Paul Schrade

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Paul Schrade

Paul Schrade is a former director of the United Auto Workers in California. His involvement with the union dates back to the time of founder Walter Reuther. Schrade was also a close associate of Sen. Robert Kennedy and an aide in Kennedy's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in '68. He was one of the five people wounded on the night RFK was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on April 5, 1968. Now in his 80s, he continues to be an activist for auto worker issues[1].

Working with Robert Kennedy

Paul Schrade gave a June 4, 2008 interview to Tavis Smiley, on his relationship with Robert Kennedy;

Schrade: No, because you live with it every day, and you try to continue the kind of work that Robert Kennedy and I was involved in during that period.
Tavis: For you, continuing that work has meant what for these 40 years?

Schrade: Well, it meant we continued community action. Bob sort of invented in our period the whole idea of community action, giving people a chance to organize their own lives and improve their lives. We took him to Watts in 1965 and a couple times later, where we were putting together a union program, a community union based upon the community action ideas that he invented when he was attorney general.
And he then went to Bed Stuy - the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Project was a product of that whole period of community action. It was just wonderful working with him on that.
Tavis: We know what happened 40 years ago; we'll come back to what happened to you specifically on that night. Before I do that, though, how did your relationship with Bobby get forged?

Schrade: Well, we first met in 1956 at the Democratic Convention, and he and Jack Kennedy met Walter Reuther, the president of my union, the United Auto Workers, in the hallway someplace. And Jack said to him, "Walter, how can I get your support for the vice presidential nomination with Stevenson?" He said, "Young man -" this is Walter - "you have to change your voting record."

This is '56. And this happened with both Johnson and Kennedy. They became more liberal than conservative during that period as they began maneuvering to become the candidate in 1960.
Tavis: So you were with your boss on this particular night?
Schrade: Yeah. Yeah, I was a delegate; I was a Stevenson delegate. The other thing that happened with Bob is that he asked me to join him in Los Angeles during the '60 convention, a couple weeks before the convention, to try to hijack delegates from the Stevenson slate, which I'd been part of four years before, and to bring them over to Jack Kennedy.

And I worked with Sarge Shriver in doing that, and we brought some Stevenson delegates over. I think that's the kind of thing that impressed Bob. When anybody really made a contribution like that, that loyalty was there forever.

In The Times Founding sponsors

In 1976 founding sponsors of the Institute for Policy Studies/New American Movement linked socialist journal were;

New American Movement 10th convention

In 1981 Gene Vanderport, Danville NAM; Bernie Demczuk, DC NAM; Andrea Gunderson, Cleveland NAM; Paul Schrade, LA NAM and Judy Gregory, Cleveland NAM led a workshop entitled Labor in the '80's 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.[3]

Tribute to Ben Dobbs

On Sunday, June 7, 1981, the Los Angeles Chapter of the New American Movement sponsored a Tribute to Ben Dobbs for "His lifelong commitment to socialism". The event was held at the Miramar-Sheraton Hotel, Santa Monica, California. Sponsors of the event included Paul Schrade.[4]

DSA potential donors list

On January 21, 1992 Steve Tarzynski, National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America, wrote a letter to "Harold" (probably Harold Meyerson).

"Following is the list of possible major donors I can think of to pledge support for Trish and our program in southern California. Additions and comments sorely needed."

Question marks in original list.[5]

Los Angeles DSA potential donors list

On July 26 1992 California Democratic Socialists of America leader Steve Tarzynski wrote a draft "major donor letter" for Southern California DSA, inviting donors to join the Upton Sinclair Club of DSA[6]

We know you have been generous in supporting DSA's important work in the past. We'd like to develop a core of at least twelve people who will pledge 1,000 annually to keep our Organization working for Southern California DSA. We invite you to be one of those people. This select group of members and friends would have a key role in rebuilding a democratic left opposition in California.
This unique group of individuals would form the "Upton Sinclair Club" which will act in an advisory role meeting with the Southern California DSA leadership at an annual brunch. Sinclair Club members will receive a quarterly bulletin reporting on Southern California DSA's progress, and will have an opportunity to meet international DSA spokespeople and international guest speakers in more intimate small group settings. Admission to all local, statewide, and national DSA events in the Southern California would be complimentary with membership in the Sinclair Club.

The draft was accompanied by a "List of Potential major donors to DSA"

Los Angeles DSA member

Circa late 1980s Los Angeles DSA brochure

Labor unionist Paul Schrade has been a member of Los Angeles Democratic Socialists of America.

Upton Sinclair Club

In the early 1990s, Schrade of Los Angeles was a member of the Upton Sinclair Club, of Democratic Socialists of America. The club consisted of wealthy Californians able to contribute significant donations to DSA.[7]

Progressive Los Angeles Network

Circa 2002 , Paul Schrade, Watts Labor Community Action Council, served on the Advisory board of the Democratic Socialists of America dominated Progressive Los Angeles Network.[8]

Liberty Hill Foundation

As at 2009, Paul Schrade was a member of the Advisory Board of the Liberty Hill Foundation, a Los Angeles based organization seeking to advance movements for social change through a combination of grants, leadership training and alliance-building.[9]



  2. [1] In These Times home page, accessed March 6, 2010
  3. NAM 10th Convention Agenda, July 29, 1981
  4. Tribute to Ben Dobbs program, June 7, 1981
  5. January 21, 1992 Steve Tarzynski, letter to "Harold", Tarzynski papers Southern California for Social Change
  6. Steve Tarzynski DSA major donor letter draft July 26, 1992, Tarzynski papers, Southern California Library for Social Change
  7. Sinclair Club membership list, Steve Tarzynski papers
  8. PLAN website, accessed October 2011
  9. Liberty Hill website: Advisory Board