Once again, the Howard Zinn Book Fair has created a day full of wonderful people, discussions, and fun times. A Radical Guide teamed up with PM Press to ensure you didn’t miss meaningful conversations.
The third spotlight is the Then & Now – Socialist Labor Organizers from the Seventies & Eighties Who Never Gave Up. (if you missed the previous panels, check out the first panel here and the second panel here).
Join us for an invigorating panel discussion titled “Then & Now – Socialist Labor Organizers from the Seventies & Eighties Who Never Gave Up,” featuring four seasoned activists whose dedication to labor organization and social justice spans decades. This enlightening session delves into the lives and enduring legacies of Jonathan Melrod, Steve Pitts, Peter Olney, and Warren Mar.
Jonathan Melrod: Emerging from the politically dormant 1950s into a period of intense social activism, Jonathan Melrod is deeply entrenched in the labor movement. His journey from opposing the Vietnam War to becoming pivotal in Milwaukee’s working-class struggle epitomizes a life dedicated to radical transformation through the working class. Jonathan, a top leader in UAW Local 72, navigated FBI scrutiny and workforce upheavals, later transitioning to law to advocate for political refugees.
Peter Olney: Renowned for his role as the former director of organizing for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), Peter Olney embodies the academic and practical realms of labor organization. His work at the University of California’s Institute for Labor and Employment and contributions to The Stansbury Forum reflect a deep, ongoing commitment to labor education and strategy.
Warren Mar: A native of San Francisco’s Chinatown, Warren Mar’s roots in activism trace back to the I Wor Kuen, an Asian Revolutionary organization. His journey through various influential labor groups, culminating in significant roles within the Hotel and Restaurant Employees union, underscores his lifelong dedication to labor rights and community empowerment.
Steve Pitts: As a labor strategist with deep roots in academia and on-the-ground activism, Steve Pitts has profoundly influenced the landscape of labor rights, particularly for Black workers. His leadership at the UC Berkeley Labor Center and involvement in the National Black Worker Center highlight a career committed to economic justice and racial equality.
This panel offers a rare opportunity to hear firsthand accounts of historic labor struggles, understand the evolution of labor organizing tactics over decades, and draw inspiration from the resilience and unwavering commitment of these notable figures. Whether you are a seasoned activist, a student of social movements, or simply interested in the rich history of labor organizing, this discussion promises to be an enlightening experience.