Carl Reinstein

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Carl Reinstein...a life long activist for labor, civil rights, and peace, passed away May 12, 2013, at age 96.

Carl Reinstein never "retired" after working in the skilled trades in the auto industry. He helped form the Detroit-area Labor Community Coalition for Jobs in the 1980s. At his retirees' chapter of UAW Local 157 (now Local 174), he always introduced action proposals, particularly around civil rights issues. He and his wife Stella Reinstein were also regular activists in the Gray Panthers and participants in peace activities as well as political campaigns.

In addition to his wife Stella and children David Reinstein and Lisa Reinstein, Carl Reinstein is survived by two granddaughters.[1]


Carl Reinstein grew up in New York during the Depression. Experiencing poverty and seeing inequalities and anti-Semitism made him question the system he lived in and had an influence on how he viewed the world. His s neighborhood was a center of activity, with many organizations, including the Communist Party USA and Young Communist League), and soap box speeches were a regular feature. He was drawn to the idea of socialism as a solution to solving problems of poverty and discrimination.

Reinstein took free art classes through the WPA, and continued art as a hobby throughout his life. He also took classes in Marxism-Leninism which explained the world to him. His activity in UE (United Electrical), which had radicals and Communists in its leadership, led him to join the Communist Party USA in 1938.

He served in the Army in World War II and earned a Silver Star for "gallantry in action." After the war at a YCL dance for veterans he met Stella Berlin who had served in the WACS (Women's Army Corps). They married in November 1946.

Reinstein's commitment to ending discrimination involved him in early actions for integration of lunch counters in 1946 in Washington, D.C. The struggle for civil rights was a constant in his life.[2]


Carl and Stella came to the Detroit area in the early 50s and got a tool and die job at UAW Local 157 and later chaired its Civil Rights Committee for 13 years.

Chris Michalakis, president of the Metro-Detroit AFL-CIO, said of Carl, "I'm sad to learn about the passing of my friend and mentor, Carl Reinstein. Carl was a World War II vet, a former member of the UE, a longtime member of the UAW Local 174, where he was once a part of their Flying Squadron. He marched with Dr. King, and spent his whole life fighting for social justice. May his memory be eternal."[3]

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.

Carl Reinstein, UAW (retired) Detroit, was on the list.[4]

Christopher Alston Memorial

In May 1995 the Communist Party USA Newspaper, People's Weekly World published a memorial to Christopher Alston. It was endorsed by several signatories, mainly identified members of the Michigan Communist Party USA. The list included Carl Reinstein and Stella Reinstein.[5]

Party member

In 1995 Carl Reinstein was a Communist Party USA member.[6]

Memorial to Coleman Young

On December 20 1997 the Communist Party USA's Peoples Weekly World published on page 18, a memorial to late Detroit mayor Coleman Young.

Signatories to the memorial included Carl Reinstein.

Honoring Eve Neidelman

On September 4, 1999, Carl Reinstein added his name to the below greeting, in the September 4, 1999, Labor Day Supplement of People's Weekly World, Page F.

Eve Neidelman 1902-1999 - "We honor a life devoted to the American Working Class and its Trade Unions. A promoter of Art and Artists, and a strong believer in Socialism. May her memory serve as an inspiration.

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 Carl Reinstein, Almost all endorsers were confirmed members of the Communist Party USA.

PWW gathering

People’s Weekly World fundraising events around the country 2007 showed the strength and vitality of the progressive movement.

In Detroit, friends of the PWW came together to honor Angelo Deitos, Ruth Goldman, Dave Moore, Quill Pettway, Carl Reinstein and Stella Reinstein and Ethel Schwartz, seven longtime heroes whose lives are part of the history of the city. Collectively the seven were involved in the Ford Hunger March, the organization of the UAW, the National Negro Labor Council, fought against segregation, repression and have led lives dedicated to the fight for peace.

Among those paying tribute were Detroit City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson; Mike Kerwin, a leader of the Michigan Labor History Society; Elena Herrada, the director of Southwest Detroit’s Centro Obrero; Steve Noffke from Local 600 UAW and Erica Smiley, the chair of the Young Communist League.[8]