Thursday, April 13, 2006

Participatory democracy


In September 2005, Tom Hayden wrote a new preface and introduction to The Port Huron Statement, the founding manifesto of the SDS. These are now available on Truthdig, with some additional, more recent reflections on Rachel Corrie and Israel.

Of particular interest is the discussion throughout of the lasting legacy of participatory democracy, both in terms of the sources and affinities of these ideas and in regard to its continuing contemporary relevance.

There are problems with his account of course, of which the refusal to fully abandon the myth of Camelot is a notable example, but overall a thoughtful discussion of some of the challenges raised by the Port Huron Statement and a solid rebuttal of the now standard critique of sixties activism for "choosing to become more violent."

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