Merle Ratner

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Merle Ratner


Merle Evelyn Ratner is a New York City activist. Reportedly the sister of Michael Ratner and married to Ngo Thanh Nhan.

Radical

Ratner is a founding Co-Coordinator of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign and a member of the Board of Directors of the Brecht Forum/New York Marxist School. She has been active in the anti-war, anti-imperialist and anti-racist movements all her life and was a coordinator of the Workshop on Marxist Theory and Practice in the World Today held jointly with the Ho Chi Minh National Political Academy in Hanoi in 2009. Merle Ratner works for an international labor rights organization.[1]

Anti-Martial Law protest

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In April 13 1978 Anti-Martial Law Alliance activists Merle Ratner, Rene Cruz, Andrew Siegal and Teresa Rodriguez occupied the Philippines Consulate in New York, in a protest against Martial Law. [2]

Vietnamese delegation to UN

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Vietnam's 1992 delegation to the United Nations has been restricted to the New York metropolitan area since 1975. They also visited the ILWU.

Shown from left are: an unidentified visitor; ILWU VP Brian McWilliams; Merle Ratner, National Network of Indochina Activists; ILWU Sec.-Treas. Leon Harris; Tran Qoy Thang, Vietnam UN Delegation; 1LWU Pres. David Arian; Ambassador Trinh Xuan Lang; Beatrice Eisman, US/Vietnam Friendship Association.; Coast Committee member Richard Austin; Pham Van Clue, Vietnam UN Delegation; and Dr. William Eisman, US/Vietnam Friendship Association.

Conference on Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the 90s

The Conference on Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the 90s was the Committees of Correspondence's first national conference held in Berkeley, California July 17-19, 1992.[3]

Workshops that were held at the conference on Saturday, July 18 included:[4]

Peace and Solidarity Taking apart the military behemoth. How can we win disarmament agreements, end military interventions, and convert our militarized economy to a peacetime orientation?

NCC candidate

At the Committees of Correspondence Conference, July 19,1992, Merle Ratner was a candidate for the CoC NCC.[5]

Communist "Manifestivity"

On October 30 and 31, 1998 the Brecht Forum presented the "Communist Manifestivity to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Communist Manifesto" at Cooper Union's Great Hall, New York.

Individual endorsers of the event included Merle Ratner.[6]

The Manifesto Commemoration Committee included Eric Canepa, coordinator; Sam Anderson, Sylvia Aron, Steve Brier, Mary Boger , Kira Brunner, Andrew Comer, Peggy Crane, Steve Duncombe, Peter Filardo, Rosa Garcia, Dan Georgakas, Joan Greenbaum, Ron Hayduk, Bill Henning, Diane Greene Lent, Danny Luce, Bill Koehnlein, Biju Mathew, Eli Messinger , Liz Mestres, Yusuf Nuruddin, Adele Oltman, Ed Ott, Leo Panitch, Renee Pendergrass, Merle Ratner, Colin Robinson, Rosina Rodriguez, Frank Rosengarten, Rob Saute, S. Shankar, Sean Sweeney, Kit Wainer, Paul Washington, Juanita Webster, Ethan Young.

The Manifesto Commemoration Committee included Eric Canepa, coordinator; Sam Anderson, Sylvia Aron, Steve Brier, Mary Boger , Kira Brunner, Andrew Comer, Peggy Crane, Steve Duncombe, Peter Filardo, Rosa Garcia, Dan Georgakas, Joan Greenbaum, Ron Hayduk, Bill Henning, Diane Greene Lent, Danny Luce, Bill Koehnlein, Biju Mathew, Eli Messinger , Liz Mestres, Yusuf Nuruddin, Adele Oltman, Ed Ott, Leo Panitch, Renee Pendergrass, Merle Ratner, Colin Robinson, Rosina Rodriguez, Frank Rosengarten, Rob Saute, S Shankar, Sean Sweeney, Kit Wainer, Paul Washington, Juanita Webster, Ethan Young.[7]

Committees of Correspondence

In July 1996 Merle Ratner was a member of the National Co-ordinating Committee of Committees of Correspondence. [8]

In 1997 Merle Ratner 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.

Committee to Celebrate the Life of Luis Miranda Rivas

In 2009 Merle Ratner was a member of the Committee to Celebrate the Life of Luis Miranda Rivas.[11]

VN comrades

Ngo Thanh Nhan June 26, 2011 ·

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With Tee Nguyen and Claire Tran, Merle Ratner in Bronx, New York.[12]

"If you aren't playing with the race card..."

Ngo Thanh Nhan March 19, 2012:

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from left: Christophe deRoubaix, Umberto Brown, Pascale Montadert, Merle Ratner and Daniel Cirera... missing Jean Bond, and Juliet Ucelli!

"If you aren't playing with the race card,then you aren't playing with a full deck! — at Lower East Side Manhattan Ny.

Daniel Cirera (PCF, Paris) was in NYC during the Left Forum congress.[13]

The Brecht Forum

Ngo Thanh Nhan July 29, 2012:

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All that's solid melts into air! — with Merle Ratner, Nancy Dung Nguyen and Trang Dang at The Brecht Forum.

Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign

In 2012 Merle Ratner served on the Board of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign.[14]

"Agent Orange" campaign connection

July 15, 2010, Front left , Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong, Al Franken, Tran Thi Hoan (seated), Susan Schall, Merle Ratner

In July 2010, Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong a leading clinician / researcher on the effects of Agent Orange on women and children in Vietnam from Tu Du Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City, visited Washington DC with "Agent orange" victim, student Ms. Tran Thi Hoan.

On July 15, 2010, at the the Third Hearing on Agent Orange in Vietnam: Recent Developments in Remediation Rayburn House Office Building, VAVA (Vietnam Assocation of Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin) testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommitte on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment. This was the first time a victim of Agent Orange had spoken to Congress. The victim, the well-received Ms. Tran Thi Hoan, who has no legs, received a lot of attention.

Dr. Phuong and Tran Thi Hoan were accompanied by Merle Ratner of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism and Susan Schnall (both leaders of the Committees of Correspondence dominated Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign.

The party met Minnesota Senator Al Franken.[15]

Vietnames honor

Ms. Merle Ratner and Honorable Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, co-presidents of Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign (VAORRC) in the US, were awarded 'For Vietnamese AO Victims' insignia in Hanoi on January 23, 2013. The award recognizes the two US citizens active contribution in the struggle for justice for Vietnam's Agent Orange victims. While in Ho Chi Minh City, the delegation met with veterans and visited Tu Du Peace Village, where children infected from Agent Orange are being raised; the Cu Chi Tunnels; and the Thien Phuoc Nurturing Center for disadvantaged children. Recently, at a meeting with former Vietnamese political prisoners, who are also victims of Agent Orange, the delegation heard emotional stories about the brutal torture that the prisoners suffered in the past as well as the current difficulties in their lives. The delegates stated that they would continue to apply to the US Government to pay compensation to AO victims.[16]

Left Strategies Collective

The Left Strategies Collective was founded to create conversation within the Left around strategy development. Between 2013-2014, the Left Strategies Collective conducted a number of national calls bringing people together to talk about issues such as Worker Organizing in the 21st century, and Lessons from the Moral Mondays movement.

Left Strategies Collective members: Rishi Awatramani, Jake Carlson, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Jon Liss, Garry Owens, Biju Mathew, Merle Ratner, Claire Tran, Helena Wong.[17]

Dump Trump

DUMP TRUMP, DEFEAT RACISM AND MISOGYNY, BUILD THE LEFT was an open letter to the left from 47 grassroots organizers. October 17, 2016.

A lot of us see something really clearly, but few of us—radical and revolutionary organizers—are willing to say it out loud.
So we’re going to say it. Defeating Trump in the presidential election is a top priority for the left. And at a minimum, that means mobilizing voters for Hillary Clinton in swing states even if you vote for another candidate in a safe state. We’ve got to beat Trump and Trumpism while building movements that will fight, resist and disrupt a Clinton administration that will be militaristic and pro-corporate...
As we mentioned at the beginning, defeating Trump is not enough. We need movements strong enough to fight a Clinton administration on several fronts—whether Israel/Palestine, free trade agreements, climate change, a $15 minimum wage, or the prison-industrial complex. And neutralizing the appeal of the far right means we need to both strengthen our movements for racial justice and win over white workers to a progressive class politics as an alternative to Trump’s racist economic nationalism. Finally, we need to build a left that can help anchor a visionary alternative to corporate Democrats. It won’t be easy, but we’ve come this far. Let’s defend what we’ve got in this election, and keep our eye on collective liberation.

Signatories included Merle Ratner, Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign.

Left Labor Project Presents: What Happened? What Now?

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Left Labor Project Presents: What Happened? What Now? Tuesday, December 20, 2016 at 6 PM - 9 PM, 310 W 43rd St, New York.

A converastion with Bill Fletcher, Jr., international activist and co-author of Solidarity Divided: The crisis in organized labor and a new path toward social justice.

This event is Co-sponsored by: Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, Committees of Correspondence Education Fund, Democratic Socialists of America, Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

RSVPS included Merle Ratner.

Meeting Nietnamese President

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Merle Ratner with Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet and Ngo Thanh Nhan

LeftRoots/Vietnam

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In December, 2017, three LeftRoots cadres—Merle Ratner, N’Tanya Lee, and Rose Brewer—got to spend a few weeks on women’s delegation to Vietnam, one of the few surviving 20th century socialist experiments. On April 19, 2018, the three of them, along with LeftRoots compas and fellow delegates Cathy Dang and Juliet Ucelli, hosted a national LeftRoots hangOut to talk about their experience.[18]

The delegation included US-based movement leaders from the labor movement, Black Lives Matter and national women’s organizations. It was hosted by the Vietnam Women's Union.[19]

Vietnam Women's Union President H.E. Nguyen Thi Thu Ha and the American Women's delegation

From December 12 to 23, 2017, the Vietnam Women's Union received an American Women's delegation led by Mrs. Merle Ratner, member of the US Communist Party, a social activist in New York to visit Vietnam and to learn about the development process of Vietnam, activities of the VWU and the women’s movement in Vietnam. The delegation has 9 members who are professors in socialism and feminism; social activists, leaders from organizations and social movement on women, health-care workers, domestic workers, colored people, migrants and LGBT,… from different parts of the US.
During their stay in Vietnam, the delegation had many activities with the Women's Unions at all levels, such as: visiting and working with VWU President Nguyen Thi Thu Ha; sharing about the American women movement with the VWU’s staff; visiting and learning the experience of the Vietnam Women’s Academy (VWA) in female cadre training; model of Tinh Thuong one member Limited Liability Microfinance Institution (TYM) on micro finance support for poor women; experience of the Center for Women and Development (CWD) onsupport for the victims of domestic violence and human trafficking; attending the meeting of the Club of domestic workers in Hanoi; visiting an agricultural cooperative in Hoa Binh province; visiting the Board of the Club of men on prevention and combat of violence against women and children in Da Nang city; visiting a women-owned embroidery enterprise in Thua Thien Hue province,…
The delegation also met ethnic women, female members of People’s Councils at all levels, women who joined the American resistance war, female workers, victims of Agent Orange, etc in Hanoi, Hoa Binh, Da Nang, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City.
Within the working schedule, the delegation also met with many agencies and departments, organizations and individuals, such as: Mr. Tran Dac Loi, the Standing Vice Chairman of the Party Central Committee's Commission for External Affairs; Vietnam Peace and Development Foundation; Mme. Nguyen Thuy Anh - Chairwoman of the NA Social Affairs Committee and female leaders of the Committee; Saigon Giai Phong Newspaper, etc, thus helping them get a better insight into Vietnam. In particular, the delegation was very concerned about Agent Orange/dioxin issue in Vietnam. Therefore, they spent time working with Da Nang Association for Victims of Agent Orange (DAVA) and its Center for Agent Orange victims and also Hoa Binh Village of Tu Du Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Members of the delegation expressed their enthusiasm to raise awareness of the American people on Agent Orange and its impact on Vietnamese people.
In addition, the delegation also visited some historical, revolutionary and cultural sites of Vietnam, such as: President Ho Chi Minh Relic site, Ho Chi Minh Museum, Vietnam Women’s Museum, Muong Cultural Heritage Museum, Hue Imperial City, Cu Chi Tunnels and War Remnants Museum, etc. Each site left a deep impression on the delegates.[20]

Strategy team

LeftRoots strategy team, October 2017.

LeftRoots Strategy Lab Advance Team

LeftRoots Strategy Lab Advance Team, 2019.

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References

  1. Open University of the Left, Vietnam From National Liberation to 21st Century Socialism
  2. [Ang kapitunan, May 1978]
  3. Conference program
  4. Proceedings of the Committees of Correspondence Conference: Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the '90s booklet, printed by CoC in NY, Sept. 1992 (Price: $4)
  5. [http://www.nathannewman.org/EDIN/.left/CoC/.conference/.election.html, Committees of Correspondence Conference, July 19,1992 Final Corrections to the Balloting Committee Report by Steve Willett]
  6. Mail Archive website: Communist Manifestivity Conference Schedule, Oct. 28, 1998
  7. Mail Archive website: Communist Manifestivity Conference Schedule, Oct. 28, 1998
  8. Convention program, July 1996
  9. CoC Corresponder November 1996/January 1997 Page 2
  10. http://www.cc-ds.org/IssueJune2006Version4.0.pdf
  11. http://breakallchains.blogspot.com/2008/01/jan-25th-celebrate-life-of-luis-miranda.html
  12. [1]
  13. [2]
  14. Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign website, accessed Dec. 13,2010
  15. [ July 15, 2010 Third Hearing on Agent Orange in Vietnam: Recent Developments in Remediation, Vietnam Agent Orange Relief & Responsibility Campaign website, accessed December 12, 2010]
  16. Breaking News, Two US citizens receive ‘For Vietnamese AO Victims’ insignia JANUARY 25, 2013 BY SAIGON-GPDAILY
  17. Oregon Socialist Renewal blogspot, The Audacity to Win: A Call for Strategy for the US Left Posted by admin on June 11, 2015
  18. HANGOUT: REPORT-BACK FROM WOMEN’S DELEGATION TO VIETNAM
  19. [3]
  20. Vietnam Womens Union, Relations boosted between Vietnamese women and American women Posted: Jan 25,2018