Tom Hayden, the former California state assemblyman and senator, author, lifelong activist, and Nation editorial board member, died in Santa Monica on October 23, 2016.
He was the author of more than 20 books, including most recently Hell No: The Forgotten Power of the Vietnam Peace Movement (Yale) and Listen, Yankee! Why Cuba Matters (Seven Stories). He lectured and taught at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, UCLA Labor Studies, and Scripps, Occidental, and Pitzer Colleges. During 18 years in the California Legislature, he chaired committees on labor, environment, and higher education, and authored bills creating the first Central American Studies program (at Cal State LA), the largest national resources bond in US history, back wages for sweatshop workers, trigger locks on handguns, criminal penalties for domestic violence, college savings trusts, a ban on carcinogens reaching drinking water, tripling of tobacco taxes, requirements for renewable energy set-asides, tattoo removal, Holocaust survivors insurance claims, and World War II slave labor compensation. He authored anti-sweatshop ordinances for the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Hayden spent over 50 years in social movements, beginning with the Freedom Rides of 1960, the founding of Students for a Democratic Society in 1962, community organizing in Newark 1964-68, leadership in the anti-war movement 1968-75, and participation in the peace and justice movements, 2000-2015. He was Governor Jerry Brown’s first solar energy commissioner (1979) and played a leading role in forging a model green energy economy in California.
The Cuban people are beginning a new chapter in what José Martí called ‘‘our America.’’