Port Huron Statement Analysis

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The 1960’s were full of powerful movements in effort to end oppression, enact change, and encourage America to get involved. One of the groups fighting for equality and democratic participation were the Students for a Democratic Society, or SDS. The SDS wrote a political manifesto where they proposed a system to encourage participation called The Port Huron Statement, or PHS
The Port Huron Statement was written by Tom Hayden and 58 other college students in the SDS, on June 15, 1962. The main purpose of the PHS was to express the dissatisfaction many college students in the 1960’s felt towards college administrators in regards to them telling them how to live their personal lives, to voice their opinions on how the current state of America
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They were taught to that there was “freedom and equality for each individual, government of, by, and for the people” and they really believed this because that was all they’d ever known. But as these young adults started to attend college, they started to realize the fallacies and paradoxes within the American society. The SDS recognized that the problem at hand was that starting values clearly has been “devalued and corrupted” by politicians. Mainstream politicians are apathetic and don’t care to recognize or advocate for the values and rights of minorities. To them, equality only pertained to straight, white men. In his farewell address, Dwight D Eisenhower said that America “must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.” Ironically, minorities in the US were consumed with fear and hate on a daily basis. When constituents recognize the indifference their politicians have towards improving social conditions for minorities, they follow in suit. It was apparent to the SDS that Americans found power in their possessions, prosperity, and privilege, rather than by …show more content…
This particularly affects impoverished Americans because "the poor are politically invisible. It is one of the cruelest ironies...[they] are unable to speak for themselves." Policies are made to be complex so the general public are unable to create an opinion. This is done because these institutions are afraid of change, they see it as threatening and they teach their constituents that desiring change is unrealistic. Americans start to agree with this notion that there are no options or alternatives than what is happening right in this moment and that utopian societies aren’t realistic, so why push towards one? Americans are hindered because they are unable to think for themselves because these policies are so complex, so they remain complacent. To enact change the SDS came up with the PHS to propose a new system called participatory democracy. Participatory democracy means that literally everyone participates in a political democracy, not just apathetic politicians. With everyone having the ability to participate, this cuts out the complex policies because everyone has to end up on the same page.

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