A 65-year-old Californian who was a major player in the anti-war movement during the Vietnam era is in Iowa today, meeting with activists who hope to form what they call a “progressive” grassroots movement in Iowa. Tom Hayden says strong grassroots organizing is important. Hayden says it combats voter apathy. He says without grassroots activism, there’s no way to off-set the power of corporations and the power of the status quo. Hayden says every four years Iowa activists get to help set the national debate since the state hosts the kick-off event of the presidential campaign, and that’s one reason he’s here. Hayden contends the 2004 presidential race looks a lot like the 1968 election when a grassroots movement ended in a sitting President deciding against seeking reelection. Hayden says unless the U.S. goes to war again before the next election, there’ll be a growing “dump Bush” movement because of the state of the nation’s economy. Hayden, who lives in L.A., served in the California legislature from 1983 to 1999, and was once married to actress Jane Fonda. He was a leader of student and civil rights groups in the ’60s. Hayden says the country is ripe for change, and President Bush should be worried. Hayden says there’s a “growing rage” and “irrational fear and loathing” of what would happen during a second Bush term. About 130 Iowans who label themselves “progressives” began meeting at Drake yesterday to plot a way to build a coalition of liberal groups that could form a new voting majority. The meeting concludes later today.
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