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David McReynolds

David McReynolds

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David McReynolds is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 democratic socialist
Democratic socialism
Democratic socialism is a description used by various socialist movements and organizations to emphasize the democratic character of their political orientation...

 and pacifist activist who described himself as "a peace movement bureaucrat" during his 40-year career with Liberation magazine and the War Resisters League
War Resisters League
The War Resisters League was formed in 1923 by men and women who had opposed World War I. It is a section of the London-based War Resisters' International.Many of the founders had been jailed during World War I for refusing military service...

. He was the first openly gay
Gay
Gay is a word that refers to a homosexual person, especially a homosexual male. For homosexual women the specific term is "lesbian"....

 man to run for President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

.

Early life


He was born in Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...

 to Charles and Elizabeth McReynolds. In 1951 he joined the Socialist Party of America
Socialist Party of America
The Socialist Party of America was a multi-tendency democratic-socialist political party in the United States, formed in 1901 by a merger between the three-year-old Social Democratic Party of America and disaffected elements of the Socialist Labor Party which had split from the main organization...

 (SPA) and in 1953 he graduated from UCLA with a degree in political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

. Between 1957 and 1960, McReynolds worked for the editorial board
Editorial board
The editorial board is a group of people, usually at a publication, who dictate the tone and direction the publication's editorial policy will take.- Board makeup :...

 of the left-wing magazine
Magazine
Magazines, periodicals, glossies or serials are publications, generally published on a regular schedule, containing a variety of articles. They are generally financed by advertising, by a purchase price, by pre-paid magazine subscriptions, or all three...

 Liberation
Liberation (magazine)
Liberation Magazine was a monthly magazine, of the New Left compared with Dissent , and Studies on the Left.-Early days:"Liberation" was founded, published, and edited by David Dellinger, A. J. Muste from 1956–1975 out of New York. A. J...

. McReynolds is openly gay and wrote his first article about living as a gay man in 1969.

Career with War Resisters League


He was staunchly anti-war
Anti-war
An anti-war movement is a social movement, usually in opposition to a particular nation's decision to start or carry on an armed conflict, unconditional of a maybe-existing just cause. The term can also refer to pacifism, which is the opposition to all use of military force during conflicts. Many...

 and a draft resister, and in 1960 joined the staff of the War Resisters League
War Resisters League
The War Resisters League was formed in 1923 by men and women who had opposed World War I. It is a section of the London-based War Resisters' International.Many of the founders had been jailed during World War I for refusing military service...

 (WRL), where he remained until his retirement in 1999. On November 6, 1965, he was one of five men who publicly burned their draft cards
Draft-card burning
Draft-card burning was a symbol of protest performed by thousands of young American men as part of the opposition to the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War. Beginning in May 1964, some activists burned their draft cards at anti-war rallies and demonstrations. By May 1965 it was...

 at an anti-war demonstration at Union Square in New York. This was one of the first public draft-card burnings after U.S. law was changed on August 30, 1965 to make such actions a felony, punishable by up to five years' imprisonment. He was close friends with Bayard Rustin
Bayard Rustin
Bayard Rustin was an American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, pacifism and non-violence, and gay rights.In the pacifist Fellowship of Reconciliation , Rustin practiced nonviolence...

 and other prominent peace activists, as well literary figures like Quentin Crisp
Quentin Crisp
Quentin Crisp , was an English writer and raconteur. He became a gay icon in the 1970s after publication of his memoir, The Naked Civil Servant.- Early life :...

. In 1968, he signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.

McReynolds was particularly active internationally, both in War Resisters' International
War Resisters' International
War Resisters' International is an international anti-war organization with members and affiliates in over thirty countries. Its headquarters are in London, UK.-History:...

 of which he was chairperson for the term 1986–88, and in the International Confederation for Disarmament and Peace which eventually merged into the International Peace Bureau
International Peace Bureau
International Peace Bureau is the world's oldest international peace federation. It was founded in 1891, and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1910....

.

Leader with Socialist Party USA


The SPA was renamed the Social Democrats USA
Social Democrats USA
Social Democrats, USA was the principal association of U.S. social democrats from 1972–2005.SDUSA was founded in 1972 when the Socialist Party of America renamed itself Social Democrats, USA...

 by a majority vote at the 1972 convention. Michael Harrington
Michael Harrington
Edward Michael "Mike" Harrington was an American democratic socialist, writer, political activist, professor of political science, radio commentator and founder of the Democratic Socialists of America.-Personal life:...

 resigned and then formed the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee
Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee
The Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee was founded in 1973 by Michael Harrington, who led a minority caucus in the Socialist Party. Harrington's caucus supported George McGovern's his call for a cease-fire and immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam...

 (now the Democratic Socialists of America
Democratic Socialists of America
Democratic Socialists of America is a social-democratic organization in the United States and the U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International, an international federation of social-democratic,democratic socialist and labor political parties and organizations.DSA was formed in 1982 by a merger of...

, DSA) with the purpose of "realignment" strengthening the role of labor unions and other progressive organizations in the Democratic Party to pull it to the left. The smallest and the most left wing of the SPA, known as the Debs Caucus, including McReynolds, formed the Socialist Party USA
Socialist Party USA
The Socialist Party USA is a multi-tendency democratic-socialist party in the United States. The party states that it is the rightful continuation and successor to the tradition of the Socialist Party of America, which had lasted from 1901 to 1972.The party is officially committed to left-wing...

 (SPUSA). McReynolds has long been a member of both DSA and SPUSA.

McReynolds' primary theoretical contribution to socialism comes from his blending of a pacifist world-view with a commitment to re-distributive socialist economics
Socialist economics
Socialist economics are the economic theories and practices of hypothetical and existing socialist economic systems.A socialist economy is based on public ownership or independent cooperative ownership of the means of production, wherein production is carried out to directly produce use-value,...

. Politically, McReynolds has been a staunch anti-authoritarian
Anti-authoritarian
Anti-authoritarianism is opposition to authoritarianism, which is defined as a "political doctrine advocating the principle of absolute rule: absolutism, autocracy, despotism, dictatorship, totalitarianism." Anti-authoritarians usually believe in full equality before the law and strong civil...

 and has collaborated with a diverse set of political formations on the democratic left. His widely read pamphlet, The Philosophy of Nonviolence, provides a unique window into the mind of a life-long activist wrestling with the contradictions and pitfalls which plagued the political left in the 20th century. He concludes that "...there is no living, vital philosophy which does not have 'holes' in it." Consequently, he maps out a pluralistic
Pluralism (philosophy)
Pluralism is a term used in philosophy, meaning "doctrine of multiplicity", often used in opposition to monism and dualism . The term has different connotations in metaphysics and epistemology...

 approach which is, on the one hand, socialist, yet is entirely engaged with thought systems as seemingly contradictory as Hindu philosophy
Hindu philosophy
Hindu philosophy is divided into six schools of thought, or , which accept the Vedas as supreme revealed scriptures. Three other schools do not accept the Vedas as authoritative...

. McReynolds concludes that a brand of pacifist-socialism is best suited for future socialist experiments since it offers the greatest opportunity to prefigure the kinds of democratic relations necessary to create a functional and free society.

In his political career, McReynolds ran for Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 from Lower Manhattan
Lower Manhattan
Lower Manhattan is the southernmost part of the island of Manhattan, the main island and center of business and government of the City of New York...

 twice and for President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 twice. In 1958 he ran as a write-in SPA candidate and then in 1968 as a Peace and Freedom Party candidate for Congress in the 19th district pulling in 4.7% of the vote (3,969 votes). In 1980, he ran for President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 as the SPUSA candidate, with Diane Drufenbrock
Diane Drufenbrock
Sister Diane Joyce Drufenbrock, S.S.S.F., , also known as Sister Madeleine Sophie, is a member of the School Sisters of St...

 as vice presidential candidate, receiving 6,994 votes (0.01%) and also becoming the first openly gay man to run for President in U.S. history. Upon the request of fellow Socialists, McReynolds ran again for President as the SPUSA candidate in 2000, with Mary Cal Hollis
Mary Cal Hollis
Mary Cal Hollis is an American politician. She was a third-party candidate for President of the United States in the 1996 U.S. presidential election, representing the Socialist Party USA with running mate Eric Chester Hollis and Chester also received the endorsement and ballot line of Vermont's...

 as his running mate, receiving 5,602 votes. In both 1980 and 2000, McReynolds received the endorsement and ballot line of the Liberty Union Party
Liberty Union Party
The Liberty Union Party of Vermont, founded in 1970 by former Congressman William H. Meyer, Peter Diamondstone and others, originated in the anti-war and People's Party movements of the late 1960s and defines itself as a nonviolent socialist party.-History:...

 in Vermont.

After the 2000 election, the Palm Beach Post speculated that 2,908 voters, "mostly in elderly Jewish districts," had mistakenly voted for both Al Gore, running for President on the Democratic ticket, and for McReynolds on a "confusing butterfly ballot," thereby resulting in voided votes, helping to cost Gore the state's crucial electoral votes.

2004 Senate Campaign



On July 10, 2004, David McReynolds announced his candidacy running on the Green Party
Green Party (United States)
The Green Party of the United States is a nationally recognized political party which officially formed in 1991. It is a voluntary association of state green parties. Prior to national formation, many state affiliates had already formed and were recognized by other state parties...

 ticket for one of the New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 seats in the Senate
United States Senate elections, 2004
The United States Senate election, 2004 was an election for one-third of the seats in the United States Senate which coincided with the re-election of George W. Bush as president and the United States House election, as well as many state and local elections. Senators who were elected in 1998,...

, running an anti-war campaign against Democratic incumbent Chuck Schumer, where he pulled in 36,942 votes for 0.5% of total.

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