Earl Silbar

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Earl Silbar

Earl V. Silbar recently retired as a GED teacher and as AFSCME 3506’s chief steward.

60s activism

In the early ‘60s, Silbar became active in the civil rights movement and then served 5 years in the antiwar movement with independent antiwar committees, Students for a Democratic Society and the Progressive Labor Party.[1]

Those years shaped his lifelong revolutionary socialist convictions and activism in antiracist groups, international labor and anti-imperialist solidarity campaigns, in-plant factory union organizing drives, and helping organize adult education teachers in the City Colleges.

UIC activism

Silbar started at the University of Illinois, Chicago, in Spring of ‘68. The "new Students for a Democratic Society chapter was lively and large, with maybe 20-40 people attending weekly meetings. Much discussion centered on how to understand and approach race and class in building the antiwar and antiracist movement on campus. These were big issues on a multiracial campus with large numbers of working class students in those volatile days."[2]

Back then, hundreds of thousands were fighting racism, an unjust war, and the everyday hassles of living in our class, race and gender-divided America. In particular, the military draft for an unpopular war threatened almost every working class young man and students coming out of college. The communist-led Vietnamese resistance with Soviet and Red Chinese support generated renewed interest in that ideology.

Committees of Correspondence Connection

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

Opposing Israeli Policy in Gaza

In January 2009 Earl Silbar signed a statement circulated by the Magnes Zionist Blog, opposing Israeli policy in Gaza:[4]

As human beings, we are shocked and appalled at the mass destruction unleashed by the State of Israel against the people of Gaza in its military operation, following years of Israeli occupation, siege, and deprivation.
As progressives, we reject the same justifications for the carnage that we heard ad nauseam from the supporters of the Second Iraq War: the so-called "war on terror," the "clash of civilizations," the "need to re-establish deterrence" – all of which served to justify a misguided and unnecessary war, with disastrous consequences for America and Iraq.