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February 13, 2004 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-02-13

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 13, 2004


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entering th
of the Studen
when it was de
made it sound lik
resident. The grout
The group, which h
focused on the issue of
regatonin the South was
president of SDS, said the
because members knew ofC
helped and hair salons that w
While Haber was starting S
fledgling college journalist at T
later become a president of SDS
ment, a document that guided SD
worked his way up to become edit
Phil Sutin, former senior editor a
nings of campus activism at the Uni
describes a Hayden all but lost in the
reads, "Hayden was an activist, perha
soft-spoken individual, Hayden had ch
act upon his convictions."
Sutin, who graduated in 1964 and no
when people would be amazed to hear h
knows who Hayden is anymore," he said.
before the civil rights movement (hit its p
When many people think of SDS, their f
Columbia University's administration build
home which killed three members of the We

ei g
budgeta massiessteeed naal l
veydfeetsesaogallath that wimdevetulky r lemoays -4
activis. the tme wast2hrneaing th
yhungverrmeien coui d- rat d
O FORCES ON CAMPUS vote. Vietnam cr ysta - ized'whatwas hapenig"
iHaber - who today is trying to restart a long-abandoned he said.
t in Ann Arbor - was active in liberal youth politics since pA
e University in 1954. In 1959, he had been the Vice President SDS INTO TODAY intl, '
t iiino h egefrIdsra emocracy for a year -Haber also emphasized the role of SDS ' -
cided that a new name was needed for the group. "SLID just in tying together action on multiple social
ke we were backsliding," said Haber, a life-long Ann Arbor issues under one overarching organization,
p decided to rename themselves Students for a Democratic saying that a group like SDS is needed to -
bring together the fragmented groups of the '
ad chapters mostly on Northern college campuses, initially left today. "There's really a vacuum on the
race discrimination in the Northern states at a time when seg- political scene," he said. "The new left or
s just starting to come under public scrutiny. Haber, the first activist generation isn't really out there."
y decided to work on racial discrimination in the North After a meeting Tuesday night which
dress stores in the North where black patrons would not be Haber called to restart SDS on the University
vould not serve black customers. campus, the question remains: is there a role ;
IDS, another man who would soon be known nationwide was a for the senior activist group in today's politi-
he Michigan Daily - Thomas Hayden, the man who would cal environment?
and organize a conference to draft the 1962 Port Huron State- LSA senior Dan Sheill, the chair of the Col-T "
S in solidifying its ideas of social justice values. Hayden lege Libertarians, attended Haber's meeting.v
or in chief of the Daily in 1960. He said he felt the meeting lacked clear goals'
t the Daily, wrote a prize-winning essay series on the begin- and Haber used vague language. "He kept say-
versity. The series, which ran in the Daily in May of 1965, ing we should go by our intuition he said. I
memories of America today. The article from May 5, 1965 didn't really understand what he was saying.
ps the leading activist in the entire activist period. A quiet, "They were really vague in what their beliefs
arismatic charm, a searching, positive idealism and courage to were,"he said, adding, "(Haber's) main goal,
though he had little direction, was to get a stu-"6
w writes for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, said there was a time dent group planted on campus." sad."Teewlftorm !I,
e hadsworked under Hayden, but that has changed. r"Nobody The nature of activism was the topic of interest
y c"Hayden was a crusading journalist before the Vietnam crisis, for Lassiter, who did not attend the meeting but
eak)" who said that activism today is much more wide-
spread than it was in the days of SDS. "Studentsa
OUGH EDUCATION "a mhink everyone was energized then and are apa'thet-
irst thoughts go to the group's radical 1968 occupation of t c now. That's false," he said. If the government
ing or the 1970 detonation of a bomb in a New York City town started drafting middle-class college students, there
1athermen, a group known for violence targeted at symbols of would be a mass movement fast.
meoie fAmrcItdytTeatil(ro a 5-95.in' ell nertn.wa.era1ayn.~
ps ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ tn thAladn:atiis n heenie1ctvitpeio. uit,"Te.wrerely age nwht herbeies ;i ~~
ail New s Editor s h a mtnem " A Y.A r
' , 4-y
- h workd'fner4ayde, bu2tht halchaged."Noody"I think the challenge today is the same as the SDS
ak)." who"said/that activism"todAy is much moride- in 4' '~






By Emily Kraack, C
the existing "system."

However, NOS before the Vietnam war escalated into crisis projected a very uifferent image. -Dv andu
the movement in general was somewhat different in the time that I wrote about than afterward," Sutin said.
He said the group was more intellectual and composed of college elites from top schools such as the Uni-
versity of Michigan, Harvard University and University of California at Berkeley. Many of Michigan's stu-
dent activists also had relatives in the University administration, such as Philip Power, an earlier Daily
editor in chief whose father had been a regent of the University.
"The student part was an important part of the Students for a Democratic Society," Haber said. "People
who saw themselves as studying and writing felt very comfortable at SDS."
The rallying cry of the group in the early years emphasized this link between study and politics, stating,
"Knowledge has relevance to power."
Haber emphasized that the early SDS movement focused on research and writing. Hayden himself did
much of his activism on the pages of the Daily, writing profiles of University administrators and crusad-
ing against perceived injustices perpetuated by the University.
Despite the academic approach of many SDS activities, not all activism took place on paper. Haber
described pickets of Kresge and Woolworths, two campus stores that had affiliates in Southern states
and discriminated against black patrons.

iaced in the 196us, he said. "the challenge is to cri-
tique in a platform that figures out a way to connect global issues,;campus issues and national issues.'
Lassiter said that if he could offer advice to progressive activists, he would tellthemto take lessons from
the conservative movement, which he says is better organized and integrates youth into the national nove-
ment. "The left is far more fragmented than the right," he said. He added that creating a national organiza-
tion like SDS before Vietnam would also help-cure some of the fragmentation.
Engineering freshman Jeremy Linden aftended the meeting, which he said didn't accomplish anything
and focused on "inane conspiracy theories."
"There was no action taken, no dates set," he said. He said it seemed like "a bunch of liberals in a bull
Linden also said he didn't think the liberal political scene would accommodate such a broad organiza-
tion. "The political scene has changed to issue-based groups, not just broad coalitions of leftists." He
said many people care a lot about one issue and will be active for that problem but don't necessarily
agree with all of the issues involved in a broad platform.
Haber also said that the activist scene is more fragmented today than it was in the past, but said this
just heightens the need for an overarching group to facilitate communication between issue groups.
LSA junior Pete Woiwode, a member of liberal activist groups such as Anti War Action!, Students
Supporting Affirmative Action and Students Organizing for Labor and Economic Equality, said
Haber's intentions for restarting SDS on campus are important, but said he doesn't feel the need for
one overarching group. "I don't think one organization is the answer. There are many different
issues," he said. "His vision is really really important ... that these things are interconnected and if
you don't see that, you're going to get stuck.
"He's trying to invigorate the sense that this world is ours to take back."


these acti
early SD
K ~Hur
I ubes
er in
p k:,
4 ,er 6d ,4y victim iz
n bolized by the Sot
tvcompelled most of us from
enclosing fact of the Cold War, syn
brobght awareness that we ourse
astract others' we knew mor

Prof. Matthew Lassiter pointed out that
ons showed an important aspect of
S activity. "There's a sense that the
has to become a platform for issues off
. That's one of the most significant
butions of SDS and SNCC."
erhaps the opening words of the Port
ron statement sum up the early SDS
;st of all.
"We are people of this generation, bred
n at least modest comfort, housed now
n universities, looking uncomfortably
to the world we inherit."
The Statement goes on to say, "As
we grew, however, our comfort was
penetrated by events too troubling to
dismiss. First, the permeating and
zing fact of human degradation, sym-
uthern struggle against racial bigotry,
silence to activism. Second, the
mbolized by the presence of the Bomb,
lves, and our friends, and millions of
e directly because of our common peril,
ance of the Port Huron document lies in
y democracy as a single answer to a
"SDS had to come up with language
vil rights, the Cold War and (other
ms)," he said. "The answer was partici-
:t frrnrfv"

4-4 ~?r . -

he importa
cietal ills.
nnected ci
ial problem


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