Student Anti War Movement

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The student anti-war movement began in the early 1960s and was initially identified as the ‘Student League for Industrial democracy (SLID). It was later changed to ‘Students for a democratic society’ this was due to the phrase being too narrow and labour orientated, making it difficult to recruit students. The SDS' founding manifesto, the Port Huron Statement (PHS) is the product of several months’ worth of discussion, writing, and revising by the SDS’ founders. The SDS was the largest -war protests and was very much dominated by the student movement. SDS flourished in the student’s anti-war group at the time and in the mid to late 1960’s it was known for its activism against the Vietnam War. As the war escalated huge numbers of Americans were required as well as renewed draft recruitment. Acknowledging this, the SDS immediately increased its activity. By 1966 the protests where far more pronounced and far reaching. The University of Berkeley in California saw the most militant protests. The government did what it could to cease Student protests. The FBI were brought in under the direction of J Edgar Hoover, the FBI’s approach was to defend national security in the face of dangerous radical groups. The SDS was referred to as the ‘new left’ the FBI’s wanted to terminate the activity of the students. A counter intelligence programme was set up called COINTELPRO- its aim was to infiltrate local SDS branches and to encourage factionalism and defections, reporting back to headquarters on any relevant information. The method favoured by the FBI was later rejected as this belief intercepted the idea of ‘freedom of speech’ and the ‘rights of association.’ Senator Frank Church writing in the Final Report of Senate church committee 1976 commented on the behaviour displayed by the programme ‘The Bureau conducted a sophisticated vigilante operation aimed squarely at preventing the exercise of first Amendment rights of speech association, on the theory that preventing the...
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