Doug Ireland

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Doug Ireland


Doug Ireland , a Democratic Socialists of America comrade, died October 26, 2013.

Early activism

Michael Hirsch was 18 when he first met Doug Ireland in 1963. He was already a moving force in the early Students for a Democratic Society. With Steve Max and Jim Williams, he formed the Political Education Project, an SDS work group that saw political action as doable by the New Left and a necessary adjunct to its ongoing campus, community and civil rights organizing Reading a poorly formulated criticism of electoral politics — a piece whose author or provenance I can’t remember but do recall liking and saying so, he shook his head in that wry way you know someone is in for a psychic bruising. “I’ve heard of vulgar Marxism, but this piece is just vulgar,” he said. Looking back, I suspect he was right.[1]

Electoral action

Moving on that commitment to electoral activity, he would soon serve as campaign manager for Bella Abzug in her first — and immediately successful — run for Congress from New York’s upper-west side in 1968. Her victory was iconic, given that she was a virulent critic of the Vietnam War, then insanely escalating under a Democratic president, and her victory validated our critique of the U.S. misadventure.

In a tussle with the candidate over discrete campaign tactics, he told Abzug — as reported at the time in the Village Voice — that she’d better shape up or get dismissed by voters “as just another pretty face.” That was something she decidedly was not, and Bella howled with delight. She also heard him. It was pure Doug. He knew humor was a political instrumentality, too.[2]

Writer

In later years, Ireland worked as a journalist and was a spirited and endlessly clever writer for the Village Voice. Sojourning in Paris, he introduced American readers to the delectable French putdown of self-important intellectuals, usually but not exclusively leaders of microsects. He called them “les grandes têtes pensées” (the big thinking heads), but he was no less dismissive of the right-sloping and frequently anti-intellectual if not pinheaded leaderships of the French Socialist and Communist parties, too.[3]

Gay activism

Back in the USA, he was active as a writer for New York’s Gay City News, identifying himself less as “gay” than as a “queer activist” and being, as Tom Harrison calls him in his sparkling obit on the New Politics blog, “a relentless scourge of the LGBT establishment.” [4]

DSOC founding convention

The Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee founding convention Socialism'73 took place in New York City, October 12 and 13, 1973, at the Loeb Student Center, NY University and at the McAlpin Hotel. Speakers included;

Institute for Policy Studies

In 1993 Ireland was listed as a among "former Visiting Fellows and Visiting Scholars and current TransNational Institute Fellows" on the Institute for Policy Studies 30th Anniversary brochure.

DSA’s Cuba Letter

Doug Ireland signed an April 2003 Statement on Cuba, initiated and circulated[6] by prominent Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) member Leo Casey, calling for the lifting of trade sanctions against Cuba.

“a statement circulating among democratic left/socialist folks, largely by members of Democratic Socialists of America, condemning the recent trials and convictions of non-violent dissenters in Cuba”.

The petition criticized Cuba's poor human rights record, but shared the blame for Cuba's problems with reactionary elements of the U.S. administration...

The democratic left worldwide has opposed the U.S. embargo on Cuba as counterproductive, more harmful to the interests of the Cuban people than helpful to political democratization. The Cuban state's current repression of political dissidents amounts to collaboration with the most reactionary elements of the U.S. administration in their efforts to maintain sanctions and to institute even more punitive measures against Cuba.

Many of the petition's 120 odd signatories were known members of DSA.

In These Times

As of 2009 Doug Ireland was a Contributing Editor of Chicago based socialist journal In These Times.[7]

Campaign for Peace and Democracy

Ireland is listed as an endorser of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy, as of March 15, 2010.[8]

External links

References

  1. [ http://www.dsausa.org/remembering_doug_ireland, Dem Left,Remembering Doug Ireland: Comrade and Friend, Posted by Michael Hirsch on 11.07.13]
  2. [ http://www.dsausa.org/remembering_doug_ireland, Dem Left,Remembering Doug Ireland: Comrade and Friend, Posted by Michael Hirsch on 11.07.13]
  3. [ http://www.dsausa.org/remembering_doug_ireland, Dem Left,Remembering Doug Ireland: Comrade and Friend, Posted by Michael Hirsch on 11.07.13]
  4. [ http://www.dsausa.org/remembering_doug_ireland, Dem Left,Remembering Doug Ireland: Comrade and Friend, Posted by Michael Hirsch on 11.07.13]
  5. [1] Newsletter of the Democratic Left, October 1973, page 6
  6. http://www.nathannewman.org/log/archives/000912.shtml
  7. In These Times website: About
  8. Endorsers