Richard Flacks

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Dick Flacks

Richard (Dick} Flacks is a Southern California academic and socialist activist. He recently retired as professor of sociology at UC Santa Barbara. He and his wife Mickey Flacks have been community activists in Santa Barbara for nearly forty years.

He is the father of Marc Flacks.

SDS founder

Dick Flacks was founder of Students for a Democratic Society in the early 1960s.[1]

DSA member

In 1990 Richard Flacks was named as a member of Democratic Socialists of America, in Democratic Left, Jan./Feb. 1990, page 13.


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In 1995 Marcy Darnovsky, Barbara Epstein and Richard Flacks edited the book "Cultural Politics and Social Movements"

Bridging the worlds of activism and academia-social movement theory informed with the real experiences of activists-this volume of accessible essays brings together insights from European New Social Movement theorists, U.S. scholars of social movements, and activists involved in social movements from the 1960s to the 1990s.

Contributors included : Alice Echols, Barbara Epstein, Richard Cloward, Marcy Darnovsky, Jeffrey Escoffier, Ilene Rose Feinman, Richard Flacks, Cynthia Hamilton, Allen Hunter, L. A. Kauffman, Rebecca E. Klatch, Margit Mayer, Alberto Melucci, Bronislaw Misztal, Osha Neumann, Frances Fox Piven, Craig Reinarman, Roland Roth, Arlene Stein, Mindy Spatt, Andrew Szasz, Noel Sturgeon and Howard Winant.[2]

Richard Flacks, is also the author of Beyond the Barricades: The ’60s Generation Grows Up (1989); Making History: The American Left and the American Mind (1988), and many articles on social movements, left culture and strategy.

Students for a Democratic Society

Dick Flacks grew up in New York, joined Students for a Democratic Society in 1962[3]while at the University of Michigan, and continued SDS and anti-war activities when he began teaching at the University of Chicago in 1964.

"Who Asked You" Election Advertisement

In April 1968, Richard Flacks signed an Advertisement in the Hyde Park-Kenwood Voices as a committee member of an as yet un-named organization led by Ruth Adams, Timuel Black, Rev. E. Spencer Parsons, Al Verri and Rabbi Jacob Weinstein asking the question, "What can you do to get a real choice for president in 1968?"[4]

Tribute to Michael Harrington


In September 1989 Derek Shearer, Dolores Huerta, Dick Flacks, Harold Meyerson, Penny Schantz, paid tribute to the late Michael Harrington, at a Democratic Socialists of America event in Los Angeles.

Campaign for America's Future

In 1996 Dick Flacks, UC, Santa Barbara was one of the original 130 founders of Campaign for America's Future.[5]

Open letter to Andy Stern

On May 1 2008, Richard Flacks, of the University of California, Santa Barbara signed an open letter to SEIU president Andy Stern in protest at SEIU move to force its local United Healthcare Workers into trusteeship.

"We are writing to express our deep concern about SEIU's threatened trusteeship over its third largest local, United Healthcare Workers (UHW). We believe that there must always be room within organized labor for legitimate and principled dissent, if our movement is to survive and grow. Putting UHW under trusteeship would send a very troubling message and be viewed, by many, as a sign that internal democracy is not valued or tolerated within SEIU. In our view, this would have negative consequences for the workers directly affected, the SEIU itself, and the labor movement as a whole. We strongly urge you to avoid such a tragedy."

Progressives for Obama

In 2009 Dick Flacks Santa Barbara County Action Network was listed as a signer of the Progressives for Obama website.[6]


  1. DEMOCRATIC: LEFT MAY-JUNE 1990. page 12
  2. Temple University website: Cultural Politics and Social Movements (accessed on Jan. 19, 2010)
  4. Hyde Park-Kenwood Voices, April 1968
  5. CAF Co-Founders
  6. Progressives for Obama