Carl Davidson

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Carl Davidson

Carl Davidson is a Pennsylvania based acivist and member of the National Committee of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.

Early life

Carl Davidson grew up in the small town of Alaquippe, Pennsylvania.

Early activism

Davidson participated in the Mississippi Freedom March.

Students for A Democratic Society activism

Davidson was an early leader of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). He served first as an organizer for a year on the Great Plains, then from 1966 to 1968 as SDS Vice president and International Secretary.

Love for Cuba

The very first demonstration Davidson attended was a 'Hands Off Cuba' vigil of twelve students at Penn State during the Cuba missile crisis.

Later, representing Students for a Democratic Society, Davidson had a chance to meet with Fidel. At the Cultural Congress of Havana in 1968, Dave Dellinger, Tom Hayden and Davidson were whisked away to a safe house, were they "sat up with Fidel late into the night, discussing everything under the sun".

He wanted to know our opinion of McGovern, Dellinger wanted to know about Che Guevara and Regis Debray, Hayden and I asked to start what became the Venceremos Brigade, and Fidel bugged me to explain 'hippies' to him, and I tried my best.
He is a remarkable man, with a photographic memory, wide knowledge and keen insights. Cuba will change after him, though, as brother Raul is already looking into the socialist market economy in China and Vietnam, but will undoubtedly make any reforms 'in the Cuban way.' We should all wish Fidel and Cuba well, and double our voices against the blockcade.[1]

Maoist activism

Davidson was a staff writer for the Maoist publication The Guardian. He was also involved in the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) and the League for Revolutionary Struggle[2].

Committees of Correspondence

In 1994 Carl Davidson, Chicago was listed on a "Membership, Subscription and Mailing List" for the Chicago Committees of Correspondence, an offshoot of the Communist Party USA.[3]

In July 1994 Davidson (Chicago) was elected[4]to the 15 member National Co-ordinating Committee of Committees of Correspondence at CoC's founding conference in Chicago.

In 1997 Carl Davidson served on the National Co-Ordinating Committee of the Committees of Correspondence.[5]

In 2006 members of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism National Coordinating Committee were[6];

Marilyn Albert, Mael Apollon, Carl Bloice, Barbara Blong, Barry Cohen, David Cohen, Otis Cunningham, Carl Davidson, Mort Frank, Todd Freeberg, Pat Fry, Marian Gordon, Ira Grupper, June Hemmingson, Ed Hemmingson, Fred Hicks, Duncan McFarland, Anne Mitchell, Maxine Orris, Ted Pearson, Gina Pesulima-Palencar, Edith Pollach, Marty Price, Merle Ratner, Jay Schaffner, Jae Scharlin, Mike Stein, Harry Targ, Walter Teague, Meta Van Sickle, Steve Willett and Mildred Williamson.

Chicago New Party/Obama

In the mid 1990s Carl Davidson was leading activist in the Chicago New Party, where he worked closely with New Party member and candidate Barack Obama.[7]

I'm from Chicago, too, and known Obama from the time he came to the New Party to get our endorsement for his first race ever. I've been in his home, and as an IL legislator, he's helped or community technology movement a number of times. He said all the right things to the ACORN and New Party folks, and we endorsed him, but I noticed too, that he seemed to measure every answer to questions put to him several tmes before coming out with it.

Progressive Chicago

In late 1993 Progressive Chicago letters were always signed by 17 people;[8]

Chicagoans Against War in Iraq/Obama


Carl Davidson was one of several Chicago area residents, including Don Rose, Marilyn Katz and James Weinstein, who first came together as Chicagoans Against War in Iraq in September 2002 to campaign against the war in Iraq.

In June 2003, they changed their name to Chicagoans Against War and Injustice[9].

On October 2 2002 Chicagoans Against War in Iraq organized the famous anti war rally in Federal Plaza Chicago, where Illininois State Senator Barack Obama made his name as a strong opponent of the war. Some of the people around Davidson, later held a fundraiser for Obama when he ran for U.S. Senate in 2004[10].

He spoke at our first antiwar rally. He spent most of his speech detailing all the wars in history he supported, then finally made a distinction between just wars and 'dumb' wars, and going into Iraq, which was still six months down the road then, was a 'dumb war,' and he flatly opposed it. Good, that put him on our side, and some of us organized a fundraiser for him for his Senate race.

Anti Iraq War activism


Ayer/Davidson Klonsky

Bill Ayers, Carl Davidson and Mike Klonsky all linked to the Committees of Correspondence list mentioned above. The three former Students for a Democratic Society leaders have remained friends through the years, despite belonging to different political factions.

On a comment on the New Zeal blog an anonymous coorresponedent challenged Carl Davidson[11];

Make sure you mention your recent relationships with Bill Ayers and Mike Klonsky. The truth will set you free...

Carl Davidson replied;

Bill and Mike and I have been friends since the SDS days of the 1960s--although Mike and I bitterly opposed the Weatherunderground nonsense back then when it counted. All that is well known to those who care about such things. What's silly is the notion that any of us shape the politics of Barack Obama.

Small Schools Workshop

"Small Schools Workshop" in Chicago, circa 1999/2000. Under the heading of Who We Are, the following were listed:

  • Carl Davidson, School Technology Specialist

Movement for a Democratic Society

Original members of the 2006 Movement for a Democratic Society board included[12];

Elliott Adams, Senia Barragan (Student Representative), David Barsamian, Noam Chomsky, Carl Davidson, Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Fletcher Jr, Bert Garskof, David Graeber, Tom Hayden, Gerald Horne, Mike James, Robin D G Kelley, Mike Klonsky, Ethelbert Miller, Charlene Mitchell, Michael Rossman, Mark Rudd, Howard Zinn.

On February 17, 2007, the Movement for a Democratic Society held a well attended conference[13]at New York City’s New School University.

The business portion of the meeting followed with each board nominee introducing themselves to the conference. The board, a very diverse group, was voted in by acclamation... Board nominees where were not able to attend the conference were included in the appointment by acclamation. The list included Elliott Adams, Panama Vicente Alba, Tariq Ali, Stanley Aronowitz, David Barsamian, Rosalyn Baxandall, John Bracey, Jr., John Brittain, Robb Burlage, Noam Chomsky, Jayne Cortez, Carl Davidson, Angela Davis, Bernardine Dohrn, Barbara Epstein, Gustavo Esteva, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Stephen Fleischman, Bill Fletcher Jr, Tom Hayden, Gerald Horne, Florence Howe, Mike James, Robin D G Kelley, Alice Kessler Harris, Rashid Khalidi, Mike Klonsky, Betita Martinez, Ethelbert Miller, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Barbara Ransby, Patricia Rose, Michael Rossman, Studs Terkel, Charlene Teters, Jerry Tucker, Immanuel Wallerstein, Cornel West, Leonard Weinglass and Howard Zinn.


Carl Davidson with Kathy Kelly

In November 8-11 2007, Movement for a Democratic Society held a "Convergence" in Chicago[14];

Speakers included Manning Marable, Mark Rudd, Marilyn Katz, Mike James, Paul Buhle, Al Haber, Franklin Rosemont, Tom Good and Muhammad Ahmad-formerly Max Stanford;

Carl Davidson, Mike Klonsky and Bill Ayers were also present.

Open Letter to Obama on Iran

In 2008 Carl Davidson of Progressives for Obama, Aliquippa, PA signed an online petition “A Open Letter to Barack Obama on Iran”.[15]

Progressives for Obama

In 2009 Davidson was listed[16]as a signer of the Progressives for Obama website-SolidarityEconomy.Net.

Committees of Correspondence leadership

Carl Davidson attended the 6th National Convention of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS) at San Francisco's Whitcomb Hotel July 23-26 2009[17]. Davidson, of Pennsylvania was elected[18]one of four new CCDS co-chairs.

The Rag Blog

In 2010 Carl Davidson was listed as a contributor to the Movement for a Democratic Society linked, Austin Texas based, The Rag Blog website.[19]

US Social Forum

In June 2010, groups from all over the country in Detroit for the U.S. Social Forum. They presented over 1000 workshops on topics as diverse as American foreign policy, the economic crisis, global warming, and trade unionism. Democratic Socialists of America presented five workshops, including "Socialism is the Alternative" — DSA members Joseph Schwartz and David Schweickart, Communist Party USA representative Libero Della Piana, Committees of Correspondence representative Carl Davidson, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization representative Eric See discussed a vision for 21st century socialism, why it is still relevant, and how we can promote unity among socialist organizations. The room for this workshop had to be expanded to accommodate the large audience.[20]

Online University of the Left


The Online University of the Left, a new `Left Unity’ project, was initiated by the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism in 2012. It’s core orientation is Marxist, but it contains teaching resources reflecting the full range of views on the wider left. About 50 left academics are involved in the core group so far-Richard Wolff, David Schweickart, Rose Brewer, Timothy Johnson, Gregory Morales, Bill Tabb, Ellen Schwartz, Jerry Harris, Linda Alcoff, Dana Cloud, Gar Alperovitz, to name a few.

One of the OUL’s key aims is to solve this problem of scattered resources, creating a web portal that will bring much of this valuable material together in one spot in cyberspace.

Carl Davidson is lead organizer.[21]

External links