Paul Garver

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Paul Garver

Paul Garver is a Massachusetts socialist. Recently retired from the International Union of Foodworkers, in 2008 He coordinated Democratic Socialists of America's work with Jobs with Justice.[1]

Early activism

In April 1967 Garver was teaching at Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA. Student protests over inhumane conditions in dormitories and cafeterias led to a general uprising against apartheid Louisiana. As one of the few white instructors, Garver was able to use his safe position to help facilitate the forbidden presence of SNCC activists and Black Power advocate Stokely Carmichael on the campus. It became evident that Garver's activist role demanded his return to the North.

I was guided by the great sermon Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered at the Riverside Church that month. Dr. King ended the silence of the civil rights movement on the Vietnam War, making what remains a prophetic and courageous indictment of the oppressive structure of U.S. imperialism, linked to poverty and racial oppression in the USA. When I returned to the North, I joined the movement against the Vietnam War and became a draft resister.


DSA convention delegate

In 2021 Paul Garver was National Convention Delegate Candidate for Boston Democratic Socialists of America.[3]


In the 1970s and '80s Garver worked for the SEIU in Pittsburgh, where he was an active member of Democratic Socialists of America and its predecessor, the New American Movement.[4]

Democratic Agenda

More than 1,200 people attended the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee initiated Democratic Agenda Conference held November 16-18, 1979, at the International Inn and Metropolitan AM Church in Washington 1 DC. The conference focused on "corporate power'; as the key barrier to "economic and political democracy," concepts many Democratic Agenda participants defined as "socialism.'

The Democratic Agenda meetings attempted to develop anti-corporate alternatives" through influencing the direction of the Democratic Party during the period leading to the July 1980 Democratic National Convention in New York.

Constituency meetings included How to Build an Energy movement in the 1980s - George Wood, Central Illinois Energy Consumer Group; Paul Garver, chair, New American Movement Energy Commission; Fritjof Thygeson, New American Movement, former secretary, San Diego Energy Coalition.[[5]

Socialist Scholars Conference 1990

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

Labor Resurgency?

International Union of Food Workers

In 1991, of Democratic Socialists of America, was Coordinator of Transnational Corporate Campaigns for the International Union of Food Workers in Geneva.[7]

Democratic Socialists of America

Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Awards Reception


On September 24, 2006, Boston Democratic Socialists of America presented its 25th Annual Debs–Thomas–Bernstein Award to their "longtime comrade, Director of Massachusetts Neighbor to Neighbor, Harris Gruman". The event which was hosted by former Neighbor to Neighbor Director John Maher and Co-Chaired by Senator Pat Jehlen and Massachusetts AFL-CIO Vice President Ed Collins, was also a fundraiser for both Boston DSA and the Mass Alliance. Some Alliance-endorsed candidates were among the attendees, including Denise Provost, Jarrett Barrios, Willie Mae Allen, Claire Naughton and Will Brownsberger. John Maher and Ellen Sarkisian hosted the event; Julie Johnson of the Mass Teachers Association MC'd the event, while primary organizers were Susan Davidoff and Mike Pattberg. Abby Rockefeller & Lee Halprin and Patricia Armstrong, Boston Teachers Union, Local 66, were benefactors of the event.[8]

Paul Garver was a supporter of the event.


On September 27, 2007, Boston Democratic Socialists of America presented its annual Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Award to couple Marie Kennedy and Chris Tilly, "two long-time champions of economic justice and grassroots democracy". The awards reception took place at the home of Marcia Peters and David Karaus. Honorary Co-Chairs for the event were Boston City Councilor Felix Arroyo and Elaine Bernard, Director of the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program. David Knuttunen MC'd the event, Carline Desire from the Association of Haitian Women in Boston presented the award, and East Boston State Rep candidate Gloribell Mota made a speech at the event.[9][10]

Paul Garver was listed as a friend of the event.


On June 30, 2009, Boston Democratic Socialists of America presented its annual Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Award to Professor, author, and health care reformer Rashi Fein, along with the winners of a union election at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, accepted by Sonia Marshall, the key organizer of the campaign. Sheila Decter of the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action presented the award to Rashi Fein. The event was held at the home of Marcia Peters and David Karaus. Mike Fadel of SEIU Local 1199 (formerly Boston DSA staff person) and the AFSCME-affiliated New England Organizing Project were benefactors of the event.[11][12]

Paul Garver was a supporter of the event.


On June 13, 2010, Boston Democratic Socialists of America presented its annual Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Award to "two champions of social justice and grassroots democracy, Georgia Hollister Isman and Jack Clark". Honorary Co-Chairs for the event were Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Robert Haynes, State Senator Patricia Jehlen and special guest Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz. Georgia Hollister Isman's award was presented by Andrea Miller of NARAL. Massachusetts AFL-CIO Vice-President Ed Collins and Janet Boguslaw from Brandeis University introduced the other honoree, Jack Clark, who then "entertained and informed us with a brief tour of U.S. Socialist history". David Knuttunen & Susan Davidoff were benefactors of the event.[13][14]

Paul Garver and Lee Garver were supporters of the event.

DSA Renegotiate NAFTA petition

In 2009 Paul Garver, Democratic Socialists of America, signed a petition calling on President Barack Obama to Renegotiate NAFTA. The petition was initiated and circulated by Democratic Socialists of America.[15]  

DSA NPC member

At the Democratic Socialists of America 2009 National Convention Evanston, Illinois November 13-15, 2009, a new National Political Committee was elected;[16]

DSA 2011 leadership

Elected to serve on the Democratic Socialists of America National Political Committee – the leadership body described as “the engine room of the organization”, in November 2011, were;[17]

Plus the two YDS co-chairs, Sean Monahan (Philadelphia, PA) and Jackie Sewell (Lawrence, KS).

Back in Boston

On December 9, 2006, a Boston DSA member’s meeting heard Paul Garver lead a discussion on “Coca-Cola, Columbia and the Unions”. "Paul was a DSA NPC member in the 1980s who has recently “semi-retired” back to the Boston area after 16 years in Switzerland where he was coordinator of the Department of Transnational Corporations for the International Union of Food Workers (IUF). He relayed some of his experiences trying to aid union organizing in Colombia, beset by death squads, guerillas, and an unsympathetic state."[18]

On Chinese labor

Boston Democratic Socialists of America member, Paul Garver, as a consultant to the International Union of Food Workers, wrote an article "Chinese Labor: Epic Struggle in the Pearl River Delta" for the Democratic Socialists of America magazine Democratic Left, Fall 2008, on Chinese labor struggles. He thankedd Anita Chan, Jenny Chan, Ellen David Friedman and Cathy Walker for their comments on the report.[19]

"Talking Union" blog

In 2011 co-editors of DSA’s labor blog Talking Union were Duane Campbell, Stuart Elliott and Paul Garver.[20]

Jobs with Justice steering committee

Rand Wilson February 27, 2014:


Steering Committee with huge turn out from labor, community and faith-based organizations — with Dick Bower, Edwin Argueta, Paul Garver, Russ Davis, Cole Harrison, Allyson Every, Lily Huang, Paul Drake, Natalia Alejandra, Tomas Gonzalez, John Doherty, Armando Zamora, Lisa Clauson, Alex Zwicker Galimberti and Ture Richard Turnbull at Jobs with Justice.

Support for Bernie Sanders

Paul Garver pledged support for Bernie Sanders through Labor for Bernie, a "nationwide network of labor activists, backing Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign."

Socialist Caucus at 2016 DNC

Over 300 Sanders activists attended Democratic Socialists of America’s “Socialist Caucus” on Wednesday afternoon, July 27th, 3016. In the audience were over 100 Sanders delegates, including most of DSA’s 55 member-delegates; they were joined by Larry Sanders, Senator Sanders’ brother, and the Senator’s son, Levi Sanders.

Numerous participants remarked on social media that the caucus was one of the most substantive meetings at the convention. A score of participants joined DSA on the spot and the DSA table rapidly sold out of its 50 bright red DSA “Continuing the Political Revolution” T-shirts.

Shout-outs to all the DSA delegates and volunteers who helped build the caucus. In particular, Tom Gallagher, Penny Schantz, Paul Garver, Harlan Baker, Ashley Rodriguez, Danny and Barbara Fetonte, Larry Wittner, Rachel Ochs, Rebecca Ryan, Diane Isser and the list goes on...[21]

Beyond Shell Shock


Beyond Shell Shock: Labor after the Trump disaster was hosted by Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Sunday, February 26 at 8 PM - 9:30 PM.

Hosts Bill Fletcher, Jr.; Erica Smiley; Bob Master; Neidi Dominguez; Bryan Proffitt; and Jeff Crosby;

Join us in this webcast to take a hard look at the place we're in as a labor movement - and consider how we can make the labor movement be a leading force in the resistance to Trump and the fight for a better world.
What's our strategy? What kinds of alliances do we need? Do we just play defense?
In the face of National Right to Work, vicious attacks on workers of color in and out of the workplace, escalating divisions in the AFLCIO and the Democratic Party, and more we've got our work cut out for us. Let's figure out how to win.

Those invited included Paul Garver.

Democratic Socialists of America Unity

Paul Garver supported the Democratic Socialists of America Unity grouping, established for the 2017 Democratic Socialists of America National Convention in Chicago.[22]

Democratic Socialists of America - Boston Public Group

Democratic Socialists of America - Boston Public Group.[23]

Just a reminder that this group is not officially an organ of Democratic Socialists of America, although the Admins are members, and a lot of members post here from time to time. We reserve the right to kick people out for trolling or spamming, but otherwise we don't do a lot of vetting of would-be group members. Which is cool, because we value everybody's point of view. But views posted in this group are those of the poster, only.


DSA Labor Statement of Support for Danny Fetonte

In August 2017 a group of Democratic Socialists of America labor activists issued a joint statement of support for newly elected DSA NPC member Danny Fetonte. The group was fighting back against other DSAers wanting to remove Fetonte for his past work for a Texas law enforcement union.

Signatories included Paul Garver, National Nurses Union (retired). Democratic Socialists of America founder member. Swiss Socialist Party 1993 - 2006. New American Movement, Pittsburgh 1971 - 1982. [24]

Environmental Working Group - Chicago DSA

Members of the Environmental Working Closed Facebook Group - Chicago Democratic Socialists of America, as of September 1, 2017 included Paul Garver.[25]

Closed Facebook group


MetroWest DSA Closed Facebook group. June 20 2019.

Admins and Moderators

Amanda Shepard, MetroWest DSA and Michael Bakshi are admins. Paul Garver is a moderator.

Stand with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

We Stand with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a 2018 letter signed by several Democratic Socialists of America members mainly from the DSA North Star in response to attacks on Ocasio-Cortez over remarks she made on Palestine.

A recent petition circulated by some DSA members criticizes Ocasio-Cortez for supporting a two state solution to the Palestine-Israel question and not aligning with a long list of demands regarding Palestine and Israel. Should Ocasio-Cortez fail to agree with this list of demands, the petitioners are calling for DSA to revoke her endorsement. These attacks on Ocasio-Cortez have come despite the fact that she has staked out positions which will make her one of the strongest advocates of Palestinian rights and self-determination in Congress.
We stand with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The position she has taken on Israel and Palestine are principled stances, worthy of a democratic socialist, in its recognition of both Palestinian humanity and rights and Israeli humanity and rights. On this issue, as many, she will be a voice for the voiceless in Congress.

Signatures included Paul Garver.[26]

DSA North Star


In 2018 Paul Garver was an original signatory of the DSA North Star founding principles statement.

Toward Radical Democracy

Toward Radical Democracy was a 2018 "Proposal for Internal Voting Reform in Boston DSA".

If you would like to sign on in support of this proposal, please click here. To date, over 100 members of Boston DSA have endorsed it. We also welcome support from DSA comrades in other chapters.

Signatories included Paul Garver.

Socialist Majority Caucus

DSA's Socialist Majority Caucus signatories list as of April 25 2019 included Paul Garver of Boston Democratic Socialists of America.

El Salvador conference

Democratic Socialists of America members Paul Garver, a Senior SEIU staffer from Pittsburgh, and Mike Urquhart, an official Washington, D.C. local of AFGE), were among the 170 North American participants in the In Search of Peace conference held in San Salvador, El Salvador in late November. The conference was sponsored by the National Union of Salvadoran Workers (U.N.T.S.).

Fifty members of the U.S. delegation came from organized labor, most of them officially representing their unions. There were also a large number of Catholic and Protestant clergy, as well as staff people for four U.S. congresspersons, including Mike Espy, the newly elected black representative from Mississippi. As the direct representative of AFGE President Ken Blaylock, Mike Urquhart emerged as the unofficial leader of the delegation, ably assisted by Paul Garver.

The Salvadoran participation in the conference included representatives of the Lutheran and Episcopal churches, the National University of El Salvador and the Jesuit University of Central America, and two political patties: the Social Democratic Party and the Party of National Conciliation (a large moderate conservative patty).

The largest participation came from the various unions associated with the U.N.T.S. and from various nongovernmental human rights, student, and community organization.

Paul Garver reports that the conference was very useful in familiarizing the foreign delegates with the current situation in El Salvador - the growing casualties, the role of U.S. intervention in propping up the unpopular Duarte regime, the crucial role of the urban labor movement in the fight for peace, the negative role of the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) - and served as well to advance the movement within El Salvador.

All in all, the conference constituted an important step along the road to peace and democracy in El Salvador, and we are pleased that DSA was so well represented.[27]