Joe Flexer [Jim]
jcraven at clark.edu
Mon Jul 7 11:20:05 MDT 2003
David Quarter wrote:
Just in case you didn't know, Jim:
Joe passed away in Aug.(or late July) of 2000. He had a heart
condition, received a heart transplant, which in the end didn't work
out. I actually had the chance to meet him at a NDP, socialist
caucus meeting a year before his death. He seemed like nice guy,
and I thought he was a good speaker. Along with Barry
Weisleder, the NDP socialist caucaus is where he devoted most of
his political energy in the remaining years of his life. Incidentally,
my pup's also knew him from back in the days.
below is an eulogy written by Barry on Joe:
It is with the greatest sadness and the deepest regret that I must inform
you that our comrade Joseph Flexer passed away at
about 3 p.m., Eastern daylight saving time, in Toronto, Ontario.
Joe was 67 years old when his new heart failed him, about six
years after receiving a transplant. Joe was a revolutionary
communist to the core, an unparalleled internationalist and a
remarkable worker militant and unionist. For decades he was a
dedicated activist in the Canadian Auto Workers' Union, a leader in
his plant and in Local 112, and a respected
national figure in the CAW, and across the workers' movement
which he loved,from Palestine to North America. Joe was a
founder and federal Co-Chair of the NDP Socialist Caucus, a
movement he embraced optimistically and to which he gave unnumbered months
of devotion and activism. Socialist Action,
and the world Trotskyist movement, mourn the loss of one of our
central leaders, an extraordinary Marxist thinker, writer, educator,
story-teller, humourist and agitator. Joe will
never be replaced, but his example will forever inspire us to
continue theclass struggle for the socialist liberation of humanity.
Response (Jim C): Thanks David, Yes I did know at the time of Joe's passing
but was not able to get to his funeral. I am still in contact with Mitch
Podolak who told me of Joe's death. Joe, Mitch and I used to live about a
block away from each other in Winnipeg and we spent many nights at Joe's and
Mitch's and they spent many nights at my place planning various actions in
the late 60s and early 70s. I kept in contact with him when he went to
Toronto also. The eulogy is well written and very accurate. Although I was
never a Trotskyist and Mitch and Joe were self-identified as determined
Trotskyists, we got along very well, I always respected them and our debates
on theory and praxis never degenerated into vitriol.
One of my fondest memories is when Joe, Mitch and I crashed a party for
Theodore Bikel who gave a concert in Winnipeg; the party was put on by Sid
Spivak then leader of the Tories in Manitoba. I saw Joe, who had been a tank
commander in the 1956 Israeli war in which he had been wounded, get in the
face of Bikel who was a hard-core Zionist with Joe calling Zionism nothing
but predatory and racist neo-colonialism pure and simple. I noted to Bikel
that his politics appeared to be--in terms of content, compassion and
sophistication--based upon and proportional to the length of his foreskin.
The whole affair turned into quite a happening with us getting thrown out of
the party at Spivak's house--but not before we had appropriated a tray of
deviled eggs as we were all living on very little at the time.
Thanks for sending that eulogy; it brought back a lot of memories.
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