In 1961, Mr. Hayden joined the Freedom Riders on interstate buses in the South, challenging authorities who refused to enforce the Supreme Court’s rulings banning segregation on public buses. His jailhouse draft of what became the 25,000-word S.D.S. manifesto was debated, revised and formally adopted at the organization’s first convention, in Port Huron, Mich., in 1962.Much more at the link, including this, about the part of his life he shared with Jane Fonda:
“We are people of this generation,” it began, “bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit.” It did not recommend specific programs but attacked the arms race, racial discrimination, bureaucracy and apathy in the face of poverty, and it called for “participatory democracy” and a society based on “fraternity,” “honesty” and “brotherhood.”...
Although Ms. Fonda was a wealthy movie star and financially supported Mr. Hayden’s early political career, she and Mr. Hayden lived for years in a modest home in Santa Monica, near but not on the ocean. They did their own shopping and laundry, cooked meals in a tiny kitchen with an old stove and shared child-care duties for Troy and Vanessa....ADDED: I think I've only written about Tom Hayden once before on this blog, in this May 20, 2007 post "Roberts Rules of Order and 60s radicals." Yeah, Roberts Rules of Order....
From an essay by Rachel Donadio (which has much more about Roberts Rules of Order):
Todd Gitlin, a former president of Students for a Democratic Society who teaches journalism at Columbia, recalled using Robert’s Rules for early S.D.S. meetings, “sometimes with amusement,” as if these young radicals had “borrowed Mom and Dad’s decks of cards to play our game.” But by the mid-’60s its guidelines seemed restrictive. In his history “SDS,” Kirkpatrick Sale recounts a 1964 meeting at which the organization’s co-founder Tom Hayden began to question the value of procedural niceties. “Suppose parliamentary democracy were a contrivance of 19th-century imperialism and merely a tool of enslavement?” Sale quotes Hayden as saying. “Suppose we rush through the debate and ‘decide’ to do something by a vote of 36 to 33. Will we really have decided anything?” Hayden, Sale writes, “saw that S.D.S. was caught in the bind of trying to create a new world with the tools of the old.”I can't stand SDS... Did I ever tell you that SDS folk used to meet in the dorm room next to mine at the University of Michigan, circa 1969? They were really annoying when overheard through a wall. I don't know if it's the best way to form political opinions, but overheard through a wall, I couldn't stand them. It's the middle of the night, you're trying to get some sleep and they can't seem to agree about The Revolution. Must you yell about it 5 inches away from my bed?
Today, Hayden, a professor and activist, is still skeptical of parliamentary procedure. “Robert’s Rules might suit a representative institution, but it doesn’t suit a fledgling social movement,” he said in a telephone conversation. “It institutionalizes a win-lose mentality, when often there are close decisions in which both sides need representation.” Hayden cites the example of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which in the mid-’60s voted to expel white members. “It was a one-vote margin that changed ’60s history fundamentally,” Hayden said. “I view it as an unfortunate way to try to settle a serious problem.”
Anyway, much as I can't stand SDS, I've got to give Tom Hayden credit for saying a lot of smart things there. (Though I don't agree with that new world/old tools part.) You know, I've chaired committee meetings, and I've never proceeded by taking votes and letting a narrow majority win. We've always talked to the point of consensus or until those in the minority position accepted the outcome. I accept that elections and elected legislatures ought to proceed by majority vote, but there are a lot of situations where the majority vote and Rules of Order games are best avoided.