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Remembering Marty Goodman: working class fighter and revolutionary socialist!

  • May 15, 2024
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Marty Goodman, revolutionary socialist, Bolshevik worker, militant trade unionist, anti-imperialist/anti-war leader, civil liberties advocate, anti-racist fighter, and jazz enthusiast.

Marty Goodman, revolutionary socialist, Bolshevik worker, militant trade unionist, anti-imperialist/anti-war leader, civil liberties advocate, anti-racist fighter, and jazz enthusiast, died in late March 2024 of a heart attack. He was 74 years old.

Marty’s friends, comrades and union activists will celebrate his extraordinary life on Friday, June 7, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Marty’s Transportation Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 Headquarters, 195 Montague St, 3rd Floor, Brooklyn , NY 11201.

Sponsored by Socialist Action and TWU Local 100to whom Marty dedicated approximately four decades of his life, Marty’s memorial celebration is co-sponsored by UNAC (National Anti-War Coalition), National Defense Julian Assange, Haiti Liberté newspaper, Cuba Si New York-New Jersey Coalition et Mobilization for the release of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Marty devoted his passion, enthusiasm, leadership skills and energy to these and other labor and social justice organizations. Supporters of the Goodman memorial meeting also included the Freedom Socialist Party and the United Front Committee for a Labor Party.

Somewhat small in physical stature, Marty was an unmatched giant in his physical participation in movement events, often attending 2, 3, 4 or 5 rallies, picket lines, marches, public forums and movement events daily! Marty’s associates often remarked that they rarely attended events where Marty was not present, usually with a stack of socialist newspapers and/or his weekly newsletter Socialist Action and solidarity fact sheets on the critical issues of the day. An incisive and prolific socialist journalist/activist, Marty’s enduring commitments have taken him to far-flung places around the world. He frequently visited besieged Haiti and collaborated in Haiti Liberty whose publication headquarters is based in New York.

“The hell that is Haiti”

His 2020 book, “The hell that is Haiti: 200 years of racism and imperialist intervention”, chronicles the historical and present horrors imposed on Haiti and Haitian refugees by the U.S. government.

Nearly half a century ago, when Marty was a young political activist in South Florida, he joined in the leadership of newly formed Haitian solidarity organizations that mobilized to oppose the Reagan administration’s mass expulsion of Haitian refugees, who had fled the dictatorial country supported by the US government.

Marty wrote: “ The history of the struggle against the racist deportation of Haitians, the criminal occupations of the United States and the UN, and the overexploitation of Haitian labor is long. Suffice it to say, it must be considered in the context of 200 years of American imperialism and its evil twin, racism. Make no mistake, this outrage undeniably bears the teeth marks of two equally voracious villains, the Democratic and Republican parties, both representatives of the capitalist system itself! »

“Three quarters of the Haitian population live on 2 US dollars or less per day…” Marty wrote. “ Work in sweatshops is growing in Haiti, where bosses regularly pay poverty minimum wages and trample workers’ rights. »

Telling Haiti’s revolutionary history and organizing to oppose US wars of intervention, including new US and UN plans for intervention and conquest in the interest of today’s American business elite, has always been at the forefront of Marty’s priorities. “Haiti was born from a revolution, the first and only successful slave revolution in the world (1791-1804)”, he writes. “ It was won with arms in hand and shook the world, no less than the Russian Revolution in its time. Haitian revolutionaries entered the slave South of the United States to promote rebellion. »

Marty’s friends in Florida held a memorial in Miami last week attended by 25 Haitian activists who remembered Marty’s contributions decades ago. Faced with today’s threats to intervene again in Haiti, Marty declared in leaflets: “US/UN out of Haiti and stay away!” Self-determination for the people of Haiti! Let’s build Haitian solidarity in the belly of the beast!

Marty Goodman dedicated his life to challenging capitalist rule, organizing workers in the United States and around the world (Photo by Pamela Drew)

Palestinian freedom

Marty’s Socialist Action book review from December 27, 2023 on Rashid Khalidi, “ The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Colonialism and Settler Resistance 1917-1921 » is another striking example of his passion for understanding history as a guide to action.

Marty wrote: “ I grew up in a working-class Jewish household in South Florida in the 1950s and 1960s. Like other Jews I knew, I was terrified of what seemed like a sea of ​​Arabs hating on Jews and threatening poor peaceful Israel. But reading the iconic left-wing journalist IF Pierre on Israel helped wake me up from my deep slumber. As I delved deeper into Israel’s bloody record – hard to come by at the time – I discovered that the Zionist propaganda I grew up with was complete bullshit. »

Marty, who rarely missed a demonstration in New York to protest the US-backed Zionist genocide in Palestine, continued: “ Today, fortunately, more resources in English are available. Rashid Khalidi’s new book makes an extraordinary contribution to a growing list of honest literature on Zionism. It begins with Britain’s Balfour Declaration of 1917, which ceded a disproportionate share of its colonial “Palestinian Mandate” to Jews, who made up only 6 percent of the population. 90 percent of the region was Arab. The Balfour Declaration does not even mention the Arab peoples in Palestine. »

Marty’s lengthy review concludes: “Rashid Khalidi has given us a powerful tool to expose and defeat the racist lies of Zionism. The entire movement for justice in Palestine is indebted to him. »

Defender of civil liberties and democratic rights

The historic maxim of the Labor Party, “An injury to one is an injury to all”, was Marty’s credo. He chaired solidarity rallies in support of persecuted and imprisoned civil liberties lawyer Lynne Stewart. For 40 years he tirelessly attended every Philadelphia mobilization in support of the innocent, police-framed revolutionary fighter, Mumia Abu-Jamal. Until his last day, he served on the national steering committee of Assangedefense.org, never missing a national mobilization in Washington, DC to demand the freedom of Julian Assange and defend his free speech and press rights .

Socialist Action Webinars

Marty played a central role in planning the ongoing webinars Socialist Action on a wide range of critical issues. His friendship and collaboration with key leaders of the movement, earned through his always inclusive united front and non-sectarian support for every cause of the movement, brought a wide range of leading fighters to our events, focused on Haiti and Palestine , the labor movement and Cuban solidarity. , civil liberties, anti-war-anti-imperialist-anti-racist struggles, socialist politics and much more.

Marty planned and helped prepare for the popular webinar Socialist Action Last year, ” Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea,” with Palestinian leader Lamis Deek, UNAC national coordinator Joe Lombardo, Electronic Intifada editor Nora Barrows Friedman and this writer.

Union activist leader

Marty spent more than three decades as a New York City tollbooth agent and activist/leader of the Transportation Workers Union Local 100. He was elected to the union’s board of directors about 25 years ago, receiving the highest vote total in the union. “ Everyone knew Marty,” said Alan Saly, TWU publications chief and longtime friend of Marty, who recounted that during Marty’s election campaign for the union’s executive board, he personally visited and distributed his campaign materials to every subway station of the New York public transit system, system, or some 472 stations!!! When I explained to Marty that his proposal was not feasible, he respectfully disagreed and proceeded to make it happen.

Worker solidarity

Marty has gone to great lengths to join every union picket line, from the UAW to the Teamsters to recent SAG and AFTRA mobilizations. Building union solidarity and union power has always been its central concern, but always with a critical touch. His recent pamphlet defending the recent UAW strike concluded in bold: “Solidarity with the auto strike!” Mobilize the work! Extend the strike to all factories! Destroy the level system, pension cuts, salary scams and all concessions! »

Still advising labor’s subordination to the twin parties of capitalism, Marty denounced the new UAW leadership’s recent statement of support for the Biden campaign and reiterated his lifelong advocacy for a massively American labor movement. expanded and organized democratically, in alliance with all the oppressed and exploited. , as well as the formation of an independent Labor Party to champion the cause of workers in the workplace and in the political arena.

Biden’s anti-union legislation on the railroad workers’ strike

On December 7, 2022, following the Biden administration’s passage of technical legislation ending a planned strike by national railroad workers, Marty’s article headlined: “Stabbed in the Back: Biden Signs Anti-Union Order ! Let’s defend the right to strike! Labor needs its own party! His scathing denunciation of Biden’s crushing blow began: “After unions wasted millions of dollars supporting Democratic Party politicians, ‘pro-union’ Joe Biden stabbed railroad workers in the back. The Democratic and Republican parties overwhelmingly supported the rotten deal negotiated by Biden, the railroad companies and the railroad unions. The agreement did not even provide for a single co paid sick leave, despite record railroad profits – $21 billion so far this year alone! At least some paid sick days are common in most workplaces in the United States, even though there is no legal requirement to do so, unlike in all major Western countries. Railroad workers typically work outdoors, sometimes in freezing weather. Without paid sick leave – and with Covid still killing hundreds of people every day – Biden’s deal is simply inhumane! »

Abolish Taylor’s Law!

Marty was a lifelong opponent of New York State’s anti-union Taylor Law of 1966, which banned all public employee strikes and imposed draconian multimillion-dollar daily fines on unions and individuals who dared to defy it. He wrote “The anti-union Taylor Act served to protect Wall Street and New York’s big banks from unions’ aggressive demands to defend workers’ living standards, working conditions and job security. » Promoting a massive, coordinated, united strike to challenge the Taylor Act has long been central to Marty’s strategic direction to build and maintain union power to advance the union cause.

Demonstration in Manhattan against the Dominican ruling class which has a long and sordid history of racism against Haitians.

Union solidarity in the United States and around the world

Marty traveled to the far reaches of New York City to join Chris Smalls’ Amazon Labor union in their fight for a union contract at the massive Amazon warehouse on Staten Island.

This same solidarity was demonstrated during Marty’s visits to revolutionary Cuba, whose socialist revolution of 1959 continued to inspire him until his last day. Marty worked closely with his Cuba Si New York-New Jersey Coalition to build support for last year’s visit to the UN and a large public solidarity meeting in honor of Cuban President Miguel Díaz- Canel.

He crossed the Atlantic where he joined our comrades in the Fourth International Anti-Capitalist Movement (NPA) and a union contingent of transport workers on strike in Paris, where a million French workers mobilized to challenge the decision by French President Macron to extend the retirement age by two years, from 62 to 64.

And on the other side of the world, in Myanmar (Burma), hence the newspaper article Socialist Action of July 27, 2015, entitled “Racist attacks against Muslims in Myanmar”, opened with: “The military regime and fascist monks within the Buddhist clergy in Myanmar are waging an ethnic war against the Rohingya, a predominantly black Muslim minority living in the southwest of the country. Violence against the Rohingya erupted in 2012, burning villages, leaving up to 300 people dead and 140,000 people fleeing their homes in terror. It is the worst example of ethnic cleansing in the region in decades. The cops simply observed the increase in violence. Marty marked the US “pivot” to Asia, with US and CIA support for the Myanmar regime, with the aim of displacing the current influence of capitalist China and its initiative ” the Belt and Road.

Defend the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington

Marty was front and center in Washington, D.C., at the Venezuelan Embassy, ​​helping defend and provide food and supplies to Venezuelan government-backed American activists Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers, Adrienne Pine, and David Paul . These embassy defenders, who were later arrested and later acquitted, insisted that the Venezuelan embassy would not be violated by US police and the FBI. They defended the Venezuelan embassy from April 10 to May 16, 2019 against often violent crowds supported by the United States, claiming to represent Juan Gaidó, a corrupt and falsely named Venezuelan opposition figure by the United States, who , according to the United States, was the real president of Venezuela rather than Nicolas Maduro. Although Marty has always been a strong critic of the Maduro government’s pro-capitalist policies, advocating the formation of a revolutionary socialist party to challenge Maduro’s policies, he has unconditionally supported Venezuela’s right to self-determination – to be free of any American imperialist intervention.

“Outrage over the racist murder of Jordan Neely! No trust in cops, courts or politicians! Stay on the street! This racist system must disappear! »

Those were the headlines on Marty’s newsletter following the May 1 killing of Jordan Neely, a homeless black man, by a New York police officer. Marty stated that “ Neely’s murder exposed the brutal divide that exists between rich and poor, black and white in New York. Neely died at the hands of ex-Marine Sargent Daniel Penny, who put him in a fatal chokehold inside a subway train F. Neely, who suffered from mental illness, screamed: ‘I’ I’m hungry! I’m ready to die!’ When the police arrived, Penny was questioned but quickly released without charges by the racist NYPD police, without protest from Democratic Party Mayor Eric Adams, a former racist NYPD police major. »

“Without a doubt, if it was a black man who strangled a white man,” insisted Marty, “ he would have been immediately thrown into a New York jail – and probably beaten by racist cops along the way! » [Souligné en italique dans l’original]

“Ten days later, charges were finally filed against Penny for 2nd degree murder after much public outrage and numerous protests, including the occupation of the railroad tracks where Neely died. »

“Homelessness is at a crisis stage “, Marty continued, “peaking under Bloomberg, De Blasio and now Adams. New York, under Democratic Party rule, has an unprecedented homeless population of 74,000 people. Nationally, under Biden, there are nearly 600,000 homeless people in the richest country in the world! African Americans make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population, but 40 percent of the homeless. Let’s stay mobilized and in the streets. Justice for Jordan Neely! As usual, Marty was present at Nealy’s protests.

No to all American imperialist wars! Free Palestine!

Marty was among the core activists and founding members of the United National Coalition Against War (UNAC), attending all of its national conferences held in cities across the country over the past 14 years. Had he not died prematurely, he would have been my roommate at UNAC, the just-concluded national conference April 5-7 in St. Paul, Minn., attended by 400 anti-war activists Across the country.

This UNAC conference projected continued and always massive, united and powerful mobilizations against all American wars and in particular against the genocidal war supported by the United States against the Palestinian people. Day after day, Marty rarely failed to participate in the multitude of demonstrations in New York condemning the United States’ support for Israel’s racist, Zionist, colonial and apartheid regime. He was often one of the respected and inspiring speakers at protests. The multi-page brochure of the St. Paul conference, containing the UNAC draft resolution, previously adopted policy positions and the conference agenda, opened with a brief photo essay commemorating Marty and honoring his contributions.

No to US-NATO proxy war in Ukraine against Russia

Marty’s Ukraine newsletter has a section titled ” Fascist snipers on the roofs of Maidan ». It summarizes the origins of the US-NATO proxy war against Russia at a time when the American left was deeply divided on this crucial issue.

Marty wrote: “ Today’s Ukrainian tragedy began in February 2014 when fascist rooftop snipers opened fire on Maidan protesters initially gathered to resist the austerity measures of Victor Yanukovych’s government. The fascists murdered 100 people in cold blood, [la rédaction : cela est attesté aujourd’hui par les conclusions judiciaires de l’enquête officielle du gouvernement ukrainien il y a quelques semaines], including some of their own, for good measure. Yanukovych, the president-elect, was immediately blamed and pilloried by mainstream media around the world. He fled for his life. »

Marty’s pamphlet continued with the following subheading and paragraphs:

US-backed fascist coup in Ukraine

“Never mind that the US representative to the European Union, Victoria Nuland, inadvertently revealed that the rooftop assassins were fascist types from the Svoboda party and the Right Sector and not from Yanukovych’s army. Armed fascist thugs came from across Ukraine and beyond to dominate the Maidan events, with US Senator John McCain sharing the stage with fascist speakers and Nuland handing out American friendship cookies. Armed thugs stormed Ukraine’s parliament, the Rada, barred entry to the two largest and majority parties, declared themselves the new government, and immediately approved a series of reactionary “laws” while calling themselves themselves, including pro-Nazi figures, at the head of five parties, government ministries and high positions in the army and the economy. They banned the Russian language in schools and public institutions and ordered the Ukrainian army, consisting of its now formally integrated fascist Azov, Aidar, Dnipro and Tornado battalions, to march into Donbass in the east to take over control of this largely Russian-speaking population. . Fascist gangs, now with the approval of the “government,” have attacked anti-coup protesters across the country. In Odessa, they murdered 48 coup protesters, set fire to a union building and massacred the survivors who were forced to jump from the burning building.” [Forafullaccountofthefascist-ledUS-backedUkrainiancoupseeSocialistActionbooklet“[Pouruncompterenducompletducoupd’ÉtatukrainienmenéparlesfascistesetsoutenuparlesÉtats-UnisvoirlelivretdeSocialistAction«Ukraine in turmoil » by this author].

A life dedicated to the fight against American imperialism

Marty never tires of actively and directly engaging in political actions, in the streets, in the mass movement and in literary formats, aimed at educating workers that the source of all social horrors Today’s economic and political system is the capitalist system itself, a system based on an elite minority of the ruling class having ruthless control over the nation’s wealth and all key military and political institutions.

The United States today maintains 1,100 military bases in 110 countries. It orchestrates and finances daily, for profit, wars of conquest and intervention throughout the world, this entered today on his unconditional support for the Zionist genocide in Palestine, for the Ukrainian war against Russia, for the new wars being waged today against Syria, Yemen, Jordan and Iraq. , Iran and beyond. Marty has never stopped asserting that the atrocities of the American war machine include wars of direct and indirect intervention on every continent – drone wars, “special operations wars”, sanctions wars, wars of assassinations and embargo-blockade wars. These wars are accompanied by increasingly intense wars against domestic workers and increasingly catastrophic attacks on the environment that threaten life on earth itself.

On the streets, Marty never tires of actively and directly engaging in political actions.

Electoral campaigns of Socialist Action

Marty was among the most prominent election campaigners in Socialist Actionhosting webinars, town hall meetings and rallies in New York and beyond to promote our 2016 and 2020 presidential election campaigns. In 2020, he traveled to Oakland, California to help build support for national electoral rally of Socialist Action « Vote Socialist: Jeff Mackler for President » in which 100 activists participated.

Marty was an accomplished revolutionary, whose interests included music, art and literature. He had a particular passion for jazz and an extensive collection of works by jazz musicians, past and present. He wrote incisive reviews, always with a political touch, of films, concerts and new works focusing on the history and literature of jazz.

Marty Goodman dedicated his life to challenging capitalist rule, organizing workers in the United States and around the world into independent, democratic fighting unions, building mass working class parties based on a labor movement renewed in alliance with the oppressed and the construction of revolutionary socialist parties aimed at winning the vast majority to the struggle for the socialist future. He was one of the best in Socialist Action. We honor his memory and his contributions to our common cause and commit to continuing his work.

Socialist Action May 4, 2024

author avatar
Jeff Mackler