Tom Hayden: The Port Huron Statement: A Manifesto Reconsidered





Tom Hayden, a longtime activist and former member of the California Legislature, taught a UCLA class on student-led democracy movements this year.

"We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit."

Those were the opening words of the Port Huron Statement, which I helped draft 50 years ago this summer as the founding document of Students for a Democratic Society. The statement, written in the idealistic early days of the New Left, laid out a vision for a nation in which racial equality would be finally achieved, disarmament embraced and true participatory democracy would become the norm....

But the Port Huron vision of a participatory democracy, of a society in which all people have the right to a voice in the decisions affecting their lives, still resonates. In the last year, those same principles have fueled movements around the world — in Cairo, in Madrid, in Zuccotti Park, to name a few. And in the Internet age, the prospects for participatory democracy are greater than ever....



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