Tom Hayden, famed anti-Vietnam war activist, dies aged 76

Famed American anti-war activist Tom Hayden has died aged 76. Hayden died in his home in Santa Monica “after a lengthy illness”. He was a member of the “Chicago seven” charged with conspiracy over anti-Vietnam war protests in 1968 and eventually acquitted.

  • Hayden later served in the California state assembly and Senate for nearly two decades. He was married to actress Jane Fonda between 1973 and 1990.
  • Born in Michigan in 1939, he became an activist during his time at the University of Michigan, where he helped to found Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).
  • In 1968, Mr Hayden was part of a controversial anti-war demonstration in Chicago, timed to coincide with the Democratic National Convention.
  • The protest turned violent, with eight people – including Mr Hayden – charged with conspiracy and crossing state lines to incite a riot.
  • He also became a prolific writer of books and essays, and served as a columnist for several outlets. Fifty years after he wrote the Port Huron statement, about a generation “looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit”, he wrote that the concentration of wealth in the hands of the elite was a “mountain untouched” .
  • Writing in The Guardian in 2012, he called the Occupy Wall Street protests a “new force in the world”. “The Occupy movement, and kindred spirits from the Middle East to China, is driven by young people who feel unrepresented by the institutions, disenfranchised economically, and threatened by an environmental catastrophe,” he said.
  • “The direct action movement of the early 1960s was similar in nature.” Hayden married actress Barbara Williams in 1993, and had a son, Liam. Tributes to the iconic protester-turned-politician emerged on social media following his death.