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I think it rather a-historical to hang an analysis of SDS and its founding and evolution on to a contrast-comparison with either Hitler or Stalin. As a rather marginal participant in the process leading up to the Port Huron meeting and declaration which was the founding event of SDS in June 1962, I have followed with interest the literature produced by both participants and their biographers. I could recommend a lengthy bibliography, but in this instance I'll recommend just two books, Tom Hayden's memoir, _Reunion_ published by Random House in 1988, and Maurice Isserman's biography of Michael Harrington, _The Other American_ published in Public Affairs in 2000. Both have lengthy sections describing the founding of SDS at the Port Huron meeting which are generally in agreement, but clearly lay out the then critical arguments. SDS finds its roots much less in foreign policy or international relations considerations, and much more in the dynamics of late-50's and early 1960's domestic matters, in particular, the emerging Civil Rights Movement. The initial sponsor, LID, or League for Industrial Democracy, was an old program under the wing of the ILGWU (International Ladies Garment Workers Union) which most recently had supported Saul Alinsky's "Back of the Yards" organizational efforts in Chicago. LID had been interested for several years in the possibility American Students interests could be made more viable by a similar organizational effort. In the late 50's and early 60's a good number of fledgeling student organizations emerged, mostly with limited range, and purposes. The most surprising, and indeed most important was the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee formed in the spring of 1960 in the wake of the spontaneous rise of the sit-in phenomena across the South. SNCC adopted Gandhi's tactics of non-violent direct action and for that and many other reasons immediately drew strong support from the relatively small (20 plus campus chapters) Student Peace Union (SPU). At the time, SPU, founded in 1958 at a University of Chicago conference, was focused on support for ending nuclear atmospheric testing in line with the larger SANE efforts, and in a more general way, studying the application of non-violent methods to conflict resolution. In the wake of the founding of SNCC, the SPU more or less devolved into a SNCC support effort. It should be pointed out that all of these were membership organizations with campus chapters. In addition the student scene also included the non-membership organization NSA, National Student Association, which drew together the elected campus student government officers. In the early 1960's about 800 campuses were associated with NSA. Eventually, NSA did offer serious support and assistance to SNCC, but the process of moving to that end revealed the degree to which NSA was dependent on and manipulated by older non-students who insisted on maintaining policy control. In many respects that process of responding to SNCC revealed the lines of control that eventually came to be understood as leading right back to the CIA. It was very much this process that encouraged the SDS founders to move ahead in 1962 in developing a campus chapter based membership organization. SDS lasted just seven years, from 1962 into 1969. Each year brought forward a new group of officers elected around particular program priorities. In fact, SDS had virtually no programs in the first three years focused on Foreign Policy or Affairs. The emphasis was on supporting SNCC and the evolving civil rights movement, making an effort to organize "the poor" in northern cities for "community empowerment", and in 1964-65, SDS took up "Student Rights" in line with the Berkley Free Speech Movement and a much more generalized interest in extending democratic practices to academic institutions. Ending Dorm hours, and allowing students to own cars on campus was a major issue. Those items in the Port Huron Declaration relevant to foreign policy mostly reflected the influence of individuals and groups incorporated into the SDS project. For instance, the founders had been among the student leaders who had lobbied President Kennedy to adopt the Humphrey plan for a Peace Corps on the eve of the 1960 election. Port Huron endorsed the Peace Corps and similar projects. Former SPU members involved in founding SDS advocated inclusion of ending Nuclear Testing in the document, a policy that Kennedy followed the next year with his advocacy of the Partial Nuclear Testban. The document commented favorably on Eisenhower's "Military-Industrial Complex" construction. Some of the language regarding Human Rights was copied directly from Pope John XXIII's encyclical, "Pacen in Terris". There was also general criticism of US support for corrupt dictators. In other words, while foreign policy and international affairs were considerations, most of the ideas were then widely current, and for the most part totally borrowed. Reasons why the SDS founding documents did not include much focus on foreign affaris are many. First, LID, the sponsor of the founding conference, was at the heart and soul of the Cold War Anti-Communist consensus. In fact, many of the LID elders eventually migrated through Senator Jackson's orbit, and became today's neo-Conservatives. The first night of the conference was taken up with a very heated debate concerning whether any critique of that consensus could be included -- and indeed whether any present or former communist could even be part of SDS. Both Isserman's bio of Harrington, and Tom Hayden's memoir reconstruct this sharp argument, and for those who question the relevance of the whole American heritage of factional infighting -- it was a grand display of the tradition. Some of us who had met with Hayden prior to Port Huron had suggested a favorable comment on the Nehru led nonaligned effort, viewing it as extending non-cooperation as a Gandhi principle into cold war dynamics, and as an added supporting position for SNCC -- but that notion was firmly put down. It was not until the academic year, 1965-66 that SDS actually developed a foreign policy critique, and again it was not so much developed as a result of internal discussion and discourse, but it was borrowed. Perhaps the most influential document was Franz Fanon's "The Wretched of the Earth" which explicitly rejected the whole non-violent tradition, and had particular appeal in the wake of urban riots that began in 1965, destroyed the step by step grass roots organization efforts of SDS in Urban America, and in many ways provided a very easy model for SDS to follow in opposition to the US involvement in Vietnam. Without question many Peace People from traditional Peace Organizations such as the War Resisters League or the American Friends Service Committee, SANE or Women's' Strike for Peace, or Clergy and Laity Concerned did read Fanon and discuss his analysis, but it never was an acceptable position for those who founded in whole or part their opposition to the war on a moral argument against militarism and violence. And while this did mean some collaboration between and among groups in the Peace Movement did occur around demonstrations for instance, after 1966 SDS never really was viewed as much more than a source of numbers at large mass events. In 1967 much of the Peace Movement turned toward Presidential and Legislative Politics -- the McCarthy and Kennedy campaigns, and SDS with its Fanon based romantic attachment to revolutionary violence was never part of that. In large measure the traditional Peace Movement in all its parts was somewhat successful in allowing the US to leave Vietnam, and it did this by directing the quite majority opposition to the war from local bases to legislators with demands that the financial support for the war be gradually cut back to nothing. SDS played virtually no role in these efforts which were the primary focus of more traditional Peace groups, locally organized, between 1969 and 1975. SDS would have its events -- the Dem Convention demonstrations, the trials in the wake of that, it's spin off's such as the weather faction, and Mayday as well as other high profile trials -- but in the end it was the far more basic process of meetings in church parlors and basements with senators and congress-people home from DC that convinced Congress of the need to gradually defund the war. SDS made lots of noise, but it added virtually no new ideas and relatively few long term committed people to this process. Some of the founders -- Tom Hayden and Todd Gitlin for instance, have enjoyed significant post SDS careers and influence, but both have been fairly harsh critics of SDS's evolution in the post 1966 period, as well as many of their early public positions. Their positions rest more on their proper reading and leadership in the founding period of SDS -- and not in what happened as new generations of SDS officers were elected by a vastly expanded number of campus chapters. In 1962 there were 42 SDS chapters -- about 1966 there were over 500. Sally Todd Minneapolis Sistersara@aol.com > In the case of the American anti-war movement we see the rise and > radicalization of the SDS and ultimately the emergence of groups like the > Weather Underground and the Progressive Labor Party - who would have been > unimaginable on campus in 1962 or 1963. > > Mark Safranski > Independent scholar >