T.O. Weekly 57 (Part 2): Bessemer – Haiti- Letter and Reply- CA Dems – Housing – Brazil – Marc Rich

The ORGANIZER Weekly Newsletter

Issue No. 57 (Part 2) – March 26, 2022

Formatted @ http://www.socialistorganizer.org

Please forward widely.

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• Bessemer Alabama Amazon Workers Continue Struggle to Unionize – by Saladin Muhammad

• The Haitian Immigration Crisis – by Berthony Dupont

• Letter from a Reader and Our Response (“on how to avoid the coming dictatorship”)

• California Democratic Party Votes to Support Vouchers and Charter Schools – by Bradley Wiedmaier

• UAW 2865 Leads Struggle for Housing Justice – by Fernando David Márquez Duarte

• BRAZIL: What Future for the Workers Party? – by Anísio Garcez Homem

• In Memory of Marc Rich: Two More Tributes

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Bessemer Alabama Amazon Workers Continue Struggle to Unionize

By Saladin Muhammad

The second Bessemer Alabama Amazon workers and Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) labor board union vote will be counted starting on March 28th. It comes as a result of the National Labor Relations Board ruling that Amazon’s anti-union actions in the 2021 union campaign were in violation of laws in the National Labor Relations Act.

When looking at the challenges and meaning of the Bessemer Amazon union campaigns, it’s important to have a long view of organizing labor in the South. Transnational corporations like Amazon are attracted to the South because of low wages, anti-union laws, and racist divisions in the working-class.

The 75% Black worker majority at the Bessemer Amazon warehouse in 2021, gave many in the labor and social justice movements a glimmer of hope that the Bessemer workers’ union campaign, amidst the Black Lives Matter climate, might become a spark for organizing labor across the South.

With the technological changes in production and the US and international supply chain, Amazon has emerged as a 21st Century core industry in the US national and global economy. It was prepared to do whatever was necessary to crush the Bessemer Amazon union vote, even if its actions were in violation of the law.

It did not matter that newly elected President Biden released a public press statement expressing support for the right of workers to unionize (even though it did not explicitly endorse the Amazon pro-union campaign and vote). It reflects the growing dominance of corporate power over all levels of US government.

During the last two months leading up to the 2021 Bessemer union vote, national solidarity actions in support of the Bessemer union vote were held in 50 cities and 20 states across the US. These actions were responding to a call for a National Day of Action in Solidarity with the Bessemer Amazon workers’ union vote, made by the Southern Workers Assembly (SWA). The SWA is a network of developing local worker assemblies and industrial and sector unity councils, helping to build an infrastructure for organizing social movement unionism in the South.

Self-organized rank-n-file committees in Amazon warehouses and delivery centers, organizing groups like Amazonians United, and some labor union interested in organizing in Amazon became more visible as the breadth of national solidarity for Bessemer began to show itself. The Queens and Staten Island New York Amazon workers’ independent union initiatives and the Starbucks union campaigns are part of this growing and expanding rank-n-file social movement. 

They are engaging in concerted actions, fighting around issues and winning improvements in working conditions. A recent first multistate walkout took place involving night shift Amazon workers in two delivery stations in New York and one in Maryland, demanding a $3 an hour wage increase.

Several estimates of high Bessemer Amazon worker turnover since the 2021 union vote indicate that nearly half of the 6000 workers eligible to participate in this 2022 union vote are new employees. This makes a mainly union card signing and mobilizing for labor board votes organizing approach more difficult, especially when it is a single workplace campaign and against a behemoth corporation like Amazon, the second-largest corporation in the U.S. with 1.1 million employees.

Whatever the outcome of the union vote, the Bessemer Amazon union campaign has helped to highlight the importance of making organizing Amazon one of the major priorities for rebuilding the strength of the U.S. national labor movement, and for organizing labor in the South. Win or lose the union vote, social movement unionism is developing among Amazon workers and workers in other industries so that the Bessemer Amazon workers should maintain their organization, join and help to expand it throughout the South.

Developing a rank-n-file workers organizing infrastructure not dependent on achieving employer recognition through labor board union votes is a major part of organizing social movement unionism that is critically important for organizing labor in the South and nationally.

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Haitians attempting to cross the Texas border

The Haitian Immigration Crisis

By Berthony Dupont

[Note: The following statement was presented to the December 9, 2021, educational forum organized by Labor and Community for an Independent Party (LCIP).]

Beginning about 60 years ago, just after the Cuban Revolution, U.S. capitalists began a second push into Haiti, following their first push during the 1915 to 1934 U.S. military occupation.

At the time, Haiti was ruled by dictator François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, who was hostile to the influx of foreign capital which might displace the semi-feudal big landowners, known as the “grandon,” whom he represented. But in 1969, President Richard Nixon sent capitalist icon Nelson Rockefeller as an emissary to negotiate a deal to set up cheap labor assembly factories in Haiti. This deal was the beginning of the end of Haitian agriculture and light industry as it existed in the 20th century.

First, peasants began leaving the land to seek jobs in the textile and electronics assembly plants based in Port-au-Prince. There, U.S. capitalists paid Haitians a salary of about $2 a day to make baseballs, T-Shirts, and radios. Then, after the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship in 1986, the U.S. began pushing “free trade” policies, forcing the reduction of Haitian tariffs. The U.S. and neighboring Dominican Republic began dumping tons of agricultural products on Haiti, primarily rice. This further accelerated the destruction of Haitian agriculture. Haiti no longer produced enough food to feed itself. Millions of destitute Haitian peasants fled the countryside to live in Haiti’s cities. The population of Port-au-Prince swelled from 500,000 in the mid-1980s to over 3 million today.

But just as Washington was destroying Haitian agriculture, it was smashing the Haitian state as well. Haitians tried to resist the “American Plan,” as it was called in those days. They overwhelmingly elected former liberation theology priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide who proposed nationalist policies like land reform and protecting state industries such as the phone company, electric authority, and a cement plant. But the U.S. fomented coup d’états against Aristide after his electoral victories in 1990 and 2000, followed by two foreign military occupations. The last one didn’t end until two years ago, in 2019.

Washington’s economic and political sabotage has left Haiti in a deplorable state. The millions of displaced peasants now make up a vast lumpen-proletariat that cannot find stable jobs and hardly survives in a precarious informal economy by hawking sodas and sunglasses, pushing wheelbarrows, or shoveling garbage from canals. Most, however, must flee the country in search of work.

Hundreds of thousands flee across the border to the Dominican Republic, which has always been more receptive to foreign capital. There they find jobs cleaning bathrooms, digging ditches, and cutting cane. Haitians live there in a state of constant fear and instability. Their homes and communities are constantly raided by Dominican police, soldiers, and paramilitaries. They are summarily deported back to Haiti, sometimes with only the clothes on their back. This has accelerated in the past year under the Presidency of Luis Abinader. More than 31,000 people have been deported back to Haiti by the Dominican Republic this year, more than 12,000 in just the past three months.

Meanwhile, starting with the 2004 coup d’état against Aristide, tens of thousands have also fled to South America, primarily to Brazil, Ecuador, and Chile. However, as these countries have experienced their own economic crises and immigration crackdowns, the Haitian migrants then flee up through the continent along the Pan American Highway, cross through the roadless, dangerous Darien Gap jungle which separates Colombia from Panama, and then make a perilous journey through Central America to the U.S.-Mexican border. The result has been desperate scenes like we saw this fall at Del Rios, Texas, where 15,000 Haitians amassed under a bridge trying to enter the United States. Thousands have been returned to Haiti on about 100 ICE flights, on the basis of the Trump administration’s excuse of rejecting asylum seekers who might carry Covid-19.

There are three elements that comprise the capitalist economy. Commodities, capital, and labor. The capitalists want the free movement of their commodities, that is “free trade,” as well as the free movement of their capital, that is the “full repatriation of profits.” But for the third component, labor, or workers, they don’t want free movement at all. They want to lock humans in cheap labor prison camps, nations which they have destroyed through their political intervention and neo-liberal economic policies. This is the injustice Haitians are living through today.

But there is a revolution brewing in Haiti. The vast lumpen-proletariat of Port-au-Prince and other cities is showing the first signs of autonomous self-awareness and self-organization. The leaders of this movement are calling for a social revolution. We at Haiti Liberté seek to accompany the masses in this revolutionary project. This alone is what can end the tragic displacement of millions of Haitians from their country.

Today, there are about 11 million Haitians living in Haiti, with about 4 million living abroad. We want to end this vicious cycle of the flight of humans from their homeland, caused by the flight of capital in search of greater profit.

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Letter from a Reader and Our Response


Dear editors,

 There is a way to avoid the coming dictatorship.

Voting rights are being choked. Laws aimed at reducing Democratic and Independent

participation in elections are being passed in most red states. The Republicans in

Congress are blocking every attempt at addressing this.

The only possible way to combat this is with turnout. It’s becoming more and more

difficult to do that, but it’s still possible.

A few pundits and commentators are beginning to address the situation, positing it as

“losing our democracy”. No doubt, our democracy IS in danger. If Republicans ever get

complete control again, they are not going to give it up.

But “losing our democracy” is an idea which, to most people, is remote and unspecific.

Yes, the politically engaged understand that to mean not having any say, not only in

decision making, but in expression of opinion as well. Tactics such as closing

newspapers or dictating what they can and cannot publish, jailing vocal dissenters, and

suppressing information that is adverse, even coming from such supposedly neutral

sources as public health departments and the weather service could become


But, for the politically unengaged, those things have no meaning. Most Americans live

their lives day-to-day, and don’t pay much attention to politics.


If decisions directly impact citizens’ immediate lives, those decisions get noticed. But in

an autocracy, once decisions are made, it’s too late to do anything about them. We still

have some semblance of a democracy, so the vote is the way to choose what we

actually want. What if we start pointing out what day-to-day life will be like under a

Republican dictatorship? What if we spoke with one voice, consistently and constantly?

There is a reason why Republicans refuse to articulate a platform. No, it’s not because

they don’t have one. It’s because the one they have is so unpopular, they have to hide

it behind the culture wars.

Let’s stop getting sucked into the culture wars. Let’s instead describe what life will be

like following a Republican takeover.

Based on what Republicans have been saying for years:

– We will lose Social Security and Medicare

– We will lose the ACA, and also any access to birth control

– Abortion will be illegal, including to save the life of the mother. Texas is

already forcing eleven- and twelve-year-olds to carry to term. Be prepared for

more of that.

– Any semblance of a social safety net will disappear.

– The 40-hour work week will be gone.

– No more minimum wage. No more overtime, either.

– Environmental protections will disappear. Clean air and clean water will be

deemed “too expensive”.

– Education will be mostly propaganda.

I’m sure readers could add to this list. The point is that specifics need to be

named and described.

Republicans will no doubt deny all of this. So, ask them what they are for.

What’s their platform? Why won’t they say?

Let’s say it for them.


New Mexico

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Our Response

Dear reader,

No doubt we are living in very dangerous times, with climate change and renewed risks of nuclear war threatening our very survival, as well as higher risks of authoritarian reaction. You are right that many democratic rights we have gained through the struggles of working-class and marginalized peoples are being taken away or are likely to be taken away very soon. A fascist-type government replacing the neoliberal regime we live under today is a realistic concern.

As is always the case, the question is “What is to be done?” This is where we have some disagreement.

First, we don’t see it as Republicans vs. Democrats. Though these parties do have significant differences in terms of what they promise and who they claim to represent, the differences are mostly cosmetic. Both parties are controlled by corporate interests (often receiving campaign funding from the same corporations). Thus, both represent the capitalist class. We would not be facing the risks we confront today if the Democrats consistently acted in the interests of working class and oppressed communities. For example, if the Democrats were truly committed to preserving the gains you rightly list as in danger, they would get rid of the filibuster in the Senate, which has resulted in blocking most of the progressive legislation promised by the Biden administration. This is no accident in our opinion, since it allows Democrats to promise things their corporate masters oppose, and which they have no intention of delivering.

With each new election, the fear of a Republican victory ensures that voters who are not reactionary continue to support Democrats, thus ensuring more votes for the Republicans when the Democrats break their promises. Then the Democrats, once again, promise to do better next time. It’s a “hard cop/soft cop” routine, quite literally. Just ask detained immigrants and the victims of police brutality and mass incarceration. 

Plus, the leadership of the Democratic Party never met a military budget it didn’t like, eagerly spending our hard-earned tax dollars to oppress and kill other working people abroad and starve social services at home. Arguably, the Democratic Party is more hawkish today than the Republicans. Thus, we don’t see getting out the vote for the Democrats as an effective way to prevent the results you legitimately fear. 

Second, we must ask: what in the past has led to changes that benefit for the vast majority? Almost all laws that have improved conditions for the non-rich and oppressed communities were won by mass movements putting pressure on existing politicians, regardless of which party is nominally in power. If the Democratic Party wanted to retain abortion rights or pass popular reforms supported by large majorities, such as Medicare for All, its officeholders could use their positions to mobilize such movements. They don’t. Our energy and resources would be better spent on directly organizing issue-based movements than on getting out the vote. 

Third, we have far less democracy than many voters realize. If we had a true democracy, we would be able to win legislation supported by the majority of U.S. voters. While it is very important to protect and expand the hard-won right to vote, we need candidates that not only support our issues on paper but are fully willing and able to fight for them. While we believe that many left-wing candidates who run as Democrats have the best of intentions, there is a reason for the saying “the Democrats are the graveyard of social movements.” Such newly elected Democratic politicians have two choices: be co-opted into supporting the party’s real program so they can get enough campaign funding to be re-elected, or stick to their ideals and fail to gain enough support from their colleagues to pass progressive legislation, which usually results in being voted out.

So what can be done in the electoral arena? There are no easy solutions. We are up against the richest, most powerful government in world history. It has two parties; we have none – yet. We stand for organizing a new party that represents workers and oppressed communities – a party run by and accountable to workers and the oppressed and that organizes mass movements, not a party that only shows up every two years at election time to promise a few crumbs of pie in the sky, or another party that vows to take way the pie altogether. Definitely, forming such a party will not be easy. It must start with building a mass movement to create it. Given that past efforts to start new parties have not achieved great results, we must learn from their failures.

This is why we work to break away the labor movement from the Democratic Party, to build Labor and Community for an Independent Party (LCIP) – a group advocating the formation of community assemblies to run independent candidates for local offices, and to support candidates from regional parties with a similar vision, such as LCIP co-founder the Ujima Peoples Progress Party in Maryland or the South Carolina Labor Party, when they run candidates. Winning local office is a realistic goal and if enough victories are achieved, a base can be built for a national party that combines these efforts.

Yes, this will take time and there are never guarantees of success. However, As Friedrich Engels once wrote “Freedom is the recognition of necessity.” We will win our freedom – and true democracy – only when we realize that our literal survival as a species depends on overthrowing capitalism, which requires massive organization of the working class and all who are oppressed by our current system throughout the world.

Continuing to support the Democrats may look like a way to prevent the rise of fascism in the US, but, at best, it can only briefly prolong the otherwise inevitable destruction of whatever gains we have won up to this point in history; gains the Democrats keep proving they are unwilling to defend. The sooner we start building the alternative, the better chance we have to preserve and expand our gains and – together with all our siblings in other countries – to prevent nuclear war and mitigate the disastrous impacts of climate change.

The Democrats are not going to do it for us.

Millie Phillips

The Organizer Editorial Board

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Striking teachers in Sacrament0, Calif. on March 21, 2022

California Democratic Party Votes to Support Vouchers and Charter Schools

By Bradley Wiedmaier

The California Democratic Party (CDP) voted at its statewide convention in March 2022 to end the CDP opposition to school vouchers and charter schools and to record this change in the CDP platform. They also voted to weaken opposition to non-transparent school boards over these privatized education substitutes.

School vouchers — where public funds are diverted to subsidize private schools – were first used in the South in the 1950s to fund “white” academies and to shut down public schools for non-white students. The CDP platform change was put forward by the CDP Black Caucus. Yet further privatizing education serves only the billionaires and will not serve the Black community.

These major changes to the CDP platform take place at a time when many California parents are out in the streets protesting the attempts by school boards to close schools for lack of funding.

A firestorm of protests, for example, in Oakland, Calif., has stopped the attempted closing of one quarter of the neighborhood public schools. (The targeted schools were those serving the most diverse students racially as well as those with special needs.) The public-school communities (teachers, parents, students and supporters) held weekly and even daily actions citywide to demand no school closures. As it stands now, only a fraction of the schools may be closed right away, yet the state still maintains that it will be necessary to close half of Oakland’s public schools in the near future.

Students of color under attack

Two decades ago, there were 120 Oakland public schools; today there are roughly 80. This isn’t the result of dwindling school-age population. One in four residents of this major Bay Area city is 18 or under, and the majority of these children are people of color. The people of Oakland have mobilized to defend and strengthen their neighborhood schools over the years, and once again they have stood up by the thousands.

 The Democratic Party that dominates California politics with all statewide offices and super majorities in the legislature is imposing these cuts. It is not just in Oakland. San Francisco Unified School District has been ordered to lay off 300 needed staff, and West Contra Costa schools across the Bay have been ordered to remove 99. San Francisco Community College has been devastated with course cancellations and even more are planned. Teachers in Sacramento have had no recourse but to go out on strike. The scene up and down the state is the same.

What is behind this financial crisis in California?

California has been among the bottom five states in expenditure per-pupil for decades. The school privatization movement for charter schools, virtual charters, vouchers, and other substitutes for universal public education has made deep inroads in the schools. Over the past 30 years, these “alternative schools” have continuously received a higher percentage of funding than the percentage of students in these programs.

California has had a financial crisis office for the whole state for 30 years. It is in the Republican stronghold of Bakersfield, the district of House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. That office, the Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team, FCMAT, is within Kern County, where public schools are rated in the lowest group of all 58 California counties.

FCMAT dictates policy through the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to the county superintendents. The latter have the authority to impose trustees to impose FCMAT-ordered cuts and to destroy public accountability. Twenty-seven California school districts are under impositions from FCMAT. Others, such as Oakland, have trustees waiting in the wings. Still other districts, such as San Francisco, are under threat to be trusteed and are scrambling to make their own budget cuts to avoid being taken over by state trustees.

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The Democrats and the Republicans are openly and consciously undermining public education to fuel the drive toward privatization. California’s teachers, students, and parents are saying enough is enough. They deserve our support.

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UAW 2865 Leads Struggle for Housing Justice

By Fernando David Márquez Duarte

UAW 2865, the union for ASEs (Academic Student Employees) at the University of California, is leading a fight throughout California for housing justice for university students and employees.

Currently, most ASEs are rent-burdened, meaning that more than 35 percent of their income goes to pay for housing. This is a serious structural injustice that workers suffer throughout the U.S. – not just in California and not only ASEs. In my case, about 45 percent of my ASE salary goes to pay rent. The Chancellors of the UC campuses clearly don’t suffer from rent-burden because they have 6‑figure salaries, totaling more than $500,000 annually.

This is a crucial moment for ASEs in their fight for housing justice: UAW 2865 is negotiating a collective-bargaining agreement for ASEs on all 10 UC campuses for the next three years. The initial demands have been presented to the UC, but the UC doesn’t want to accept the union’s demands, including the demand for housing justice.

This fight is led side-by-side with our comrades from UAW 5810 (postdocs), and Student Researchers United-UAW of the UC. More than 48,000 academic workers are negotiating the collective contract. According to a recent UAW survey, more than 90 percent of these academic workers are rent-burdened.

UAW 2865 is organizing rallies for housing justice on nine UC campuses. Let’s create working-class solidarity!

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Opposition presidential candidate Geraldo Alckmin shakes hands with Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, candidate for re-election, before a television debate in the Globo TV studio in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil October 27, 2006. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes/Files

BRAZIL: What Future for the Workers Party?

By Anísio Garcez Homem

On February 11, Lula – the historic leader of the Workers Party (PT) and a candidate in the October 2022 presidential election – met again with Geraldo Alckmin. Lula all but officially announced that Alckmin would be his vice-presidential running mate, even though the national leadership of the PT has not made a decision on this matter.

Who is Alckmin? He’s a reactionary bourgeois politician. He led the São Paulo state government for 11 years as a privatizer, an enemy of public services. He has ordered extremely brutal police operations against poor and Black populations in deprived neighborhoods. Ten years ago, he had the army dismantle a homeless camp in São José dos Campos. The land belonged to a millionaire: it has remained unused until today.

In 2016, Alckmin defended the coup that toppled President Dilma Rousseff of the PT. At the time, he said, “Brazil cannot further postpone the implementation of structural reforms … , we need action, not inaction.” In 2018, as a candidate for the presidency of the Republic, Alckmin declared: “I have always been opposed to the PT. … The PT is not the way forward, it is the way backward.”

Alckmin has not yet decided on which party ticket he will run alongside Lula: PSD or PSB. The Social Democratic Party (PSD) is an openly right-wing party that is part of the reactionary Bolsonaro government. As for the Socialist Party of Brazil (PSB) – contrary to what its name might suggest – it is also a bourgeois party. In 2016, of its 32 deputies, 29 voted for the impeachment of President Rousseff. And 11 PSB deputies voted for Bolsonaro’s counter-reform of the social security system.

Why this unholy alliance? The Brazilian bourgeoisie and imperialism know that the workers and a large part of the people are preparing to vote for Lula, the PT candidate, to defeat Bolsonaro and his policies of unemployment, poverty and famine. Neither Bolsonaro nor any right-wing candidate has any chance of beating Lula. So, important sectors of the bourgeoisie are looking for ways to guarantee their interests by negotiating in advance a “national unity” government with Lula and the PT leadership.

Thus, when Lula mentioned that his future government would repeal the Temer government’s labor counter-reform, Alckmin was the first to say that it was out of the question to repeal anything.

But that’s not all. A recent law allows parties to “merge” into “party federations.” For the PT this would mean entering into a federation with the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) and, especially, two bourgeois parties: the Green Party and the PSB. This “federation” would have its own program and would be the only one entitled to stand for election. Its leadership would consist of a “federation council” in which the former PT leadership would have 27 seats, with the minority having veto power.

In other words, the Workers Party (PT), founded by the Brazilian working class at the fall of the military dictatorship, would be dissolved into a federation without class content alongside representatives of the bosses.

When it was founded 42 years ago, the PT’s motto was “A party without bosses”: an independent working-class party. The inter-class federation and the alliance with Alckmin are its opposite. In its founding Manifesto, the PT intended to “be a true political expression of all those who are exploited by the capitalist system. We are a workers’ party, not a party to deceive the workers.” This still remains the position of many PT activists.

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Marc with UTLA teacher unionists

In Memory of Marc Rich: Two More Tributes

Marc Rich, founding member of Socialist Organizer and longtime Trotskyist militant, died at his home in Pasadena, Calif., on February 21 after years of protracted illnesses. Two weeks ago, The Organizer Weekly Newsletter published a special edition to commemorate Marc’s life and contributions to the struggles for justice waged by working people and all the oppressed – at home and abroad. [See the many statements and photos posted @ socialistorganizer.org.]

In this issue of The Organizer, we publish two additional tributes to Marc: one from Marc’s younger brother Brian, the other from longtime comrade Marc Wutschke.

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In Memory of My Brother Marc Rich

By Brian Rich

My only brother Marc was 11 years older than I was, which meant that we really didn’t get to know each other until we were both adults, when I went to college in San Diego so that I could be closer to him. Through those years and ever after, he was a mentor, an example of political courage, and a close confidant.

While we didn’t share all of our political and social views, we did share a lot, and he helped me to become interested in politics and social life, perhaps inadvertently influencing my decision to become a sociologist and professor. He always took interest in my work and kept close tabs on my views, often engaging me in political debates about all topics of mutual interest.

He was a very talented musician, printer, electrician, heavy equipment operator, train engineer, teacher and all-around technical wizard. His oldest friend, Mike Lafferty, told me that when they met around age 13 and got to know one another, he thought Marc was a “Renaissance man” as he had so many talents.

Above all, he was committed to changing the world for the better, and while we didn’t always agree about how to do that, he was a very dedicated, hard-working, and determined political advocate and organizer for his many causes. While sometimes stubborn and rigid, he did learn and grow and became sympathetic to every form of human suffering he encountered. He had a very big heart and was interested in seeking justice in all walks of life.

I like to remember Marc as being in agreement with Cornel West’s quote that “Love is what justice looks like in public.” Justice was his compass in all aspects of life, even being unable to tolerate my sly attempts to cheat him in cards or board games. He was known for always having a repertoire of bad jokes and puns to entertain (or annoy) those around him.

We never lost contact as the years rolled by, and the last few years were difficult for him, as he suffered from isolation from family and his various health issues. I loved him dearly and will miss him forever.

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Marc Rich, internationalist


Tribute to Marc Rich

By Mark Wutschke

I first met Marc in San Diego around 1977 when I moved there to help organize the YSA and SWP, and I worked with him for the rest of that decade before moving back to Los Angeles. I found myself reunited with Marc in Los Angeles in the 1990s when we were both teachers and United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) members. We both became members of the union’s Board of Directors, House of Representatives, and Human Rights Committee.

Marc never lost his principled Marxist/Trotskyist roots and his activism. He was an effective organizer for the SWP in San Diego. He was instrumental in building it from a scattering of activists to a respectable national chapter. After the Barnes/Waters takeover of the SWP. I left the party, but Marc continued indefatigably in principled opposition.

Marc was a fixture at UTLA, fundraising and organizing for many human rights and international labor campaigns. We both struggled mightily against the stranglehold that the Democratic Party had in misleading the union’s political orientation, a dire situation found in most mainstream U.S. unions. While I became discouraged at the union’s fealty to the Democratic Party, Marc undauntedly organized against it and became a leading union voice for International solidarity and a principled political direction.

He was an activist of the union’s Human Rights Committee, which became a refuge and base in UTLA for those who wanted to advance a principled and internationalist orientation for the union. He was instrumental in leading UTLA to take many principled stands in supporting solidarity movements here and internationally.

Marc was successful at what he did in large part because he was a likable warrior for peace and justice. He was always friendly and quick with a joke. I don’t think he made an enemy or crossed anyone, even among those who disagreed with him. Marc respected everyone and earned their respect in return.

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