Mike Klonsky

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Mike Klonsky

Template:TOCnestleft Michael Klonsky is a Chicago activist and Director of the Small Schools Workshop, author of Small Schools: The Numbers Tell a Story, and a researcher and educator in Chicago, Illinois.

He is the son of former Communist Party USA leader Robert Klonsky, husband of Susan Klonsky and brother of Fred Klonsky.

Knowing Dorothy Healey

Mike Klonsky, Fred Klonsky and Susan Klonsky knew[1]well known California Communist Party USA leader Dorothy Healey in the 1960s-when they were all active in Students for a Democratic Society.

Our lasting visual memory of Dorothy has her standing in a midst of a room full of young activists in 1966. Cigarette in hand and using that throaty voice to rally us against the latest act of injustice or brutality against the community by the guardians of the capitalist system. She was scolding, encouraging and praising. She was one of those veterans of the struggle that was able and willing to cross the generational divide.
For us red-diaper babies and SDS activists coming of age in the radical movement in L.A. in the 60s, Dorothy was at once a revolutionary role model, a leader, teacher, critical friend and a member of the family.
Dorothy taught us that being a revolutionary was a life-long proposition, a genuine commitment to siding with the underdog, fighting racism, war and every form of social injustice and inequity. She taught us to stand firm on matters of principle, while being good at uniting with those in the movement with whom we disagreed. We probably didn't learn that last one well enough.
Mike, Fred & Susan Klonsky
September 22, 2006

SDS days

In 1968 Mike Klonsky was the national secretary of Students for a Democratic Society. In May 1969 was one of five SDS members arrested when police raided SDS offices in Chicago.

1969 press conference

"Outright hate for all pigs"

In Chicago, October 1969, Mike Klonsky spoke at a Sunday night gathering in Mandel Hall with Tom Hayden and Mark Rudd. Klonsky, the final speaker of the evening told the students[2];

"Look, i've heard a lot of people say, that the campus pigs are O.K., that they're on our side, But I tell you, when the trouble comes, they'll bring the guns down on our heads with the rest of them. To resist successfully, you have to have an outright hatred for all pigs.

Communist Party USA (Marxist-Leninist)


In late 1969, Klonsky founded the October League, a a pro-Mao communist organisation which in 1977 became the Communist Party USA (Marxist-Leninist) (CP-ML). Klonsky chaired the CP-ML which was recognised by the Chinese Communist Party as their U.S. fraternal party. Klonsky made several trips to China beginning in July 1977 (with Eileen Klehr), where he was feted by Communist Chinese officials

The October League was the result of a fusion in May 1972 of Mike Klonsky’s Los Angeles October League and the Georgia Communist League headed by Lynn Wells. Both of these local collectives originated in the RYM-II section of 1969 SDS. Wells was a leader of the Southern Student Organizing Committee.[3]



The Call published the accounts by Daniel Burstein (led by Mike Klonsky) of their trip to Pol Pot's Cambodia aka Democratic Kampuchea in 1978.

In April 1978, a group of four Americans from the Communist Party USA (Marxist-Leninist) visited Cambodia, declaring themselves the "first Americans to visit Cambodia since April 1975." The group included Robert Brown, Mike Klonsky, David Klein and the editor of the communist The Call magazine Daniel Burstein.

This group of Americans met with Iang Sary and toured the country for eight days, including Phnom Penh city and Siem Reap, Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham and Takeo provinces. Afterward, they departed with a very favorable impression of Democratic Kampuchea and the 'accomplishments' of the Khmer Rouge regime. Burstein was so impressed that he wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times entitled "On Cambodia: But, Yet," published November 21, 1978, declaring the stories of Khmer Rouge horrors and genocide that were littering the US press at the time to be slanderous lies.

Small Schools Workshop

In 1991, Mike Klonsky co-founded the Small Schools Workshop in Chicago with Bill Ayers.

Small Schools Workshop

"Small Schools Workshop" in Chicago, circa 1999/2000. Under the heading of Who We Are, the following were listed:

Committees of Correspondence connection

In 1994 Mike Klonsky and his wife Susan Klonsky (Sue Eanet), were listed on a "Membership, Subscription and Mailing List" for the Chicago Committees of Correspondence, an offshoot of the Communist Party USA[4]

Ayer/Davidson Klonsky

Bill Ayers, Carl Davidson and Mike Klonsky all appeared on the Committees of Correspondence list mentioned above. The three former Students for a Democratic Society leaders have remained friends through the years, despite belonging to different political factions.

On a comment on the New Zeal blog an anonymous coorresponedent challenged Carl Davidson[5];

Make sure you mention your recent relationships with Bill Ayers and Mike Klonsky. The truth will set you free...

Carl Davidson replied;

Bill and Mike and I have been friends since the SDS days of the 1960s--although Mike and I bitterly opposed the Weatherunderground nonsense back then when it counted. All that is well known to those who care about such things. What's silly is the notion that any of us shape the politics of Barack Obama.


Original members of the 2006 Movement for a Democratic Society board included[6];

Elliott Adams, Senia Barragan (Student Representative), David Barsamian, Noam Chomsky, Carl Davidson, Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Bert Garskof, David Graeber, Tom Hayden, Gerald Horne, Mike James, Robin D G Kelley, Mike Klonsky, Ethelbert Miller, Charlene Mitchell, Michael Rossman, Mark Rudd, Howard Zinn.

Mike James left, Franklin Rosemont, Mike Klonsky, Muhammad Ahmad

On February 17, 2007, the Movement for a Democratic Society held a well attended conference[7]at New York City’s New School University.

The business portion of the meeting followed with each board nominee introducing themselves to the conference. The board, a very diverse group, was voted in by acclamation... Board nominees where were not able to attend the conference were included in the appointment by acclamation. The list included Elliott Adams, Panama Vicente Alba, Tariq Ali, Stanley Aronowitz, David Barsamian, Rosalyn Baxandall, John Bracey, Jr., John Brittain, Robb Burlage, Noam Chomsky, Jayne Cortez, Carl Davidson, Angela Davis, Bernardine Dohrn, Barbara Epstein, Gustavo Esteva, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Stephen Fleischman, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Tom Hayden, Gerald Horne, Florence Howe, Mike James, Robin D G Kelley, Alice Kessler Harris, Rashid Khalidi, Mike Klonsky, Betita Martinez, Ethelbert Miller, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Barbara Ransby, Patricia Rose, Michael Rossman, Studs Terkel, Charlene Teters, Jerry Tucker, Immanuel Wallerstein, Cornel West, Leonard Weinglass and Howard Zinn.

In November 8-11 2007, Movement for a Democratic Society held a "Convergence" in Chicago[8];

Speakers included Manning Marable, Mark Rudd, Marilyn Katz, Mike James, Paul Buhle, Al Haber, Franklin Rosemont, Tom Good and Muhammad Ahmad-formerly Max Stanford;

Carl Davidson, Mike Klonsky and Bill Ayers were also present.

"Support Bill Ayers"

In October 2008, several thousand college professors, students and academic staff signed a statement Support Bill Ayers in solidarity with former Weather Underground Organization terrorist Bill Ayers.

In the run up to the U.S. presidential elections, Ayers had come under considerable media scrutiny, sparked by his relationship to presidential candidate Barack Obama.

We write to support our colleague Professor William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who is currently under determined and sustained political attack...
We, the undersigned, stand on the side of education as an enterprise devoted to human inquiry, enlightenment, and liberation. We oppose the demonization of Professor William Ayers.

Mike Klonsky of Small Talk Blog signed the statement.[9]

Support for Barack Obama

Mike klonsky.JPG

Until June 2008 Mike Klonsky ran a Blog on Barack Obama's campaign website. It was pulled at very short notice after adverse publicity began surfacing on the blogosphere.

The Rag Blog

In 2010 Mike Klonsky was listed as a contributor to the Movement for a Democratic Society linked, Austin Texas based, The Rag Blog website.[10]



  1. http://web.mac.com/richardhealey/iWeb/Dorothy/Comments/C11589BF-7FDF-435C-B2E3-2ADD1A871749.html
  2. Chicago Maroon, October 1969
  3. Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line Workers Vanguard New Left Maoism: Long March to Peaceful Coexistence The October League First Published: Workers Vanguard No. 32, November 9, 1973]
  4. Chicago CoC "Membership, Subscription and Mailing List" 10.14.94
  5. http://newzeal.blogspot.com/2008/02/obama-file-18-will-obama-be-communist.html
  6. file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Administrator/Local%20Settings/Temporary%20Internet%20Files/Content.Outlook/TWRF0IYM/discuss%20%282%29.htm
  7. http://antiauthoritarian.net/NLN/?p=179
  8. http://nextleftnotes.org/NLN/?p=366
  9. Liberal Education website: Bill Ayers supporters
  10. http://theragblog.blogspot.com