LANSING, Mich. – One of seven sites recently approved by the Michigan Historical Commission to receive historical markers includes a site where the far-left Students for a Democratic Society crafted the infamous “Port Huron Statement.”
The Michigan Historical Commission, a branch of the state’s Department of Natural Resources, approved seven new sites for historical markers this month, including a United Auto Workers camp outside of Port Huron in St. Clair County where the Students for a Democratic Society crafted their pro-communism manifesto known as the “Port Huron Statement” in June 1962, MLive.com reports.
The document was written by Thomas Hayden – a 1960s counterculture radical and former husband of Jane Fonda – as well as other SDS members like Bill Ayers, who later founded the Weather Underground before turning to academia to become an education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The Weather Underground was a self-described communist revolutionary group that bombed public buildings including police stations, the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon in protest of the Vietnam War.
In a broad sense, the Port Huron Statement allegedly “articulated the fundamental problems of American society and laid out a radical vision for a better future” through a “participatory democracy,” according to InTheseTimes, which reflected on the manifesto on its 50th anniversary in 2012.
More specifically, the Statement sought to transform the Democratic Party into the “New Left” by focusing on controlling the educational process, embracing communism, fighting racism, strengthening organized labor unions, and other tactics.
The manifesto reads, in part:
“An imperative task for these publicly disinherited groups, then, is to demand a Democratic Party responsible to their interests. They must support Southern voter registration and Negro political candidates and demand that Democratic Party liberals do the same (in the last Congress, Dixiecrats split with Northern Democrats on 119 of 300 roll-calls, mostly on civil rights, area redevelopment and foreign aid bills; and breach was much larger than in the previous several sessions). Labor should begin a major drive in the South. In the North, reform clubs (either independent or Democratic) should be formed to run against big city regimes on such issues as peace, civil rights, and urban needs. Demonstrations should be held at every Congressional or convention seating of Dixiecrats. A massive research and publicity campaign should be initiated, showing to every housewife, doctor, professor, and worker the damage done to their interests every day a racist occupies a place in the Democratic Party. Where possible, the peace movement should challenge the ‘peace credentials’ of the otherwise-liberals by threatening or actually running candidates against them.”
Ayers drew parallels between SDS members who participated in crafting the Port Huron Statement to the 2012 Occupy Wall Street movement for In These Times.
“Once again more labor than delivery, here is a movement-in-the-making, shifting the frame and connecting the issues, expanding the public square, and defining a moment. Like every movement before it, Occupy was impossible before it happened, and inevitable the day after. Power responded in familiar fashion. First dismissing, then mocking, scolding and co-opting, and finally beating the shit out of participants – repeating as necessary,” Ayers wrote.
“Revolution is still possible, but barbarism is possible as well. In this time of peril and possibility, rising expectations and new beginnings, when hope and history once again rhyme, it’s absolutely urgent that we embrace the spirit embodied in the final words of The Port Huron Statement: ‘If we appear to seek the unattainable … we do so to avoid the unimaginable.’ Occupy the future!”