Remembering Fred Goldstein

The following talk was given by John Parker of the Socialist Unity Party at a memorial gathering for Fred Goldstein on the anniversary of his death. Goldstein was a prominent Marxist thinker, revolutionary socialist, and author who contributed significantly to the international communist movement.

That dedication to our class is something so wonderful. It reminds you about Fred’s inspiring life, his love for our class, our working class, his love for humanity, and the love for his family.

Fred would not back down from a struggle. Especially today when we see genocide in Gaza or the U.S. government pushing World War III. It is his life that inspires to do what needs to be done.

Fred fought the struggle with principles that shielded him from opportunism and bourgeois ideology. And he’d pay any price to remain on track. And his love for his family was expressed when he told us that seeing Lila as an adult must be achieved. He got to see not only an adult but a fighter of capitalism, a union organizer, and a health worker in a most stressful situation with the pandemic. Despite that, Lila maintained a life-saving dedication to our class. Fred died with that knowledge.

Fred was so dedicated to the truth that he would not allow his articles to go without his several re-edits, even after they were turned in. “Wait, I forgot to add this …”

You can tell Fred would not sit idly by if a point had to be made.

I remember Fred pointing his finger upwards when making his points.

I had a stroke last year, and if I saw him making that gesture today, my new frame of mind would be asking — “what’s he pointing to up there in the sky?” I probably would have thought he was just trying to get me to see reality from a higher plane — to see the whole picture.

He did make me see the bigger and more comprehensive picture of the global capitalist economy, not only enlightening me but the whole world in understanding the effects of technology and the changing nature of our working class (more women and people of color) that has always been subject to a more acute attack from imperialism, and a greater hunger for the struggle. 

His updated version of Sam Marcy’s “High Tech – Low Pay,” called “Capitalism at a Dead End,” showed the effects of the “just in time” and outsourcing production with the 1980s internet communications speeding up at the fiber-optic speed of light across oceans, increasing exploitation, and unemployment but also helped our international working class see a common enemy.

After many edits by Fred, the book showed how much he cared about sharing knowledge and empowerment with our class. One of our comrades spoke about how Fred made sure the contributions of wisdom and knowledge of members would be heard regardless of unfriendly environments.

Fred was an empowering force that kept the fire of struggle strong, even with a broken heart. Our continuation of struggle when we were told that our political struggle was over — that we had no right to continue the struggle — we understood that we had to continue. Still, depression and self-doubt are a challenge. 

Fred’s confidence and respect for our determination to continue fighting for our principles and not shy from the difficult allowed us to make necessary contributions to our movement. Our comrades saw the opportunity to reach in and bring forth the discouraged skills and passion for the struggle — hell, we now have a paper called Struggle-La Lucha.

And as the other Fred said:

That’s Fred Douglass and Fred Goldstein’s physical actions and steadfast moral commitment to raising working class consciousness never die in our aspirations.

That is a warrior, that is a thinker, that is our class. Thank you, Fred Goldstein, Presente!

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