Synopses & Reviews
During the late 1960s, when students all over American were practicing direct democracy on campus by waging massive student strikes and taking over their university buildings, the three essays collected here for the first time were among the most widely read pieces of student radical literature. Their author, Carl Davidson, was national vice-president and inter-organizational secretary of the SDS. Starting from the sociologists' conclusion that modern universities are "knowledge factories" designed to serve the Military Industrial Complex, Davidson, in these essays, explored various analogies and connections between students and the working class and outlined a theory of student syndicalism that characterized a critical phase in the development of SDS. Drawing not only on classical Marxism but also on IWW and anarcho-syndicalist ideas as well as on newer revolutionary currents such as the Dutch Provos and French Situationists, these writings were among the most original and influential documents of the American New Left in its dynamic first decade, and remain an unexcelled "how-to" manual for insurgent students seeking to gain some measure of control over their lives. In a new afterward, the author situates the rise of student syndicalism in its historic context, while reflecting on the meaning of these writings for today.