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Whatever Happened to the Anti-War Movement?

Tom Hayden
Tom Hayden

Tom Hayden is still at it. Hayden, an anti-war activist, author, founder of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and former California state Senator and Assemblyman, is a member of the infamous Chicago Seven (Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Rennie Davis, John Froines, and Lee Weiner,) who were charged with conspiracy and inciting to riot related to protests that took place in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Hayden still regularly visits college campuses, and is speaking today at UCSD on what he calls the potential for a "50-year war" in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. He will be back in San Diego to speak on Thursday, Nov. 4 at the First Unitarian Universalist Church.

When I asked Hayden about the state of the anti-war movement, he said that "right now it is confused and overwhelmed. There is no real anti-war coalition. There are no rich liberals giving millions of dollars to keep it going. And I understand that unless this war affects you personally, people right now are more concerned about jobs and paying their bills and not losing their homes."

Others, too, wonder what happened to the anti-war movement. In a recent piece on, activist Justin Raimondo wrote: "Whatever happened to the antiwar movement? Remember all those marches and loud displays of moral outrage? It's vanished! Gone! Evaporated like morning mist! At one point, millions were marching in the streets in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, people all over the world, and then ' nothing! Never in the history of politics has a movement retreated faster and more completely ' but in this case, it was a voluntary retreat, an act of self-abolition."


Medea Benjamin, co-founder of anti-war organization Codepink, recently told Politico, "We don't have a very vibrant anti-war movement anymore. The issues have not changed very much. Now we have a surge [in Afghanistan] that we would have been furious about under George Bush, yet it's hard to mobilize people under Obama. We have the same anti-war movement and not the same passion.'