Students for a Democratic Society
An examination of the SDS during the 1960s and 70s
Reasons for the Movement
The SDS was an offshoot of the socialist movement of the early 1900s, which had already possessed a youth branch. In 1962, the group changed the name to the Students for a Democratic Society and broke away from the LID, and began a platform including a need to reshape into two genuine political parties to attain greater democracy, for stronger power for individuals through citizen's lobbies, for more substantial involvement by workers in business management, and for an enlarged public sector with increased government welfare, including a "program against poverty." They wanted to increase individual participation in democracy and increase media participation in their movement and in spreading the truth about the government. A link to the Port Huron Statement, their official political platform, is found at the link below.
Successes in the movement
- The mass student strike, the largest in American History, which occurred on April 26, 1968. The Strike at Columbia made the SDS a household name.
- They had many successful Marches on Washington
- The Vietnam War ended, which was a major reason for their protest
Influential People of the Movement
Carl Oglesby- President from 65-66, he gave the second March on Washington speech
President of the SDS from 64-65, he gave the first March on Washington speech
President from 62-63; wrote the Port Heron Statement.
Organizations of the SDS
- Student League for an Industrial Democracy (The original SDS)
- The League for an Industrial Democracy (Parent organization for SLID)
- The American Left
- Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
- Economic Research and Action Project (ERAP)
- Peace Research and Education Project (PREP)
- The Worker Student Alliance (WSA)
- Progressive Labor Party
- The Rag (SDS underground newspaper in Austin, at UT)
- The Women's Liberation Movement
Major Events of the Movement
First March against the Vietnam War
Saturday, April 17th 1965 at 9am
National Mall, Washington, DC, United States
20,000 people joined the leaders of the SDS to protest the futility and horror of the Vietnam War.
Vietnam War Peace March, MLK Leads Procession 1967/4/18
Second March against the Vietnam War
Saturday, Nov. 27th 1965 at 9am
National Mall, Washington, D.C., DC, United States
17,000 people joined the leaders of the SDS again to express their hatred for the Vietnam War.
One, Two, Three, Four! We don't want your freaking war!
March on the Pentagon
Saturday, Oct. 21st 1967 at 9am
The Pentagon, Washington, DC, United States
A whopping 100,000 people marched on the Pentagon to protest the Vietnam War.
Hey, Hey, LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?
Strike - Ten Days of Resistance
Friday, April 26th 1968 at 8am
New York, NY
About a million students nationwide skipped classes on this day, in the largest student strike in American history. At Columbia University, in NYC, the local SDS chapter and the Student Afro Society managed to shut down the university for the day.
The End of the Movement in the 1960s
At the Ninth National Conference of the SDS, it fractured into pieces and many local chapters also fell apart. The Weather Underground emerged from these pieces, secretly, and became a violent organization, trying to accomplish the same goals.
The Weather Underground
The Movement Today
In 2006, a new Students for a Democratic Society was founded, and grew to 150 chapters by 2010. They are a left-wing organization of students across college campuses that have mainly fought against US intervention in the Middle East and for "students' rights."