Labor Party Mourns Loss of National Organizer
Tony Mazzocchi - 1926 - 2002
Tony Mazzocchi, National Organizer of the Labor Party, died on October 5. Surrounded by family and friends, he succumbed to pancreatic cancer at his home in Washington, D.C. The Labor Party celebrates his life and mourns his passing.
Although Mazzocchi dropped out of school at age 16, he was the prototype of the worker intellectual. He embodied the truth that our struggle is for bread and roses, for access to a full, rich life in which workers can develop all their interests and talents. He was a voracious reader, an avid student of subjects as diverse as genetics and evolution, history and politics. He founded Alice Hamilton College, produced plays and organized cultural festivals. He was widely regarded as a visionary who was in the forefront of the labor movement's involvement in the major struggles for social justice in the postwar period - from the civil rights movement and the struggles against nuclear proliferation and the Vietnam War, to the struggle for environmental justice and the movement for occupational health and safety, which he spearheaded.
Tony's lifelong conviction was that the objective of our struggle is to set the terms of national political debate around an agenda that expresses the concerns of America's workers. This conviction culminated in his decision in 1991 to concentrate all his energies on propagating the message of independent working class politics to workers throughout the country. Drawing on his broad and vast experiences in the labor movement, he was the catalyst for the creation of the Labor Party in 1996. His leadership combined both acute, far-reaching vision and a deep understanding of the practicalities of building a coherent, independent working class political movement.
Tony's life was defined by an irrepressible optimism that stemmed from his unflagging confidence in the capacities of workers to create change and his unique ability to combine a tough-minded understanding of the political realities of the moment with a longer view of our movement's goals and requirements. He never doubted that workers would rise to the challenge. He reiterated this optimism in his last letter to Labor Party members. He emphasized that "Our time is coming. When corporations collapse, the opportunity for profound change emerges. Working people, at the height of the Great Depression, had the resilience to organize new institutions and reshape the economy. Then, as now, working people need an institution to voice their rage. I have dedicated a lifetime to building such an expression. It certainly will not happen in the limited time now afforded to me. But you have the ability to position our party for great deeds. While other groups may waffle, let this party serve as the dog at the corporate throat."
We embrace the challenge of these words and know that the greatest tribute to our brother will be to build our Labor Party.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Debs-Jones-Douglass Institute, 1532 16th Street, Washington, D.C. 20009.
More information on the Labor Party: www.thelaborparty.org.
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