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      Fifty Years of Participatory Democracy, From Port Huron to Occupy Wall Street

      The first principle of solidarity declared by Occupy Wall Street on September 17, 2011 called for “direct and transparent participatory democracy,” recalling the central aim of the 1962 Port Huron Statement, the founding document of Students for a Democratic Society, issued fifty years earlier. All across the world this year, millions of people have demanded direct participation in the decisions affecting their lives.

      The continuing importance of participatory democracy, its global appearance this year, and its enhanced prospects in the Facebook era, will be the focus of many talks, writings and meetings during this fiftieth anniversary year of the Port Huron Statement.

      • At UCLA, Tom Hayden will teach a ten-week course on participatory democracy movements, beginning January 10, including a student-organized conference on Port Huron and student-led movements for democracy and workers’ rights, on March 6;

      • At UC Santa Barbara, a two-day conference on the legacy of Port Huron is planned for February 2-3;

      • MIT will sponsor a Port Huron conference on April 11;

      • NYU is hosting an inter-generational dialogue on participatory democracy, April 12-13;

      • The Los Angeles Times Book Festival will hold a panel on April 21;

      • A University of Wisconsin/Madison conference is being planned for spring 2012;

      • The University of Michigan will hold a three-day conference in November.

      • The Nation will publish a special section on Port Huron in February, and co-host many of the year’s forums;

      • The Miami Book Festival and Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, already featured panels in November (with NYU historian Robby Cohen, Port Huron Statement author Tom Hayden, SDS-SNCC activists Martha Prescod Noonan and sociologist Bob Ross, a Port Huron participant).

      Contact the PJRC for further information on how you can participate in these events, pass the word on developments in your region, and strengthen participatory democracy at home and abroad.

      Innovative plans are afoot to offer the classes and conferences online to undocumented students in the immigrant rights movement for university credit. Check this page often for updates and announcements of other creative initiatives as they unfold.

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