Tom Hay­den, famed 1960s anti-war ac­tivist, dies at 76

Malta Independent - - ENTERTAINMENT -

Famed ‘60s anti-war ac­tivist Tom Hay­den, whose name be­came for­ever linked with the cel­e­brated Chicago 7 trial, Viet­nam War protests and his ex-wife ac­tress Jane Fonda, has died. He was 76.

He died on Sun­day af­ter a long ill­ness, said his wife, Bar­bara Wil­liams, not­ing that he suf­fered a stroke in 2015.

Hay­den, once de­nounced as a traitor by his de­trac­tors, over­came his past and won elec­tion to the Cal­i­for­nia Assem­bly and Se­nate where he served for al­most two decades as a pro­gres­sive force on such is­sues as the en­vi­ron­ment and ed­u­ca­tion. He was the only one of the rad­i­cal Chicago 7 de­fen­dants to win such dis­tinc­tion in the main­stream po­lit­i­cal world.

He re­mained an en­dur­ing voice against war and spent his later years as a pro­lific writer and lec­turer ad­vo­cat­ing for re­form of Amer­ica’s po­lit­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions.

Los An­ge­les Mayor Eric Garcetti praised Hay­den. “A po­lit­i­cal gi­ant and dear friend has passed. Tom Hay­den fought harder for what he be­lieved than just about any­one I have known. RIP, Tom,” Garcetti said Sun­day night on his Twit­ter ac­count.

Hay­den wrote or edited 19 books, in­clud­ing “Re­u­nion,” a mem­oir of his path to protest and a ru­mi­na­tion on the po­lit­i­cal up­heavals of the ‘60s.

“Rarely, if ever, in Amer­i­can his­tory has a gen­er­a­tion be­gun with higher ideals and ex­pe­ri­enced greater trauma than those who lived fully the short time from 1960 to 1968,” he wrote.

Hay­den was there at the start. In 1960, while a stu­dent at the Univer­sity of Michi­gan at Ann Ar­bor, he was in­volved in the for­ma­tion of Stu­dents for a Demo­cratic So­ci­ety (SDS), then ded­i­cated to de­seg­re­gat­ing the South. By 1962, when he be­gan draft­ing the land­mark Port Huron State­ment, SDS and Hay­den were ded­i­cated to chang­ing the world.

Hay­den was fond of com­par­ing the stu­dent move­ment that fol­lowed to the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion and the Civil War.

In 1968, he helped or­ga­nize an­ti­war demon­stra­tions dur­ing the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion in Chicago that turned vi­o­lent and re­sulted in the no­to­ri­ous Chicago 7 trial. It be­gan as the Chicago 8 trial, but one de­fen­dant, Bobby Seale, was de­nied the lawyer of his choice, was bound and gagged by the judge and ul­ti­mately re­ceived a sep­a­rate trial.

Af­ter a cir­cus-like trial, Hay­den and three oth­ers were con­victed of cross­ing state lines to in­cite riot. The con­vic­tions were later over­turned, and an of­fi­cial re­port deemed the vi­o­lence “a po­lice riot.”

Thomas Em­met Hay­den was born Dec. 11, 1939, in Royal Oak, Michi­gan, to mid­dle-class par­ents. At Michi­gan, he took up po­lit­i­cal causes in­clud­ing the civil rights move­ment. He wrote fiery ed­i­to­ri­als for the cam­pus newspaper and con­tem­plated a ca­reer in jour­nal­ism. But upon grad­u­a­tion, he turned down a newspaper job. As he wrote in his mem­oir, “I didn’t want to re­port on the world; I wanted to change it.”

He joined the fledg­ling Stu­dent Non-Vi­o­lent Co­or­di­nat­ing Com­mit­tee, went free­dom-rid­ing dur­ing civil rights protests in the South and was beaten and briefly jailed in Mis­sis­sippi and Ge­or­gia. He mar­ried a fel­low ac­tivist, San­dra “Casey” Ca­son.

Yearn­ing for a more in­flu­en­tial role, Hay­den re­turned to Ann Ar­bor, where he was en­listed by the SDS to draft the Port Huron State­ment, a call to ac­tion he hoped would spread to the rest of the coun­try.

In 1965, Hay­den made his first visit to North Viet­nam with an unau­tho­rized del­e­ga­tion. In 1967, he re­turned to Hanoi with an­other group and was asked by North Viet­namese lead­ers to bring three pris­on­ers of war back to the United States.

Firmly com­mit­ted to the an­ti­war move­ment, Hay­den par­tic­i­pated in sit-ins at Columbia Univer­sity, then be­gan trav­el­ing the coun­try to pro­mote a rally in Chicago for the 1968 Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion.

In the in­terim, a sin­gle event gal­va­nized him — the 1968 as­sas­si­na­tion of his friend, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, in Los An­ge­les. “I went from Robert Kennedy’s cof­fin into a very bleak and bit­ter po­lit­i­cal view,” Hay­den told the As­so­ci­ated Press in 1988.

In 1971, Hay­den met Jane Fonda, a late­comer to the protest move­ment. Af­ter he heard her give an elo­quent anti-war speech in 1972, Hay­den said they con­nected and be­came a cou­ple. He was di­vorced from Ca­son. Fonda was di­vorced from di­rec­tor Roger Vadim and had a daugh­ter, Vanessa Vadim.

Hay­den and Fonda were mar­ried for 17 years and had a son, Troy.

With heavy fi­nan­cial sup­port from Fonda, Hay­den plunged into Cal­i­for­nia pol­i­tics in the late 1970s. He formed the Cam­paign for Eco­nomic Democ­racy and was elected to the Assem­bly in 1982.

In 1992, Hay­den won elec­tion to the state Se­nate ad­vo­cat­ing for en­vi­ron­men­tal and ed­u­ca­tional is­sues. By then, he and Fonda were di­vorced.

Hay­den went on to marry ac­tress Bar­bara Wil­liams, and they had a son, Liam.

In 1994, Hay­den was de­feated in a run for the state gov­er­nor­ship, and he lost a bid to be­come mayor of Los An­ge­les.

Af­ter leav­ing pub­lic of­fice, Hay­den wrote and trav­eled ex­ten­sively, lec­tur­ing, teach­ing and speak­ing out against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was also an ad­vo­cate for an­i­mals, and in 2012 he lob­bied Gov. Jerry Brown to pre­serve a piece of leg­is­la­tion known as Hay­den’s Law, which he had au­thored to pro­tect shel­ter an­i­mals from pre­ma­ture eu­thana­sia.

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