Doug Seaton

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Doug Seaton

Princeton radical transformed

One of Jimmy Tarlau’s closest friends at Princeton was Doug Seaton ’69. Seaton was quickly caught up in campus politics, becoming chairman of Students for a Democratic Society and the Draft Resisters Union. For a time, he rode the enlistment buses ferrying New Jersey kids to Fort Dix, some 20 miles south of Princeton, hoping to stop them from signing up. He was punched a number of times for his trouble. In the Nassau Herald he wrote, “Upon graduation, Doug plans to struggle for socialism and eventually hopes to win the struggle.”

But that’s not what happened. Seaton has undergone something of an apostasy. Now a lawyer in Minneapolis, he often represents small businesses being sued by workers. He looks back at his days as a campus radical with good-natured amusement. How does he explain the change? “The war started to fade away and didn’t occupy so much space in everyone’s thinking. It had its own tunnel vision,” says Seaton. At Princeton, he says, “I didn’t have any connection to the economy or to my hometown. I was very isolated and very much in this cocoon world of the New Left.” His turnaround accelerated when members of SDS, including Kathie Boudin, with whom he had worked during summers back home in Cleveland, turned to violence. Since then, Seaton says, he has been “progressively circling back” and is now active in Republican politics in Minnesota — where, he says, “I encounter my old self all the time.” [1]


  1. [ 23, 2005: Features, A war still with them By Merrell Noden ’78