Life of activism
Jim Zarichny, an activist in the Democratic Socialist movement, died of various ailments January 2013, in his south Boulder home. He was 89.
Known for his long white beard and commitment to social change, Zarichny died just hours before Left Hand Book Collective -- the progressive Boulder bookstore he helped found -- announced its closure.
As a college student, Zarichny was an outspoken communist and was the subject of McCarthyist accusations during his time at what is now called Michigan State University.
In 1948, he appeared before the Michigan Senate Committee on Un-American Activities at Universities. He refused to tell State Sen. Matthew Callahan whether he was a communist, and he was sentenced to jail for the remainder of the Senate term. But the term ended the same day he was sentenced, so Zarichny never spent a night in jail.
Zarichny finished his undergraduate degree in mathematics at Columbia University in New York. After graduating, he was hired by IBM, though the company fired him soon after a background check revealed his communist tendencies.
During World War II, Zarichny was trained to be a military police officer in the U.S. Army. He was reassigned to a military hospital in Lido, India, where he admitted injured Chinese soldiers. During his time off, Zarichny traveled throughout India, relishing his conversations with loca
In Boulder, Zarichny worked in supercomputing at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He was employed by Florida State University, but the school sent him to NCAR because it didn't have a supercomputer.
In 1964, he was invited to attend the Pine Hill convention of Students for a Democratic Society.
He was also an active member in the Boulder chapter of the New American Movement, a Democratic Socialist group founded in 1971.
In 1979, Zarichny hatched the idea for the Left Hand Book Collective, a source for progressive literature.
His passion for activism carried well into his old age, as he appeared at Left Hand forums and, as an 87-year-old, marched in the Louisville Labor Day Parade.
During his last few years, Zarichny devoted much of his time to sorting through his personal archives, which will soon be available at the University of Colorado's Norlin Library.
"He was an incredibly intelligent and very sweet person," said friend and Left Hand volunteer Dave Anderson, who first met Zarichny at a Marxist study group in 1974. "He was always helping out in social movements and always concerned with what was going on in the world and how it make it a better place."
Favored working with the Socialists
- We the undersigned Colorado-Wyoming NAM members. and friends, favor closer work between and the Socialist Party USA.
Open Letter to Obama on Iran
In 2008 James Zarichny of Boulder, CO signed an online petition “A Open Letter to Barack Obama on Iran”.
- Camera, Boulder activist Jim Zarichny, 89, dies before bookstore announces closure By Alex Burness Camera Staff Writer POSTED: 01/31/2013
- Resolutions packet for the 1980 NAM convention, page 10
- Let The People Decide: A Personal View of the SDS National Convention Posted by TAG - August 28, 2006
- Open Letter to Obama on Iran