Friday, September 26, 2008

Activist Spotlight: David Dellinger

Background: In 1915, David Dellinger was born in none other than.... Wakefield, Massachusetts! He got his first taste at politics, while studying Economics at Yale University.  He then moved to Maine and worked in a factory (he studied economics and yet became a factory worker, this sounds strange even to me lol).  Around this time Dellinger became a Radical Pacifist.  Fast forward a couple of years and we find our hero in some deep trouble; being arrested (this was not the first time, he had just served a year) for refusing the draft to join the army in World War II, spending two more years in a cage. In 1945, this pacifist created the left wing magazine, Direct Action, prominently criticizing the use of  atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Jump to 1967, Vietnam is in flames and David Dellinger is one of the main forces in the war's opposition, organizing the famous march on the Pentagon that same year.  1968 brought Dellinger his greatest fame or infamy for that matter when he, along with six other radicals, was charged with planning to incite a riot at the Democratic National Convention.  The boys became known as the Chicago 7; Dellinger and others were found guilty (not of conspiracy but for crossing state lines) and were ordered to serve five years in the  slammer along with a nice, little fine of $5,000, however all of the radicals were acquitted of these charges.  The peaceful protester committed the rest of his life to activism, as he always had.  Well, into his eighties the man could be seen marching in protests.  Sadly, the world lost David Dellinger on May 25, 2004.  He was eighty-eight years old. 

Accomplishments: Yale graduate, Liberation editor for over twenty years , Protest on Pentagon organizer, and countless others.

Notable Works: Revolutionary Nonviolence: Essays by Dave Dellinger (1970), From Yale to Jail: The Life Story of a Moral Dissenter (1993), Dellinger's autobiography, "Vietnam Revisited: Covert Action to Invasion to Reconstruction" (1986), and several others.

Influences: Gandhi

Influenced: The New Left (which he was also part of) in the 1960s, Noam Chomsky, Martin Luther King  Jr., Me, and several others. "Before reading [his autobiography], I knew and greatly admired Dave Dellinger. Or so I thought. After reading his remarkable story, my admiration changed to something more like awe. There can be few people in the world who have crafted their lives into something truly inspiring. This autobiography introduces us to one of them- Noam Chomsky.

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