SDS, or Students for a Democratic Society, was one of the largest national student activist organizations of the 1960s, with over 300 college campus chapters by 1965. This influential New Left group was founded in 1960 as a student offshoot of the socialist League for Industrial Democracy (LID). With the publication in 1962 of their manifesto, The Port Huron Statement, SDS outlined their belief in participatory democracy and their goal to fight social injustices through non-violent means. Initially the group focused on promoting citizen engagement with politics and the civil rights movement, but pivoted to anti-war demonstrations and protests of the Vietnam War and the draft, and then to anti-communist, anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian struggles more generally. While SDS ultimately splintered and disbanded in 1969, in more recent years younger students have struggled to revive it.
“Sale’s objective and detailed treatment of this period… gives the best overall sense of what was transpiring.” — Abbie Hoffman
“This big, painstakingly researched history… easily qualifies as the definitive work.” — New York Times
“Written just years after the collapse of the organization, and with access to their extensive archives…. Full of first-hand accounts organized chronologically through the organization’s ten-year history… an essential source for research.”— Anti-imperialist.org
“Sale gives us…a history of tactics more and more radical followed by repression more and more severe.” — Journal of Contemporary Sociology
With the author’s new contextual preface, 50 years after original publication.