[Marxism] Tribute to Robert H. Burke

Terry Burke terrence.finnerty at gmail.com
Sat Mar 21 10:21:16 MDT 2009

I am the last and youngest son of Robert H. Burke. My Dad died in 1988, in
Pasadena California of colon cancer at 74 years of age.

Listening today to Dave Emory's radio show on the internet (
http://spitfirelist.com), I was moved for some reason to google my father's
name. That's how I came across this article.


I am writing to express my profound gratitude at the author of this article,
for bringing these early activities of my father to the attention of the
world... in 1936 my father was only 22 years old... his career as a union
organizer began immediately after his expulsion from Columbia and spanned 5
decades. He is without a doubt one of history's unsung heroes, a true giant
of a man in his morality, his intellect and his integration of these
qualities with the ability to lead and to act. He was fearless in a way I
will never forget. An example of what a human being can be at the best. I do
not mean to deny his faults as a human being nor to put him on a pedestal,
far from it. He had failings which he was unashamed to share with all who
cared to listen... but this is one reason that I can say that he represents
such an outstanding example for all of us. He was a Decent Human Being.

His Irish heritage gifted him with a treasure trove of insight into the
essential nature of the struggle of human beings to be free from injustice
and the criminal culture of Privilege. His understanding of the conflict
that we are engaged in was instinctive and natural. His grasp of theoretical
elaborations ranging from Henry George to Karl Marx was profound, yet he
never let these dominate his core belief in the power of the truth to be
understood and acted upon by "uneducated" "working stiffs"... his belief in
the goodness and common decency inherent in the "common man" was primary and

My father was a man whose life stands as a testament to the fact that in
struggle, change for the good of the human race WILL come, that victory over
the truly evil culture of "the bosses" IS attainable. We live in an era of
ascendant cynicism, of defeatist truisms that preach surrender to an
"eternal law" of inequality and human misery. But I wear his red garnet ring
on my hand, and I am here on this earth to distribute the small yet precious
particle of his spark which I possess wherever I walk. My life has no higher
meaning than its potential to contribute as the son of Robert H. Burke to
the continuation of the struggle to liberate humankind from oppression,
dishonesty and privilege, and to encourage all that I encounter to struggle,
to know that our struggle will never be in vain and that, as my Pop always
said "you aint licked till ya quit, kid." Thank you, and God bless us all.

More information about the Marxism mailing list