Watching the deeply felt protests of Bernie Sander’s supporters with their visceral frustration with the Democratic party establishment and their disappointment with the party not adopting a more progressive platform, the internal divisiveness is palpable.
On Twitter Sanders tweeted “Young people are the future of America and they want a role in shaping that future.”
Over 45 years ago there was another political revolution, of activists voicing their protests, challenging Democratic leaders and their delegates to break with the past, create changes and remake the battered US political system.
The SDS who by 1972 had aligned with Workers Student Alliance, focused on fighting racism and supporting workers struggles and strikes. Reading their manifesto it’s hard not to hear future echoes of contemporary concerns from Black Lives Matters, to immigration.
Like the protestors in Chicago 1968, young protesters in 1972 were united behind an encompassing cause: ending the long war in Vietnam and challenging Democratic Party leaders.
The democratic party torn by dissension and disunity from the 1968 convention had been left shell-shocked after the violence. The nomination of Hubert Humphrey, perceived heir to Johnson’s war policies, compounded the sense of betrayal among those who opposed the war.
The bosses, not the people who voted in the primaries, had won.
In 1972 the SDS demonstrated at the Democratic National Convention in Miami against Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern retreating from his original stronger campaign positions against the Vietnam War. Several hundred SDS members staged a sit in at the Doral Hotel as McGovern and his staff met upstairs with protesting members of grassroots McGovern volunteers and sympathizers who were angry over the same issue.