S.D.S. by Alan Adelson


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A Wall Street journalist sets out to get the story on SDS and finds that in 1971 the group seeks to ""eradicate hatred between the races. . . wars. . . inequities and the degradation of women,"" that its members are not potheads or terrorists and they have a strong antipathy to the Weathermen, their opponents in the 1969 convention which split the old SDS. However, the shrunken SDS of today, dominated by the Progressive Labor Party, is not explicitly distinguished from the umbrella-organization SDS of the peak years 1967-68. Adelson seems to have attended a lot of SDS meetings during 1969 and possibly 1970; the dialogue for the most part has a distinctly authentic ring. But the chaotic, scatological, emotional, super-militant meetings of the post-split SDS are simply given descriptive treatment, and the issues from campus-worker rights to anti-imperialism around which activity revolves are lost in both the exotic language and Adelson's flitting journalistic medium. The 1969 split itself in all its carnival aspects is accurately described, but Adelson's contention that SDS is ""still alive"" is an exaggeration colored, perhaps, by wishful thinking: he says if he were young again he would want to join. But alas, Virginia, there is no SDS inasmuch as there is no longer the kind of student movement it swam in; and the death rattles of the post-split residue do not represent the whole history of SDS, which in any case requires sophisticated concepts, political analysis, and a locus in national developments as a whole.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1971
Publisher: Scribners