Writings For A Democratic Society

Writings For A Democratic Society
The Tom Hayden Reader

"SDS Founder, Veteran Activist Tom Hayden on Participatory Democracy from Port Huron to Occupy Wall Street"
Apr 13, 2012

Tom Hayden, author of Writings for a Democratic Society, speaks with Democracy Now! about occupations throughout history leading up to Occupy Wall Street.

- Tom Hayden, Democracy Now!

1968 Chicago Riot Left Mark On Political Protests
Aug 23, 2008
Listen to Tom Hayden on Weekend Edition.

"Democrats are gathering for their national convention in Denver with their party divided by a bruising presidential nomination contest and the country mired in an unpopular war.

The situation was similar 40 years ago, when Democrats convened in Chicago." - Ina Jaffe, NPR's Weekend Edition

Tom Hayden Predicts Obama Will Lose
Aug 25, 2008
"Speaking at a luncheon hosted by the Denver Press Club at the Denver Athletic Club today, former California state legislator and '60s political activist Tom Hayden predicted that Barack Obama will lose the 2008 Election. 'An African-American candidate talking about economics and a white war hero -- it's clear to me who is going to win,' Hayden said." - Mayhill Fowler, Denver Post

Vision — not violence — is legacy of '68
Aug 26, 2008
"'You had a formula for deep division within the party and in the streets with the anti-war protestors,' said former California state senator Tom Hayden, an anti-war protestor in 1968 and one of the Chicago Seven." - Elizabeth Aguilera, Denver Post

'60s radicals offer new take on Dem riots
Aug 27, 2008
"One year later, eight of the protest organizers -- Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Bobby Seale, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines and Lee Weiner, known thereafter as the Chicago 8 -- were indicted on numerous charges, including conspiring to cross state lines with the intent to incite a riot. (The convictions eventually were overturned in a series of appeals)." - Miriam Di Nunzio, Chicago Sun-Times

Book News, Inc.
"Tom Hayden is perhaps most famous as a leader of the Students for a Democratic Society and for standing trial as one of the Chicago Seven together with Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin because of his activities during the protests of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, but he has remained involved in politics and activism to the present day and currently serves as a member of the advisory board for the Progressive Democrats of America. This political reader thus collects materials of his spanning from the Port Huron Statement of SDS (excerpts) to writings against the Iraq War. It also contains Hayden's thoughts on the Vietnam War, electoral politics (he served in the California legislature and ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate and the Mayor of Los Angeles), gang violence, Irish politics, the environment, foreign policy, the legacy of the 1960s, the WTO protests and the global justice movement, and his own personal life."

Bloomsbury Review
"In Writings for a Democratic Society, Tom Hayden has collected many of his articles, essays, and book excerpts from a prolific career . . . he demonstrates how gut-wrenchingly wrong America's leaders can be . . . . Hayden's book deals with far more issues than the 1960s, Vietnam, and Iraq. He writes about the super-predator myth of our inner cities; the destruction of our environment; his 20 years as a state legislator; the protests against the World Trade Organization over the adverse effect of 'free' but not 'fair' trade on small, poor communities in other countries; and his own personal journey to discover his Irish ancestry. Nothing he writes about is easy. There are no pat answers or resolutions. But one theme persists throughout: what he calls 'radicalism' . . . . This, Hayden acknowledges, is an extremely difficult task. But his book, with harsh insights into prevailing American views, is one place to start."
—Robert Milo Baldwin

1960s Radicals Predict Rebirth of Social Activism
Nov 9, 2008
"Nothing is more non-nonconformist than a nearly two-hour panel discussion. But times have indeed changed, and the three former political radicals who gathered for one on Saturday in Manhattan did not seem to mind.

At a table in the Steven Kasher Gallery in Chelsea, Tom Hayden sat next to Bernardine Dohrn. Next to her was Jamal Joseph.

Forty years ago, Mr. Hayden was a co-founder of Students for a Democratic Society, a driving force behind the movement against the Vietnam War. He was also a member of the Chicago Seven, who were tried on charges of conspiring to incite a riot at the Democratic National Convention in 1968. Ms. Dohrn was also a leader of S.D.S., and would later help form a violent splinter group called the Weather Underground that bombed government buildings in the early 1970s. Mr. Joseph was a young Black Panther in Harlem who went to prison in the '80s for harboring a fugitive." - Manny Fernandez, NY Times

Unconventional Wisdom: Advice for Barack Obama and the organizers of the 2008 DNC
Aug 11, 2008
"He's no longer the image of a hairy, scary leader of the New Left. Retired California state senator Tom Hayden is a prolific writer and blogger, but once upon a time, he was the poster boy for political activism at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago." - Rocky Mountain News

Famous radical: '08 DNC won't be like '68
Aug 11, 2008
"One of the most influential student radicals from the '60s said there is no comparison between the 2008 Democratic National Convention and the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago that resulted in a violent clash between protesters and police.

Tom Hayden, who has 40 years in activism, politics and writing, said there are several key differences between the two political conventions."
- Gene Davis, Denver Daily News

Familiar Voices Address Major Issues Past And Present
Aug 10, 2008
"If you were awake in the 1960s, you remember Tom Hayden as one of the Chicago 8, a group of radical activists accused of conspiring to incite a riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Hayden and four others were convicted of lesser charges and sentenced to five years in jail. Their convictions were eventually overturned." - Don Preziosi, Washington Park Profile

Afghanistan, Pakistan & Obama
Jul 17, 2008
"Barack Obama restated his Iraq phased withdrawal play in response to public questioning today but committed himself to expanding the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Any proposal to transfer American troops from Iraq to Afghanistan and Pakistan is sure to cause debate and questions among peace activists and rank-and-file Democrats. The proposal potentially represents a wider quagmire for the US government and military." - Tom Hayden, ZNet

Tom Hayden adds wisdom of experience to social activism
Jun 24, 2008

"At 68, Tom Hayden says he's 'retired from competitive politics.'  Yet the well-known activist, defendant in the Chicago 8 conspiracy trial and member of the California Legislature for nearly 18 years is hardly idle, despite having heart bypass surgery in 2001."

- Bruce Dancis, Sac Bee

It's not déjà vu: Tom Hayden sees more change than repetition in our history
Jun 19, 2008
"He’s seen it all before: an unpopular war, an even more unpopular president and a contested Democratic primary. But if you ask Tom Hayden about déjà vu, he doesn’t immediately start reminiscing about the police riot at the Democratic Convention in Chicago 40 years ago, or about the trial that followed, in which he and six other defendants were accused of seeking to overthrow the government." - Kel Munger, Sacramento News and Review

Publishers Weekly
"Former California State Senator Hayden (Ending the War in Iraq) has a long history of activism and politics, much of which has been chronicled in his writing; this collection pulls together more than four decades of work tackling vital social issues, from civil rights and Vietnam to genetically modified foods, Iraq and the global justice movement.

Hayden writes in a clear and heartfelt manner, turning spotlights not just on problems, but on the commonsense, and often overlooked, implications of those problems: 'A country that fails to provide living wages for so many of its young is more committed to its present privileges than its future potential'; 'American empire seeks American independence by plunging other nations, cultures, and classes into dependence, which in turn triggers a spiral of resentment and resistance.'

These grim pronouncements are balanced by a sense of optimism and a clarion call for action: 'The times are too hard for us to respond simply as comforters of the oppressed… we must move ahead concertedly with our goal—the changing of society.'

Dense and wide-ranging, this is a thorough survey of an important thinker and activist. "

Bobby and Barack
Jun 5, 2008
"For one who has experienced both eras, the current movement for Barack Obama has achieved a living remembrance of Bobby Kennedy's campaign in the week when RFK's murder is painfully remembered." - Tom Hayden, The Huffington Post

“It isn’t the size of the book that makes it monumental; it’s the life that has gone into the writing and that is reflected by it. …Not many Americans have done so much making of history while, at every juncture, taking the time to be a ‘participant observer’ of the scenes and events one is helping to shape. The writings so produced…are remarkably moving and insightful…suggest[ing] that Tom Hayden could have been one of the great journalists of our time, given his ability to combine a penetrating style, keen eye and an unusually sharp theoretically informed mind. …these ‘Writings’ don’t tell stories or express ideas for their own sake; each of them is making a point in an ongoing debate with the powers that be and reflects a persistent effort to challenge the complacent and the passive. But some of these pieces are deeper and more durable than topical advocacy. Tom has had, from his earliest work, something to teach both activists and intellectuals about the tensions and connections between them. …But ’60s oldsters now are stirring themselves to new action rather than reflection. Tom Hayden himself has been tirelessly speaking, writing and organizing in hope of mobilizing grass-roots opposition to the war in Iraq. Some of the pieces in “Writings” express his excitement on encountering the street-level global justice movement. He and other ’60s veterans are even more excited by the Barack Obama youth surge. It inspires hope for social regeneration in some of the ways the youth revolt of the 1960s offered.”
—Richard Flacks

This review can also be found on Znet at:

Z-Net Interview with Tom Hayden on the publication of Writings for Democratic Society
May 22, 2008
"Z-net interview with Tom Hayden on the publication of Writings for Democratic Society ." - Tom Hayden, Znetmag.org

The Future of 1968's "Restless Youth"
May 14, 2008
"On September 4, 1968, CIA director Richard Helms sent President Lyndon Johnson a 233-page report entitled 'Restless Youth,' only for the eyes of the president and his adviser Walt Rostow, who had requested the analysis. Helms warned the president of 'the peculiar sensitivity which attaches to the fact that CIA has prepared a report on student activities both here and abroad.' Under American law, the agency was permitted to surveil movements abroad but strictly forbidden to spy on American youth. The director therefore recommended that Johnson authorize the FBI to utilize 'more advanced techniques' to investigate young radicals than laws at the time allowed." - Tom Hayden, 1968 in Europe

Smoky Mountain News
"Written in a layman’s hand and with a voice that is at once intelligent, honest, deliberate and forthcoming, Hayden’s Writings for a Democratic Society celebrate and affirm an alternative American experience, while constituting nothing less than a history of our times.

Just knowing there are people like Tom Hayden working vigilantly to improve and revitalize our flawed political system gives me grounds for hope. So, if you are one of those who have given up on any hope for a progressive United States of America, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Writings for a Democratic Society and treat yourself to the kind of social and political idealism that truly has made America great."
—Thomas Rain Crowe

Columbia's Radicals of 1968 Hold a Bittersweet Reunion
Apr 28, 2008
"Spring, with the trees and flowers in blossom, is a time when colleges hold their reunions. So over the weekend a very specific group of Columbia University alumni gathered in Morningside Heights to recall their campus days.

The beatings. The arrests. The building takeovers. The heady communal life in the occupied college buildings. And, most vividly, 'the bust,' the early morning of April 30, 1968, when the police stormed the campus, pounding them bloody with nightsticks and dragging some to police vans by their hair."

- John Kifner, New York Times

Los Angeles Times
"Tom Hayden reveals a more personal side in this collections of nearly 50 years of his writing on social activism. . .Writings offers a considerable counter-record to official misrepresentations such as Tonkin Gulf and 'Mission Accomplished'—as well as a surprisingly personal account of how one activist has tried to remain consistent, relevant and truthful across his own long, strange trip. . . Well into his own 60s, Hayden continues to call for economic democracy and against policing the world. Perhaps he's come full circle: 'Our gains will be modest, not sensational. It will be slow and exhaustingly complex, lasting at the very least for our lifetimes.' Hayden wrote that—in 1961."
—Abe Peck

Tom Hayden Looks at Clinton's 60s Past
Apr 27, 2008
"In The Nation, former 60s radical Tom Hayden -- in an essay called "Why Hillary Makes My Wife Scream" -- hammers Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, for attacking Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, for his association with former Weather Underground member William Ayers.  'Hillary is blind to her own roots in the sixties,' Hayden writes. 'She was in Chicago for three nights during the 1968 street confrontations. She chaired the 1970 Yale law school meeting where students voted to join a national student strike again an 'unconscionable expansion of a war that should never have been waged.' She was involved in the New Haven defense of Bobby Seale during his murder trial in 1970, as the lead scheduler of student monitors. . . She wrote that abused children were citizens with the same rights as their parents.'" - Jake Tapper, ABC News Blog

San Francisco Chronicle
"Hayden's 'Democratic' '60s ideals relevant now. . .As an anthology by a '60s activist, this book is probably the best there is. . . Hayden's voice is probably more important than ever. . . In many ways, his book shows how large a shadow the '60s cast on the present. For anyone caught up in the tug-of-war of the presidential election, Writings provides a means to measure McCain, Clinton and Obama, all of whom owe a great deal to the '60s, in one way or another. Organized chronologically, Writings for a Democratic Society includes essays, pamphlets, op-ed pieces and excerpts from previously published books. The writing is crisp, clear, provocative and inspiring."
—Jonah Raskin

Forty Years After Historic Columbia Strike, Four Leaders of 1968 Student Uprising Reflect
Apr 25, 2008
"Forty years ago this week, hundreds of students at Columbia University started a revolt on campus. Students went on strike. They occupied five buildings, including the president’s office in Low Library, and barricaded themselves inside for days. The students were protesting Columbia’s ties to military research and plans to build a university gymnasium in a public park in Harlem. The 1968 Columbia uprising inspired student protests across the country. We spend the hour with four of the strike leaders: Gustin Reichbach is now a New York State Supreme Court Justice; William Sales is now a professor at Seton Hall University; Tom Hayden is a former California state senator; and Juan Gonzalez, our own Democracy Now! co-host." - Democracy Now!

Summer of '68, remembered
Apr 16, 2008
"Tom Hayden, a '60s student activism leader, recounted the political atmosphere when he arrested just under 40 years ago at the '68 Democratic Convention, after a five-day confrontation with police in the streets of Chicago.

'It was the beginning of the collapse of Vietnam, the end of hope for political changes . . . the leaders of our movement were dead,' Hayden, co-founder of Students for a Democratic Society, told political activists gathered last night at the Goethe-Institut Boston, as they analyzed the social tremors of that landmark election year." - Liz Pelly, The Daily Free Press

Progressives for Obama
Mar 24, 2008
"All American progressives should unite for Barack Obama. We descend from the proud tradition of independent social movements that have made America a more just and democratic country. We believe that the movement today supporting Barack Obama continues this great tradition of grassroots participation, drawing millions of people out of apathy and into participation in the decisions that affect all our lives." - Tom Hayden, The Nation

Pressuring the Democrats on Peace: A Commentary on the Fifth Anniversary of the War
Mar 18, 2008
"The 4,000th American soldier will die in Iraq sometime this week, the fifth anniversary of the war. Hundreds of "winter soldiers"—veterans of the war—confess the shameful abuse inflicted on the Iraqi people during those years. Yet the presidential candidates have passed up the chance to say something new or hopeful that might end the killing." - Tom Hayden, The Huffington Post

The New Phase for Obama, Clinton and the Rest of Us
Mar 6, 2008
"Obama still leads in the race for the nomination but has been damaged on core issues of character and message. Clinton still can win but only by alienating many voters the Democrats need. The peace and justice movement should be cheered by the attention to Iraq and NAFTA, and keep on pressing the candidates." - Tom Hayden, The Huffington Post

'60s radical Hayden laughs at cartoon co-conspirators
Feb 29, 2008
"Tom Hayden can't believe the violet suit.

The longtime agitator -- he's about to bring out a book of 50 years of political writing -- is 68 now but he wears his age lightly. He passed through town Tuesday to talk with reporters and with students at Columbia College about Brett Morgen's brilliant documentary Chicago 10 (opening today)."

- Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun Times

After Super Tuesday, Time for Peace Movement to Get Off the Sidelines
Feb 6, 2008
"With Iraq a key issue and the Democratic primaries unresolved, isn’t it time for the peace movement to get off the sidelines and become more engaged? Shouldn’t we be doing everything possible to make the candidates compete for the peace vote?" - Tom Hayden, Progressive Democrats of America

Are the Democrats Proposing Peace, or Counter-Insurgency Without End?
Jan 26, 2008
"Pushed by powerful voter sentiment, the leading Democratic presidential candidates all talk of ending the Iraq war, and the November election seems headed toward a showdown with a Republican committed to a long-term war and occupation.

But it's not necessarily true." - Tom Hayden, ZNet

Everyone to the barricades
Jan 20, 2008
"Leading antiwar activists, including Tom Hayden, had planned a demonstration that would 'close down the city of Chicago' during the convention" - Sean O'Hagen, The Observer

New Hampshire Anti-War Lessons, 1968-2008
Jan 9, 2008
"Thousands of idealists marched door-to-door through the snows and delivered a decisive message that the times were changing. From that moment forward, the establishment and its war policies began disintegrating from within.

The year was 1968. The insurgent campaign was on behalf of Senator Eugene McCarthy."

- Tom Hayden, The Nation

One Generation Got Old, One Generation Got Soul
Jan 6, 2008
"'They’re blogging against the war, they’re not burning draft cards,' says Tom Hayden, the primary author of the Port Huron Statement, who went on to serve in the California State Senate. A former president of S.D.S., he has met many new members but held back from giving guidance. 'The war in Iraq vividly demonstrates that the issues of the ’60s have not gone away,' he says. 'But this generation has an identity crisis that it will have to resolve on its own.'" - Rachel Aviv, New York Times

Edwards First Major Candidate Calling for All Troops Out, Breaks with Establishment Consensus on Iraq
Jan 2, 2008
"One day before the Iowa caucuses, John Edwards has become the first major presidential candidate to favor withdrawing all American troops, including advisers, from Iraq, doing so in response to queries from a leading military correspondent, the New York Times’ Michael Gordon." - Tom Hayden, OpEdNews.com

A Question of Torture, Algeria to Iraq
"Like a sharp razor cutting through the fog of war, the New York Times headline reads,

'Justice Dept. Said to Back Harshest Tactics After Declaring Torture Abhorrent.'

The article could not be clearer. The Bush Justice Department has secretly authorized 'the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.'

Simulated drowning. Fear of suffocation. Blows to the head. Naked men held in freezing cells. Sleep deprivation. Noise assaults.

All secretly legalized, from Guatanamo to Abu Graib. Anything is permissible up to organ failure or death, unless it 'shocks the conscience.'

In defense of silence, one might claim it is impossible to be shocked at horrors that are not known.

But if we know, and still are not shocked, there are lessons."

- Tom Hayden

Fatherland Front president welcomes former US Senator
Dec 20, 2007
"Pham The Duyet, President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee, received Tom Hayden, a former US Senator, in Hanoi on December 20.

Tom Hayden, a Democrat from California and an active participant in the movement against the US war in Vietnam, is on a visit to Vietnam from December 17-27.

VFF President Duyet thanked Tom Hayden and other American and foreign friends globally for their support for Vietnam’s past struggle for national independence. He affirmed that the Vietnamese people always bear in their mind their valuable sentiment."

- Nhân Dân

An Appeal to Barack Obama
Nov 15, 2007
"Barack, I thought Hillary Clinton was known as the Great Triangulator, but you are learning well. The problem with setting up false polarities to position yourself in the 'center,' however, is that it's unproductive both politically and intellectually." - Tom Hayden, ZNet

Rating the Presidential Candidates on Iraq
Nov 6, 2007
"While most peace activists are evaluating the Democrats, I would rank Rudolph Giuliani as the most dangerous of all the presidential candidates in a long while, because his Iraq and Iran policies are the work of the  most hawkish neo-conservatives who promoted the Iraq quagmire and now want to bomb Iran as soon as possible." - Tom Hayden, ZNet

Anti-war activist encourages reform: Hayden talk on movements
Nov 1, 2007
"Tom Hayden aimed his Tuesday night lecture at the UMass Student Union at reminding students of the social movements during the 1960s, in which he played a momentous role as the author of the Port Huron Statement, the basis and inspiration for the ideology of student movements throughout the era." - Elyse Clifford, The Daily Collegian

Ending the War in 2009
Sep 6, 2007
"We should call for a shift from warmaking to peacemaking through a diplomatic offensive, declaring a firm intention to withdraw all American troops and bases on a one-year timetable, which would create an immediate incentive for engagement on the part of Iran, Syria, the Arab League, the Europeans, Russians and Chinese, the UN. No one has an interest in joining the US in the occupation; everyone has a interest in minimizing a power vacuum as we leave." - Tom Hayden, The Huffington Post

Tom Hayden receives first-ever Los Angeles Free Press Lifetime Dedication Award
A New York Times book review said Tom Hayden is "the single greatest figure of the 1960’s student movement.” Richard Goodwin, a special assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson credited Hayden with creating ‘the blueprint for the Great Society programs”. He was a “Freedom Rider” in the Deep South, a founding member of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and a community organizer working to end the Vietnam war. He made one of the first trips to Hanoi to promote peace talks, journalistic contacts and American POW releases. And, (outside) at the Democratic Party Convention in 1968, he helped the nation change its course from war to withdrawal. - Joseph Falcone, LA.indymedia.org

Fifty Years On the Road
Sep 5, 2007
"It is late -- at night, and in life -- and I am writing in the shadow of Jack Kerouac whose On the Road first was published 50 years ago on this day and I am wishing that everyone will contemplate his spirit and work again.

I was a high school senior in Royal Oak, Michigan, when I read, absorbed and lived the spirit of On The Road. His writing was simply breathtaking, breaking all the conventions, the periods and commas and paragraphs that imposed a false order on the speed and flow of reality, the reality of everyday life that he observed and recorded because he believed it was all there was. He wrote like I am writing now but I cannot recreate the brilliant exploding frenzy of his pace that shook our generation." - Tom Hayden, The Huffington Post

An Activist in Transition
Jul 1, 2007
Tom Hayden, a leading voice of '60s protest, has a new life: tackling gang violence, embracing L.A.'s evolution -- and catching his kid's soccer games.

TOM HAYDEN — co-founder of Students for a Democratic Society, member of the Chicago Seven and avatar of protest and activism, a man who visited the enemy in North Vietnam during America's war there, one whose break with his father caused them not to speak for 16 years — is suddenly the bearer of a light spirit. - Tom Hayden; LA Times