Died: October 23, 2016 (at age 76)
Thomas Emmet "Tom" Hayden (December 11, 1939 - October 23, 2016) was an American social and political activist, author and politician, who was director of the Peace and Justice Resource Center in Los Angeles County, California. Known best for his major role as an anti-war, civil rights, and radical intellectual counterculture activist, Hayden was for a time the husband of actress Jane Fonda, and was the father of actor Troy Garity.
Thomas Emmet Hayden was born in Royal Oak, Michigan, to parents of Irish ancestry, Genevieve Isabelle (née Garity) and John Francis Hayden. His father was a former Marine who worked for Chrysler as an accountant and was also a violent drunk. When Hayden was ten, his parents divorced and his mother raised him. A smart kid, Hayden attended a Catholic elementary school, where he read out loud to nuns and "learned to fear hell," and later graduated from Dondero High School in Royal Oak, Michigan, class of 1956. While at Dondero High School, Hayden edited the school paper and after using the first letter of successive paragraphs to spell "Go to hell" in his farewell column, he was banned from attending his graduation ceremony and only received a diploma. Hayden grew up attending a church led by Charles Coughlin, a Catholic priest noted for his anti-Semite teachings and who was also known nationally during the time of The Great Depression as the "radio priest." Hayden's dismay with Coughlin caused him to break with the Catholic Church as a teenager.
He later attended the University of Michigan, where he was editor of the Michigan Daily and, disenchanted by the anti-radicalism of existing groups like the National Student Association, was one of the initiators of the influential leftist student activist group Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). In 1961, Hayden married Sandra "Casey" Cason, a civil rights activist who worked for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Hayden became a "freedom rider" in the South and then served as president of SDS from 1962 to 1963.
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Hayden drafted SDS's manifesto, the Port Huron Statement. The objective of the Port Huron Statement was the creation of a "radically new democratic political movement" in the United States that rejected hierarchy and bureaucracy. The statement represented the emergence of a "New Left" in the United States. The New Left often worked with, but was no longer part of the remains of the American Left, after concerted government efforts to destroy it. At its annual convention, the old Student League for Industrial Democracy, the "young people's division" of the "Old Left's" League for Industrial Democracy; representatives followed Hayden adopted his manifesto, and changed its name and some of its major goals.
From 1964 to 1968, Hayden lived in Newark, New Jersey, where he worked with impoverished inner-city residents as part of the Newark Community Union Project. He was also witness to the city's race riots of 1967, driven by far more than race alone, as Hayden would point out; and wrote the book Rebellion in Newark: Official Violence and Ghetto Response (1967).
In 1965, Hayden, along with Communist Party USA member Herbert Aptheker and Quaker peace activist Staughton Lynd undertook a controversial visit to North Vietnam and Hanoi. The three toured villages and factories and met with an American POW whose plane had been shot down. The result of this tour of North Vietnam, at a high point in the war, was a book titled The Other Side. Staughton Lynd later wrote that the New Left disavowed "the Anti-Communism of the previous generation" and that Lynd and Hayden had written, in Studies on the Left, "We refuse to be anti-Communist, We insist the term has lost all the specific content it once had."
In 1968, Hayden played a major role in the protests outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois, broken up by what was later called by the U.S. National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence "a police riot". Six months after the convention he and seven other protesters including Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin were indicted on federal charges of conspiracy and incitement to riot as part of the "Chicago Eight", a.k.a. the "Chicago Seven" after Bobby Seale's case was separated from the others. Hayden and four others were convicted of crossing state lines to incite a riot, but the charges were later reversed and remanded on appeal. The government did not retry the case and thereafter elected to dismiss the substantive charges. United States v. Dellinger, 472 F.2d 340 (7th Cir. 1972), cert. denied, 410 U.S. 970, 93 S.Ct. 1443, 35 L.Ed.2d 706 (1973).
Hayden made several subsequent well-publicized visits to North Vietnam as well as Cambodia during America's involvement in the 'Vietnam War' which had expanded under President Richard M. Nixon to include the adjoining nations of Laos and Cambodia, although he did not accompany his future wife, actress Jane Fonda, on her especially controversial trip to Hanoi in the spring of 1972. The next year he married Fonda and they had one child, Troy Garity, born on 7 July 1973. In 1974, while the Vietnam War was still ongoing, the documentary film Introduction to the Enemy was released, a collaboration by Fonda, Hayden, Haskell Wexler and others. It depicts their travels through North and South Vietnam in spring 1974.
Hayden also founded the Indochina Peace Campaign (IPC), which operated from 1972 to 1975. The IPC, operating in Boston, New York, Detroit and Santa Clara, mobilized dissent against the Vietnam War, demanded unconditional amnesty for U.S. draft evaders, among other aims. Jane Fonda, a supporter of the IPC, later turned this moniker into a name for her film production firm, IPC Films, which produced in whole or in part, movies and documentaries such as F.T.A. (1972), Introduction to the Enemy (1974), The China Syndrome (1979), Nine to Five (1980) and On Golden Pond (1981). Hayden and Fonda divorced in 1990.
Writing about Hayden's role in the 1960s New Left, Nicholas Lemann, national correspondent for The Atlantic, said that "Tom Hayden changed America", calling him "father to the largest mass protests in American history", and Richard N. Goodwin, who was a speechwriter for presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and John F. Kennedy, said that Hayden, "without even knowing it, inspired the Great Society. Staughton Lynd, though, was critical of the Port Huron and New Left concept of "participatory democracy" stating, "we must recognize that when an organization grows to a certain size, consensus decision-making is no longer possible and some form of representative government becomes necessary."
In 2007, Hayden made news for his speech at the wedding of his son Troy, where, as Hilton Als wrote in The New Yorker, he "said that he was especially happy about his son's union with actress Simone Bent, who is black, because, among other things, it was 'another step in a long-term goal of mine: the peaceful, nonviolent disappearance of the white race.'"
During 1976, Hayden made a primary-election challenge to then serving California U.S. Senator John V. Tunney. "The radicalism of the 1960s is fast becoming the common sense of the 1970s," the New York Times reported him saying at the time. Starting far behind, Hayden mounted a spirited campaign and finished a surprisingly close second in the Democratic primary. He and Fonda later initiated the Campaign for Economic Democracy (CED), which formed a close alliance with then-Governor Jerry Brown and promoted solar energy, environmental protection and renters' rights policies, as well as candidates for local office throughout California, more than 50 of whom would go on to be elected.
Hayden later served in the California State Assembly (1982-1992) and the State Senate (1992-2000). During this time, he was frequently protested by conservative groups, including Vietnamese refugees, veterans of the U.S. military and Young Americans for Freedom. He mounted a bid in the Democratic primary for California Governor during 1994 on the theme of campaign finance reform, and ran for Mayor of Los Angeles during 1997, losing to incumbent Republican Richard Riordan.
As a member of the State Assembly, Hayden introduced the bill that became Chapter 1238 of the California Statutes of 1987. Chapter 1238 enacted Section 76060.5 of the California Education Code. Section 76060.5 allows the establishment of "student representation fees" at colleges in the California Community Colleges System. The fee has been established at several dozen colleges and it may be used "to provide support for governmental affairs representatives of local or statewide student body organizations who may be stating their positions and viewpoints before city, county, and district governments, and before offices and agencies of state government." Student representation fees are used to support the operation of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges.
During 1999, Hayden made a speech for the Seattle WTO protests. During 2001, he unsuccessfully sought election to the Los Angeles City Council. Hayden served as a member of the advisory board for the Progressive Democrats of America, an organization created to increase progressive political cooperation and influence within the Democratic Party. He served on the advisory board of the Levantine Cultural Center, a nonprofit organization founded in Los Angeles in 2001 that champions cultural literacy about the Middle East and North Africa. During January 2008, Hayden wrote an opinion essay for the Web site The Huffington Post endorsing Barack Obama's presidential bid in the Democratic primaries. In that same year, he helped initiate Progressives for Obama (now called Progressive America Rising), a group of political progressives that provided assistance for Obama in his initial presidential campaign.
Hayden was known widely in California as a staunch endorser of animal rights and was responsible for writing the bill popularly known as the Hayden Act, which improved protection of pets and extended holding periods for pets confined as strays or surrendered to shelters.
In 2016, Hayden ran to be one of California's representatives to the Democratic National Committee. Though he originally leaned towards Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic Presidential Primary, Hayden later announced he would support Hillary Clinton and cast his vote for her when the primary reached California. He also claimed that he never endorsed Sanders and only supported his campaign with the hopes that it would push Hillary towards the Left.
In his tribute to Hayden following his death, former US President Bill Clinton stated that "Hillary and I knew him for more than thirty years and valued both his words of support and his criticism."
Hayden taught numerous courses on social movements, two at Scripps College — one on the Long War and one on gangs in America — and a course called "From the '60s to the Obama Generation" at Pitzer College. He also taught at Occidental College and at Harvard University's Institute of Politics. He taught a class at University of California, Los Angeles on protests from Port Huron to the present. Hayden taught a class in Political Science at the University of Southern California during the 1977-78 school year. He was the author or editor of 19 books, including The Long Sixties: From 1960 to Barack Obama, Writings for a Democratic Society: The Tom Hayden Reader, and his memoir, Reunion, and served on the editorial board of The Nation. His book Hell No: The Forgotten Power of the Vietnam Peace Movement, completed in the months before his death in October 2016, was published on January 31, 2017, by Yale University Press.
During 2007, Akashic Books released Hayden's Ending the War in Iraq. In a discussion about the book with Theodore Hamm, published in the Brooklyn Rail, Hayden argues: "The apparatus of occupation is never going to turn into a peacekeeping economic development agency. We need to withdraw our stamp of approval and our tax dollars from supporting the occupation. That doesn't mean that there can't be some attempts at remedies but there should never be used as an excuse to stay."
Hayden lived in Los Angeles and was married to his third wife, Barbara Williams, at the time of his death. He and Williams adopted a son, Liam (born 2000). Hayden died in Santa Monica, California on October 23, 2016, aged 76, following a lengthy illness, including a stroke.
- The Port Huron Statement (1962)
- The Other Side (1966)
- "The Politics of 'The Movement,'" in Irving Howe (ed.), The Radical Papers. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Co., 1966; pp. 350-364.
- Rebellion in Newark: Official Violence and Ghetto Response (1967)
- Trial (1970)
- The Love of Possession Is a Disease with Them (1972)
- Vietnam: The Struggle for Peace, 1972-73 (1973)
- The American Future: New Visions Beyond Old Frontiers (1980)
- Reunion: A Memoir (1988)
- The Lost Gospel of the Earth: A Call for Renewing Nature, Spirit and Politics (1996)
- Irish Hunger (1997)
- Irish on the Inside: In Search of the Soul of Irish America (2001)
- The Zapatista Reader (Introduction, 2001)
- Rebel: A Personal History of the 1960s (2003)
- Street Wars: Gangs and the Future of Violence (2004)
- Radical Nomad: C. Wright Mills and His Times with Contemporary Reflections by Stanley Aronowitz, Richard Flacks and Charles Lemert (2006)
- Ending the War in Iraq (2007)
- Writings for a Democratic Society: The Tom Hayden Reader (2008)
- Voices of the Chicago 8: A Generation on Trial (2008)
- The Long Sixties: From 1960 to Barack Obama (2009)
- Bring on the Iraq Syndrome: Tom Hayden in Conversation with Theodore Hamm (2007)
- Listen, Yankee!: Why Cuba Matters (2015)
- Hell No: The Forgotten Power of the Vietnam Peace Movement (2017)