Acid Heroes

October 24, 2016

Tom Hayden: 1939-2016

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Believe it or not, when I first moved out to California in 1976, age 19, I actually went door-to-door as a volunteer canvassing for Tom Hayden. I believe he was running for State Senator (he lost).

It was me and my radical activist sister and her boyfriend and a bunch of other budding young idealists. I jokingly referred to our organization as Young Zealots for Hayden.

You ever look back at your youthful self and it’s like looking at a completely different person?

 

My favorite Tom Hayden story:

In 1969 during the People’s Park riots Hayden was holed up somewhere in Berkeley in an underground bunker, man, writing some kind of revolutionary manifesto for The People. He had been trying to enlist the Black Panthers as kind of a guerrilla army to protect the hippies from the pigs. And he was trying to talk the Panthers into shooting down the police helicopters that kept hovering over the Park.

One of the Panther leaders — I think it might have been Bobby Seale — said to Hayden: “That’s just like you, Tom. Get a nigger to pull the trigger.”

(story from DESTRUCTIVE GENERATION by Horowitz & Collier)

 

My second favorite Tom Hayden story:

After the People’s Park riots, Hayden got a big house in Berkeley and started his own political commune. With him as the leader, natch.

Things were going great. Until the other members of the Collective concluded Hayden was one of them evil White Male Oppressors. And they kicked him out of his own commune.

Hayden slunk back down to Los Angeles. And, after licking his wounds, embarked on his next career as a professional politician.

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