THE SPINE FEBRUARY 27, 2007
The SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) is back! Or is it? Actually, I hadn't noticed that it was. But Maurice Isserman, an honest American historian at Hamilton College with an SDS past and a familial Communist background, has written a story for the current Chronicle of Higher Education on whether or not the organization actually exists and what it really is.
Isserman can't resist a bit of nostalgia for the old mole, and he writes about this gently and gracefully. But he has no warm thoughts for the Weatherman thugs who took it over and turned it into a violent gang that killed people (sometimes themselves).
Since SDS still exists in the minds of many, there's no surprise that it exists on the web. But existing on the web is not a big achievement, In any case, you can't make a real revolution on the web. There are no 200 chapters, although the website claimed that number. And there is no Harvard or Columbia chapter. There are no dues, not even the $5 you had to put up forty years ago.
So what is there of SDS? Read Isserman's article.
And while the Chronicle of Higher Education is remembering SDS it is also remembering the Black Panthers. Peter Monaghan, a staff writer, has published an article rehabilitating the Black Panthers. It doesn't persuade me; maybe it will convince you.