General Gordon Baker, one of this country’s key revolutionary visionaries and leaders, passed on Sunday, May 18, 2014, at a Detroit hospital of congestive heart issues, surrounded by family, many friends and comrades. He was 72. Gen was also a friend, teacher and respected member of my extended revolutionary family. In the 1960s, Gen led wildcat strikes in Detroit’s auto industry for better pay, working conditions and benefits. He helped found the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement (DRUM), and later (along with myself and other leaders, thinkers and organizers) the League of Revolutionaries for a New America, of which he was Chair of the Steering Committee. His leadership and ideas in the early strikes inspired organizing efforts and other similar actions by African American autoworkers throughout the country. An autoworker for 30 years, Gen also spoke throughout the country, championing the unemployed and unorganized as well as all workers against the control of corporations and a small but powerful U.S. ruling class. As a young worker and urban warrior, I met Gen in my late teens and felt the authenticity of his voice and experiences. Detroit workers have suffered tremendously, especially during the massive de-industrialization that began in the 1970s and hit hard in the 1980s and 1990s. Recently Detroit’s bankruptcy and abandonment as a result of the current financial crisis is emblematic of a whole country in disarray. General Baker stayed true to his roots and principles, taking up the fight for a cooperative and worker-based society to higher levels, deeper thinking, and more effective strategies. My heart goes out his wife Marion Kramer, children, grand children, and other family. Gen’s impact in our time and in this country during this trying period is immeasurable and solid. His example will live on—in me and among millions of the poor and working class of this country. c/s
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