George Fishman

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George Fishman

Template:TOCnestleft George M. Fishman..., a lifelong working class scholar, teacher and activist, at his New Haven, Connecticut home in June 2009 age 92.

He was the father of Joelle Fishman and husband of Edie Fishman. All three were longtime Communist Party USA activists.

Early life

Born to immigrant parents in Philadelphia in 1917, George Fishman was a high school social science and history teacher. He held a PhD in history from Temple University.


Since 1938 Fishman was actively involved in African American and labor studies, as researcher, writer and teacher. A member of many professional organizations, his articles were published in academic and popular journals including the Peoples Weekly World and its predecessors.

A selection of his work, "For a Better World. A Miscellany," was completed in 2002. He was a member of American Federation of Teachers Retirees Chapters in New Haven and Philadelphia.

From 1938 to 1941 Fishman was a staff member of a Works Projects Administration teaching unit. It pioneered in staff development in African American life, history and culture and in conducting classes in labor unions and community organizations.

During World War II Fishman was a radio man aboard a Landing Ship Medium (#361) in the Pacific. His service included teaching English. He was awarded four medals: American Theater, Asian-Pacific, Philippine Liberation and Victory.

Following the war, he taught social studies, history and mathematics mainly in the public secondary schools of Philadelphia but also in New Jersey until his retirement in August 1984.

Communist Party

Fishman joined[1]the Young Communist League USA around 1937.

"It was not only that through the Young Communist League I met my comrade in arms Edie and that we have continued arm in arm over these years. But through the Young Communist League and the Communist Party I was able to become part of the working class movement. ... it was meaningful starting in 1937 to be part of the movement for employment, for peace, the struggle against racism, and the struggle against fascism."

In 1952 during the McCarthy period he was forced to leave his teaching position and went to work at Campbell's Soup in Camden, NJ. He was a union shop steward and leader of Local 80A United Packinghouse Workers of America, CIO, for eight years.

Fishman returned to teach in Philadelphia in 1968 when the school system dropped its anti-communist restrictions and all teachers were invited back. He continued teaching there until his retirement.

In 1985, while living in New Jersey, Fishman stood for governor of New Jersey on the Communist Party ticket.

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.

George Fishman, AFT Highland Park, New Jersey, was on the list.[2]

Support for Obama

George and Edie Fishman moved to Connecticut, near daughter Joelle in the mid 1990s.

George Fisman was deeply involved in the broad movement against the ultra-right which elected Barack Obama and at the time of his death was building support for the Employee Free Choice Act and health care for all.

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[3]including George Fishman, Almost all endorsers were confirmed members of the Communist Party USA.