Tom Hayden

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(activist, politician)
Tom Hayden.jpg
BornThomas Emmet Hayden
December 11, 1939
Royal Oak, Michigan, U.S.
DiedOctober 23, 2016 (Age 76)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
ChildrenTroy Garity
Spouse • Sandra Cason
• Jane Fonda
• Barbara Williams
PartyDemocratic Party
US New Left activist and politician. Aligned with US foreign policy from a "human rights" angle.

Thomas Emmet Hayden was an American social and political activist[1], author, and politician. Hayden was best known for his role as an anti-war, civil rights, and intellectual activist in the 1960s, authoring the Port Huron Statement and standing trial in the Chicago Seven case.

In later years, he ran for political office numerous times, winning seats in both the California Assembly and California Senate. At the end of his life he was the director of the Peace and Justice Resource Center in Los Angeles County. He was married to Jane Fonda for 17 years, and is the father of actor Troy Garity.


In 1968, Hayden was one of the "Chicago Seven", who were arrested during the violent protests against the Vietnam War at the Democratic Party's nominating convention and were not released until one and a half years later.

From 1982 to 1992 he sat for the Democratic Party in the California House of Representatives, then, from 1992 to 2000, in the California State Senate.[2]

Hayden was the author of 15 books and numerous essays. In his book Street Wars, published in 2004, he drew a conclusion from his many years of work for the pacification and rehabilitation of gang youth. In it, he argues that in a modern form of racism, the term "race" has been replaced by the term "criminal". The racial problem has thus been rhetorically turned into a crime problem. However, the criminality of ethnic minorities is in turn a consequence of the policy, which, through its harsh approach, has stamped those affected as criminals. From the point of view of our economic system, the gang members are a human surplus that people are all too happy to lock away. The prisoners are then allowed to perform modern slave labor.[3]

He was part of the "Crack the CIA" coalition in 1997, after the Gary Webb's exposure of how the CIA supplied the inner city ghettos with crack cocaine. Among its demands were "Dismantle the CIA" and "Stop the media coverup of CIA drug involvement".[4]

The WSWS wrote:

Hayden, while not precisely one of those individuals who is "famous for being famous," acquired a reputation decades ago for radicalism that is undeserved and which has hung about him far too long. In reality, if one examines Hayden’s opinions and actions, he clearly belongs to the moderate flank of the Democratic Party...In relation to Obama’s Afghanistan policy, Hayden enters stage "left" to reinforce the illusions sown by the president and shore up support for the administration. His piece is aimed at smothering the outrage felt by those who believed candidate Obama’s promises in 2008. Hayden’s method of choice is to congratulate antiwar voters and activists on having supposedly forced the current administration’s hand in "quickening" the Afghan withdrawal.[5]

Nicaraguan regime change

The elected Sandinista government has long been a target of US destabilization and attempted regime change.

On June 16th 2008 the Nicaraguan centre-right newspaper El Nuevo Diario published a letter from various well known people calling for the Nicaraguan coalition government, led by the Sandinista FSLN, "not to shut down political freedom and to hold a national dialogue to address the food crisis and the high cost of living in Nicaragua." Cosignatories of the letter included Noam Chomsky, Susan Meiselas, Ariel Dorfman, Salman Rushdie, Eduardo Galeano, Hermann Schulz, Juan Geiman, Brian Willson, Tom Hayden, Bianca Jagger, & Mario Benedetti.[6]

In a criticism of the letter, Toni Solo pointed out:

Any attempt to patronise the signatories of the letter, suggesting maybe they are somehow unable to analyse all this for themselves along with what is happening in Nicaragua would be extremely foolish. They are all very politically sophisticated people, as well able as anyone to research via the Internet and to confirm via personal conversations the nature of the developing destabilisation campaign in Nicaragua of which the MRS is, from the US State Department’s point of view, a vital part...This explains in part how such a short document can come loaded with such a weight of disinformation both explicit and implicit. Nor is it surprising that a group of social democrats and liberals — in the USAmerican sense — should be doing John Negroponte's and Tom Shannon's low intensity war propaganda work and that of US ambassador Paul Trivelli, with his Masters in National Security from the Naval War College.


Hayden was married to actress Jane Fonda from 1973 to 1990; their son Troy Garity was born in 1973. From 1993 until his death, he was married to actress Barbara Williams.

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