Armando Ramirez

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Armando Ramirez

Armando Ramirez died March 23 2017, was a Southern California activist.

Armando Ramirez is survived by his children, Raymond Ramirez, Laura, Sacha Ramirez and Raul Ramirez, son-in-law Jack, four grandchildren, and numerous adoring nephews and nieces in Arizona and Mexico.

“He was the genuine article,” Sam Webb, former Michigan organizer for the Communist Party USA and a close personal friend, said.[1]


Armando was born into struggle in 1930 in Chicago. His mother Antonia and father Jose Trinidad Ramirez had both come there in the 1920s from the Mexican village of Tala, outside Guadalajara. Jose Trinidad found work at the Swift meatpacking plant, and Antonia worked at a boardinghouse, then got a job at Armour. Armando was the second of three sons. His older brother, Guillermo Ramirez, moved to Mexico early on, buying farmland near the town of Cuervos in the northwestern state of Baja California.

Armando’s father was an activist with the left-led United Packinghouse Workers of America, CIO (a forerunner of today’s United Food and Commercial Workers). A member of UPW Local 25 at Swift, he was field representative for the union’s District 1, which included most of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

The UPW was among the unions singled out for attack in the wave of government repression against union activism in the 1950s. “Probe of Red Power in Union to Open Here” was the headline on a May 5, 1959 Chicago Daily Tribune article reporting the start of three days of hearings in Chicago by the House Un-American Activities Committee on “the infiltration of unions by Communists.” The article reports that federal authorities “had been trying to deport” Jose Trinidad Ramirez to Mexico “since 1957 and the case against him is still pending.” He fought the deportation proceedings for years, supported by his union, but eventually he decided to go back to Mexico with his wife in the early 1960s, joining his son Guillermo on the farm in Cuervos, where they lived the rest of their lives. Armando, by then married with young children, stayed in Chicago. Armando’s younger brother Trinidad Ramirez also remained in Chicago.

Armando Ramirez joined the Communist Party USA at age 16, recruited by a labor organizer even though he was underage. As a young man he participated in many of Chicago’s progressive struggles, including for integration in housing and employment and against racism. He attended community college with dreams of becoming an architect. That was not financially possible, so he learned the machinist trade and worked for many years at Chicago’s Foote Brothers Gear and Machine Co.

Armando was a teenager during the years of struggle to integrate baseball, led by the Daily Worker, Communists and other progressives, and he was part of that winning struggle, as a young activist and a fan. As a South Sider, Armando naturally rooted for the White Sox. After the “color line” was broken, he watched American League baseball greats Minnie Minoso, Chico Carrasquel, Larry Doby and others play for the Sox at Comiskey Park. But he also went north to Wrigley Field to see Jackie Robinson when the Brooklyn Dodgers came to town.

Armando Ramirez married Ruth Tregay, herself a union organizer, in 1955, and two children, Raymond and Laura, were born. The marriage ended in divorce. He later remarried and his younger daughter Sacha was born in Chicago. They moved to Kalamazoo in the 1970s, then settled in Detroit where Armando worked as a machinist at General Motors, including its famous Fleetwood plant, and at Ford’s Rouge complex, and became a steadfast activist in the United Auto Workers union. It was in Detroit and his political involvement there, he later recalled, that “I really grew up.”[2]


He was active in virtually every union and community struggle in Detroit for over two decades. As the Big Three auto companies began the wave of plant shutdowns that decimated Detroit in the 1980s, Armando was a driving force in the Labor-Community Coalition to Stop Plant Closings that brought together community, clergy and union members in an effort to keep General Motors from closing its Fleetwood and Cadillac plants, on the city’s southwest side, that employed thousands of workers. He and his family lived in that same neighborhood, the heart of Detroit’s Mexican American population, and his younger son Raul was born there. Devoted to the UAW, Armando was elected to the executive board of Local 22, which represented workers at Cadillac and Fleetwood. During the 1990s, he went door to door in the community to mobilize support for the UAW’s organizing drive at Mexican Industries, an auto parts plant in Southwest Detroit. It was successfully unionized.

He was “a very good man,” longtime Detroit activist Kae Halonen recalled. “He gave much, to many.”


Armando identified with the Cuban revolution and the social justice struggles of Latin America. He was part of worker solidarity delegations to Cuba and Mexico, the latter a UAW initiative.

John Bachtell, Communist Party USA national chair, commented, “Armando was one of the kindest, gentlest, most modest people I ever met, but a deep thinker and fierce fighter for working people and against injustice. He was a profound reflection of the multiracial U.S.working class and people. I considered him a role model.”

After retiring from the auto industry, tired of the Midwest’s cold weather, and wanting to be closer to his family in California, Arizona and Mexico, Armando moved to San Diego. There he continued his political involvement, including campaigning for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and for progressive local candidates. In 2016, weakened by cancer, he moved to Oakland to be with his daughter Laura and her family.[3]

Christopher Alston Memorial

In May 1995 the Communist Party USA Newspaper, People's Weekly World published a memorial to Christopher Alston. It was endorsed by several signatories, mainly identified members of the Michigan Communist Party USA. The list included Armando Ramirez.[4]

Memorial to Coleman Young

On December 20 1997 the Communist Party USA's Peoples Weekly World published on page 18, a memorial to late Detroit mayor Coleman Young.

Signatories to the memorial included Armando Ramirez.

UAW activist

In 1999 Armando Ramirez, was a United Auto Workers Local 600 activist in Michigan.PWW October 1999 page 3</ref>

Endorsed Communist Party Call

On March 30 2002 the Communist Party USA paper People’s Weekly World called for a national holiday in honor of late Farm Workers Union leader Cesar Chavez. The article was followed by a long list of endorsers[5]including Armando Ramirez, Almost all endorsers were confirmed members of the Communist Party USA.

Communist Party USA

In July 2001, Armando Ramirez, a newly retired auto worker , attended the Communist Party USA convention in Milwaukee.[6]

In 2002 Armando Ramirez was a member of both the National Board and the Labor Commission of the Communist Party USA.[7]

In September 2006 the Peoples Weekly World[8]listed several members of the California Communist Party USA.

Abe Blashko, Leo Blashko, Lilo Heller, Sara Alchermes, Armando Ramirez, Cassandra Lopez, Danny Morales, Gail Ryall, Jacqueline Cabasso, John Kitchenka, John Reiger, Juan Lopez, Marilyn Bechtel, Siri Margerin .

Sao Paolo Forum

On February 17, 2002 Armando Ramirez gave a report at the Los Angeles Workers' Center, under the auspices of the California District Communist Party USA - Southern Region, on the recent Sao Paolo Forum in Cuba.[9]

Latinos for Peace

On October 31 2009, Latinos For Peace issued a statement calling for “no escalation of the war in Afghanistan and for expedited withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as an end to the coup government in Honduras”.

More than 100 activists endorsed the call, including Armando Ramirez, San Diego, CA.[10]

Anti NAFTA campaigning

On April 3 2010 Armando Ramirez, a retired autoworker and UAW activist, was scheduled to talk at the Tucson, Arizona Salt of the Earth Labor College "NAFTA: its impact on U.S. and Mexican workers"

Brother Ramirez will talk about his experiences fighting the NAFTA treaty as a union leader in Detroit, and his subsequent solidarity work meeting with U.S. and Mexican workers along the border. Discussion of the ongoing struggle to reverse NAFTA's continuing role in destroying American manufacturing.

Los Angeles Workers' Center

The Los Angeles Workers' Center, also known as The Red house, or the Casa de Trabajadores, is a non-profit educational corporation, run by the Los Angeles Workers' Educational Society, Inc., which in turn is run by members of the Los Angeles Communist Party USA.

As of 2010;[11]

"Train of justice"


July 29, 2011, SoCal Los Angeles Communist Party USA "Welcoming our new members who have chosen to board the train of justice".

Signed by; Rossana Cambron, Mario Brito, Juan Lopez, Armando Ramirez, Nelson Urrutia, Rafael Zamarron-Brito, Scott Patrick, Leandro Della Piana, Emily Clarida, Sam Webb, Michelle Henrickson, Richard Castro, Jr., John Bachtell and Nicholas James.

What's race got to do with it?

"What's race got to do with it? Class, ethnicity and conflict in an evolving U.S. nation"

Sunday 15 February 2015, 20:00, Organized by : Communist Party USA

Join us for a Sunday evening discussion of Lenin's analysis of nations and national oppression and their applicability to 21st century America. Joe Sims will facilitate.

Those indicating they would attend on Wherevent include Dee Myles, Casey Doyle, Michelle Kern, Keri Rautenkranz Barbara Russum, Christian L. Wade, Athena Matyear, Emily Nashoba Dykes, Abby Liz, Betty Smith, Kelly Sinclair, Kathleen Casey, Chris Reynolds, Charles Brown, Josh Leclair, Roberto J. Mercado, Emile Schepers, Christopher D. Sims, Abdol H. Banaei, Zachary Clereigh, David Bender, Earchiel Johnson, Dan Power, Ahmad Budi, Adam R. Raven, Kyle Ritzinger, John Milam, Estevan Nembhard, Adrian Felty Ken Heard, Jordan Stepleton, Badreldin Elfaisal, Daniel Sankey, Hasan İncedere, Armando Ramirez, Chris Elliott, Larry Burks II . [12]