Capitol Alert

Tom Hayden: Peace activist, lawmaker, teacher, author

Tom Hayden greets supporters Tuesday, June 5, 2001, at his Los Angeles headquarters while running for the City Council.
Tom Hayden greets supporters Tuesday, June 5, 2001, at his Los Angeles headquarters while running for the City Council. Associated Press file

Tom Hayden, peace activist, member of the Chicago Seven tried after the 1968 Democratic National Convention riots and a former California lawmaker, died at age 76 Sunday in Santa Monica after a long illness. “Tom took up causes that others avoided. He had a real sense of the underdog and was willing to do battle no matter what the odds,” Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday.

Here are some highlights of Hayden’s life:

1939 – Born in Detroit.

1962 – Became president of the Students for Democratic Society, which he had helped form and for which he wrote the “Port Huron Statement,” a call for “participatory democracy” and a more robust student movement on college campuses.

Early ’60s – Served as a “freedom rider” civil rights activist in the South.

1965 – Began anti-war travels to North Vietnam and Cambodia during the Vietnam War.

1967 – Wrote “Rebellion in Newark: Official Violence and Ghetto Response.”

1968 – Helped to lead anti-war protests in the streets of Chicago at the Democratic National Convention. He, Abbie Hoffman and others in the Chicago Seven were later convicted of crossing state lines to incite a riot. The convictions were reversed on appeal.

1973 – Married actress Jane Fonda, with whom he had traveled in Southeast Asia. Their son, Troy Garity, was born.

1976 – Challenged U.S. Sen. John Tunney in the California Democratic primary election but lost 1.7 million votes to 1.2 million.

1976 – Formed the Campaign for Economic Democracy, a California-based grass-roots political organization to promote environmental policies and provide left-wing influence in the Democratic Party by backing several like-minded candidates for state and local office.

1982 – Elected to the California Assembly from the Santa Monica-based 44th District.

1984-85 – Survived attempts by Republican lawmakers to have him removed from office because of his anti-war activities in the ’60s.

1989 – Filed for divorce from Fonda.

1992 – Elected to the state Senate from the Santa Monica-based 23rd District.

1993 – Married Canadian actress Barbara Williams near the site of a logging blockade outside Tofino, British Columbia.

1994 – Lost bid for governor in the Democratic primary to Kathleen Brown.

1997 – Lost bid for mayor of Los Angeles to Richard Riordan.

2000 – Although eligible to run for the Assembly, left the Legislature after his Senate eligibility expired under term limits, having served 16 of his 18 years under Republican governors who stymied much of his liberal legislative agenda. In a letter to constituents, he said his leaving was “not a retreat from the struggle for justice, but a transition.”

2001 – Lost bid for the Los Angeles City Council.

2002-16 – Spoke out against various wars, taught at UCLA and other Southern California colleges and wrote 12 of his 20 books, including “Listen Yankee! Why Cuba Matters” (2015) and “The Long Sixties: From 1960 to Barack Obama” (2009).

2016 – Died in Santa Monica at age 76 after a long illness.

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