Kirk, who also held the position of Director
for the Institute for Defense Analyses. Radical students feared that Kirk's two
positions might cause a conflict of interest, believing that the university's
funds were being filtered to the war effort.
The university was also planning to build a gymnasium for the school in
an area called Morningside Heights that lay adjacent to the black community of
Harlem. SDSers thought that the
people of Harlem needed the land the gymnasium was being built on for their own
recreational facilities, and considered the university's actions to be racist.
The rally soon turned chaotic as students invaded and took control of several
buildings. During the fiasco, SDS
managed to ransack the office of the university's president, and control five
different buildings. The
confrontation lasted six days, when more than one thousand police officers
cleared the buildings, in a what was a violent, confusing encounter.
In the confrontation, 711 students were arrested, 148 were injured, and
there were 120 charges of police brutality filed.71
While there were some embarrassing moments of defeat for the student
activists, the SDS considered the Columbia take-over to be a success. 72
Hayden commented in Ramparts magazine that "students are moving toward the
use of their power to stop the machine if it cannot be made to serve human ends,
to the beginning of what Columbia University students call 'bringing the war
home'".73 This phrase
'bringing the war home,' not only indicates the attention the students were
bringing to the war, but also references the method of protesting the war in
order to dramatize the problems that America has in every sphere, both
international and domestic. Hayden
also viewed the Columbia uprising as a harbinger for a new era in the radical
movement: "from the overnight occupation of buildings to permanent
occupations; from mill-ins to the creation of revolutionary committees; from
symbolic civil disobedience to barricaded resistance."74
Columbia opened the doors for the SDS's new tactical era of direct action
tinged with violence, and introduced its movement toward a more revolutionary
mentality. The initial
revolutionary tone is most apparent in a phrase then-popular among the radical
students: "Create two, three, many Columbias," modeled after Che
Guevara's phrase: " Create two, three, many Vietnams."75
The Columbia incident showed that SDS had become an organization of
"self-consciously revolutionary" students.76
These new revolutionaries had to defend morally some their actions,
however. By holding a dean prisoner
at Columbia, and by preventing students from having interviews with military
recruiters, the SDS clearly denied the rights of others.
They believed that civil liberties could be abridged if an institution or
individual had lost their moral legitimacy, since every man must be responsible
for his own actions.77
After the Columbia uprising, campus unrest did not end.
The SDS's strategy of resistance involved "desanctification of
authority", which consisted of defiant radical confrontations at
institutions which would seemingly reveal the impotence of people in relation to
institutions, thereby reducing respect for the institutions. One "desanctification
of the week" took place at Columbia University when the New York City
director of the selective service was struck in the face with a lemon meringue
pie as he addressed several hundred students.78
Despite the lighthearted juvenility of this humiliation, the SDS's
intentions were serious.
Many of the SDS's foes,
administrators and professors, did not take the threat of radical students
lightly. Vincent Barnett, Jr.,
then-president of Colgate University, described universities as the
"weakest institutions in the country to deal with force and coercion,"
saying that universities were "not equipped for it [and] are
temperamentally repelled by it."79 In addition to the inherent weakness of the universities,
some educators thought that the students were "getting to be 'pros'"
at radical insurgency. One Harvard
professor emphasized this by pointing out that the students know how to run
meetings and mimeograph machines, and also know when to call in the press.
He adds that it is the professors and administration that are
"amateurs".80 Comments such as this one emit an almost admirable feeling
towards the students even though they were threatening the well-being of the
university and its administrators. Then-president
of Brandeis, Morris Abram admitted having sympathy with "those students who
feel we can do a lot better," but opposed their methods for instigating
change.81 It was apparent to these
administrators that the student movement was gaining momentum from their
tactical changes that had marked the university as a puppet of the
and Factionalism: The Final Years
As indicated by the Columbia insurgency, SDS's external
activities were in the process of change, but so was its inner workings. A Marxist workers group called the Progressive Labor Party (PLP)
had sufficiently infiltrated the ranks of SDS in an attempt to sway its
activities towards PLP goals. The PLP held clear ideological leanings and
believed that the working class must be the route to revolution and wanted to
get SDS more involved with the
working class. They believed that
Vietnam was "a class war, not a tragic blunder," and that it was up to
the working class to drive U.S. rulers out of Asia. Their views on the imperialistic nature of the America
government coordinated with that of the rest of the SDS, but their solution to
the problem involved an eventual overthrow of the U.S. government in order to
establish a communist one. During
this time, however, the PLP did not actively seek revolution or condone violence
because they did not view their movement or the U.S. as being ready for
1968 National Convention
At the National SDS convention in June of 1968, the PLP
(referred to as the Worker-Student
Alliance [WSA] within the SDS) and
the National Office Faction83 (whose members were called "Regulars")
first bumped heads and displayed the inner squabbling that would eventually tear
SDS apart. From the outset of the
convention, signs pointed towards a split within the organization's ranks.
The WSA donned more conservative apparel: short hair, suits and ties;
Regulars wore what would be considered normal for college-aged students at the
time: beards, jeans, sandals and long hair.84
At this convention, the SDS elected three new national secretaries:
Bernardine Dohrn, Michael Klonsky, and Jeff Gordon.
Both Klonsky and Dohrn represented the National Office, and Gordon,
though not campaigning as leader of the WSA, was an active member in the
organization. Out of the three, Dohrn was the most vocal about the changes
that she, and other regulars wanted to make within the organization.
Dohrn was a recent graduate from the University of Chicago Law School,
and was working in New York as assistant executive secretary of the National
Lawyers Guild, an alliance of left-wing lawyers which defended radical
organizations.85 At the convention she proposed that the SDS align itself with
a variety of constituencies, including the poor, high school students, and the
working class. The WSA, on the
hand, wanted to focus primarily on the working class, in conjunction with their
Marxist ideology.86 The National
Office was not without their ideologies, either.
Dohrn wanted the SDS to make a move towards becoming a centralized,
revolutionary party committed to a particular ideology.87
She, and other National Office supporters labeled their ideology as
"communism with a small c," and used phrases such as "acting as a
collective", "being responsible to a collective,"
and "fighting against institutionalized individualism". She
stated their task for the summer as being the development of an "ideology
in terms that make sense to Americans."88
Although Dohrn does not clearly define her words, it is clear that the
organization was moving towards an ideology, or already possessed one, in the
case of the WSA.
proposal for centralization and revolution did not pass because the majority of
delegates at the convention belonged to the WSA. Obvious changes had taken place between the 1968 convention
and the convention six years prior when the Port Huron Statement was
written. SDS leaders were now
calling for ideologies, something Hayden and company specifically wanted to
avoid in the 1962 document.89 The only glimmer of original intent that was still displayed in 1968 was the fact that SDS
delegates voted down Dohrn's proposals in a correct participatory democratic
fashion. Their reasons for
voting them down , however, were also contradictory to the organization's
original intentions: ideological factionalism.
Not only had the SDS lost their original activist vision, they were about
to lose any and all intent to reform. The
National Office's main concern after the convention was the ousting of the WSA,
and the attempted denial of their power. The
WSA faction's main concern rested primarily in gaining more control over the
organization and passing their agendas.90 SDS
slowly began falling into the factionalized trap that their leftist forefathers
had fallen into, and that they were specifically trying to avoid.
In the SDS's magazine, New Left Notes, Staughton Lynd addressed a letter
to the New Left in which he comments upon the SDS's newfound struggles:
"Present SDS practice appears indistinguishable from that of the Old Left
sects. Whatever factional position gets most votes is the 'correct
political perspective for the coming period.'"91 While the 1968 convention was marred by such factionalization,
the SDS was far from dead, and its inner struggles were far from over.
This convention marked only a beginning of the dramatic in-fighting of
the SDS, and the struggle for control of its helm that many people at the time
saw as damaging. SDS member and
one-time national secretary Bob Pardun forebodingly commented after the
convention that if his organization did not "get it together within the
next two years, we will be wiped out."92
At the 1968 convention, the PLP faction outnumbered the more
revolutionary National Office faction, but the National Office found its
apparent salvation in the outspoken leadership of Dohrn, and Mark Rudd, an SDS
member who led the Columbia uprising who would be elected a national secretary
in 1969. Under the leadership of
these two radicals after the '68 convention, civil disobedience and active
resistance-much of it violent-became a more frequent means of SDS-sponsored activism.
SDS leaders wanted to transform the organization from a student movement
into a movement that would appeal to a broader constituency.
During the summer of 1968, SDS developed a program designed to recruit
the working class, high school students and young people in the military, but
particular groups were either not interested in the SDS, not accessible to them,
or were opposed to their actions.93
the WSA and the National Office found a more extensive constituency necessary.
The WSA viewed universities as a source of managers and scientists,
making them of marginal concern to a movement which saw the working class as the
"bearers of future society." WSA also believed that it was impossible
to reform universities without first reforming all of society, thereby making
SDS's earlier attempts at university reform a waste of energy. At a Fall 1968
SDS meeting a Columbia, Mark Rudd agreed with the PLP that the SDS must move
toward a broader base of constituents, but his reasons differed.
Rudd thought that student actions served as an example to the oppressed,
but that they should not organize on behalf of their own interests as they had
done earlier that year at campuses such as Columbia. Therefore, with students organizing for the interests of the
oppressed, the university would no longer be a central concern.
Both Rudd and the PLP viewed the students as fundamentally unreliable
constituents because they mostly came from middle class backgrounds.94
1968 and 1969, many smaller factions splintered off from the National Office
Faction. Dohrn and Rudd formed the
Revolutionary Youth Movement I (RYM I)-later called the Weathermen. They were
convinced that armed resistance was the only solution to America's problems.
RYM I supported the Black Panthers and their form of nationalism,
believing that the blacks would spearhead the socialist revolution. Instead of
combating specific social ills, which they thought was a waste of time, they
believed their time better spent fighting police, teachers, and bureaucrats,
whom they referred to as "pigs".
Mike Klonsky and Carl Davidson formed Revolutionary Youth Movement II (RYM
II), a much less vocal faction than RYM I.
They held the same basic beliefs as RYM I, but did not agree with the use
of gratuitous violence. A smaller
faction called Up Against the Wall Motherf---er95 had infiltrated the SDS at the
1968 convention. With no specific
political views except anarchy, the group practiced violent disruption for its
own sake. This group, along with
RYM II were fairly inconsequential factions of SDS.
The two prominent groups, the WSA and RYM I would display their
significance at the next national convention.
1969 National Convention
By 1969, the SDS's reputation for disorder and
destruction was so bad that they were turned down by numerous universities,
arenas and civic centers across the nation when searching for a venue to hold
their annual National Convention. They
were finally able to book the Coliseum, a drab, dingy complex on the South Side
of Chicago. Although they
were constantly looking for publicity, the SDS would not allow the
"capitalist press" to enter the convention, and only allowed
journalists from left-leaning publications to record the events.96
This decision reflects the increasing militancy and paranoia the
organization was experiencing as they became more intensely revolutionary, and
less democratic. At this
convention, the conflict between the WSA and RYM I became even more inflamed
than it had been the year before. Both
factions wanted a centralized organization and considered the "new working
class" the instruments of the revolution.97 Their differences, however,
greatly overshadowed any similarities between the two groups.
The Progressive Labor Party brought the majority of delegates to the
convention, and their highly organized ranks, and superior parliamentary skills
allowed them to dominate the proceedings. Over
the course of that year, the RYM I began aligning themselves with the
nationalist African-American group, the Black Panthers. The Panthers were a
revolutionary group formed in 1966 by Bobby Seale and Huey Newton, who called
for the arming of all blacks in order to rise against "white
sanctions."98 The RYM I viewed
the revolutionary struggle as an imperialist one in which the black race must
rise against the oppression of the white race in order to establish a proper
social and political order. The WSA
saw the struggle as a class based one, and considered the blacks to be part of
the working class. The Blacks
Panthers' nationalism did not fit into the WSA's revolutionary scheme.
Jeff Gordon, SDS secretary and WSA spokesman, believed that
"nationalism as an ideology is reactionary."99
He also claimed that the radical action taken by RYM I and the Black
Panthers was "adventurous, diversionary and alienating to the working
RYM I countered the WSA majority and their dogmatic views by letting Chaka
Walls, leader of the Illinois Black Panther Party, speak at the convention.101
Surrounded by his large, armed, Black Panther guards on all sides, Walls
started his speech by labeling the WSA as "counterrevolutionaries,"
and riddled the remainder of it with highly offensive remarks about women and
threats against the WSA members until he was drowned out by the WSA's chants of
"Fight male chauvinism!"
Jul Cook, another Panther leader, took the stage and became even more vulgar and
degrading towards women. Whatever
strategy the RYM had in mind with Walls and Cook was a complete failure, and
soon the entire coliseum erupted in a flood of chants from both sides, including
"Power to the People!" from RYM I, "Power to the Workers!"
from the WSA, "Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh/NLF is going to win!" from RYM II,
and even a chant of "Let's Go Mets" from a group of New Yorkers.
These various chants display the blatant ideologies and sectionalism that
had overtaken the once-united organization.
the Panthers had finished speaking, they intimidatingly placed themselves in
front of the PLP's literature table, where a battalion of PLP members surrounded
them, allowing Leader Jeff Gordon to approach the podium and speak: "The
Progressive Labor Party will not be intimidated out of the SDS.
We support national liberation all over the world.
We support the Black panther Party.
When we criticize the Panthers it is in a comradely and constructive
fashion." After Gordon finished his speech, Dohrn,
leader of the RYM I grabbed the microphone and declared: " Some of
us are going to have to decide whether our principles allow us to stay in the
same organization with people who deny the right of self- determination to the
oppressed." She then directed anyone who wanted to discuss the matter
with her to follow her into the next room.
The PLP stayed in the original meeting hall as all of the RYM members
filed out. The RYM I were not
numerous enough to maintain control of the convention, and had simply walked
out. From that point on, the two
factions functioned as separate entities, both claiming to be the official
organization. The RYM I maintained
control of the national SDS Office in Chicago, while the WSA formed a
headquarters in Boston.102 RYM I considered the walk-out a success, which Rudd clearly
implies in his faction's newsletter:
lives, but one important thing has changed.
The PLP faction has been kicked out.
We cannot defeat white supremacy, anti-communism, anti-working-class
chauvinism with liberalism, allowing these tendencies to exist alongside of our
revolutionary struggle, like a parasite draining our lifeblood away. Power to
the WSA did not possess control of the National Office as the RYM I did, they
were hardly "kicked out" of SDS.
The walk-out by Dohrn, Rudd and their cadre signified the final
abandonment of original SDS values.
While the WSA drifted into obscurity, never again
making headlines, the RYM I, who were more commonly known as the Weathermen by
this time, indulged in violent revolutionary behavior, making and setting off
explosives, planning assassinations, and conducting violent demonstrations.
They called their last big
demonstration "Four Days of Rage", and held it in Chicago's Lincoln
Park on October 8, 1969 in order to "bring the war home."
The Weathermen obviously expected violence.
They came outfitted with helmets, protective cups, goggles, chains, pipes
and clubs. At every other SDS demonstration involving violence, the
demonstrators had been peaceful until roused.
This time, however, it was different.
The Weathermen charged onto the affluent Gold Coast, breaking windows,
smashing cars, and crashing into police lines. Former Columbia graduate student
and Weatherman Shin'ya Ono described the riot: "right in front of my eyes,
I saw and felt the transformation of the mob into a battalion of three hundred
the Days of Rage, the Weathermen became the "Weather Underground",
changing their names and becoming fugitives from the FBI.
Numerous charges were filed against them for terrorism for bombs found in
the bathroom of the National Capitol building, under police cars, and other
strategic locations. The Weathermen were attempting to start a revolutionary
movement through tactics of guerrilla warfare similar to ones that had been used
in third world countries such as Vietnam and Cuba. They could not build a revolutionary movement, however,
without the support of the people, which they seriously lacked.
Instead of gaining support, their tactics only alienated them from the
rest of the nation. The Weathermen's predecessors, from the days of Port Huron,
aimed to combat political alienation through radical activism.106
Through the Weathermen's isolationist tactics, that dream had been
completely destroyed, and the SDS would never be revived.
SDS's movement away from The Port Huron Statement stemmed from a change in
strategy. The organization's
first actions, based on peaceful
protest and community organizing, did not create change fast enough, and their
impatience overcame them. As the
Vietnam War intensified, the resistance of SDS strengthened as well, since the
students were directly effected by the War and the draft.
The Berkeley Free Speech Movement, the rising militancy of the civil
rights movement, and the increasingly violent war all contributed to the SDS's
perceived need for increased violence and resistance.
these outside factors influenced the SDS as it developed, its inner workings
caused it to be inherently disposed to factionalism. As an organization with no over-arching dogmatism and no
restrictions against who could participate, groups such as the PLP could
infiltrate, and become influential. The PLP could wield this influence because
of the SDS's commitment to participatory democracy; since the PLP possessed the
majority of voters, they could get their way.
This infiltration by the PLP resulted in the SDS's factionalism,
increasing dogmatism, and ultimate split. Since
the majority of delegates at the later conventions were PLP members, they could
not be voted out of the organization. Their
presence was harmful to the SDS because their goals were not the maintenance of
SDS's Port Huron vision, but the attempted revival of Marxist doctrine similar
to that of the Old Left.
PLP take-over-and, hence, the SDS's demise-were partly due to the organization's
structure. Without specified
parliamentary procedures, meetings were rarely forums for intelligent debate and
decision-making, and were, more often, chaotic shouting matches in which anyone
could have the floor at any time. By
electing new officers every year, the SDS had no one in a leadership position
after 1965 that had participated in the formation of the SDS or the writing of
the Port Huron Statement.107 Without
the influence of the organization's founders, the SDS became a chaotic group of
sects-a far cry from the unified group of protesters and organizers that existed
in the days of Haber and Hayden.
a political organization be sufficiently effective without a strong central
organization? The civil rights
movement consisted of groups such as SNCC that were not highly centralized, but
were effective. The success of the
civil rights movement occurred, however, because there existed a strong
constituency that supported the practical changes demanded by the protesters.
The SDS's demands were much broader and revolutionary, and their later tactics
more violent. Because of these
factors, the SDS could not gain a larger constituency, let alone keep the
student constituency that it already possessed.
If SDS had continued with its initial actions of community organizing and
peaceful protest, it might have had a greater chance of survival.
Life After SDS
Thirty years after the SDS fell apart, some of its most
prominent members have remained politically active, although they have become
much less radical in their middle age. Port
Huron Statement drafter, Tom Hayden retired to conventional politics, and
represents Los Angeles in the California State Senate, as a Democrat. After a
stint underground, Weathermen leaders Mark Rudd and Bernardine Dohrn were both
put on trial as alleged conspirators in bombings.
They were allowed to plead guilty to lesser counts, and received
probation.108 Today, Dohrn is a
lawyer and Director of the Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern
University in Evanston, Illinois. She
is also involved, quite ironically, in government programs concerning children's
rights. No remarks could be found
revealing her present thoughts on her past actions, but her political views
remain leftist, though much less revolutionary than then they once were.109
Mark Rudd, unlike Dohrn and Hayden, remains more obscure.
He currently teaches math at Albuquerque Technical and Vocational
Institute, and keeps a relatively low profile.
In 1988, he spoke at the twenty-year reunion of the radical students
involved in the Columbia uprising, and remembered his days as a Weatherman:
"This was the lowest point of our lives.
We were completely out of touch with reality.
I now believe the Vietnam War drove us crazy."110
These people, now leading ordinary lives in their middle age,
accomplished extraordinary things and made history during their young adulthood.
They attempted to build a movement of students to combat social
injustice, and to essentially change the world. This task turned out to be too
overwhelming, and now that they are older, and perhaps wiser, they are
discovering smaller, more conventional methods of reforming society.
2 New Left Notes, June 10, 1968, 16; quoted in House Committee on
Internal Security, Anatomy of a Revolutionary Movement: "Students For a
Democratic Society", report prepared by Richard H. Ichord, 91st Cong., 2d
sess., 1970, 9.
3 John Dewey, et al.,
Thirty-Five Years of Educational Pioneering (New York:
League For Industrial Democracy, 1941), 10; quoted in Anatomy of a
Revolutionary Movement, 5.
4 New Left Notes, June 10, 1968, 16; in Anatomy of a Revolutionary
Kirkpatrick Sale, SDS (New York:
Random House, 1973), 24.
7 Andre Schiffren, Memo to Frank Trager, SDS Papers, Series 1, no. 7, 28
September 1960; quoted in Gitlin, 110.
Sales, SDS, 25.
"In Its Early," Venture, September 1960; quoted in Sales, SDS,
"Campus Rebels: Who, Why, What," Newsweek, 30 September 1968, 67.
11 Carl Oglesby, "Trapped in a System,"
1965; in "Takin' It to the Streets": A Sixties Reader,
Alexander Bloom and Wini Breines, eds., (New York: Oxford University Press,
12 SDS, The Port Huron Statement, 1962;
in "Takin' It to the Streets": A Sixties Reader, 65.
13 Ibid., 62.
14 Ibid., 67.
15 Edward Joseph Shoben, Jr. and Philip R. Wendall, "SDS and SNCC:
Profiles of Two Student Organizations,"
School and Society, 26 October 1968, 366.
Thomas R. Brooks, "Voice of the New Campus 'Underclass',"
New York Times Magazine, 7 November 1965, 136.
17 Many SDS members didn't pay dues, making it difficult for the National
Office to estimate accurate membership numbers.
18 Barnard L. Collier, "SDS Scores Big Gains But Faces Many
Problems," New York Times, 5
May 1969, 30.
20 The term "Red diaper
babies" refers to children of communists. Ibid., 67.
21 Ibid., 35.
22 Brooks, 134.
23 Ibid., 139.
25 C. Wright Mills, "Letter to the New Left,"
New Left Review, September-October 1960; in Irwin and Debi Unger, eds.,
The Times Were a Changin': The Sixties Reader, 62-64.
26 The Port Huron Statement, 73.
28 Michael Kazin, "Some Notes on SDS,"
The American Scholar, August 1969, 645.
29 Congress, House of Representatives, Committee on Internal Security,
Investigation of Students For a Democratic Society, pt. 1-A (Georgetown
University), 91st Cong., 2d sess., 3 June 1970, 14.
30 Brooks, 366.
31 New Left Notes, 10 June 1968; Anatomy of a Revolutionary Movement, 16.
Andrew Kopkind, "Of, By, and For the Poor: The New Generation of Student
Organizers," New Republic, 19 June 1965, 15-17.
33 C. Clark Kissinger, New Left Notes, 24 June 1968, 2; in Anatomy of a
Revolutionary Movement, 17.
34 SDS Bulletin, January 1965; in Anatomy of a Revolutionary Movement,
35 Staughton Lynd, "The New Radicals and Participatory
Democracy"; quoted in Anatomy of a Revolutionary Movement, 35.
36 NAM: The Vietnam Experience 1965-75
(New York: Barnes and Noble, Inc., 1995), 6.
37 Oglesby, 222.
38 Shoben, 368.
39 C. Clark Kissinger, New Left Notes, 8 July 1968, 6; in Anatomy of a
Revolutionary Movement, 22.
40 Takin' It to the Streets, 214.
41 National Guardian, 4 December 1965, 4; in Anatomy of a Revolutionary
42 Paul Potter, "The Incredible War,"
17 April 1965; in Takin it to the Streets, 214-219.
43 Newsletter, SDS Chapter, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 17
November 1965; in Anatomy of a Revolutionary Movement: "Students For a
Democratic Society", 32.
44 Natalie Jaffe, "Student Group Proposes Major Protest
Against Vietnam Policy," New
York Times, 14 June 1965, 16.
45 Shoben, 368.
46 Richard Blumenthal, "SDS: Protest is Not Enough," The
Nation, 22 May 1967, 656.
47 Carl Davidson, "Praxis Makes Perfect,"
Our Fight is Here: Essays on Draft Resistance, SDS Pamphlet, 2-4; in
Anatomy of a Revolutionary Movement, 45.
48 Blumenthal, 657.
49 Kazin, 648.
50 New Left Notes, 10 July 1967, 4-5; in Anatomy of a Revolutionary
The National Liberation Front (NLF) was a South Vietnamese group that encouraged
insurgency against American-supported dictator Ngo Dinh Diem,
called for the unification of Vietnam, and called for the establishment
of democracy. Kazin, 648.
52 Carl Davidson in National Guardian, 11 November 1967, 9; in Anatomy of
a Revolutionary Movement, 59.
53 Anatomy of a Revolutionary Movement: "Students For a Democratic
54 The Port Huron Statement, 68.
Guevara was a Cuban revolutionary guerrilla leader, who, at this time, was
attempting to overthrow the regime of the dictator Batista who was supported by
the US government. Jon Lee Anderson, Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life (New
York: Grove Press, 1997).
56 Davidson, 60.
57 Cuba vs. US Imperialism, SDS pamphlet, 1; in Congress, House of
Representatives, Committee on Internal Security, Investigation of SDS, Part 5,
91st Cong., 1st sess., 6-7 August 1969, 1834.
58 New Left Notes, 10 June 1968, 16; in Anatomy of a Revolutionary
59 Larry David Nachman, "Obituary For SDS," The Nation, 24
November 1969, 559.
Although the Berkeley SDS was involved in the Free Speech Movement, it is not
counted among their significant actions because of the relatively small number
of members involved with the Berkeley SDS.
David Burner, "Berkeley Free Speech Movement, 1963-64: A Narrative
Summary," excerpted from Making Peace With the Sixties (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1996); available from http://www.english.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/Berkeley.htm;
Internet; accessed 21 September 2000.
C. Clark Kissinger, New Left Notes, 8 July 1968, 6; in Anatomy of a
Revolutionary Movement, 22.
C. Clark Kissinger, Students For a Democratic Society: Organizer's Handbook (New
York: SDS, 1964), 1; in Anatomy of a Revolutionary Movement, 24.
The Port Huron Statement, 70.
67 Anatomy of a
Revolutionary Movement, 49.
"Who Are the SDS?," Newsweek, 20 May 1968, 62.
Anatomy of a Revolutionary Movement, 32.
During this time, estimated SDS membership peaked at about 100,000 (although no
official membership counts were ever conducted). Sale 657.
At one point, insurgent students spent hours barricading the doors of an
administration building to keep the police and officials outside.
They failed to realize that the doors opened outward, easily allowing
entrance into the building and the destruction of their barricade. "Campus
Rebels: Who, Why, What," 65.
Tom Hayden, Ramparts, 15 June 1968; quoted in Anatomy of a Revolutionary
Anatomy of a Revolutionary Movement, 76.
"Who Are the SDS?," 62.
Anatomy of a Revolutionary Movement, 75.
"Campus Rebels: Who, Why, What,"
"Flare Up In Campus Revolts-A Crucial Test at Harvard,"
US News and World Report, 28 April 1969, 42.
"Campus Rebels: Who, Why, What,"
"Drive the US Out of Asia!"; available from http://www.plp.org/vietnam/vn10.html;
Internet; accessed 12 November 2000.
This title of "National Office" or "Regular" at that time
referred to any SDS member that was not also a member of the PLP.
"Splintered SDS," Time, 27 June 1969, 45.
"SDS Convention: The Many Voices of the New Left," New Republic, 28
June 1968, 13.
"SDS Convention: The Many Voices of the New Left," 14-15.
New Left Notes, 24 June 1968, 3; quoted in Anatomy of a Revolutionary Movement,
The Port Huron Statement, 62.
Roger Kahn, "The Collapse of the SDS," Esquire, October 1969, 55.
Thomas R. Brooks, "Metamorphosis in SDS: The New Left is Showing Its
Age," New York Times Magazine, 15 June 1969, 14.
"Sniffing the Devil's Presence," Time, 21 June 1968, 42.
"Hot Town: Summer in the City or I Ain't Gonna Work on Maggie's Farm No
More," New Left Notes, 4 April 1969, 8; in Investigation of SDS, Part 5,
Their name was taken from a line in a poem by beat-turned-black poet, LeRoi
Jones. Gitlin, 238.
John Kifner, "SDS Bars 'Capitalist Press,'" New York Times, 19
June 1969, 30.
This "new middle class" essentially consisted of lower class workers
and the unemployed, and was not to be confused with the blue collar middle
class. "Metamorphosis in SDS," 14.
John Kifner, "SDS Leaders Oust Members of PL Faction,"
New York Times, 22 June 1969, 1.
Since they did not allow the mainstream press into the convention, the following
account was obtained through interviews Esquire writer Roger Kahn conducted with
SDS delegates present at the convention and from the notes these delegates took
during the proceedings.
The name "Weathermen" was taken from a line in the Bob Dylan song
Subterranean Homesick Blues-"You don't need a weatherman/To know which way
the wind blows." "Hard
Times For SDS," Time, 28
November 1969, 81.
The Port Huron Statement, 67.
Ellen Frankfort, Kathy Boudin and the Dance of Death (New York: Stein and Day,
"BIOGRAPHY: Bernardine Dohrn"; available from http://www.law.nwu.edu/faculty/clinic/dohrn/dohrbio.html;
Internet; accessed 11 November 2000.
Sara Rimer, "Columbia's Rebels Retake Campus for a 20th Reunion," New
York Times, 25 April 1988, B1.
Jon Lee. Che Guevara: A
Revolutionary Life. New York:
Grove Press, 1997.
Bernardine Dohrn." Available from http://www.law.nwu.
edu/faculty/clinic/dohrn/dohrbio.html; Internet; accessed
11 November 2000.
Alexander and Wini Breines, eds. "Takin'
It to the
Streets": A Sixties Reader. New
York: Oxford University
Richard. "SDS: Protest is Not
Enough," The Nation
(22 May 1967), 656-660.
Thomas R. "The New Left is
Showing Its Age," New York
Times Magazine (15 June 1969), 14-26.
Thomas R. "Voice of the New
Campus 'Underclass'," New
Times Magazine (7 November 1965), 25-38.
David. "Berkeley Free Speech
Movement, 1963-64: A
Narrative Summary," excerpted from Making Peace With the
Sixties. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996;
Available from http://www.english.upenn.edu/`afilreis/50s
/Berkeley.htm; Internet; Accessed 21 September 2000.
Rebels: Who, Why, What," Newsweek (30
Barnard L. "SDS Scores Big
Gains But Faces Many
Problems," New York Times Magazines (5 May 1969), 1.
vs. US Imperialism," SDS Pamphlet; In U.S. Congress. House
Committee on Internal Security.
Investigation of Students of a Democratic Society, Part 5.
91st Cong., 1st sess., 6-7 August 1969.
Carl. "Praxis Makes
Perfect," Our Fight is Here:
Essays on Draft Resistance; In U.S. Congress. House of
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