Ron Dellums, Former Oakland Congressman and Mayor, Dies of Cancer at 82

Very sad news that a local anti-war activist and self avowed Socialist and fighter of the common man, woman and child has lost his battle with Cancer at the age of 82. He has been an especially loud voice against the Neoliberal voices of the Democratic Party and the Neoconservative voices of the Republican Party. His energy has been missed in Congress since he retired.
A very good article from Common Dreams provided this picture below as well.

 

 

His New York Times‘ obituary noted that:

He was an outspoken critic of presidents, Republican and Democratic, and for many Americans beyond his tiny Congressional district, he championed a progressive mantra: Stop war. Cut military spending. Help people. Address the nation’s social problems.

He won a dozen re-election campaigns and the sometimes grudging respect of colleagues on both sides of the aisle. His voting record also won virtually straight A’s from labor, consumer, women’s and environmental groups. Human rights organizations hailed his fights to restrict aid to African nations, like Zaire, Burundi, Liberia and Sudan, whose regimes were openly repressive.

After a 14-year campaign against apartheid in South Africa, he wrote the 1986 legislation that mandated trade embargoes and divestment by American companies and citizens of holdings in South Africa. President Ronald Reagan’s veto was overridden by Congress, a 20th-century first in foreign policy. The sanctions were lifted in 1991, when South Africa repealed its apartheid laws.

Mr. Dellums opposed every major American military intervention of his tenure, except for emergency relief in Somalia in 1992. He sued President George H. W. Bush unsuccessfully to stop the Persian Gulf War in 1990-91, saying the invasion did not have congressional authorization. And he voted against the new weapons programs and military budgets of all six presidents in his era.

His “alternative” budgets, written for the Congressional Black Caucus (he was a founding member in 1971 and chairman from 1989 to 1991) proposed spending instead for education, jobs, housing, health care, assistance for the poor and programs to fight drug abuse.

Right-wing critics repeatedly labeled him a Communist, citing his 1970 talk to a world peace conference in Stockholm and his meeting with President Fidel Castro of Cuba in Havana in 1977.

He was unperturbed.

“If being an advocate of peace, justice and humanity toward all human beings is radical, then I’m glad to be called radical,” he told The Washington Post. “And if it is radical to oppose the use of 70 percent of federal monies for destruction and war, then I am a radical.”

Over time, congressional colleagues came to respect Mr. Dellums’s legislative and military expertise. In 1993, the House Democratic Caucus voted 198-10 to name him chairman of the Armed Services Committee, with oversight for defense appropriations and global military operations.

He was the first African-American and the first antiwar activist to hold that post. A fox-in-the-henhouse cartoon portrayed a general and an admiral at the committee door under a banner proclaiming, “Under New Management.” Inside, Mr. Dellums brandishes a meat ax. “Call security,” one military man says to the other.