A source has advised that the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), as presently regarded, came into being at a founding convention held June, 1962, at Port Huron, Michigan. From an initial posture of "participatory democracy" the line of the national leadership has revealed a growing Marxist-Leninist adherence which currently calls for the building of a revolutionary youth movement. Concurrently, the program of SDS has evolved from civil rights struggles to an anti-Vietnam war stance to an advocacy of a militant anti-imperialist position. China, Vietnam and Cuba are regarded as the leaders of worldwide struggles against United States imperialism whereas the Soviet Union is held to be revisionist and also imperialist.
At the June, 1969, SDS National Convention, Progressive Labor Party (PLP) forces in the organization were expelled. As a result, the National Office (NO) group maintained its National Headquarters at 1608 West Madison Street, Chicago, and the PLP faction set up headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This headquarters subsequently moved to Boston. Each group selected its own national officers, which include three national secretaries and a National Interim Committee of eight. Both the NO forces and the PLP forces claim to be the true SDS. Both groups also print their versions of "New Left Notes" which sets forth the line and the program of the particular fashion. The NO version of "New Left Notes" was recently printed under the title "The Fire Next Time" to achieve a broader mass appeal.
Two major factions have developed internally within the NO group, namely, the Weaterhman or Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM) I faction, and the RYM II faction. Weatherman is action-oriented upholding Castro's position that the duty of revolutionaries is to make revolution. Weatherman is regarded by RYM II as an adventuristic, elitist faction which denies the historical role of the working class as the base for revolution. RYM II maintains that revolution, although desired, is not possible under present conditions, hence emphasizes organizing and raising the political consciousness of the working class upon whom they feel successful revolution depends. Although disclaiming control and domination by the Communist Party, USA, leaders in these two factions have in the past proclaimed themselves to be communists and to follow the precepts of a Marxist-Leninist philosophy, along pro-Chinese communist lines.
A [...] source has advised that the PLP faction which is more commonly known as the Worker Student Alliance is dominated and controlled by members of the PLP, who are required to identify themselves with the pro-Chinese Marxist-Leninist philosophy of the PLP. They advocate that an alliance between workers and students is vital to the bringing about of a revolution in the United States.
SDS regions and university and college chapters, although operating under the outlines of the SDS National Constitution, are autonomous in nature and free to carry out independent policy reflective of local conditions. Because of this autonomy internal struggles reflecting the major factional interests of SDS have occurred at the chapter level since the beginning of the 1969-70 school year.