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The Port Huron Statement: The Vision Call of the 1960s Revolution [Paperback]

by Tom Hayden

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Book Description

August 25, 2005 1560257415 978-1560257417
We seek the establishment of a democracy of individual participation governed by two central aims: that the individual share in those social decisions determining the quality and direction of his life; that society be organized to encourage independence in men and provide the media for their common participation . . ." —from the PORT HURON STATEMENT

Four key periods in American history have most influenced what America is like today: the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War II, and the 1960s. No document better frames and explains the 1960s than the PORT HURON STATEMENT.

The statement was a generational call for direct participatory democracy in which Americans would have greater say over the decisions affecting their lives. It called for the extension of democratic principles to the workplace as well as the electoral arena. It opposed the dominance of the military-industrial complex with the hope that social movements could reform the Democrats as a party of progressive opposition. In its vision greater democracy would lessen individuals' alienation.

The manifesto's 1962 publication preceded the phenomena of the counter-culture, hippies and back-to-the-land. It is truly the intellectual roots of the social change of the 1960s and its impact is still being felt in 2005. In "The Big Lebowksi," the character played by Jeff Bridges claimed authorship; it was condemned by right-wing justice Robert Bork, recalled with nostalgia by Garry Wills and E.J. Dionne, and sections have been printed in countless readers on American history.


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About the Author

Tom Hayden, who drafted the Port Huron Statement in 1962 when he was 21 years old, was among the founders of Students for a Democratic Society, a Freedom Rider in the segregated South, a community organizer in the slums of New Jersey, an opponent of the Vietnam War who was indicted by Richard Nixon, and eventually served in the California Legislature for 18 years. He currently teaches at Occidental College and writes on the nature of social movements in Los Angeles. He is the author of nine books, including THE LAST GOSPEL OF THE EARTH, THE WHOLE WORLD WAS WATCHING, and IRISH HUNGER. The New York Times cited his 1988 book, REUNION, as one of the best of the year.

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