Jesse Jackson, Sr.
- 1 Chicago Freedom Movement
- 2 Presidential hopeful
- 3 Jack O'Dell
- 4 Freedomways connection
- 5 Socialist Debs award
- 6 Syrian trip
- 7 Pro-Grenada
- 8 Cuba and Nicaragua
- 9 Supporting CISPES
- 10 Supporting the PLO
- 11 Trying to save the Olympics
- 12 Percy Sutton "Money man"
- 13 Tribute to Golub and Montgomery
- 14 RainbowPush Coalition
- 15 Adviser Ron Dellums
- 16 Endorsed Nydia Velasquez
- 17 Cuba visit
- 18 Campaign for America's Future
- 19 DC "home rule" supporter
- 20 Borosage on Board
- 21 Anti CCRI campaign/DSAer?
- 22 Congressional Progressive Caucus
- 23 "The Progressive Challenge: Capitol Hill Forum"
- 24 Watsonville UFW march
- 25 Los Angeles Martinez Jobs Bill support rally
- 26 DSA "Globalization From Below" conference
- 27 Other activities
- 28 Citizen Action of Illinois
- 29 Supported Peurto Rican rebel prisoners
- 30 Socialist doctor
- 31 Speaking at the People's Summit
- 32 "Black agenda"
- 33 CAIR Michigan 2010 Banquet
- 34 America's Future Now!
- 35 FightingBobFest speaker
- 36 CPC "Good jobs" tour
- 37 At Chavez's funeral
- 38 External links
- 39 References
The Rev. Jesse Jackson is the President and founder of the RainbowPUSH Coalition. He is one of America’s most well-known civil rights, religious and political figures.
He was born on October 8, 1941, in Greenville, South Carolina. Jackson went to University of Illinois on a football scholarship, but transferred to North Carolina A&T State University, graduating in 1964. He started studying theology at the Chicago Theological Seminary, but began working full-time in the Civil Rights Movement, not receiving his earned Master of Divinity Degree until 2000.
Reverend Jackson married his college sweetheart Jacqueline Lavinia Brown in 1963. They have five children: Santita Jackson, Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., Jonathan Luther Jackson, Yusef DuBois Jackson, Esq., and Jacqueline Lavinia Jackson, Jr."
Chicago Freedom Movement
In 1966 Father William Hogan, a Communist Party USA supporter, served as recording secretary of the Coordinating Council of Community Organizations, the group that, together with Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, formed the Chicago Freedom Movement, which led the massive civil disobedience direct action campaign of the summer of 1966 in Chicago.
Hogan said that while King was "first among equals," the composition of the CFM staff was exceptional and reflected the scope of the movement: James Bevel, C. T. Vivian, Al Sampson, James Orange, Jesse Jackson and Andrew Young, who went on to become mayor of Atlanta and later U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
According to Hogan..."All were veterans of major battles in the South," he said, adding that key players from Chicago included Edwin Berry of the Urban League, Bob Lucas of CORE and Carl Fuqua of the NAACP.
"In addition to traditional civil rights organizations, CFM included representatives from the religious and liberal communities. Some of the unions affiliated with AFL-CIO Industrial Union Department provided staff assistance.
One of the front runners for the Democratic nomination for President in 1984 and 1988, Jesse Jackson ended second only to Michael Dukakis in 1988, and was plainly disappointed not to be picked as Dukakis's Vice Presidential running mate.
In 1984 Institute for Policy Studies director Robert Borosage was brought into Jesse Jackson's campaign by IPS fellow Roger Wilkins, a former assistant attorney general and a nephew of the late NAACP president Roy Wilkins.
To Jackson, he was a senior adviser. The relationship between "Jesse and IPS is built on me", says Wilkins.
- Jesse and I have known each other for a very long time, more than 20 years, since he was working for Martin Luther King Jr. and I was in the Department of Justice.
- As an older fellow I have not always approved of everything Jesse has done; nor have I always approved of his style. Having said that, my sense is that his run in 1984 was historic and constructive.
A principal advisor to Jackson for more than 20 years was Jack O'Dell. O'Dell assisted Jackson during his campaign for the Presidential nomination. He was International Affairs Director for Jackson's Operation PUSH in Chicago from the early 1960s onwards, and later for Jackson's Rainbow Coalition, where he now served into at least the late 1980s.
O'Dell had a long record as a prominent and active member of the Communist Party USA . During the 1950s, he was the head organizer for the Communist Party USA in the South. In the 1960s he became an advisor to Martin Luther King. He was simultaneously serving on the National Committee of the CPUSA under the pseudonym of "Cornelius James."
The Communist Party USA created Freedomways magazine as a propaganda vehicle with which to reach into the black intellectual and academic community. It was established in the mid-1960's by members of the CPUSA and well-documented sympathizers/supporters. It billed itself as "A Quarterly Review of the Freedom Movement."
Newly declassified documents from Operation SOLO, an FBI program to infiltrate the Communist Party USA, reveal that a journal called Freedomways, which was influential in the black community for decades, was subsidized by the Soviet and Chinese Communist Parties.
Freedomways has been called “one of the most influential African-American literary and political journals of the 1960s and 1970s.” It began in 1961 and ceased publication in 1986.
During the 25 years it served as a propaganda organ for the CPUSA and Soviet front organizations such as the World Peace Council, Freedomways published articles by such figures as:
- Derrick Bell, one of Barack Obama’s academic mentors and a Harvard professor;
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
- John Lewis, a Democratic member of Congress from Georgia
- Jesse Jackson , a former aide to King and Democratic candidate for president.
Jesse Jackson, was hailed by Freedomways as a “nationally known Freedom Fighter” when it ran his 1972 article on “Three Challenges to Organized Labor.” 
Socialist Debs award
Every year since the mid 1960s the Indiana based Eugene V. Debs Foundation holds Eugene Debs Award Banquet in Terre Haute, to honor an approved social or labor activist. The 1978 honoree, was Jesse Jackson.
Tate went with Jackson to Damascus, Syria in 1983 to negotiate for the release of U.S. Navy Lieutenant Robert Goodman, who had been shot down and imprisoned by the Syrians. Some observers believe this episode had been simply planned in advance by the Jackson staff and the pro-communist Syrians as a way of embarrassing Reagan.
Syria helped pay for some expenses of the trip.
Jackson was a supporter of the Marxist-Leninist regime in Grenada before the U.S. organized the liberation of that island.
Dessima Williams, the Marxist ambassador of that regime in Washington, remained in this country following the liberation long after her diplomatic visa had expired, stirring up opposition to U.S. "militarism."
Cuba and Nicaragua
In June and July 1984 during his presidential campaign Jackson toured Cuba and Nicaragua partly at those governments' expense.
Jackson and several other prominent Democrats have supported CISPES (The Committee in Solidarity with the People of EI Salvador), which supported the communist guerillas in El Salvador.
Documents captured in a Salvador safe house by the Salvador Army and published by the U.S. State Department revealedthat CISPES is a Communist front organized by a Salvador communist agent visiting the U.S. in 1980.
Supporting the PLO
Jackson has shown consistent support for the terrorist Palestine Liberation Organization and Yasser Arafat. In 1984 Jackson and two Democratic Congressmen, John Conyers and George Crockett, were among the signers of a telegram sent by a PLO support group to President Reagan demanding "immediate sanctions against Israel."
Trying to save the Olympics
When Moscow, two other East European nations and Vietnam boycotted the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Rev. Jesse Jackson and John Conyers attempted to set up a special committee of athletes, civic leaders and members of Congress to "create a climate in which the decision can be changed."
The group held its first meeting in Conyers office may 11. Jackson, after a one hour meeting with Soviet Foreign minister Dobrynin, said that both he and the committee were willing to go to Moscow.
"I would say we have a about a one in ten chance" Conyers' press secretary Julian Epstein said. "They were firm in their position, but not final...The lines to the Soviet Embassy are being kept open.They are really bending over backwards to accommodate us. We will find out exactly under what conditions they would come back, and then get back with the US, Soviet, and international Olympic committees to see what we can mediate."
Percy Sutton "Money man"
Tribute to Golub and Montgomery
ON November 16, 1989, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Jacqueline Jackson served on the Tribute Committee for the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights Tribute to Leon Golub and Lucy Montgomery, held at the Congress Hotel, Chicago.
Reverend Jackson founded Operation PUSH (People United to Serve Humanity) in Chicago, IL. He also founded the National Rainbow Coalition. He merged the two in September 1996, creating the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.
Former Black Panther Party leader Eldridge Cleaver, who broke with the Panthers and became an active anti-communist after experiences in Cuba and pro-communist countries in North Africa and Eastern Europe, said that the Rainbow Coalition has roots in the Black Panther movement. He said it uses simply "warmed over" 1960s Panther rhetoric, even including its name. Old Panther newspapers, he pointed out, refer to a "rainbow coalition" of blacks, whites and Puerto Ricans.
Communist Party support
- The answer to Reagan and Bush is to redouble efforts to build and strengthen the all peoples' front, a vital part of which is the campaign being waged on the issues by Jesse Jackson.
Communist Party vice presidential candidate Angela Davis added:
- The Jesse Jackson campaign is going to force the Democratic Party to speak on issues that they ordinarily would not address.
Gus Hall, when asked who the Communist Party would support for President in the 1988 election, said:
- As a political party we do not endorse candidates of other political parties. Communists as individuals work in the election campaign, even in the campaigns of other candidates, not only Communist candidates.
- I think our members will work for the candidates they think have the most progressive, most advanced positions. At this stage most members of the Party will be working for Jesse Jackson on the basis that he does have an advanced position. But we do not endorse any candidate, including Jackson.
Workers World support
A strong supporter of the Rainbow Coalition was the Workers World Party, an extreme Communist group that has had links with the violent Weather Underground. The WWP backed Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition in 1984 through one of its fronts, the All Peoples' Congress.
Adviser Ron Dellums
Endorsed Nydia Velasquez
In her 1992 New York Democratic primary, Nydia Velasquez ran against two other Puerto Ricans Elizabeth Colon and Ruben Franco, president of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. Velasquez won the primary, receiving endorsements from New York mayor and Democratic Socialists of America member David Dinkins, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Congressmen Jose Serrano and Edolphus Towns, Local 1199 leader Dennis Rivera and Teamsters leader Barry Feinstein and Puerto Rico governor Rafael Hernandez Colon.
In December 1993 Rev. Jesse Jackson and Local 1199 president Dennis Rivera spent a 5 day holiday in Havana Cuba. the two Rainbow Coalition leaders pledged their support for HR 2229, introduced into Congress by Rep. Charles Rangel, to end the blockade and normalize relations.
Campaign for America's Future
DC "home rule" supporter
On Sept. 3, 1997, some 1,000 marchers descended on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to present their grievances to Congress. Marches in Washington are a regular occurrence, but this one was out of the ordinary in that it consisted almost wholly of D.C. citizens with a demand from the city's neighborhoods: to stop trampling on home rule in the District.
Speakers at the rally—including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dick Gregory, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Ca) and local activists—decried recent actions by Congress that had robbed the District of the limited measure of home rule it once enjoyed.
Borosage on Board
Institute for Policy Studies leader Robert Borosage has served as an issues adviser to several progressive political campaigns, including those of Senators Carol Moseley Braun, Barbara Boxer and Paul Wellstone. In 1988, he was Senior Issues Advisor to the presidential campaign of Reverend Jesse Jackson.
Anti CCRI campaign/DSAer?
In 1996 Democratic Socialists of America activists in California were deeply involved in the unsuccessful struggle to defeat Proposition 209, the California Civil Rights initiative, which sought to ban "affirmative action". At DSA's 1995 National Convention, the organization made opposition to CCRI a "major focus for our Activist Agenda".
According to campaign co-ordinator, Sacramento DSA leader Duane Campbell, "several prominent DSAers also contributed to the effort against 209. DSA Honorary Chair Dolores Huerta was a tireless campaigner and fundraiser. Huerta, alongwith Jesse Jackson, Eleanor Smeal, Patricia Ireland and Elizabeth Toledo, participated in a Freedom Bus tour throughout California, Each of them spoke from their own views on the significance of this campaign in building a spirit of hope and of struggle. The tour, well covered in the media, clearty showed the need to work together to build broad coalitions of labor, civil rights, and women's organizations..
Congressional Progressive Caucus
In 1997 Chicago DSA member Bruce Bentley wrote;
- There is a class struggle in process in the Congress with the Progressive Caucus around such issues as the Welfare Bill, NAFTA and Single Payer Health Care.
As a result of this DSA's Political Director Christine Riddiough organized a meeting with the Congressional Progressive Caucus with the purpose and cogent task as to: "How can we unite our forces on a common agenda?" Those in attendance included Richard Trumka, Noam Chomsky, Patricia Ireland, William Greider and Jesse Jackson.
"The Progressive Challenge: Capitol Hill Forum"
On January 9, 1997, over 600 people attended "The Progressive Challenge: Capitol Hill Forum" sponsored by the House Progressive Caucus, Democratic Socialists of America, and a host of other progressive organizations.
The primary goal of this day-long "kick-off" forum was to "identify the unifying values shared by progressives at this point in US history, to help define core elements of a forward-looking progressive agenda, and to pinpoint ways to connect that agenda with the concerns of millions of disillusioned people who lack voices in present politics and policy-making."
After a welcome by Representative Bernie Sanders, an impressive array of legislators, activists, and thinkers offered their insights. Senator Paul Wellstone, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Patricia Ireland of NOW, Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO, Noam Chomsky, William Greider of Rolling Stone, and DSA Honorary Chair Barbara Ehrenreich were among the many who spoke.
Some emphasized the importance of the conventional, if difficult, process of progressive candidates building grassroots campaigns that treat voters with intelligence and challenge prevailing wisdom regarding what values and issues motivate ordinary Americans struggling to make ends meet-as opposed to using polls and focus groups to concoct "designer" campaigns to appeal to upscale "soccer moms." Other speakers reminded those present that great changes are made by people acting outside of the corridors of power to define justice and "political reality," and the electoral and legislative processes are not the only arenas worthy of activists' attention.
Watsonville UFW march
In 1997 the United Farm Workers, with the support and participation of the AFL-CIO, mobilized over 30,000 farmworkers and supporters in the Strawberry Capitol of the World: Watsonville, California. The march was lead by UFW leaders, Jesse Jackson, John Sweeney, Ron Carey of the Teamsters Union, Martin Sheen, and a "host of dignitaries". A particularly strong contingent came from the UCLA MeCha which mobilized close to 100 Chicano students.
Dolores Huerta, UFW vice president, an Honorary Chair of DSA , and a supporter of the DSA Latino Commission, welcomed the marchers.
Arturo Rodriguez, the new President of the United Farmworkers and heir to the tradition of Cesar Chavez, delivered his speech in English and in Spanish. John Sweeney and Richard Trumka addressed the crowd, with translation provided by Louis Valdez and others. DSA contingents came from Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Diego as well as the Latino Commission. 
Los Angeles Martinez Jobs Bill support rally
On October 18 1997, Matthew Martinez, State senators Hilda Solis and Diane Watson, City Councilman Richard Alarcon, Miguel Contreras, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles Federation of Labor and Geraldine Washington, president of the Los Angeles NAACP addressed a Los Angeles "show us the living wage jobs" rally, as part of a national day of action, calling on Congress to pass the Martinez Jobs Bill. there were concurrent rallies in nearly 20 cities, organized by the Communist Party USA dominated National Labor-Community Coalition For Public Works Jobs.
DSA "Globalization From Below" conference
Invited speakers were Profirio Munoz-Ledo, PRD-Mexico; Audrey MacLaughlin, New Democratic Party-Canada; Rev. Jesse Jackson; Dolores Huerta, United Farm Workers; Clare Short, Secretary of State for Overseas Development, UK; Rep. Luis Gutierrez; Rep. Danny Davis; Jose LaLuz, AFSCME, Karen Nussbaum, AFL-CIO; Stanley Gacek, AFL-CIO; Stephen Yokich, United Auto Workers; Enrique Herandez, Han Young/ Hyudai plant organizer, Tijuana.
Reverend Jackson has campaigned for the presidential position twice. In 1984, his campaign registered one million new voters and won 3.5 million votes. His 1988, campaign registered over two million new voters and won seven million votes.
According to his biography on RainbowPUSH Coalition's website, in 1984, "he secured the release of captured Navy Lieutenant Robert Goodman from Syria, and the release of 48 Cuban and Cuban-American prisoners in Cuba. He was the first American to bring hostages out of Kuwait and Iraq in 1990" and in 1999 he negotiated the release of U.S. hostage soldiers in Kosovo.
In 1991, the U.S. Post Office put his likeness on a pictorial postal cancellation, only the second living person to receive such an honor. He has been on the Gallup List of the Ten Most Respected Americans for more than a dozen years. He received the NAACP Spingarn Award. On August 9, 2000, President Bill Clinton awarded Reverend Jackson and other distinguished notables the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.
He is the author of two books: Keep Hope Alive (South End Press, 1989), and Straight From the Heart (Fortress Press, 1987). In 1996, he co-authored the books Legal Lynching: Racism, Injustice, and the Death Penalty (Marlowe & Company, 1996) and It’s About The Money (Random House, 1999) with his son, U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr.
"In October 1997, Reverend Jackson was appointed by President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as "Special Envoy of the President and Secretary of State for the Promotion of Democracy in Africa." In this official position Reverend Jackson traveled to several countries on the African continent and met with such national leaders as, President Nelson Mandela of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Daniel T. Arap Moi of Kenya, and President Frederick J.T. Chiluba of Zambia."
Citizen Action of Illinois
Supported Peurto Rican rebel prisoners
In 1999, eleven imprisoned Puerto Rican independence fighters qwre released on parole from long prison terms in the US. they were Eliam Escobar, Dylcia Pagan, Alberto Rodriguez, Ida Luz Rodriguez, Alejandrina Torres, Adolfo Matos, Edwin Cortes, Ricardo Jiminez, Luis Rosa, Alicia Rodriguez and Carmen Valentin. A twelfth prisoner Juan Segarra Palmer, accepted an offer to nullify his fine and was due to be released in five years. Two other prisoners Antonio Comacho Negron and Oscar Lopez Rivera refused the clemency offer.
The clemency offers came after a long campaign that saw 75,000 people sign a petition in Puerto Rico and the US. The campaign, led by the Pro-Human Rights Committee of Puerto Rico, involved such activists as Coretta Scott King, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Rigoberta Menchu and Dr. Aaron Tolen, President of the World Council of Churches.
Political leaders who supported the prisoners included Reps Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Nydia Velazquez (D, NY), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Ron Dellums (D-Calif.) and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins.
Speaking at the People's Summit
From June 14-17 2009, the Moratorium NOW!-initiated People's Summit was held at Grand Circus Park, Detroit, MI. A "tent city" was built at the location, and protesters camped there for four days of "Active Resistance, Political Discussion and Strategizing for a “People's Stimulus Plans” and an “Economic Bill of Rights” for Working People and the Poor." Moratorium NOW! is a Workers World Party-front organization. Speaking at the summit were Jesse Jackson; JoAnn Watson; Abayomi Azikiwe, Workers World Party; Mike Martinez, FIST, Workers World Party; Baldemar Velasquez, FLOC; Ignacio Meneses, U.S./Cuba Labor Exchange; and Rosendo Delgado, Latinos Unidos.
Tavis Smiley organized and hosted the forum, held on Saturday, March 20, 2010 at Chicago State University on the city’s South Side. The confab offered up a provocative query: Is there room for a black agenda in the “post-racial America” of Barack Obama?
The televised event drew about 3,000 people, heard Smiley lead a four-hour conversation among 12 black intellectuals, educators and activists. The mix included longtime Smiley compatriots, academics like Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson and Julianne Malveaux. Others were longtime black leaders like the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., and Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan. Most of them came, they said, to “lovingly” take Obama to the woodshed.
CAIR Michigan 2010 Banquet
The 2010 Michigan CAIR gala, was held on March 31, with about "1,000 attendees including many powerful audience members from the business, media, and political community". Present at this year’s fundraiser was Nihad Awad, who founded CAIR and set it up as a not-for-profit franchise operation of sorts, with now branch offices across the country to advocate for Muslims.
- But the real jewels in the crown of the 2010 CAIR Michigan fundraiser were the civil rights workers who for sixty years have been deeply involved at their own personal peril with the struggle for civil rights in the USA.
Jesse Jackson , the keynote speaker, was one of those. But there was also Rep. John Conyers (D-MI-14), whom Jackson described as “perhaps the only man who was ever endorsed by Martin Luther King.” There was Rep. John Dingell (D-MI-15). There were many others, including the strong gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernero (currently Lansing’s mayor).
America's Future Now!
CPC "Good jobs" tour
On June 27, 2011, Detroit was the second stop of the Congressional Progressive Caucus's "Good Jobs" tour. Reps. Hansen Clarke and John Conyers, D-Mich., joined with Keith Ellison, D-Minn., Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson listening to the "stories and thinking of the people".
In their brief remarks, the leaders issued a call to redirect money from wars, Wall Street and the rich to a rebuilding of America.
Jackson said war spending is "breaking our cities." He was seconded by Clarke who said the money we're spending in Afghanistan is ours, "it should come back to us."
Kaptor said we need to tax the financial giants asking, "Why can't we tax hedge funds like we do the corner bakery?"
Ellison emphasized that unity is required to win, saying being angry will not bring jobs but banding together, speaking together, and fighting together can. "We will use our strength in numbers to fight corporate greed," he said.
Conyers said we are "getting ready" to re-elect President Obama but we need the President to get behind job creating legislation like the Humphrey Hawkins jobs bill he has introduced.
"We are going to Washington to tell him we want him to lead in the fight for jobs. We will tell him we are ready to help," said Conyers.
At Chavez's funeral
In the funeral hall, more than 30 political leaders including Cuba's Raul Castro and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stood at attention before Chavez's flag-draped coffin. Many of them were welcomed by Nicolas Maduro, the vice president who will later be sworn in as interim president. The glass-topped coffin, which has been open since Wednesday, was shut for the funeral.
Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and former Congressman William Delahunt (D-MA) attended the Venezuelan leader's funeral. Hollywood actor Sean Penn and Reverend Jesse Jackson were also at the funeral. "We pray God today that you will heal the breach between the U.S. and Venezuela," Jackson said.
- President and founder of Rainbow/PUSH Coalition biography
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