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This June will be the 50th anniversary of the completion of the final draft of the Port Huron Statement. According to Kirkpatrick Sale’s SDS, published in 1970 (and still the most comprehensive history of the Students for a Democratic Society), the Port Huron Statement “may have been the most widely distributed document of the American left in the sixties,” with 60,000 copies printed and sold for 35 cents each between 1962 and 1966.
SDS held its first meeting in 1960 on the
April 2012 also
marks the 52nd anniversary of the founding of Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee or SNCC, a critical part of the movement by African Americans fighting
for their civil rights. While focused in the South,
The archives of both SDS and SNCC were acquired by the Wisconsin Historical Society under the directorship of Leslie Fishel Jr. (1959-1969) and today constitutes the most important repositories documenting social change over the last century anywhere.
TUESDAY MAY 1st through SATURDAY JUNE 30th – Entryway of UW Memorial Library - Exhibit of SDS and SNCC artifacts and photos from the collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
WEDNESDAY MAY 2nd – 7pm at Mother Fool’s Coffeehouse, 1101 Williamson Street - “Revolutionary Youth as a Critical Force--From One Generation to the Next” – a talk by Carl Davidson, who was Vice President and National Secretary of the Students for a Democratic Society from 1968 to 1976. He is currently national co-chair of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism and a national board member of Solidarity Economy Network. Carl Davidson’s talk will be introduced by Matt Rothschild, editor of the Progressive Magazine.
THURSDAY MAY 3rd – 7pm
– Room 180 Science Hall – UW-Madison
Democracy - from Port Huron to the Wisconsin Recall” – a talk by Tom Hayden, one of the founders of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). He served as president of SDS from 1962 to 1963 and drafted its
most famous work, the Port Huron
Statement. He is currently a peace & justice activist based in
Hayden will also be speaking with College and High School students during their
At a time of
renewed activism in
While in many
ways defined by the specific historical moment in which it was drafted, the
Port Huron Statement contained a number of critical points that ring as true,
as salient today as when they were first written. Then, as now, there were those in power who
looked to untrammeled American economic expansion and limitless global might.
Then, as now, there were those who argued that what the country had achieved
was the best of all possible worlds and that there were no alternatives.
The Port Huron Statement is not just a manifesto, critique and reform proposal for the age in which it was written. Despite the irrelevance of some of its passages, it remains in large part an important document for the present. Certainly parts of it could be revised and updated. But in large part, it still sounds a clarion call for those concerned with the pressing issues of our day, many of which remain from those days in the summer of 1962, when the final document first saw the light of day. As such, it should be studied and discussed, critiqued and re-evaluated, celebrated, reassessed and revised by those social movements which are its heirs.
For more information: www.sdsandsnccat50.org
Sponsors for this series of events include: The A. E. Havens Center for the Study of Social Structure and Social Change, The Harvey Goldberg Center for the Study of Contemporary History, The Socialist Potluck, The Grassroots Leadership College, Solidarity- Socialist Feminist Anti-racist Organization, WORT-FM Community Radio, and the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.