US peace activist Tom Hayden, RIP

This video from the USA says about itself:

25 May 2016

In this excerpt from Overheard with Evan Smith, political and anti-war activist Tom Hayden reflects back on the Vietnam War 50 years since the Port Huron Statement. Hayden was in Austin to speak at the LBJ Library’s Vietnam War Summit in April 2016.

From Reuters news agency in the USA:

Prominent Anti-War Activist And Member of ‘Chicago 7’ Tom Hayden Dead At 76

He was one of several protesters arrested and charged with incitement and conspiracy during the Democratic national convention in Chicago in 1968.

10/24/2016 02:35 am ET | Updated 4 hours ago

Veteran social activist and politician Tom Hayden, a stalwart of America’s New Left who served 18 years in California’s state legislature and gained a dash of Hollywood glamour by marrying actress Jane Fonda, has died aged 76, according to media reports.

Hayden died in Santa Monica, California, after a lengthy illness, The Los Angeles Times reported on its web site. …

Hayden, who forged his political activism as a founding member of Students for a Democratic Society, which stood at the core of the 1960s anti-war and civil rights movements, was principal author of the group’s revolutionary manifesto, the Port Huron Statement.

The University of Michigan student ventured into the Deep South, where he joined voter registration campaigns and was arrested and beaten while taking part in the “freedom rider” protests against racial segregation.

Hayden, however, became perhaps best known as one of the “Chicago Eight” activists tried on conspiracy and incitement charges following protests at the turbulent 1968 Democratic National Convention. He was ultimately acquitted of all charges.

A New York Times book review of his 1988 memoir, “Reunion,” one of more than 20 books published under his name, called Hayden “the single greatest figure of the 1960s student movement.”

Outliving contemporaries Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Eldridge Cleaver and Huey Newton, Hayden remained active in left-wing politics well into the 21st century, posting on Twitter just a week ago.

Winning election himself to the California state Assembly in 1982, and then the state Senate a decade later, Hayden went on to serve a total of 18 years.

Later he became director of the Peace and Justice Resource Center, a nonprofit left-wing think tank devoted mainly to analysis of continued U.S. military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, drug policy and global poverty.

Hayden was married to actress Jane Fonda from 1973 to 1990, with whom he had two children. Midway through their marriage, the couple graced the cover of People Magazine.

In later years his writings were published in national publications including The New York Times, the Boston Globe and the Denver Post. He served on the editorial board and was a columnist for The Nation magazine, and was the author of more than 20 books.

Tributes poured in on social media.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Hayden visited Vietnam twice; the first time in 1965 without government permission. Later it turned out that the FBI had begun to spy on him in that year. In 1967 he returned to Hanoi. He came back with three prisoners of war, for which the government thanked him.

Contrary to some people who are pro-peace while young and become establishment warmongers later, Hayden kept opposing post-Vietnam ‘humanitarian’ wars (see his article on hawkish US foreign policy bigwig Samantha Power). Like he opposed the 1999 Yugoslavia war, though an administration of Hayden’s own Democratic Party waged that war. And like he opposed the US plans to join the war in Syria. And the Iraq, Afghanistan etc. wars.

5 thoughts on “US peace activist Tom Hayden, RIP

  1. Tom Hayden passed away this week, at the age of 76. I’d like to take a stab at explaining what he meant to people like me. We’re not exactly the Children of the Sixties; more like the Infants of the Sixties.

    In a nutshell, Tom Hayden represented the possibility that we could change things for the better, through our own actions. The notion that progress is worth fighting for, and that it’s a fight that we could win.

    Fed up with the conservatism of national student groups, Hayden founded Students for a Democratic Society.

    Fed up with pervasive discrimination against African-Americans, he became a Freedom Rider.

    Fed up with what he saw as the small-mindedness and hierarchy of the “Old Left,” he wrote “The Huron Statement,” and founded the New Left.

    Fed up with the passivity of the powerless, he organized some of the largest mass protests in history.

    Fed up with the fecklessness of the Democratic Party, he demanded a party responsive to the interests of “publicly disinherited groups,” and protested outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention as one of the “Chicago 8.”

    Fed up with pollution, he championed solar energy and environmental protection.

    Fed up with corruption in government, he ran for office on a platform of campaign finance reform.

    Fed up with the appalling horror of war, he stood for peace.

    I met Tom Hayden last year, at an event in Southern California. I mentioned a few of the things listed above. He seemed gratified. He had no idea that I felt that way.

    Tom Hayden was on the Board of Directors of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), an organization that has stood by me and supported me in my last four campaigns. In Tom’s memory, I invite you to make a contribution to PDA. Not for Tom Hayden alone, but for hope itself, and that all-important notion of progress >>


    Rep. Alan Grayson


    “I was, uh, one of the authors of the Port Huron Statement.–The original Port Huron Statement.”




    “Not the compromised second draft.”

    – “The Big Lebowski” (1998).


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