Reflections on Tom Hayden
Publisher: Against the Current
Date Written: 01/05/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21601
Reflections on Tom Hayden and the 1962 Port Huron Statement.
To be sure, Tom Hayden was never a Marxist and didn't vest too much confidence in class struggle, but he radicalized early in the 1960s with closer links to socialist ideas than we might think.
The "new left" was a term first bandied about in France in the early 1950s, signifying a "third force" of independent socialists neither Communist nor social-democratic. It gained traction in England after 1956 when the combined Suez crisis and Soviet suppression of the Hungarian revolt catapulted dissidents like E. P. Thompson out of the Communist Party and into alliance with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).
The phrase hooked up also with the emerging idea of the "third world," which led left-wing CND backers to embrace the third-force slogan, "Neither Moscow nor Washington!" The American sociologist C. Wright Mills - Tom Haydens real intellectual hero - fit this milieu perfectly as he both embraced the Cuban Revolution and associated with the Thompsonites and others who established the journal New Left Review (NLR) in 1960.