Leslie Cagan

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Leslie Cagan

Leslie Sue Cagan was until July 2009 co-chairman of Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism[1].

Cagan has been active since the Viet Nam war era, campaigning against to racism at home, from nuclear disarmament to lesbian/gay liberation, from fighting sexism to working against U.S. intervention. She served seven years as Director of the Cuba Information Project. She also coordinated the largest U.S. delegation to Cuba for the World Festival of Youth and Students in 1997.

Cagan was until 2008 the chairperson of United for Peace and Justice peace organization. She is active with the Same Boat Coalition in NYC, and on the board of the Astraea National Lesbian Action Foundation.

Cagan was the partner of the late Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz.

Webinar to commemorate Jack O'Dell

We invite you to celebrate and learn about the life of Jack O'Dell, one of the great radical strategists and thinkers of the last seventy-five years. Jack recently passed away at the age of 96 and has left a legacy of activism that few can match.

Monday, February 24, 2020 - The webinar will begin at 6 pm Pacific Time.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. will lead a round table conversation with people who worked with Jack: Jane Power, Nikhil Singh, James Campbell, Leslie Cagan, Sharon Maeda, Gene Bruskin and Michael Zweig.[2]

First Venceremos Brigade

In 1969 Leslie Sue Cagan age 22, from the Bronx , was a member of the first Venceremos Brigade to Cuba.[3] .

National Committee Peoples Alliance


Those Serving on the National Committee of the Peoples Alliance in 1978 included Leslie Cagan.

NCIPA (members who joined Peoples Alliance later on

A number of people who attended the Peoples Alliance Strategy Conference of November 9-11, 1979 later showed up as members of the National Committee for Independent Political Action. From the Sept.-Oct. 1984 NCIPA Newsletter we find these individuals listed on the NCIPA Steering Committee.



SURVIVAL FEST 84 was held August 5 1984 in MacArthur Park.

"Come To Hear And Strategize With Those Changing The 1980's"

  • How can we support each other in electing progressive local candidates?
  • How can we make electoral work serve the grassroots movements for a freeze, for U.S. out of Central America and human needs?
  • How can we over turn the racist dual primary system in the South?
  • Is working inside and outside the Democratic Party a viable strategy and how can it be done?
  • How can we formulate demands to revitalize our basic industries without falling into the pitfall of the chauvinist anti-import solution -- letting U.S. finance capital off the hook?

This event was organized by the Communist Workers Party front, the Coalition for a People's Convention. The event was advertised in a half-page notice in the Marxist weekly Guardian, their Book Supplement - Summer 1984, p. 12, and the Communist Workers Party and Federation For Progress were listed as participants.

Speakers included Leslie Cagan - Mobilization for Survival .

Frontline Forum

Frontline December 1988

Leslie Cagan National Committee for Independent Political Action, Shakoor Aljuwani Democratic Socialists of America Afro-American Commission, , Vicki Alexander Line of March, Bill Ryan Guardian took part in a Frontline Forum December 1, 1988 in New York "The 1988 Elections:Lessons for the Future."

Addressed Communist Party USA, front meeting

An ad/notice was placed in the Guardian, November 8, 1989, concerning an upcoming U.S. Peace Council national conference. The text of the notice was:

"End The Cold War Fund Human Needs" U.S. Peace Council's Tenth Anniversary National Conference - Boston, Mass., Nov. 10-12, 1989

Speakers Included:[4]

1987 Rainbow conference/Board

At the 1987 National Rainbow convention in Raleigh North Carolina, a new board was elected, which included Leslie Cagan.



According to Frontline December 1988 Leslie Cagan was on the national board of the Rainbow Coalition, a national leader of Mobilization for Survival and the National Committee for Independent Political Action.

National Rainbow Coalition 1990 conference

In May 3-6, 1990 the National Rainbow Coalition held a successful conference in Atlanta, attended by over 1,000.

Bernie Demczuk, national labor coordinator of the Rainbow, organized a contingent. Jack Sheinkman, president of the ACTWU, hosted a labor breakfast.

California Assemblywoman Maxine Waters, has been the strongest leader in the California Rainbow, also attended, as did Leslie Cagan, a Rainbow board member.[5]

Socialist Scholars Conference 1990

The Socialist Scholars Conference 1990, held September 6-8, at the Hotel Commodore, New York, included panels such as:[6]

After the Cold War

People's Progressive Convention

In 1992, a "call" went out to leftist radicals and communist revolutionaries of various orientations to hold a national People's Progressive Convention in Ypsilanti, Michigan, August 21-23, 1992.

Endorsers included Leslie Cagan - Cuba Information Project.

CoC National Conference endorser

In 1992 Leslie Cagan, Cuba Information Project, New York, endorsed the Committees of Correspondence national conference Conference on Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the 90s held at Berkeley California July 17-19.[7]

CoC National Coordinating Committee

The following are listed in order of votes they received as members of the Committees of Correspondence National Coordinating Committee, elected at the Conference on Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the 90s held at Berkeley California July 17-19.:[8]

Hiroshima Day, 1993


On August 6 1993, a rally to commemorate Hiroshima Day was held at the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjold Park, New York. The rally was designed "to kickoff a national campaign to collect a million signatures supporting a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, commend president Clinton for extending the nuclear testing moratorium, urge renewal of the Non Proliferation Treaty, urge swift and complete nuclear disarmament."

The event was sponsored by the Metro New York Peace Action Council and several other "peace' groups.[9]

Speakers included;

CoC training school

According to Georgia Wever the first Leadership Training School ever organized by the Committees of Correspondence took place during July 1998 , at a woodland location in upstate New York. For almost a week, the 24 participants - who came from Northern California, Chicago, North Carolina, South Carolina, and the New York metropolitan area - "talked, challenged, sang, learned, swam, disagreed, feasted, danced, camped, and asked questions."

The curriculum was planned by a committee composed of Mael Apollon, Robin Busch, Leslie Cagan, Pat Fry, Bobby Greenberg, Mel Pritchard, Roque Ristorucci and Zach Robinson. In the follow-up to the Leadership Training School, the curriculum planning committee became the National Education and Literature Committee. It is co-chaired by Bob Greenberg and Mel Pritchard.

Interactive sessions were led by Timothy V. Johnson and Shirley McClain.

1993 NCIPA National Steering Committee

As of Spring 1993, the National Committee for Independent Political Action Steering Committee included Leslie Cagan .

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 Leslie Cagan.[10]

One of the many workshops at the Manifestivity was;

Women's Liberation: Seneca Falls to the Present; with Anannya Bhattacharjee, Leslie Cagan, Dawn Crandell, Rosalind Petchesky, and Sofia Quintero. Moderator: Diane Greene Lent

"Peace" comrades


Judith LeBlanc February 16, 2016 near New York, NY ·

This was the key to success of the Global Day Feb 15, 2003 the World Says No to War action and every anti war demo there after...rubbish picking for cardboard polls for signs. — with Jonathan Matthew Smucker, Leslie Kielson, Beka Economopoulos, Leslie Cagan, Osagyefo Sekou, Leslie Kauffman, Hany Khalil and Diane Greene Lent.

Committees of Correspondence Conference 2002

At the Committees of Correspondence National Conference and Convention, July 25-28, 2002 San Francisco State University, the Plenary Panel and Discussion on War, Peace and Democracy consisted of;

Elaine Hagopian, Leslie Cagan, Rhonda Ramiro, Angela Davis September 11 and Bush’s “war on terrorism.” Response to increased militarism, Ashcroft’s attack on civil liberties, the role of the United Nations and other international bodies.[11]

DC rights march

The Aug. 23 2003 march on Washington that marked the 40th anniversary of the giant 1963 Civil Rights March led by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was noted for its strong anti-war mood. Thousands of people from across the country streamed onto the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate the historic march, which featured Dr. King's famous "I Have A Dream" speech.

The night before this year's march, Yolanda King hosted a "spit in" geared toward younger activists. Many people took the stage for five minutes each to "spit" poetry against war, about growing up poor and oppressed, about police brutality and other injustices to illustrate that the "dream" has not been realized by most working people in this country.

Throughout the weekend the speakers who received the loudest ovations were those who demanded an end to the occupation of Iraq.

Among the speakers were three presidential candidates--the Rev. Al Sharpton, Carol Moseley Braun and Howard Dean; historic civil-rights leaders such as James Forman, Coretta Scott King and Jesse Jackson; representatives of the civil-rights/peace-and-justice movement like NOW Executive Director Kim Gandy, National Lesbian and Gay Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman, Damu Smith of Black Voices for Peace, Leslie Cagan of United for Peace and Justice, James Zogby of the Arab American Institute, Raul Yzaguirre of La Raza, and Mahdi Bray of the Muslim American Association, who invited everyone to come back for the Oct. 25 march against the U.S. occupation of Iraq. National youth and student leaders and church representatives also spoke.[12]

YDS conference

In February 2004, Young Democratic Socialists convened a "Life After Bush" conference at CUNY Graduate Center in new york.

Speakers were[13];

Communist history event

On March 23, 2007, "people jammed in to sit on folding chairs or stand shoulder-to-shoulder and listen to speakers tell of the Communist Party USA’s contributions to American labor and democratic rights". The crowd studied display cases full of photos, buttons, leaflets and letters from the 2,000 boxes of archives donated by the Communist Party to New York University’s Tamiment Library, which specializes in left and labor history.

The presence of dozens of party and Young Communist League members in the crowd indicated that the Communist Party continues to be an important and growing part of the American political scene.

Speakers included, Tamiment Library director Michael Nash, Committees of Correspondence leader Leslie Cagan, a leader of United for Peace and Justice, Rutgers University professor and CPUSA member Norman Markowitz, Steve Kramer, executive vice president of Service Employees Union Local 1199, New York State Sen. Bill Perkins, New York State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, CPUSA Executive Vice Chair Jarvis Tyner , American Communist History editor Daniel Leab , University of Houston professor Gerald Horne and CPUSA leader Teresa Albano

Leslie Cagan, a leader of United for Peace and Justice, the national anti-Iraq-war coalition, said of the party’s peace activism, “We have so much to learn from the history of the Communist Party about how this work has been done.” .[14]

Open Letter to Obama on Iran

In 2008 Leslie Cagan of United for Peace and Justice signed an online petition “A Open Letter to Barack Obama on Iran”.

United for Peace and Justice

In 2008 Leslie Cagan was National Coordintor for United for Peace and Justice[15]

Independent Progressive Politics Network

In 2009 Leslie Cagan served on the Advisory Committee of the Independent Progressive Politics Network[16].

Committee to Celebrate the Life of Luis Miranda Rivas

In 2009 Leslie Cagan was a member of the Committee to Celebrate the Life of Luis Miranda Rivas.[17]

Campaign for Peace and Democracy

Cagan is listed as an endorser of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy, as of March 15, 2010.[18]

Harlem rally against gun violence

More than 2,000 predominantly Black and Latino working people gathered March 21, 2013, on Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. in Harlem in a militant protest against gun violence.

Organized by a broad coalition of labor and people's organizations, it was a "powerful grassroots protest against the National Riffle Association and a warning to Congress that it must pass strong gun control legislation, including a ban on assault weapons."

George Gresham, president of Local 1199 of the Service Workers, captured the fighting spirit of the rally. In a message to all elected officials, Gresham said, "We are the people; do the right thing and we got your back. Do the wrong thing, we got your job."

MSNBC commentator, the Rev. Al Sharpton, addressing the NRA, declared: "We have the right to bear arms but we do not have the right to kill babies. The second amendment does not give you the right to have guns that can hold 30 rounds. We have to take back our streets here in New York and beyond."

Leslie Cagan, who was part of the organizing team for the rally, said that the demonstration was particularly important in light of the Senate leadership having announced that day that the assault weapons ban would be left out of the legislative package. "We need Congress to find the backbone to stand up for communities and families here in Harlem and all over the country," Cagan declared.

Jackie Rowe Adams from Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E spoke with great passion about losing two of her children to gun violence. "I am in pain," she said tearfully. "Put the guns down and pick up the peace sign." There were several mothers who told heartfelt stories of how they lost their sons to gun violence.

There was also Darren Wagner, from Newton, Conn. expressing his community's full support to the people of New York in their fight for gun control.

Hazel Dukes, president of New York State's NAACP, spoke and called for the unity of black, brown and white, Jews, Gentiles, Protestants, and Muslims. "We all have to get ready for a real fight."

Shannon Watts, the founder of "Moms Demand Action," a national group of 80,000 advocating strong gun control, talked about her activities.

Michael Mulgrew, president of New York's UFT, told the crowd that his union was divesting from any stocks that have anything to do with guns.

An emergency room doctor from Harlem Hospital, Dr. Vanessa Gorospe, said, "Gun violence is second only to auto accidents as a cause of death. The number of children below five years old killed by guns are four times the number of police killed by guns."

Refusing to buy into attempts by the NRA and some other groups to scapegoat the mentally ill, she declared: "The mentally ill are four times more likely to be victims of violence rather than purveyors of violence."

The surprise guest at the rally who received a warm welcome was legendary jazz singer Tony Bennett. He spoke of how Harry Belafonte had convinced him to march in Selma and how it had a big impact on him. Bennett is now an outspoken advocate of an assault weapons ban.

The chair of the rally. the Rev. Jacque De Graff of the Caanan Baptist Church, aroused the crowd as he introduced speakers. He emphasized, as did many other speakers, that it was necessary to keep pushing to pass Gov. Cuomo's gun control bill and that it is necessary to carry the fight to Washington. "We are going to change America, starting right here in Harlem," he declared.

There were many elected officials at the rally including two running for mayor. None were allowed to speak but their names were mentioned, John Liu, the first Chinese American to run for mayor, received the loudest applause.

Estevan Nembhard, Manhattan organizer for the Communist Party USA, pointed out that "it is common knowledge in Harlem and in ghettos and barrios across the country; when the unemployment rate and drop-out rate goes up, so does desperation and violence. This rally is very important and will help but not enough was said about the root causes of violence; the lack of jobs, education, the presence of drugs and the absence of a real future for our youth."[19]

Left Labor Project Presents: What Happened? What Now?


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 Leslie Cagan.

Tribute to Fidel

At least 500 people jammed the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Cultural Center in Harlem, N.Y., on Feb. 4, 2017, to pay tribute to Fidel Castro Ruz, leader of the Cuban Revolution, at an event entitled, “The Legacy Continues.” Gail Walker, executive director of IFCO (Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization)/Pastors for Peace, shared emcee duties with Malcolm Sacks of the Venceremos Brigade.

At the podium was a large photograph of Malcolm X and Fidel laughing during their historic meeting at Harlem’s old Hotel Theresa in 1960. In the meeting hall, along with the historic site’s murals of Malcolm’s life was a beautiful banner with a portrait of Fidel painted by Carlito Rovira, a former member of the Young Lords.

Zayid Muhammad, revolutionary poet and organizer from Newark, N.J., gave a libation that evoked Caribbean revolutionaries Marcus Garvey, Pedro Albizu Campos and Jose Martí.

There was video footage of Fidel speaking at Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church in 1995 and at Riverside Church in 2000. Talking about his 1960 visit to New York, Fidel recalled he had said, “I’m going to Harlem. That’s where our best friends are.”

The Honorable Anayansi Rodríguez, Cuban ambassador to the United Nations, said to audience members, “You are sisters and brothers.” She pointed out that Fidel made several trips to New York City before and after the Cuban Revolution’s triumph in 1959. The ambassador also spoke of Fidel’s love for the Rev. Lucius Walker, a sentiment which was visually displayed in a video where Fidel embraced his friend.

Rev. Walker, Gail Walker’s father, founded Pastors for Peace. He died in 2010. He had been wounded by U.S.-backed contra terrorists seeking to overthrow Nicaragua’s Sandinista government in 1988. Two people in Walker’s group were killed.

Video statements were played from South Africa, Angola and Namibia. Jerry Matthews Matjila, South Africa’s ambassador to the U.N., called Fidel “a great friend and ally.” Over 2,000 Cuban soldiers died fighting for African freedom against apartheid armies supplied by the Pentagon and Israel.

Walker recognized Nguyen Phuong Nga, U.N. ambassador from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, who was in the audience. So was former political prisoner Sekou Odinga, a member of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army who spent 30 years in jail. Walker also acknowledged longtime Puerto Rican revolutionary Esperanza Martell, the Rev. Herbert Daughtry of the House of the Lord Church and James A. Forbes, senior minister emeritus of the Riverside Church.

Anti-war activist Leslie Cagan, who received Cuba’s Medal of Friendship, reminded the audience that the event was being held on the anniversary of Amadou Diallo’s assassination in 1999. New York City cops fired 41 shots at the immigrant from Guinea.[20]

External links


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

  1. http://www.cc-ds.org/leadership.html
  2. [1]
  3. THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF COMMUNISM IN 1972 (Venceremos Brigade) PART 2, hearings before the Committee on Internal Security 92nd Congress oct 16-19, 1972 pages 8132-8135
  4. Guardian, November 8, 1989
  5. Our Struggle/Nuestra Lucha. Vol. 8, No 2-3, summer 1990
  6. Second Annual Socialist Scholars Conference program.
  7. CCDS Background
  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. Peoples Weekly World, June 31, 1993
  10. Mail Archive website: Communist Manifestivity Conference Schedule, Oct. 28, 1998
  11. [The Corresponder Vol 10, number 1, June 2002 http://www.cc-ds.org/pub_arch/CorresponderX1-2.pdf]
  12. [DC rights march reflects anti-war mood By Pam Parker Washington, D.C.Reprinted from the Sept. 4, 2003, issue of Workers World newspaper]
  13. http://www.dsausa.org/LatestNews/2004/nyc04.pdf
  14. Peoples World, Party of hope archives show living history, by: Dan Margolis, March 31, 2007
  15. http://www.unitedforpeace.org/article.php?list=type&type=16
  16. http://www.ippn.org/IPPN_People
  17. http://breakallchains.blogspot.com/2008/01/jan-25th-celebrate-life-of-luis-miranda.html
  18. Endorsers
  19. PW Thousands in Harlem rally against gun violence, by: Jarvis Tyner March 27 2013
  20. [http://www.workers.org/2017/02/10/harlem-n-y-meeting-remembers-fidel-the-legacy-continues/#.WKPfRvkrLIU WW Harlem, N.Y., meeting remembers Fidel: “The Legacy Continues” By Stephen Millies posted on February 10, 2017]