All posts tagged: SDS

We are people of this generation.

Students for a Democratic Society’s 1962 Port Huron Statement begins with these words: “We are people of this generation…” During a public messaging training that I recently led for a student group, I reflected back to the group my observation that members often referred to themselves as activists — in both internal conversations and external messages. I asked them what purpose it served to label themselves as activists as opposed to students. Students for Democratic Society might have begun their historic Port Huron Statement with, “We are student activists…” But instead they began, “We are people of this generation…” Interestingly, the label “activist” appears in the over 25,000-word document only once, where it is one label listed amongst several that refer to types of participants in the “broadest movement for peace in several years.” …it includes socialists, pacifists, liberals, scholars, militant activists, middle-class women, some professionals, many students, a few unionists. The word “activism” also appears just one time. And here it is fully contextualized: …the permeating and victimizing fact of human degradation, symbolized by …

Encapsulation

After posting utopianism and the would-be political group yesterday, I went back and reread an old article I’d published that discusses this phenomenon of social movement organizations that, in the course of especially intense situations or campaigns, become all-encompassing, integrative identities for core participants. The original article was the second part in a three-part series I wrote in 2006 titled What Prevents Radicals from Acting Strategically?. I’m reposting portions from that post below, to continue this train of thought… While in Argentina in 2004 I interviewed Maba and Valde, a sister and brother from one of the Movements of Unemployed Workers groups, MTD Solano. Interviewing them separately, I asked them what they value most about their work with the MTD. Both answered that they like how integrated their lives are now. Maba said that while many join MTDs out of necessity, she joined by election, because her life felt too fragmented before. Now nearly everything she does is related to MTD Solano; her work at a collectively run cafe, a children’s workshop she organizes, her …