Fred Goldstein, 84, died after a long illness on April 11, 2023. He is survived by his partner of 57 years, Naomi Cohen Goldstein, and their daughter, Lila Natalie Goldstein, as well as a daughter from a prior marriage.
Fred was the author of Low-Wage Capitalism: Colossus with Feet of Clay, published in 2008. The book describes in sweeping detail the devastating effect of new technology on the multinational working class, leading to the fundamental and irreversible restructuring of global capitalism in the post-Soviet era. The result, Fred argued, was a “race to the bottom” for workers in all the capitalist countries, creating the material basis for future social upheaval. Capitalism at a Dead End: Job destruction, overproduction, and crisis in the high-tech era was published in 2012. The latter work was translated and published in Spanish and Korean.
Fred analyzed political events from a Marxist perspective and authored important essays on the meaning of the collapse of the Soviet Union as well as an analysis of the class character of China. He brought an anti-imperialist perspective to all his work and was passionate about the need to end all forms of capitalist exploitation and oppression. Fred was invited to speak at a number of international conferences, and a high point of his life was to travel to Cuba in 2008 to address the IV International Conference entitled “The Work of Karl Marx and the Challenges of the 21st Century.” He also wrote countless articles for Workers World newspaper and collaborated closely with Naomi, who read, discussed, and edited all his writings. Some of his works will be submitted for publication on the Marxists Internet Archive in the coming months.
Part of the revolutionary youth movement of the 1960s, Fred was inspired by the rising liberation movements in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as well as the struggle against racism in the U.S. While a student at City College in New York City, Fred was a founding member of Youth Against War & Fascism and in 1962 helped to organize the first demonstration in the U.S. against the war in Vietnam. He was a dynamic speaker and teacher, as well as a tireless organizer who had a gift for connecting meaningfully with people. In spite of the great difficulties now facing the multinational working class and oppressed in the U.S. and around the world, he remained a revolutionary optimist to the end.
Fred’s interests were broader than simply the politics of the day, however. He studied world history and literature; he loved art and music, drinking coffee, and playing word games. He was an accomplished, self-taught carpenter, designing and building furniture. Fred cooked delicious, healthy food and, late in life, became a bread baker. “Fred’s bread” was legendary in the family. Cooking and eating together with his daughters and granddaughters was one of the joys of his life.
Fred loved both telling and listening to stories. A family pastime was finding humor in retelling day-to-day mishaps and misadventures, like when the car broke down at the height of rush hour traffic in the Lincoln Tunnel or when lightning struck on a family canoe trip. Fred rode his bicycle everywhere and loved to go camping and hiking. He and Naomi took the girls on adventurous trips and enjoyed showing them how to explore the outdoors. He had a great sense of comedic timing and told Jewish jokes like a stand-up comedian. Laughing together with Fred was a joy and made everything better.
Fred loved his family and was proud that, in their own way, all are part of the current struggles for social justice and dedicate themselves to the idea that a better world is not only possible but also urgently needed.
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