All posts by Alan Haber (first field secretary for SDS in 1960)

Many Next Meetings

One can imagine my gladness to see a re-energizing of the memory and ideals and activism of Students for a Democratic Society.

I wrote in Slingshot a year or so ago reporting on talk of re-membering SNCC and SDS, and calling as it were for “the next meeting of SDS.” I am glad to see “next meetings” happening all over.

I have seen many ways that things we’ve tried have been deflected and beaten. A renewal of spirit is needed, not chastened by past errors, inadequacies and hard knocks. Students have the opportunity to put their studies to practice in the world. That the new SDS took initiative in high school is a good sign. A middle schooler at last week’s SDS town meeting in Ann Arbor describing intimidation against wearing a no-war t-shirt, saying, “if there isn’t free speech, there is no democracy”.

So what is democracy? Democratic society, from the ground up? Every one able to participate in the decisions that affect our lives and the opportunity to get involved — a place for everyone at the table, all voices, all voices?

What about class struggle? How to change the system? What about the class war the ruling rich wage against the rest of us? How to do non violence in the midst of a war system is the challenge for democracy — to make revolution without executions — to reclaim the commons.

At its best, SDS of old was a good time with a sense of humor. In that radical spirit I pass on the “manna pesto of the Revolutionary Garden Party (organarchist vangardeners)”:

Squash the state — freeze the zukes — raise vegetables not rents — weed out the pesticide pushers — agribusiness equal farmageddon — overturn the soil — compost the corporations — gives peas a chance — farm ecology not pharmacology — remember: resistance is fertile — cultivate a sense of humor — hoe hoe hoe

I consider “SDS” an inclusive inter-networking of activists radicals and Scholars, Students, Seniors, Survivors, Seekers, Sisters, Singers, Speakers, Satirists, Sociologists, Socialists, Semites, Slackers, Soldiers and any other designation for Democratic Society. Some day soon. Solidarity in Democratic Struggle. Join.