Jean Hardisty

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Jean Hardisty

Template:TOCnestleft Jean V. Hardisty passed away on March 16, 2015. She was the Founder and President Emerita of Political Research Associates, a Boston-based research center that "analyzes right wing, authoritarian, and "anti-democratic trends" and publishes educational materials for the general public. A political scientist with a Ph.D. from Northwestern University, she left academia after eight years of teaching and researching conservative political thought to establish PRA in response to the emergence of the New Right in 1981. After 23 years, she retired from PRA in 2004 and is now a Senior Scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Research on Women at Wellesley College."[1]

Highlander connection

Pam McMichael first met Jean Hardisty in the early 1990s when she was a founding co-director of Southerners On New Ground.

Without food or water, I think I could have listened to her talk about the right wing for five straight days. SONG was a new organization then, founded by Black and white southern lesbians doing vision based organizing to thwart the dangerous divisive tactics of the right. Jean was a stalwart supporter of SONG and a great resource.

In 2005, McMichael became the director of Highlander Research and Education Center, and Jean was a member of the Board of Directors that hired her.

The right wing still likes to kick up its heels sometimes in its physical harassment of Highlander and we were getting some of that then as backlash to Highlander’s immigration work among other things. As with my tenure at SONG, Jean was a great friend and wise counsel.

Her board involvement was a big commitment physically for her to travel to Highlander twice a year for six years.

One of the people to serve on Highlander’s board with Jean is a woman from North Carolina named Jereann King. At Jereann’s first board meeting, she brought quilting to work on during the meeting. She was not piecing a quilt, she had the full quilt top done with batting and the bottom and was hand quilting. Jean was captivated by it, mesmerized by it, loved it, and wanted one. So Jereann made her one, giving it to her at Jean’s last Highlander board meeting.

As it turns out, Jean and Jereann, white northern-based and black southerner, became co-chairs of a board staff committee that shepherded Highlander’s year long strategic planning process. That involved even more travel to Highlander for special sessions and more commitment of time beyond travel. I was thankful to get to work closely with her on that strategic planning, and as was her way, leading that process with grace and insight and humor and directness and vision.[2]

Crossroads Fund founders

Founders of the Chicago based Crossroads Fund were[3];

Board members

Crossroads Fund board members circa 1981[4];


Dr. Hardisty is a widely published author and has been an activist for social justice issues, especially women's rights and civil rights, for over thirty years. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Community Change, the Highlander Research and Education Center, and the Women's Community Cancer Project. Her book, Mobilizing Resentment: Conservative Resurgence from the John Birch Society to the Promise Keepers, was published by Beacon Press in October 1999 and is now available in paperback.[5]

WREE contact

Jean Hardisty, of Chicago, was on a May 2, 1985 mailing list for Chicago Women for Racial and Economic Equality - a front for the Communist Party USA.[6]

"Civil liberties" work

In the Summer 1985 issue of Shmate: A Journal of Progressive Jewish Thought Leonard Zeskind joined Chip Berlet, Jean Hardisty, Lynn Wells and others in lamenting the emergence of the extreme right. Wells, identified as “Executive Director of the National Anti-Klan Network,” observes:

Political work against fascism by progressive movements has consisted primarily of a struggle to preserve our civil liberties and the right to organize against the establishment, which periodically names various movements its “enemy.”

In I986 the National Anti-Klan Network changed its name to the Center For Democratic Renewal. The masthead of its newsletter, The Monitor , however, continued to list Lynn Wells as executive director and Leonard Zeskind as director of research.[7]

DSA Feminist Commission

In 1985 and 1986,[8] Jean Hardisty of Illinois was listed as a member of the Feminist Commission of the Democratic Socialists of America.[9]


Deepak Bhargava has written on "progressive" issues for a range of publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, and The American Prospect. His "groundbreaking article" co-authored with Jean Hardisty, "Wrong About the Right," influenced how many progressives think about the "strategies necessary to achieve lasting social change".[10]

Tribute to Golub and Montgomery

ON November 16, 1989, Jean Hardisty served on the Tribute Committee for the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights Tribute to Leon Golub and Lucy Montgomery, held at the Congress Hotel, Chicago.[11]

DataCenter Donor

In 2007 Jean Hardisty was listed on the DataCenter's annual report as a donor to the organization. The Oakland, California based DataCenter is widely regarded as the intellegence wing of the United States Left and has close ties to Cuba.[12]



  2. Honoring Jean Hardisty by Highlander Director Pam McMichael In: News – May 08 2015
  4. Crossroads fund 2007 Annual Report page 15
  6. WREE Chicago mailing list, May 2, 1985, Sandy Patrinos papers, Tamiment Library, New York
  7. [The Watchdogs A close look at Anti-Racist “Watchdog” Groups Second Edition Part 2 By Laird Wilcox]
  8. 1986 DSA Feminist Commission Directory
  9. DSA Feminist Commission Directory, 1985
  11. Tribute to Golub and Montgomery: Program, Nov. 16, 1989
  12. DataCenter 2007 Annual Report