An Open Letter to the New New Left From the Old New Left
Now it is time for all those who yearn for a more equal and just social order to face facts.
By Former leaders of the Students for a Democratic Society. April 16, 2020.
On April 13, 2020, Senator Bernie Sanders urged his supporters to vote for the presumptive Democratic nominee, former vice president Joe Biden. Writing as founders and veterans of the leading New Left organization of the 1960s, Students for a Democratic Society, we welcome Bernie’s wise choice—but we are gravely concerned that some of his supporters, including the leadership of Democratic Socialists of America, refuse to support Biden, whom they see as a representative of Wall Street capital. Some of us are DSA members, but do not believe their position is consistent with a long-range vision of democracy, justice, and human survival....
We salute Bernie Sanders and our friends and comrades in DSA and in the diverse movements for social justice and environmental sanity that enabled them to rise. We look forward to joining together to build on and defend our accomplishments. And now we plead with all: Get together, beat Trump, and fight for democracy—precious, fragile, worth keeping.
The signers of this letter were founders, officers, and activists in Students for a Democratic Society between 1960 and 1969.
Signers included Mike James.
Joe Chabot was ERAP’s first organizer in Chicago. Chabot opened the first JOIN office just a few doors away from the Unemployment Compensation Office on North Kedzie Avenue. With co-organizer Dan Max, one JOIN organizer would leaflet the UCO and the other would stay behind to talk with workers who visited in response to the leaflet. In the first week, roughly one hundred people came into the JOIN office. According to an internal ERAP paper, about 80 unemployed people took on a regular role in JOIN with about ten to fifteen assuming leadership roles.
After less than a year, however, Chabot seemed defeated by one of ERAP’s first lessons—that change would be painfully slow, at least at first. Chabot left and JOIN moved out of the Downtown Loop. The chapter was permanently relocated to the Uptown neighborhood, focusing attention on a wider range of pressing, and therefore actionable, community issues: welfare, housing conditions, unemployment and police brutality. As more student organizers began to arrive in Chicago, JOIN also welcomed an influx of community members who became a steady force in the organization. From Uptown, Peggy Terry, Dovie Coleman and her niece Dovie Thurman, Dorothy Perez, Dominga Alcantar, Mary Hockenberry and Candy Hockenberry, Virginia Bowers, Terry’s son Doug Youngblood, Junebug Boykin and Bobby McGinness were joined by SDS organizers Richie Rothstein and Vivian Rothstein, Mike James, Diane Fager, Pat Sturgis, Steve Goldsmith, Todd Gitlin and Nancy Hollander, among others from both the community and the student movement
On December 4, 2005 Brooke Anderson arrived at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland, just a few blocks away from her new home in Oakland, California, to see Barry Romo on a panel convened by AK Press and KPFA. Having recently moved from Champaign, Illinois and missing my friends, I reveled in the idea of Barry and VVAW coming to Oakland, even if only for the evening.
The panel was called "The Future of Struggle: Movement Veterans Discuss Yesterday's Lessons for Today." The idea was to have key figures from various radical movements discuss lessons learned over the last four decades of organizing, how these lessons could be applied to work being done today, and how to move forward.
In addition to Barry Romo, the panel featured Kathleen Cleaver (Black Panther Party), Russell Means (American Indian Movement), Mike James (Students for a Democratic Society and Rising Up Angry), Elizabeth Martinez (Chicana activist and author), Ward Churchill (American Indian Movement), Bo Brown (George Jackson Brigade) and a former member of I Wor Kuen. 
Elliott Adams, Senia Barragan (Student Representative), David Barsamian, Noam Chomsky, Carl Davidson, Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Fletcher Jr, Bert Garskof, David Graeber, Tom Hayden, Gerald Horne, Mike James, Robin D G Kelley, Mike Klonsky, Ethelbert Miller, Charlene Mitchell, Michael Rossman, Mark Rudd, Howard Zinn.
The business portion of the meeting followed with each board nominee introducing themselves to the conference. The board, a very diverse group, was voted in by acclamation... Board nominees where were not able to attend the conference were included in the appointment by acclamation. The list included Elliott Adams, Panama Vicente Alba, Tariq Ali, Stanley Aronowitz, David Barsamian, Rosalyn Baxandall, John Bracey, Jr., John Brittain, Robb Burlage, Noam Chomsky, Jayne Cortez, Carl Davidson, Angela Davis, Bernardine Dohrn, Barbara Epstein, Gustavo Esteva, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Stephen Fleischman, Bill Fletcher Jr, Tom Hayden, Gerald Horne, Florence Howe, Mike James, Robin D G Kelley, Alice Kessler Harris, Rashid Khalidi, Mike Klonsky, Betita Martinez, Ethelbert Miller, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Barbara Ransby, Patricia Rose, Michael Rossman, Studs Terkel, Charlene Teters, Jerry Tucker, Immanuel Wallerstein, Cornel West, Leonard Weinglass and Howard Zinn.
Mike James left, Franklin Rosemont, Mike Klonsky, Muhammad Ahmad
Open Letter to Obama on Iran
"Support Bill Ayers"
In October 2008, several thousand college professors, students and academic staff signed a statement Support Bill Ayers in solidarity with former Weather Underground Organization terrorist Bill Ayers.
In the run up to the U.S. presidential elections, Ayers had come under considerable media scrutiny, sparked by his relationship to presidential candidate Barack Obama.
- We write to support our colleague Professor William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who is currently under determined and sustained political attack...
- We, the undersigned, stand on the side of education as an enterprise devoted to human inquiry, enlightenment, and liberation. We oppose the demonization of Professor William Ayers.
Progressives for Obama
- The Movement February 1968 Vol. 4 Number 2 page 3
- Area Chicago website: Uptown’s JOIN Community Union
- The Future of Struggle By Brooke Anderson
- Open Letter to Obama on Iran
- Liberal Education website: Bill Ayers supporters
- Progressives for Obama