The young SDS members who wrote it were activists, many of them deeply involved in the struggle for Civil Rights that was then taking place in the American South. “But frequently students would read it and say how surprised they were at its sounding like the present.”. “For the S.D.S, the prime enemy was apathy. At academic conferences during this anniversary year, including one recently at the University of California, Santa Barbara, scholars and grizzled activists are revisiting the document. On this assumption rests the monstrous American structure of military âpreparednessâ; because of it we sacrifice values and social programs to the alleged needs of military power. As we grew, however, our comfort was penetrated by events too troubling to dismiss. . . As a Cold War document, the Port Huron Statement is significant for several reasons. “I’m not quite sure we need a manifesto to say that.”. As a Cold War document, the Port Huron Statement is significant for several reasons. James Miller, a professor of politics at the New School for Social Research and author of “Democracy Is in the Streets: From Port Huron to the Siege of Chicago,” suggests that the very concept of consensus at all costs meant that moderates compromised and militants eventually predominated. In no instance is this better illustrated than in our basic national policy-making assumption that the Soviet Union is inherently expansionist and aggressive, prepared to dominate the rest of the world by military means. Professor Kazin, who teaches history at Georgetown and co-edits Dissent, recalled, too, that “for the anti-war militants who flooded into S.D.S. This continued interest is the more impressive, since the statement … What kind of new social system do they want to create? It … . Participatory democracy as a framework can unite single-issue movements around a … First, it sharply challenged the nation’s basic, bipartisan foreign policy: that every price must be paid, every effort made, to … That is why Mr. Hayden addressed the manifesto to the Young Left as much as to a New Left. But present trends in American anti-communism are not sufficient for the creation of appropriate policies with which to relate to and counter communist movements in the world. “The environmental crisis, but Rachel Carson’s book hadn’t come out. The assassination of J.F.K. We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit. . The Port Huron Statement resonates to this day – for example, in the 17 September manifesto of Occupy Wall Street, which called for a “direct and transparent participatory democracy”. – The Port Huron Statement, 1962 Participatory democracy – with its battle-cry "let the people decide" – was the call of 60-some young American activists who launched the Students for a … But Occupy has learned the lessons of S.D.S., says Todd Gitlin, a Columbia University professor and author of the forthcoming “Occupy Nation.” “The primacy of nonviolence is a reaction to the ’60s, as is don’t have hierarchal organizations and don’t have visible leaders,” said Professor Gitlin, who was president of S.D.S. . SDS called for the creation of a “New Left,” that is, a new kind of liberalism. It raises a host of concerns that shaped the New Left of the 1960s—poverty, racism, the misguided priorities of an affluent society, the proliferation of nuclear bombs, the paranoia of the anticommunist crusade. The "Port Huron Statement" sought to see the values of the people that are essentially in the constitution rung up as the times in which the Huron statement was written revealed that the individual (the people) were not deciders in the direction of America but a chosen few. The Port Huron Statement was adopted at the organizations first convention in 1962 based on an earlier draft by staff member Tom Hayden. Feminism, but Betty Friedan’s book wasn’t out. Summary of “The Port Huron Statement” – Humanities Essay (100 Level Course) The first passage, an agenda for a generation, begins with the author diving into an explanation that we as children of the United States grew up into the best and most comfortable world. Some would have us believe that Americans feel contentment amidst prosperity â but might it not better be called a glaze above deeply felt anxieties about their role in the new world? . would fracture, his concept would in ensuing decades be codified in school decentralization, community planning boards and freedom of information acts. Port Huron Statement Loneliness, estrangement, isolation describe the vast distance between man and man today. The Port Huron Statement of Students for a Democratic Society, written fifty years ago this June, is the most ambitious, the most specific, and the most eloquent manifesto in the history of the American Left. . Freedom and equality for each individual, government of, by, and for the people â these American values we found good, principles by which we could live as men. manifesto, The Port Huron Statement, it was written by college students, who created there ideals for a Democratic Society and expressed their views in the America they lived in. And this was the night the students made the "Port Huron Statement". THEY are mostly in their 70s now, those quixotic college students who drafted the Port Huron Statement at a ramshackle A.F.L.-C.I.O. The declaration âall men are created equal . The escalation of Vietnam, which none of us expected, though we opposed. and other killings to follow. (Large – 5 MB) Compare the studentsâ view of the threat of communism with the views expressed in one of the following documents: 1, 2, 6, 12, or 21. A Students for a Democratic Society national council meeting in Bloomington, Ind., in 1963. . Second, the SDS became a vocal, well-organized opponent of the war in Vietnam (Documents 29â34). Its last sentence was an apocalyptic downer: “If we appear to seek the unattainable, as it has been said, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable.”. It is to this latter yearning, at once the spark and engine of change, that we direct our present appeal. While these and other problems either directly oppressed us or rankled our consciences and became our own subjective concerns, we began to see complicated and disturbing paradoxes in our surrounding America. The Huron statement was drafted to address… Under Walter Reuther 's leadership, the UAW paid for a range of expenses for the 1962 convention, including use of the UAW summer retreat in Port Huron. Why might the students later be critical of the war in Vietnam? A PDF file of a scan of the draft document is also available. The Port Huron Statement was the most important manifesto of the New Left student movement of the 1960s. The Port Huron Statement’s simultaneous praise and critique of America’s labor movement applies almost word-for-word to the country’s unions 50 years later. College enrollments were booming in the 1950s and 1960s, and many students objected to the way college administrators attempted to control their personal lives. These are our central values, in skeletal form. It remains vital to understand their denial or attainment in the context of the modern world. But by invoking the spirit of John Dewey, Albert Camus, C. Wright Mills, Michael Harrington and Pope John XXIII, by at once championing and chiding organized labor as a victim of its own success (the S.D.S. As democrats we are in basic opposition to the communist system. The search for truly democratic alternatives to the present, and a commitment to social experimentation with them, is a worthy and fulfilling human enterprise, one which moves us and, we hope, others today. The Statements By Sharon And Port Huron. Mr. Hayden, who was steeled by a Catholic social conscience, was 22 when he began drafting the manifesto in March 1962 in his Manhattan apartment. The Port Huron Statement’s core message is timeless but not dogmatic: we all need participatory democracy. We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit. In a participatory democracy, the political life would be based in several root principles: that decision-making of basic social consequence be carried on by public groupings; that politics be seen positively, as the art of collectively creating an acceptable pattern of Â social relations; that politics has the function of bringing people out of isolation and into community, thus being a necessary, though not sufficient, means of finding meaning in personal life; . Port Huron Statement (1962) Port Huron Statement (1962) This is my primary source. THE PORT HURON STATEMENT OF THE STUDENTS FOR A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY, 1962 Courtesy Office of Senator Tom Hayden TABLE OF CONTENTS Introductory Note: This document represents the results of several months of writing and discussion among the membership, a draft paper, and revision by the Students for a Democratic Society national “For a long while I thought the Port Huron Statement was a relic of a hopeful past,” Mr. Hayden recalled last week. The statement that eventually emerged from a five-day national convention of the Students for a Democratic Society held June 11 to 15, 1962, contained 25,000 words. They were still groggy from the conformist Eisenhower decade and dazzled by the Kennedy mystique, which may be why the Port Huron Statement began circumspectly: “We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit.”, Kalle Lasn was 20 in 1962. The Port Huron Statement reflects the dissatisfaction and disillusionment many young people were feeling in the 1960s. . In social change or interchange, we find violence to be abhorrent because it requires generally the transformation of the target, be it a human being or a community of people, into a depersonalized object of hate. It is also, at just over 25,000 words, undoubtedly the longest one. Tom Hayden is at far left. .â rang hollow before the facts of Negro life in the South and the big cities of the North. . Where is the Port Huron Museum in Port Huron Michigan located? [W]e can develop a fresh and creative approach to world problems which will help to create democracy at home and establish conditions for its growth elsewhere in the world. The Port Huron Statement was a broad critique of the political and social system of the United States for failing to achieve international peace and economic justice. A. What problems currently exist in the United States? That was 7,000 more than the Communist Manifesto, which started a global revolution, and 24,300 more words than the Declaration of the Occupancy of New York City passed last September by a general assembly of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which in three weeks produced the magnitude of protests that would take S.D.S. . It is imperative that the means of violence be abolished and the institutions â local, national, international â that encourage nonviolence as a condition of conflict be developed. Like the political and economic ones, major social institutions â cultural, education, rehabilitative, and others â should be generally organized with the well-being and dignity of man as the essential measure of success. © 2006-2020 Ashbrook Center Similar? began as the student arm of the League for Industrial Democracy), by elevating the university to the apex of activism and by validating liberalism and the two-party system, Tom Hayden and his colleagues forged a manifesto that still reverberates. The proclaimed peaceful intentions of the United States contradicted its economic and military investments in the Cold War status quo. . Quizlet is the easiest way to study, practice and master what you’re learning. Tom Hayden was a student at University of Michigan then he went to Mississippi in 1961 to report on SNCC’s voter registration project. He called it “participatory democracy” and, while S.D.S. . The Soviet Union, as a system, rests on the total suppression organized opposition. Why are the students uncomfortable with the world as it is? In June 1962, a group of mostly white, middle-class college students met in Port Huron, Michigan, to draft a manifesto for the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Declaration of the Occupancy of New York City. Create your own flashcards or choose from millions created by other students. SDS called for the creation of a âNew Left,â that is, a new kind of liberalism. This movement recognizes you don’t have to preach to people that they’re alienated.”, In 1962, though, fewer people were. He does not feel the Occupy movement needs to look to the Port Huron statement for guidance. The economic sphere would have as its basis the principles: that work should involve incentives worthier than money or survival. Second, the enclosing fact of the Cold War, symbolized by the presence of the Bomb, brought awareness that we ourselves, and our friends, and millions of abstract âothersâ we knew more directly because of our common peril, might die at any time. Today, their “agenda for a generation” survives most famously as a punch line from the 1998 film “The Big Lebowski” in which the stoner protagonist proclaims himself an author of “the original Port Huron Statement, not the compromised second draft.” Purists like Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski might dissent, but last month the historian Michael Kazin pronounced the final draft “the most ambitious, the most specific and the most eloquent manifesto in the history of the American left.”. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. Powered by Beck & Stone, Speech to the Pennsylvania Convention, November 24, 1787, Manzanar: Excerpt from Born Free and Equal, Who Are the Best Keepers of the Peopleâs Liberties. . . . . The SDS manifesto, known as the Port Huron Statement, was adopted at the organization's first convention in June 1962, based on an earlier draft by staff member Tom Hayden. The subsequent radicalization and polarization that characterized the late ’60s through Watergate.”, But, he continued, “the core of the Port Huron Statement rings true, and the theme of participatory democracy is relevant today from Cairo to Occupy Wall Street to Wisconsin to student-led democracy movements.”. First, it sharply challenged the nationâs basic, bipartisan foreign policy: that every price must be paid, every effort made, to stop the global spread of communism. The Port Huron Statement of 1962 was a product of its time.