Legendary activist Tom Hayden on SDS, Chicago 8, climate change, and still making a difference
Tom Hayden was a leader of the student, civil rights, peace and environmental movements of the 1960s. He went on to serve 18 years in the California legislature. He was a founder of Students for a Democratic Society and was described by the NY Times as “the single greatest figure of the 1960s student movement.”
During the Vietnam War, he made controversial trips to Hanoi with his former wife, actress Jane Fonda, to promote peace talks and facilitate the release of American POWs. He helped lead street demonstrations against the war at the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention, where he was beaten, gassed and arrested twice. Hayden was indicted in 1969 with seven others on conspiracy and incitement charges in what became the Chicago Eight trial, considered one of the leding political trials of the last century.
Hayden is Director of the Peace and Justice Resource Center in Culver City, California, he organizes, travels and speaks on a variety of issues. He helps advise Gov Jerry Brown on renewable energy, and He is the author and editor of 20 books, his current one is Why Cuba Matters.
Tom Hayden is now 75 years old. I caught up with him last week at the U of Michigan Ann Arbor, where Hayden was speaking at the 50th anniversary of the first Vietnam War teach in held on a US college campus.