Category: In Memoriam
In Memoriam

Ali Mustafa

I will never forget when I first met Ali Mustafa. It was September 2012, during my first year at York and just before I joined Students Against Israeli Apartheid (Ali was a former member), where he did a talk on his visit to Egypt. After he was done, he asked the audience for comments. Seeing no takers, I chimed in. Not knowing who I was, he was very impressed with my comments, and that was the beginning of our friendship.

Steve Kindred: Irrepressible American Radical, 1944-2013

Steve Kindred, an irrepressible American radical— student and antiwar activist, socialist, and labor organizer—died of cancer on December 9, 2013 in New York City at the age of 69.

Doug Ireland, 1946-2013

Doug Ireland, radical journalist, blogger, passionate human rights and queer[1] activist, and relentless scourge of the LGBT establishment, died in his East Village home on Oct. 26. Doug had lived with chronic pain for many years, suffering from diabetes, kidney disease, sciatica and the debilitating effects of childhood polio. In recent years he was so ill that he was virtually confined to his apartment. Towards the end, even writing, his calling, had become extremely difficult.

Remembering Marshall Berman

Marshall BermanThe death of Marshall Berman—City University of New York political theory professor, author of books including the seminal All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: The Experience of Modernity, Dissent editorial board member, and one-time professor of mine—caught me quite by surprise, as I’m sure it did many.  I’d last seen him in person at a Dissent holiday party and last talked to him on the phone some months ago.  Alth

Turkey: A De Facto End to the Hegemony of the Coup of September 12, 1980

     Maybe we are not organized, but we are neither apolitical nor without ideology. We were only afraid, because we are the daughters and sons of a generation, killed and tortured to death just before and after the military coup of September 12, 1980 in Turkey. But, we have now learned that cowards die many times before their deaths. We went beyond the fear threshold and achieved the collective confidence that one smells in the air.

NY Times Obituary for Michael Wreszin, New Politics contributor

In a surprisingly warm and positive obituary, the New York Times noted the death of Michael Wreszin in August of this year. The obit says of Wrezin’s writings, “His subjects were cosmopolitan, humanist thinkers who saw a growing militarism in American political culture but whose scrupulous habits of mind could make them misfits in the ideological camps they joined.” Mike Wreszin was a frequent contributor to New Politics. We miss him already.

Learning From David Montgomery: Worker, Historian, Activist

On December 4, 2011, the labor movement, the left, the academy, and the historical profession lost a leader and friend.

Derrick Bell: Fighting Losing Battles

When Derrick Bell published Gospel Choirs in 1996, he sent me a copy with this inscription: "Our job is to turn out the truth. God’s help is needed to get the truth accepted." This epigrammatic note — principled resolve, on the one hand, and pessimism born of despair, on the other — encapsulated the two sides of Bell’s world view.

Carl Oglesby: New Left Intellectual

     Carl Oglesby, the eloquent, bespectacled former president of the original Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) of the 1960s, died Tuesday, September 13, 2011, at his home in New Jersey. He was 76, and had been suffering from lung cancer. Oglesby was one of the New Left’s most articulate spokespersons, a fierce, scholarly critic of the Vietnam War and an insightful student of how the U.S. ruling class functioned.

The Existential Robert Fitch

An overflow crowd at New York’s Brecht Forum on Sept. 18 commemorated the life of the late journalist, author, scholar, educator, activist, union organizer and frequent New Politics contributor Bob Fitch, who died in March after complications from a fall. Among the speakers were Bertell Ollman, Steve Bronner, Doug Henwood, Christian Parenti, Jonathan Fitch and NP‘s Michael Hirsch. Below are Hirsch’s remarks.

The Essential Bob Fitch

Of all the profiles written about Bob Fitch during his lifetime—in Forbes Magazine, Monthly Labor Review, etc.—two of the best were penned by student journalists. In typical Fitch fashion, he made time for the students, sharing his experiences, insights and passions. Jessica Johnson met Fitch while interning for the late veteran labor journalist Martin Fishgold, a friend of Fitch and his fierce partisan.

A Personal and Political Tribute to Phyllis Jacobson

IT’S A STAPLE of American comedians to make fun of in-laws in general and mothers-in-law in particular. But, in my case and with no offense to Michael, I could have married my husband simply for his parents.

Stephen Jay Gould: An Appreciation

Stephen Jay Gould, the palaeontologist and science writer who died last year, wrote — brilliantly — on a bewildering series of subjects, but he is perhaps best known for his contribution to four: general evolutionary theory; the sociobiology debate; the relationship between science and religion; and the study (or critique of it) of intelligence testing.

Phyllis Jacobson, 1922-2010

The editorial board of New Politics is very sad to report the death of Phyllis Jacobson, co-founder and long-time co-editor of the journal. Phyllis died on March 2, 2010, after suffering a devastating stroke close to ten years ago. We are deeply indebted to Phyllis and her late husband Julie for tirelessly holding high the banner of radical, democratic socialism and independent politics. 

For Phyllis Jacobson, A Comrade

Those of us who knew Phyllis Jacobson and her husband Julie will realize that her death brings to a close a long and rich chapter in the history of the revolutionary and democratic socialist left in the US. She was the last of a small but heroic generation. Starting with the YPSL Fourth International, the youth section of the Socialist Party that split under Trotskyist leadership to set up the Socialist Workers Party in 1938 she and Julie ended up in the Workers Party (later the Independent Socialist League) when it was formed in 1940.

Condolence Statement

We would like to send our condolences to the family, friends and comrades of Phyllis Jacobson. As a founding editor of New Politics, Phyllis played a crucial role in advocating the core principles of "socialism from below," including opposition to Stalinism and support for independent working-class political action. Her commitment to internationalism and solidarity was genuine and heartfelt. Without any hesitation, she opened the pages of New Politics to us when we organized campaigns to defend socialists in Greece and South Korea who faced government persecution.

Good Bye, Phyllis

I met Phyllis and Julie in September of 1961. I had just graduated from the University of Chicago where I had joined the YPSL, and was passing through New York on my way to London. I met them at Julie’s machine shop in Great Jones Street in the East Village and they took me out for lunch at the corner diner on Lafayette and Great Jones. There they told me that the first issue of New Politics had just come out, and as the good and experienced organizers they were, they immediately enrolled me as their London distributor.

A Robust Voice for Such a Diminutive Person

The image of Phyllis that remains most salient, and the one I most miss, would begin with a phone call. I would answer with a lugubrious “hello.” And from the other end, I would hear a buoyant “HIYA, STEVE, this is PHYLLIS.” A robust voice for such a diminutive person. And a twang that seemed more Texan than Bronx.

In Tribute to Phyllis Jacobson

Julie and Phyllis Jacobson launched New Politics in the early 1960s, when they saw the absence of a voice for authentic left-socialist thought following the demise of the Independent Socialist current of the previous period. Ironically, although it was a time of reborn activism for civil rights, peace and what we now call “global justice,” the movement for a socialist politics fiercely independent of Washington, Moscow and Beijing had not organizationally survived to see it.

Phyllis Jacobson: An Appreciation

Phyllis Jacobson, who died after a protracted illness on March 2 — just shy of her 88th birthday — was the dynamic force behind a remarkable political and intellectual partnership of shared passion that left an indelible imprint on three generations of twentieth century American radicalism.

A Personal and Political Tribute to Phyllis

IT’S A STAPLE of American comedians to make fun of in-laws in general and mothers-in-law in particular. But, in my case and with no offense to Michael, I could have married my husband simply for his parents.

Top