Erwin Marquit

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Erwin Marquit

Erwin Marquit (born 1926) is a professor of physics, at the University of Minnesota and the husband of Doris Marquit.

Marquit is active in the AFL-CIO retirees. In 2008, he served on the Economics Commission and International Affairs Commissions of the Communist Party USA.[1]

Erwin Marquit died in February 2015 at age 89.[2]


Marquit received his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering, City College of New York, 1948, was a Doctor of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, University of Warsaw, 1963 and received his Master of Physics, University of Warsaw, 1957.[3]

Student activism

With a history of being born into a Communist family and membership in Communist-led and Communist-influenced children's and youth organizations, it was not surprising that on 9 March 1946 Marquit joined the Wilford Mendelsohn Club of the Communist Party USA at the City College of New York upon resuming his studies as an engineering student three days after the end of his 22 months' service in the U.S. Navy

Upon joining the Party, he told the club chair that I would like to focus on the struggle against racism by joining the Hillel Foundation and stimulating its members into activity for the passage of a Fair Education Practices Act by the New York State legislature.

In the Hillel Foundation, without concealing my membership in the Communist Party, Marquit's proposal to form a committee for this purpose, subsequently named the Community Action Committee, was accepted and he was made its chair. With intensive campaigning by student groups at various New York colleges, the state, in 1948, became the first state to adopt a Fair Educations Practices Act that ended the quota system that restricted the acceptance of African Americans, Jews, and other minorities to medical schools and other graduate and undergraduate programs.[4]

Communist Party reformer

In 1991, Erwin Marquit was one of several hundred Communist Party USA members to sign the a paper "An initiative to Unite and Renew the Party"-most signatories left the Party after the December 1991 conference to found Committees of Correspondence.[5]

CoC National Conference endorser

In 1992 Erwin Marquit, University of Minnesota, endorsed the Committees of Correspondence national conference Conference on Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the 90s held at Berkeley California July 17-19.[6]

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.[7]

Workshops that were held at the conference on Saturday, July 18 included:[8]

Socialist Crisis What is the meaning of the crisis of socialism in the World today? Recent events in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and their implications for the left in the West. Looking at China, Vietnam and Korea. The threat to Cuba: How to respond?

Socialist Scholars Conference

Erwin Marquit, Editor, Nature Society & Theory; Paul Le Blanc; Ahmed Shawki, International Socialist Organization and Sam Farber were speakers on the The Leninist Party: Authoritarian or Revolutionary? panel sponsored by the International Socialist Organization and Fourth International Tendency at the Tenth Annual Socialist Scholars Conference. The conference was held April 24-26, 1992 at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, New York City.[9]

Rejoining the party

In the summer of 1995 Doris Marquit and Erwin Marquit then went to Helvi Savola to tell her that they were rejoining the Communist Party USA. Shortly afterwards, Janet Quaife and Harry McAllister also rejoined the Party. The [[Independent Communists of Minnesota]] never met again.

The Party’s policy was to welcome back those who left, although one of the veteran Minnesota communists, Clara Jorgensen, from one of the former farm clubs denounced their readmission.

At the District Convention in 1996, Janet Quaife, Harry McAllister, Doris, and Erwin Marquit were elected to the DistrictCommittee. Helvi Savola still served as chair. CHAPTER 33. Mostly Unimpeded Academic, Political, and Ideological Activities, 1985−2000 Doris and I rejoin the CPUSA in the summer of 1995]</ref>

CPUSA Farm Commission meeting

CPUSA Farm Meeting Attendees.jpg

In December 1999, a Communist Party USA meeting was held at the May Day Bookstore in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for the purpose of re-establishing the Communist Party USA Farm Commission.

Party members present were Erwin Marquit, Helvi Savola, Jack Brown, Peter Molenaar, Morgan Soderburg, Bill Gudex, Mark Froemke, Scott Marshall, Gary Severson, Mike Madden, Becky Pera, Charlie Smith and Tim Wheeler.[10]

Mark Ritchie (now Secretary of State for Minnesota) also attended and addressed the meeting. In a written report on the meeting by Tim Wheeler, Ritchie is referred to as a "non-party friend" of the Communist Party. The report was marked "not for publication". Click here for the entire report.[11]

Communist Party activity

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 including Erwin Marquit, Almost all endorsers were confirmed members of the Communist Party USA.[12]

In 2009 Erwin Marquit was a contributing editor and a member of the of the Editorial Collective of Political Affairs, theoretical journal of the Communist Party USA.[13]

Nature, Society and Thought

In the late 2000s, Erwin Marquit was editor of University of Minnesota based Marxist journal Nature, Society and Thought[14];.

Supporting Mark Ritchie

In 2006, four leaders of the Minnesota/Dakotas Communist Party USA - Mark Froemke, Doris Marquit, Erwin Marquit and Peter Molenaar were listed as supporters of the Mark Ritchie Minnesota Secretary of state campaign.[15]

In 2006[16] and 2010[17] Doris Marquit and Erwin Marquit financially supported the Mark Ritchie Minnesota Secretary of State campaigns.


On 26–29 October 2009, Erwin Marquit traveled to Washington DC to attend the first national conference of JStreet, the nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 2008 to promote a resolution of the Israel- Palestine conflict through a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.

I attended the conference on 26-28 October and participated in lobbying members of the Congress on 29 October...
The guidelines for the lobby stressed Congressional support of Obama. With two other Minnesotans, I met with the two Senators from Minnesota, Franken and Klobachar , and Rep. Oberstar, the DFL member of the House from northeastern district of Minnesota...[18]

Marquit went on to participate in JStreet in Minnesota.

Supporting Marty and "single payer"

In 2010, Erwin Marquit and the Minnesota Communist Party USA, supported gubernatorial hopeful and "single payer" supporter John Marty. [19]

In the battle for health care, Communists in Minnesota, like Communists in the rest of the country, joined the struggle for a universal singer-payer health plan, and when that became impossible to achieve, we joined the struggle for the inclusion of the public option. Those on the left who rejected support of Obama's health-care effort because his proposals were not based on the single payer principle, remained in the sidelines, weakening the battle for healthcare and not winning allies among the masses. While supporting the Democratic Party's national healthcare bill as it emerged in final passage, the Minnesota District nevertheless supported the effort of John Marty, the most progressive gubernatorial candidate, to obtain the endorsement of the Democratic Farmer Labor Party as the Democratic Party is called here after its merger in 1944 with the Democratic Party), and who also most strongly put forth the necessity of a single-payer plan for Minnesota as the basis of his campaign. One of eight candidates for the DFL endorsement for governor, Marty did not win the endorsement, but he successfully pushed the single-payer issue to the forefront at the DFL state convention, and thereby induced the winning candidate, Margaret Anderson Kelliher, to announce during the balloting her support of the single-payer principle for the health plan that she will put forth for Minnesota as governor. We have not won the battle yet, but it is a struggle in Minnesota that is winnable, but not winnable without center-left allies in the DFL. Of course, the struggle for the single-payer principle is not the same as a struggle for socialism, but acceptance of the ideological content of the single-payer issue is a condition for a socialist consciousness. Those on the left who identify themselves as socialists and stood aside from the Democratic Party's effort for healthcare legislation made no allies for socialism among those who could not afford health insurance or otherwise lacked access to adequate healthcare.

WAPE conference

The Sixth Forum of the World Association for Political Economy (WAPE) met at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, 27–29 May 2011. Alan Ding (Xiaoqin Ding), the secretary of WAPE, sent Erwin Marquit for copyediting (which task Doris actually assumed) the draft statement that was to be presented for adoption at the conference.

Apart from Wadih Halabi and Marquit, who were the only CPUSA members who had been to previous WAPE annual forums, Art Perlo, chair of the Party’s Economic Commission also attended the forum.[20]

Ellison supporter

The Marquits hosted several meetings for Rep. Keith Ellison.

I mentioned earlier that we had three fund raisers, that is, house parties, for Keith Ellison. They were cosponsored again by our friends Nancy Anderson and Dave Holets. The year 2011 was not a Congressional election year. Nevertheless Ellison’s campaign committee needed to raise funds to cover the cost of mobilizing people into activity on the progressive political issues that he supported independently of the actual reelection campaigns. Our third house party, again in our home, was held on 1 September. I asked Marion Greene, who represented our district in the Minnesota House of Representatives to introduce Ellison when it came time for him to speak. About twenty-five people attended. We raised $1,620...</ref>Erwin Marquit memoirs, page 576</ref>


Template:Reflist Template:Endorsers of the Conference on Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the 90s

  1. thoughts from podunk blog, May 10, 2008, Alan Maki]
  2. Erwin Marquit, 89: a lifelong communist, accessed on November 21 2016
  4., Political Affairs, Combating Racism at the City College of New York-Open vs. Surreptitious Struggle in the Knickerbocker-Davis Cases 1946-49 Erwin Marquit March 20 2013 ]
  5. Addendum to Initiative document
  7. Conference program
  8. 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)
  9. SSE Tenth Annual Conference Program, 1992
  10. CPUSA Farm Commission report, Tim Wheeler, December 16, 1999
  11. CPUSA Farm Commission report, Tim Wheeler, December 16, 1999
  15. Mark Ritchie's 2006 Campaign website: Supporters (cached by The Data Bank and accessed on Nov. 11, 2010)
  16. Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board website: Contributions to a Specific Candidate or to Candidates that Meet a Criteria (searched database on Nov. 11, 2010)
  17. Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board website: Contributions to a Specific Candidate or to Candidates that Meet a Criteria (searched database on Nov. 11, 2010)
  18. [Erwin Marquit memoirs, page 560-562]
  19. Convention Discussion: Revolution as the only solution? by: Erwin Marquit, May 16 2010, This article is part of the discussion leading up to the Communist Party USA's 29th National Convention May 21-23, 2010
  20. Erwin Marquit memoirs, page 573