Monday, August 20, 2018

Out Socialist, Pacifist Presidential Candidate and Activist David McReynolds Dies at 88

David McReynolds, right, in 1970, explains plans to protest the draft. A Prohibition Party activist in his youth, he became an outspoken socialist and pacifist who led anti-Vietnam War rallies and opposed nuclear weapons. (Denver Post via Getty Images)
The Washington Post reports:

For more than three decades, David McReynolds was among the most outspoken socialists and pacifists in America, a leftist organizer who combined a belief in wealth redistribution with a fierce opposition to the Vietnam War and nuclear weapons.

As a leader of the War Resisters League, he spurred a wave of antiwar demonstrations in 1965, when he joined four other men in lighting their draft cards on fire, defying a federal law that could have sent him to prison for five years and earned him a $10,000 fine.

He went on to become one of the first openly gay candidates to run for Congress and president, and although he never came close to winning office, he helped “define modern pacifism in the United States,” said his friend Bruce Cronin, chair of the political science department at the City College of New York.

Mr. McReynolds, who died Aug. 17 at 88, at a hospital in Manhattan, drew the attention of the FBI and landed in jail several times as a result of his activism. His political career was all the more remarkable given his upbringing in Los Angeles, where he was raised by a family of conservative Baptists and joined the Prohibition Party in his youth.

See full story here.

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