Subtexts Activist Mark Rudd remembers radical and author Tom Hayden
Free radicals: Mark Rudd on Tom Hayden
For a moment in 2008, when Barack Obama was elected as the first African-American president of the United States, it seemed to some old ‘60s radicals that their youthful efforts at a more just and equitable society had come to fruition. Activists like Tom Hayden and Mark Rudd, who were originally inspired by the grassroots success of the civil-rights movement, rejoiced, perhaps unaware that the presence of a black man in the White House would pull back the curtain on a fiery strain of racism still actively at work in American culture. Hayden and Rudd were heavily involved with the campus protest culture of the 1960s as members of Students for a Democratic Society. Hayden, a founding member of SDS, was a Freedom Rider in the deep South and anti-Vietnam activist before going into California state politics, while Rudd took the militant route, joining the Weather Underground and advocating for the violent overthrow of the United States government — activities that forced him to live underground for most of the 1970s.
Eventually, both went into teaching and writing. Hayden wrote The Long Sixties: From 1960 to Barack Obama, which was published in 2009. He died in October 2016, before he could see the results of the recent presidential election, bear witness to the uptick in violent crimes against Muslims and Jews in the election’s wake, or take part in the massive wave of protests that have greeted President Trump’s first few weeks in office. Rudd remembers Hayden and takes a look at The Long Sixties in a Journey Santa Fe presentation, hosted by Alan Webber, at 11 a.m.on Sunday, Feb. 12, at Collected Works Bookstore (202 Galisteo St., 505-988-4226). — Jennifer Levin
Tom Hayden and Mark Rudd