Carl Davidson

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Carl Davidson

Carl Davidson is a Pennsylvania based activist and member of the National Committee of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. He is the father of Laurie Davidson, and the partner of Alynne Romo.

Carl Davidson is a veteran peace and justice organizer, a LeftRoots Compa, and a Democratic Socialists of America member. In the 1960s, he was a leader of the New Left, twice elected as a national leader of Students for a Democratic Society, a Mississippi Freedom Marcher, and a writer and editor for the Guardian newspaper. He now lives where he was born, in Beaver County, Western Pennsylvania.[1]

Early life

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

Early activism

Davidson participated in the Mississippi Freedom March.

Political affiliations

Carl Davidson is the founder of the Online University of the Left. He also works for left unity through CCDS, LeftRoots, DSA, and Liberation Road. In earlier decades, he was a leader of the CPML and the LRS, and a writer and editor for the Guardian.[2]

"Talking Socialism" blog

In 2021 members of the "Talking Socialism" blog team included John Case, James Boyd, Tina Shannon, Carl Davidson, Scott Marshall, Steve Noffke, Mark Froemke, Patience Wait, Mike Diesel, JB Christensen. [3]

Pittsburgh for Bernie Sanders


Pittsburgh for Bernie Sanders Carolyn Speranza. ·

May 18, 2020

VOTE for Carolyn Pandolfo, Anita Prizio, Tia Gore, Alicia Salvadeo, Carl Davidson, Chris Deluzio, Andy Bosh (Andrew J. Bosh), Jon Price and Lorianne Stangl Burgess (alternate) and send these Bernie delegates from Pennsylvania's 17th congressional district to the National Democratic Convention, ensuring strong positions on Medicare for All, Racial Justice, College Debt Forgiveness, and the Green New Deal getting into the presidential Democratic Party platform.

An Open Letter to the New New Left From the Old New Left

An Open Letter to the New New Left From the Old New Left.

Now it is time for all those who yearn for a more equal and just social order to face facts.

By Former leaders of the Students for a Democratic Society. April 16, 2020.

On April 13, 2020, Senator Bernie Sanders urged his supporters to vote for the presumptive Democratic nominee, former vice president Joe Biden. Writing as founders and veterans of the leading New Left organization of the 1960s, Students for a Democratic Society, we welcome Bernie’s wise choice—but we are gravely concerned that some of his supporters, including the leadership of Democratic Socialists of America, refuse to support Biden, whom they see as a representative of Wall Street capital. Some of us are DSA members, but do not believe their position is consistent with a long-range vision of democracy, justice, and human survival....

We salute Bernie Sanders and our friends and comrades in DSA and in the diverse movements for social justice and environmental sanity that enabled them to rise. We look forward to joining together to build on and defend our accomplishments. And now we plead with all: Get together, beat Trump, and fight for democracy—precious, fragile, worth keeping.

The signers of this letter were founders, officers, and activists in Students for a Democratic Society between 1960 and 1969.

Signers included Carl Davidson.

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.[4]

National Fight Back Conference

Carl Davidson was a New York delegate to the October League's December 1975 "National Fight Back Conference" in Chicago.

Maoist activism


Davidson was a staff writer for the Maoist publication The Guardian. He was also involved in the Communist Party USA (Marxist-Leninist) and the League of Revolutionary Struggle[5].

Carl Davidson was the editor of Class Struggle, CPML’s theoretical journal, and a member of the Standing Committee of the CPML.

We've Carried The Rich For 240 Years! Let's Get Them Off Our Backs!


We've Carried The Rich For 240 Years! Let's Get Them Off Our Backs! is the name of a 2016 Facebook group for folk to exchange views and memories of the Revolutionary Union/Revolutionary Communist Party/Revolutionary Workers Headquarters lineage of the '70s New Communist Movement.

This group is for folks who were members of these groups or those who were “never actually in the RCP but I knew a lot of people who were.” Scholars, whether rigorous or casual, of the US left are also welcome.''

Members included Carl Davidson


In the early 1980s Anne Adams, Carl Davidson and Michael Lee were co-editors of Forward, the magazine of the League of Revolutionary Struggle.

Unity correspondent

In 1989 Regional Correspondents for Unity, newspaper of the League of Revolutionary Struggle included Carl Davidson, Chicago.

Rainbow Coalition

Carl Davidson on the Rainbow Coalition.

I worked both of Jesse’s campaigns as an LRS member. In Chicago, my cell did this by putting together ‘Peace Voters for Jesse’ fundraisers in neighborhoods with a lot of white progressives. We did OK. I also worked with Merle Hansen of the North American Farm Alliance in mass meetings in Iowa to bring in the ‘Green’ stripe of the rainbow in all-white areas. That worked too.
I had a birds-eye view on why everything collapsed at the end. I don’t blame it on Jesse. He often told us his job was to shake the cherry tree, while our job was to gather the harvest.
Why did we fail to bring in the harvest? Because we were ‘building a movement’ when we needed to be ‘building organizations.’ Of course, there is a dynamic between the two. But we don’t need to build movements. The abuses of capitalism do that, in regular waves. Riding the waves, we need to know how to cast the net out, and how to pull it in, meaning into new organizations, so when the next wave comes for us to ride, we have an even stronger means to cast out and draw in. And so on, until we have a new Modern Prince to bring in a new order.
Here’s a little motto I made to keep myself on track these days. ‘Organization is the central task, revolutionary education is the key link.’ [6]

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.[7]

In July 1994 Davidson (Chicago) was elected[8]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.[9]

In 2006 members of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism National Coordinating Committee were[10];

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.

Networking for Democracy

In 1988 Carl Davidson and an old friend, Ivan Handler, formed Networking for Democracy. "I dreamed it up while on a long drive through Kansas, selling bumpers," he says. "It kind of went back to the old stuff we did for SDS with our working-class manifestos, only putting aside the old dogmas and looking at the world with a fresher perspective. Basically, we want to prepare the working class for the next wave of technology, even if it means jobs are lost in the meantime."[11]

Chicago Third Wave Study Group

In 1993, a year after the Guardian closed its doors, Carl Davidson published, along with co-author Jerry Harris, history professor at DeVry University in Chicago, and Ivan Handler, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the State of Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, a new manifesto, "The Promise and Peril of the Third Wave: Socialism and Democracy for the 21st Century."[12]

The Chicago Third Wave Study Group, initiated by Carl Davidson, Ivan Handler and Jerry Harris.

It was formed expressly to produce this document for the discussion on goals and principles taking place in the Committees of Correspondence, leading up to the founding convention of a new organization of the American left in the summer of 1994.[13]


cy.Rev: A Journal of Cybernetic Revolution, Sustainable Socialism and Radical Democracy.

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.[15]

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;[16]

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[17].

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[18].

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[19];

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:

Movement for a Democratic Society

Original members of the 2006 Movement for a Democratic Society board included[20];

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[21]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[22];

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”.

Progressives for Obama

In 2009 Davidson was listed[23]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[24]. Davidson, of Pennsylvania was elected[25]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.[26]

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.[27]

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.[28]

"Third Reconstruction?"

August 2, 2013 Bob Wing published an article in Counterpunch, on organizing in the South "Rightwing Neo-Secession or a Third Reconstruction?"

Special thanks to my lifelong colleagues Max Elbaum and Linda Burnham and to Jon Liss, Lynn Koh, Carl Davidson, Ajamu Dillahunt, Raymond Eurquhart and Bill Fletcher, Jr. for their comments, critiques and suggestions.

Left Forum 2011

The Left Debates the Democratic Party: Sponsored by: New Politics and Socialist Worker

Left Forum 2013

Left Third Party Organizing: Challenges and Opportunities

Sponsored by: The North Star

National Student Power Convergence 2012


Speakers at the National Student Power Convergence 2012 included Naomi Klein, Rebel Diaz, Stephen Lerner, Joshua Kahn Russell, Nelini Stamp, Ben Manski, Angus Johnston, Nayantara Sen, Samantha Corbin, Carl Davidson.

Mapping Socialist Strategies

Mapping Socialist Strategies was convened from August 1-4 in Briarcliff Manor, NY, by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office. It brang together 100 influential progressives and leftists from across the United States, Canada, and Europe for an “un-conference” on socialist strategies.

Attendees included Carl Davidson.

2016 CCDS National Coordinating Committee

Carl Davidson, Pennsylvania, was elected in 2016 to the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism National Coordinating Committee;[29]

DSA leader


Pittsburgh DSA shared Beaver County Peace Links's event.

April 13, 2017;

Join Beaver County Peace Links for a discussion about the anti-war movement in the Trump era at the Community College of Beaver County at 1 PM on Saturday, April 22! The event will feature Michael McPhearson, Executive Director of Veterans for Peace, and Kevin Martin, Executive Director of Peace Action. Also present will be Janet Tucker and Carl Davidson who are building a DSA chapter that represents Lawrence, Mercer, and Beaver Counties in Pennsylvania as well as the Youngstown region, so this is a great opportunity for local radicals to meet and discuss opportunities for DSA coalition building in the upper Ohio Valley.

Later that month the Steel Valley Democratic Socialists of America Organizing Committee went public.

Democratic Socialists of America Unity

Carl Davidson, supported the Democratic Socialists of America Unity grouping, established for the 2017 Democratic Socialists of America National Convention in Chicago.[30]

The Left and the 2018 Elections

The Left and the 2018 Elections: high stakes for the country, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism Education Project Webinar: May 21, 9pm edt.

Many on the Left will actively engage the 2018 elections. The stakes are high: it is imperative to defeat right-wing Republications to stop the extremist attacks on working people. And, as public opinion sours on Trump, there are many opportunities to elect progressives both nationally and locally, and pass state ballot initiatives. The new progressive formations that emerged to resist the far-right Republican government show growing potential. How do democratic socialists become involved?
Carl Davidson, former CCDS co-chair, will open by framing the national political forces in the US. Donna DeWitt, retired president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO, will follow with a labor perspective. CCDS activist Dan Margolis will report on the local situation in Worcester Mass. including Our Revolution. [31]

Global Studies Association

GSA Conference" 'Globalization, Race and the New Nationalism'

More than 150 academics specializing in Global Students, as well as a number of political activists, gathered at Howard University June 6-8, 2018 to share papers, research and ideas. The overall theme was 'Globalization, Race and the New Nationalism'. It was the 17th year the GSA has met, and the organization now has about 2000 members in North America and the Caribbean.

A major keynote featured William I. Robinson from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and Jamala Rogers of the Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis, Mo. Robinson discussed how globalization was bringing new forms of fascism into being, while Rogers presented her new book summarizing the lessons of the Ferguson rebellion.

CCDS organized a workshop entitled 'On Multi-Racial/Multi-National Unity: Theory and Practice,' where Harry Targ, Ira Grupper, Valeria Sinclair Chapman, and Carl Davidson made presentations. Carl Davidson, a founder of the GSA, spoke at the closing plenary, presenting his 'US Six-Party System Thesis 3.0' paper.[32]

External links



  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. [3]
  6. Carl Davidson comment,on Organizing Upgrade, How Can the Left Participate in Electoral Campaigns? August 31, 2018 02 04 by Warren Mar
  7. Chicago CoC "Membership, Subscription and Mailing List" 10.14.94
  9. CoC Corresponder November 1996/January 1997 Page 2
  11. Reader Hi tech handouts Ben Joravsky Aug 7 1997
  12. [4]
  13. [ The promise and peril of the Ôthird wave' Ð socialism and democracy for the 21st century by Carl Davidson, Ivan Handler and Jerry Harris]
  14. [cy.Rev #4: A Journal of Cybernetic Revolution, Sustainable Socialism and Radical Democracy]
  16. Progressive Chicago letterheads November 5 and December 31, 1993
  20. file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Administrator/Local%20Settings/Temporary%20Internet%20Files/Content.Outlook/TWRF0IYM/discuss%20%282%29.htm
  27. [5] Over 15,000 attend US Social Forum, David Green, Talking union Blog, July 3, 2010
  28. CCDS discussion page, accessed July 8, 2012
  29. [6]
  30. [7]
  31. Left and the 2018 Elections: high stakes for the country
  32. [Mobilizer June 2018]