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A Hard Rain FellSDS and Why it Failed$
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David Barber

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781934110171

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781934110171.001.0001

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The New Left Starts to Disintegrate

The New Left Starts to Disintegrate

(p.145) Chapter Four The New Left Starts to Disintegrate
A Hard Rain Fell

David Barber

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines the struggles between Old Left understandings of race, gender, and empire, and New Left understandings in the period between the end of 1968 and the fall of 1969. During these years, the Old Left Progressive Labor Party (PL) sought to take over Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). At the heart of PL’s program stood the Old Left notion that black nationalism was a diversion from the all-important class struggle. To save SDS from PL’s clutches, SDS leaders were compelled to strengthen their ties to and understanding of black nationalism. By the spring of 1969, SDS, for the first time, clearly articulated a mission for itself that corresponded with the one that the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) had laid down three years earlier: that SDS would organize white communities against racism.

Keywords:   Students for a Democratic Society, SDS, Old Left Progressive Labor Party, race, gender, empire, black nationalism, class struggle, racism

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