[Marxism] David Weiss
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Aug 15 11:34:53 MDT 2005
7008 Lipmann Street
San Diego, Ca. 92122
David Weiss (1911? 1912?- 2005)
David Weiss-he would have insisted-"Don't leave out the Loeb. I'm David
Loeb Weiss", died peacefully and painlessly at home Thursday, August 11 at
Just stopped breathing as I held his hand, hospice nurses around us.
He had been dying for weeks perhaps, still joking, not eating, stopped
drinking, accepting only a small ice cube in his mouth, not talking the
last two days, a big change for such a voluble man. It is not his death I
wish to speak of , rather his life, which I shared for the last eight years.
He was an imperfect man fighting a very imperfect, cruel society.
Frequently polemical, domineeringly outspoken, and angry at the
dehumanization of a class war against all of us. He inherited his struggle
from birth, remembering his mother climbing six flights of tenement stairs
after work to sell the Daily Worker.
When he and his brother Murray split from the Communist Party, they would
answer their parents' objections to talking politics at the dinner table,
with their ditty, "Mama don' want no politicking around' here." They'd kid
her, but he responded to his younger sister's request and wrote a love
letter for her to Joseph Starobin, the Communist leader, whom she tried to
woo but felt inarticulate in approaching.
He left public school early, without graduating from anything, but
finished and earned his B.A. at NYU and M.A. in Political Science at the
New School for Social Research. Credit to the G.I. Bill that paid for
veterans to go back to school after World War II.
He worked and did almost everything. Dishwasher, hobo riding the freights
across country, busboy, waiter, organizer during the hotel and restaurant
workers strike in New York, organizer at the Dura-Steel strike in Los
Angeles, radar technician in the U.S. Army , assistant electrician as a
merchant seaman, proofreader at the New York Times for eighteen years,
documentary filmmaker and teacher.
He was proudest of his films, echoing Muhammed Ali's word when Ali refused
to be drafted for the Vietnam war, "No Vietnamese Ever Called me Nigger."
Again in "Profile of a Peace Parade" he raised the bar in talking of
struggles against imperial wars.
Proving his adaptability, he wrote, directed, and produced a technical
film, "Farewell, Etaoin Shrudlu" for the New York Times when they changed
over from the old linotype printing to the new technology. He later said
some fourteen hundred printers might have been laid off, but the newspaper
fired noone. He was a proofreader, and the newspaper gave him carte blanche
to go through the plant, talk, film, and produce a prize winning
documentary. David loved displaying all his awards and was not modest about
He was feisty, contentious, loud, insistent on being heard, intolerant of
opposing views, and he was frequently correct. As he grew older, his last
illness, dementia, set in. He'd ask about a pair of twelve-year olds, "What
are their politics?" We'd laugh, because
David could not understand he was talking to them in a foreign tongue. He
had been weaned on "Joe Hill" and "The Comintern." And like Joe Hill will
live "where workers strike and organize". He'll be there still.
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