Gary Dotterman

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Gary Dotterman


Gary W. Dotterman was a UMass-Boston political science professor and Communist Party USA member. He has retired to Brazil with his Brazillian husband.

Background

Dotterman was born in 1944, into a Roman Catholic family in Tulsa Oklahoma. He served three tours in Vietnam, beginning in 1964.

Oklahoma politics

As a youth Dotterman joined the Tulsa NAACP Youth Council and the local CORE. In 1966 Dotterman was involved in the Oklahoma Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

Dotterman worked on political campaigns in Oklahoma for George Nigh, Fred R. Harris and J. Howard Edmundson.[1]

Communist background

In a 2005 interview with the Boston Phoenix Gary Dotterman said "I tell people, ‘Hey, three tours of duty in Vietnam earned me the right to be a communist, so you can go fuck yourself,’" says Gary Dotterman, the hard-nosed 61-year-old director of the Center for Marxist Education, in Central Square. Dotterman also hosts a weekly television show on CCTV (Tuesdays at 5:30 pm) where he discusses communist issues and where many mainstream local pols and candidates have been guests.

Dotterman himself ran as a Communist Party USA candidate for the late Brian Honan’s Boston City Council seat in 2002; he finished eighth out of 10. Unlike the Maoist RCP, which views the capitalist democratic process as an anathema, the CPUSA often fields candidates in local, state, and national elections, and it endorsed John Kerry in 2004.

He’d always been left of center, a socialist even as he was waging war against the "red menace" in Southeast Asia. ("I wasn’t fighting communists," Dotterman explains now. "I wasn’t bringing democracy to the poor people in the jungle or defending against the domino theory; I was just doing a duty. I can’t blame anybody but myself — I joined the service.") But he didn’t affiliate with communism until the 1980s. Prior to that, his political connections wouldn’t allow it. He says he worked for Bobby Kennedy and Ted Kennedy, and "doing that kind of work, for various government office-holders around the country, my fear of reprisal if I had joined the Communist Party always kept me from it."

In the end, the decision made sense. "I came to acknowledge that if I were to be true to my own politics, it was more important than ever to join," he says.

There are less than 200 members of CPUSA in the Boston area, Dotterman says, but the Center for Marxist Education has a couple thousand people on its mailing list, even if only handfuls show up for meetings.

"It takes a lot of courage to walk into a room where people are identified as communists," Dotterman explains. "There’s still a fear from some people that they’re going to have their picture taken by government agencies."

Is it a valid fear? Dotterman doesn’t think so. But he points out that commies creep out the Bushies more than they did their predecessor. "In the Clinton administration, when a person applied for a green card or citizenship, they were not asked if they are or have ever been a member of the Communist Party. That phrase has been reinstated on the applications," he says.

After all, he argues, for all its failures and wretched perversions over the last century, communism, in its purest form, makes sense. "The progress that we attribute to the Roosevelt administration came out of struggles of the Communist Party."

These days, so many of those advances are being set back. Yet, at the same time, "we have a socialist society for the rich. You see Chase Manhattan and the other corporations when they get into trouble, run straight to the corporate trough and open up their suitcases. On 9/11, 3000 workers were killed in one afternoon in one worksite, and the first thing the government does is indemnify the insurance companies from having to pay, and sets up a special fund so the most wealthy can get paid off. And whose money is that? That’s our money! The working people’s money."

Dotterman is a communist because he has to be. "Too many Americans today are getting fucked. People don’t realize it, or if they do realize it, they feel frustrated that they can’t do anything about it. And then they decide to go with their hat in hand and say, ‘Oh, please, Mr. Sir, give me one more plate of shit!’"[2]

Scondras, Barrios connection

At Harvard Jarrett Barrios threw himself into campus activism. He volunteered at local teen and homeless shelters. He served as a political intern to former Boston city councilor and Democratic Socialists of America member David Scondras. He worked on the campaigns of "progressive" politicians such as Scondras and former Boston city councilor Rosario Salerno. He went on to earn a law degree from Georgetown Law School, after which he returned to the Boston political scene in 1995. Three years later, he set his sights on the 28th Middlesex District. In the words of Communist Party USA member Gary Dotterman, a former Scondras aide who acted as mentor to Barrios in the late 1980s, "Jarrett is a person from modest means who has accomplished something."[3]

Scandal

Two aides to a Boston city councilor were fired by the City Council in October 1987 because of their participation in a group that advocates the rights of people accused of, or victims of, homosexual activity between adults and minors.

The two men, Gary Dotterman and Junis French Wall, said that they would be consulting attorneys and they vowed to continue working for Councilor David M. Scondras (Back Bay-Beacon Hill-Fenway-Mission Hill). [4]

Massachusetts May Day

In May 1995 the Communist Party USA newspaper Peoples Weekly World published a May Day supplement. Included was a page offering May Day greetings to Massachusetts Communists Lew Johnson, Laura Ross, and Ann Timpson. Endorsers of the greeting included Gary Dotterman.[5]

In the May 4, 2002 edition of PWW, page 17, the name Gary Dotterman appeared in a "May Day Greetings" "From friends and comrades of Massachusetts to workers of the world"...

Communist Party Labor Day call

The Communist Party USA paper People's Weekly World issued a statement to mark Labor Day 1995, entitled "We honor the dead and fight like hell for the living."

Of the more than 100 endorsers listed, almost all were identified members of the Communist Party USA.

Gary Dotterman, Massachusetts, was on the list.[6]

Endorsed Communist Party Call

On March 30 2002 the Communist Party USA paper People’s Weekly World called for a national holiday in honor of late Farm Workers Union leader Cesar Chavez. The article was followed by a long list of endorsers[7]including Gary Dotterman, Almost all endorsers were confirmed members of the Communist Party USA.

In 2009 Gary Dotterman was a contributing editor and a member of the [8] of the Editorial Collective of Political Affairs, theoretical journal of the Communist Party USA.

Communist Party USA

In 2002 Gary Dotterman was a member of the National Committee of the Communist Party USA and the organization secretary of the Massachusetts state organization.[9]

In September 2006 the Peoples Weekly World listed several members and supporters of the Massachussetts Communist Party USA[10].

Gary Dotterman, Jack Martis, Leandro Della Piana, Maja Weisl Johnson, Nick Burlak, Wadih Halabi.

Anne Burlak Timpson Labor Forum

The Anne Burlak Timpson Labor Forum is a creation of the Massachusetts Communist Party USA. It was established in honor of party member Anne Burlak Timpson, who died in 2002.

Founding Committee members were;[11]

Coaching Brazilian candidates

In October 2008 the Brazilian Immigrant Center in Allston is sponsoring a two-day seminar, to train new American citizens, especially Brazilians, to run for office in Massachusetts.

According to a recent report by Alvaro Lima and Carlos Eduardo Siqueira published by the Mauricio Gaston Institute of UMass-Boston, about 75,000 Brazilians live in Massachusetts, but only 11,250, or 15 percent, are U.S. citizens.

Called "Gaining Power Through the Ballot Box: Learning How To Be a Candidate," the seminar wasled by Gary Dotterman, a UMass-Boston professor who teaches participation in government and labor history.

The sessions will focus on organizing a campaign and how to become a candidate. Minority elected officials will be on hand to share their experience. Dotterman hopes his teaching will encourage Brazilians to look for positions of power.

"They work here, open businesses, purchase homes," said Dotterman. "The next logical thing is to lead the community they live in. There is a Korean-American who is a Boston city councilor. With the numbers of Brazilians in Massachusetts, there should be a Brazilian too."[12]

"Obama for America"

In 2008, Dotterman was actively organizing for Obama for America in Boston[13].

Leaving CME

On June 10 2010, the Cambridge, Mass.based Center for Marxist Education held a function to say goodbye to Gary Dotterman and to celebrate Maya's 80th birthday. RSVP was to Sandy Rosen and Duncan McFarland for the CME.[14]

The CME was listed at: 550 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Mass., 02139, (617-354-2876, Marxist Center@aol.com, www.bookmars.org, according to the May 4, 2002, issue of PWW, Page 17.

References

  1. Alternative Oklahoma: contrarian views of the Sooner State By Davis D. Joyce, Fred R. Harris, page 116-118
  2. http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/other_stories/multipage/documents/04793554.asp
  3. [Boston Phoenix, December 20 - 27, 2001, The education of Jarrett Barrios, KRISTEN LOMBARDI]
  4. The Boston Globe (Boston, MA) CITY COUNCIL FIRES TWO SCONDRAS AIDES October 1, 1987. Author Peggy Hernandez, Globe Staff]
  5. PWW May 6, 1995 May Day Supplement page D
  6. People's Weekly World Sep 2 1995 p 14
  7. http://www.pww.org/index.php/article/articleview/882/
  8. http://www.politicalaffairs.net/article/static/17/1/3/,,
  9. Peoples World, Gay pride: Moving forward, remembering the past, by: Gary Dotterman & John Pappademos June 21 2002
  10. We salute the labor movement!, People's World, September 1, 2006
  11. BURLAK TIMPSON LABOR FORUM AND RED FLAME AWARD home page, accessed March 8, 2011
  12. MetroWest Daily News, Civic leader calls for Brazilian candidates, Oct 21, 2008
  13. http://www.bluemassgroup.com/diary/12402/
  14. [1] Cambridge, Mass.: Come join us at the Center for Marxist Education to say goodbye to Gary Dotterman and to celebrate Maya's 80th birthday, Peoples World, Accessed June 10, 2010