This is an archive of the former website of the Maoist Internationalist Movement, which was run by the now defunct Maoist Internationalist Party - Amerika. The MIM now consists of many independent cells, many of which have their own indendendent organs both online and off. MIM(Prisons) serves these documents as a service to and reference for the anti-imperialist movement worldwide.

SDS Overview by MIM

SDS did not start out by deeply antagonizing the existing propagandists of the status quo, especially the social-democrats. In retrospect, many more conservative elements are rather fond of the "Port Huron Statement" toward the beginning of SDS history. In contrast, MIM puts more emphasis on the high tide reached in 1969, with the two years before and after 1969 the most interesting to us.

In a very few years SDS "moved far left" while simultaneously expanding in size and influence. There were three main factors in the background that led to the radicalization of SDS proved by surveys that showed one million students considered themselves "revolutionary."

1) The Vietnam War left anti-communists ranging from Michael Harrington and to his right defending a war of genocide. Much as in World War I, the events of war left the bourgeois respectable elements talking about "socialism" behind in the dust as far as people concerned with basic justice including internationalism were concerned.

2) Mao was preparing the grounds ideologically by opposing Khruschev's "peaceful coexistence" and "peaceful road" to power "three peacefuls." By 1962, Mao was successful in getting the Progressive Labor Party to break away from the Communist Party USA. Likewise, Mao was meeting with individual Blacks including Robert Williams.

3) A stirring among Black people in general that resulted in the civil rights and Black Power movements.

By 1966, PLP was infiltrating the SDS. Huey Newton was haranguing students to buy Mao's books and the Vietnam War was only sending more and more body bags back.

There is no one history of SDS that MIM is happy with. Conditions created an unprecedented movement in the oppressor nation exemplified by the SDS. That does not mean that everyone in SDS was white. Nor was everyone who worked with the Black Panther Party Black. Nonetheless, in the tradition of all social scientists since Marx, we make generalizations, and SDS was predominantly white while the Black Panthers were predominantly Black. The social-background of the organizations does not make either one right or wrong. Often the phrase the "white left" referred to SDS and the Trotskyist and anarchist organizations.

At MIM we use the SDS as an example of what would happen in a large student movement under the best of conditions to refute certain lines put forward now in less advanced conditions. The splintering at the end is also useful in terms of being able to counterpose various ideas.

Faction of SDS Attitude toward Mao's Cultural Revolution in 1970 Attitude toward united front with Ho Chi Minh Attitude toward armed struggle now Analysis of imperialist country economic conditions
Progressive Labor Party (PLP) Mao sold it out. Against. Against. No middle classes.
Revolutionary Youth Movement I (RYM) Downplayed. First priority. For now. White workers bought off.
RYM II For. For. Against. Exploited are majority.

The conflicts in the SDS can be thought of as how to bring what Comrade Gonzalo constantly refers to as the three magic weapons into play. The struggle against revisionism in the Cultural Revolution relates to the party principle. How to treat Ho was a "united front" question and the question of whether to undertake immediate armed struggle was a question of the People's Army. All countries' parties face these problems in different ways. In addition, U.$. comrades also had to decide what extent the labor aristocracy was and how to handle it.

1. MIM adopted the original pre-1970 position of the PLP supporting Mao and the Cultural Revolution. MIM rejected PLP's analysis of its own conditions in the u$a, because PLP essentially made the middle-classes disappear. We also rejected PLP's complete negation of the united front.
2. MIM accepted Revolutionary Youth Movement I's analysis of economic conditions, specifically the overwhelming parasitism engulfing the "working class" of imperialism. MIM rejected RYM I's international analysis of united front, putting united front too far above the fight against revisionism. RYM I was giving equal credit among Mugabe, Castro, the PLO and Mao--a position possible only by seeing a united front in the Third World above anything else. Where there is no vanguard party yet, like in Amerika then and most of the world today, united front cannot come first.
3. MIM agreed with the RYM II that the original position of the PLP on Mao and the Cultural Revolution was correct. We also agreed with the RYM II, that there must be both a party fight against revisionism and a united front. Like Comrade Gonzalo said in Peru, the trick to our movement is mastering the three magic weapons, the party, united front and the people's army. Each has its role that has to be brought into play. We disagreed with RYM II on its analysis of its own economic conditions.

Today, when we have had the whole wave of capitalist restorations and genuine Maoist parties do not exist in all countries, we have to stress attacks on the old-style revisionism still corroding our international communist movement. In the imperialist countries, part of that is emphasizing how the sugar-coated bullet played its role, not just spies and cops. At the same time, we have to continue with some united front.

Perhaps even more important than these observations about the political maturity of SDS into recognizable factions is some of the practical facts of life of the SDS. One, students have to realize that it may be easier to be revolutionary in college when thousands of other students are nearby, at least some of which are wondering about the same things. Instead of putting all their energy into denouncing other students who do not share their views, student revolutionaries should think hard about the future, how they are going to sustain their revolutionary politics after college. SDS did not sustain itself. The parties formed out of its midst are pitiful in comparison to the original SDS in size and energy. Two, as SDS proves, trying to evade struggles over principle can at most put off a split a couple years. Rather than putting off struggles over profound questions in the name of a false unity, students should fight as hard as they can for everyone to advance their thinking as much as possible and hope that the most correct position garners the most supporters.

When MIM predecessors were active in the anti-apartheid movement at Harvard University, the SDS posters were still up in the offices we used. We were able to piece together some of the relics of the movement ourselves, and former SDS organizers worked with us from the very beginning by attending our events and tabling for their causes, but we invite others to help us turn our SDS web page into a complete archive of history and analysis. In this regard, we do not expect all material in this archive to have the hard-edge Maoism of the vast majority of the late SDS. We do not seek to suppress the non-Maoist aspects of the SDS history. Along these lines, we can expect that MIM will eventually review all the books connected to SDS already existing. If anyone would like to put forward memories of SDS as testimonials for our archive, we welcome them. Obviously we are interested in the questions of sustaining revolutionary commitment and how people thought they were going to preserve unity and their success or failure, but other topics are welcome.