Bogdan Denitch

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Bogdan Denitch


Bogdan Denitch is an Honorary Chair of Democratic Socialists of America, Professor Emeritus CUNY Graduate School, and Chair of Transitions to Democracy.[1] He has been part of national DSA leadership since its founding, is the organization’s representative to the Socialist International, and Chair (since 1981) of the Socialist Scholars Conference.[2]

Socialist recruiter

Bogdan Denitch recruited Michael Harrington to the Young Peoples Socialist League in the Spring of 1952.[3]

Tim Wohlforth became a socialist in 1953, right at the height of McCarthyism and at the lowest ebb that the American socialist movement had ever experienced. He was a sophomore at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio.

I was won to socialism by the Shachtmanites, a group that made up in intellectual vitality for what they clearly lacked in members.
We were graced with two socialists — Scott Arden and Bogdan Denitch — from the newly formed Young Socialist League. Neither I nor anyone else at Oberlin College had ever heard of the group.
Bogdan Denitch painted a colorful and somewhat exaggerated picture of the YSL. He gave a most astounding interview to the college newspaper. He stated that the YSL’s membership was “under 30,000” and went into great detail about a “training school” the YSL ran to turn out machinists to invade industry and form socialist cells to challenge the conservative union bureaucracy. The newspaper painted the organization as if it were a big Red plot.
I found out the truth a couple of years later when I turned up in New York City and needed a job. Two older comrades, Herman Benson and Julius Jacobson, had a small machine shop. If you pleaded with them enough they would give you a fifteen-minute lesson in running an automatic screw machine. Their instruction was rather inadequate; luckily I never had to work in industry.

About a dozen students met with Arden and Denitch and decided to organize their own socialist club on campus, which they called the Eugene V. Debs Club, naming it after the famous early leader of American socialism…[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;

Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee

Some 150 delegates and 100 observers met at Houston's Airport Holiday Inn, February 16-19, 1979, for the fourth national convention of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC).

DSOC's leadership at the 1979 convention included-Michael Harrington, chairman, Julius Bernstein vice chairman, Victor Reuther vice chairman, Jack Clark national secretary.[6]

The National Board consisted of-Julian Bond, Harry Boyte, Bogdan Denitch, Harry Fleischman, Irving Howe, Alex Spinrad, Gloria Steinem, Harry Walsh, Nat Weinberg, Richard Wilson

New American Movement 10th convention

In 1981 John Beverly, Pitt NAM and Bogdan Denitch, DSOC National Executive Committee led a workshop entitled New Developments in the Socialist International at the 10th Convention of the New American Movement. The convention was held in a union headquarters in Chicago and ran from July 29 - August 2, 1981.[7]

DSA Conference delegate

In 1983 Bogdan Denitch was a New York delegate to the Democratic Socialists of America conference in New York City, October 14-16, 1983[8]

Democratic Socialists of America Cultural Commission

Postel2512.jpg

In 1982 the Democratic Socialists of America Cultural Commission, was co-chaired by:[9]

  • Jim Miller Cleveland, Ohio
  • Bogdan Denitch New York

American Solidarity Movement

The American Solidarity Movement was announced in early 1984 by Democratic Socialists of America, as a vehicle to support American labor unions it considered under attack, or on strike and in need of support.

Members of the Initiating Committee for an American Solidarity Movement were: Michael Harrington (convenor), Stanley Aronowitz, Balfour Brickner, Harry Britt, Harvey Cox, Rep. Ron Dellums, Bogdan Denitch, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cynthia Epstein, Jules Feiffer, Rep. Barney Frank, Msgr. George Higgins, Irving Howe, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Frances Fox Piven, Jose Rivera, Ray Rogers, Gloria Steinem, Peter Steinfels, Ellen Willis.[10]

Paying tribute to Michael Harrington

Washington Socialist, September 1989, page 16

On Friday September 15, 1989, a tribute service was held to commemorate the recently deceased leader of Democratic Socialists of America, Michael Harrington.

Invited guest speakers were Irving Howe, Senator Edward Kennedy, Willy Brandt, Deborah Meier, Bogdan Denitch, Jack Clark and Eleanor Holmes Norton.[11]

Socialist Scholars Conference 1990

The Socialist Scholars Conference 1990, held September 6-8, at the Hotel Commodore, New York, included panels such as:[12]

The Future of Socialism in America

Socialist International

Led by Bogdan Denitch, DSA's permanent representative to the Socialist International, the Democratic Socialists of America delegation to the October 1990 Socialist International meeting in New York, included DSA Honorary Chair, Cornel West, Pat Belcon, a DSA NPC member, Motl Zelmanowicz, a "DSAer active in the Jewish Labor Bund", Jo-Ann Mort, a DSA NPC member, Jack Sheinkman, president of ACTWU, NYC Commissioner of Finance, Carol O'Cleireacain, Terri Burgess, chair of the DSA youth Section, Skip Roberts, Chair of DSA's Socialist International Committee, welcomed the Council to the United States on behalf of Democratic Socialists of America.[13]

The Democratic Socialists of America delegation to the 1992 Socialist International conference in Berlin, included Bogdan Denitch, (chair), Christine Riddiough, (VP Socialist International Women), Motl Zelmanowicz, Jose LaLuz, Michael Lighty, Jo-Ann Mort and Penny Schantz.[14]

DSAers Bogdan Denitch, Christine Riddiough, and Motl Zelmanowicz attended the Socialist International Council meeting in Athens, Greece on February 9 and 10. The Council was addressed by the illegally ousted Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. [15]

Socialist Scholars Conference

Members of the planning committee for the Tenth Annual Socialist Scholars Conference included Bogdan Denitch, Chair, Peter Kott, R. L. Norman and Susan Rezvani, Vice Chairs, Danielle Cohen, Organizer and John Mason, Press Liason. Other members of the committee included Kim Adams, David Baumel, Pam Donovan, William DiFazio, Agustin Lao, Nat Mills, Charles Portz and Wayne Sing-Wai. The conference was held April 24-26, 1992 at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, New York City[16]

Radical Scholars & Activists Conference

In 1993 Bogdan Denitch was a featured speaker at the Midwest Radical Scholars & Activists Conference. The theme of the conference was, "Popular Empowerment in the Clinton Era". The conference was held between Oct. 29 - 30, 1993 at Loyola University, Chicago.[17]

DSA member

In 1994 Bogdan Denitch was a member of the Democratic Socialists of America. He was named as Honorary Chair of the Democratic Socialists of America and taught at the City University of New York.[18]

150th Anniversary of the Communist Manifesto

In May 1998 Julia Fitzgerald traveled France was a conference sponsored by the educational arm of the French Communist Party, Espace Marx. The conference was part commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Communist Manifesto, part call for international analysis of capitalism at the millennium.

She attended with several other Democratic Socialists of America members including Honorary Chair Bogdan Denitch (who was a speaker at the conference), John Mason (member of DSA's Internationa] Committee) and Robert Saute and Gina Neff (both members of the City University of New York DSA chapter and organizers of the Socialist Scholars Conference).

In addition to the DSA contingent, the Americans included representatives from the Committees of Correspondence (including Co-Chair Charlene Mitchell, who spoke at the opening plenary), people from Monthly Review magazine and the Marxist School in New York City and unaffiliated leftists, mostly academics. [19]

Communist "Manifestivity"

On October 30 and 31, 1998 the Brecht Forum presented the "Communist Manifestivity -150th Anniversary of the Communist Manifesto" at at Cooper Union's Great Hall, New York.

One of the many workshops at the Manifestivity was;

The Communist Manifesto--Now; with Mary Boger, Lynne Chancer, Bogdan Denitch, August Nimtz, Vijay Prashad, Marshall Berman. Moderator: Randy Martin

DSA’s Cuba Letter

Bogdan Denitch signed an April 2003 Statement on Cuba, initiated and circulated by prominent Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) member Leo Casey, calling for the lifting of trade sanctions against Cuba.[20]

“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.

"Dissent" magazine

In 2009 the Democratic Socialists of America aligned Dissent Magazine masthead Editorial Board members were:[21]

Bernard Avishai, Joanne Barkan, David Bensman, Marshall Berman, Paul Berman, H Brand, David Bromwich, Luther Carpenter, Jean L Cohen, Mitchell Cohen, Bogdan Denitch, Jeff Faux, Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, Todd Gitlin, Murray Hausknecht, Agnes Heller, Jeffrey Isaac, Michael Kazin, Martin Kilson, Erazim Kohak, William Kornblum, Jeremy Larner, Susie Linfield, Kevin Mattson, Deborah Meier, Harold Meyerson, Nicolaus Mills, Jo-Ann Mort, Brian Morton, Carol O'Cleireacain, George Packer, Martin Peretz, Anson Rabinbach, Ruth Rosen, James Rule, Alan Ryan, Patricia Cayo Sexton, Jim Sleeper, Ann Snitow, Cornel West, Sean Wilentz, Dennis Wrong.

New Politics

As of 2009 Bogdan Denitch served as a sponsor of New Politics, magazine almost completely staffed and run by members of Democratic Socialists of America[22].

References

  1. http://www.dsausa.org/dl/Fall_2008.pdf
  2. http://www.dsaboston.org/yradical/yr2002-03.pdf
  3. http://www.dsaboston.org/yradical/yr2008-01.pdf
  4. [Tim Wohlforth’s 1994 political memoir, The Prophet’s Children — Travels on the American Left (Humanities Press)]
  5. [1] Newsletter of the Democratic Left, October 1973, page 6
  6. Information Digest March 7 1979 p 63
  7. NAM 10th Convention Agenda, July 29, 1981
  8. DSA Conference delegate list Oct. 12 1983 update
  9. DSA Keylist newsletter, July 1982
  10. Democratic Left, Jan./Feb. 1984, page 6
  11. Washington Socialist, September 1989, page 16
  12. Second Annual Socialist Scholars Conference program.
  13. Democratic Left, November/December 1990, page 7
  14. Democratic Left, November/December 1992, page 12
  15. Democratic Left March/April 1993, page 12
  16. SSE Tenth Annual Conference Program, 1992
  17. Radical Scholars & Activists Conference pamphlet, 1993
  18. Revised list of committees of the 1994-1995 DSA National Political Committee
  19. [Democratic Left Issue 3 1998, page 19]
  20. http://www.nathannewman.org/log/archives/000912.shtml
  21. http://www.dissentmagazine.org/display.php?id=masthead
  22. http://ww3.wpunj.edu/newpol/whoweare.htm#eds