Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network honors the life of Chuck Kaufman, a lifelong anti-imperialist activist, dedicated organizer, and co-founder of the Alliance for Global Justice. AfGJ, in addition to its own distinguished work in defense of people’s rights in the United States and internationally, is the fiscal sponsor for Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and over 150 other social justice organizations across an array of movements.
Chuck passed away on 28 December 2021 after a long life in struggle dedicated to advancing liberation movements and anti-imperialist resistance globally. Many of us have known him for decades, and a number of his organizing efforts, including the Campaign for Labor Rights, the Mobilization for Global Justice, and the Latin America Solidarity Coalition, were crucial to our early political development.
Chuck was on the front lines of Latin America solidarity for decades and a key voice in the anti-war movement in 2001, when he co-founded the ANSWER Coalition, and beyond. He consistently held a principled position on Palestine and always refused to allow Palestine to be excluded from anti-war and progressive movements, or stripped of the political nature of its struggle for freedom and reduced to a humanitarian concern.
Chuck’s advice and support have been invaluable for Samidoun and its growth, as well as our members as we participated in a range of organizations and movements over the years. His anti-imperialist principles will continue to inspire our work as we organize to free Palestinian prisoners and for the liberation of Palestine.
We are sharing the below statement from AfGJ as well as a link to a Zoom memorial for Chuck, which will take place on Sunday, 9 January 2022 at 11 am MST (10 am Pacific, 1 pm Eastern). AfGJ will host a virtual memorial where family members, friends from all over the world, and comrades in general, will also participate. To register, visit bit.ly/chuckpresente.
AFGJ’s work continues without our visionary but with a solid team who have worked alongside him for years to build a better world. AfGJ requests hat people offer gestures of comfort and remembrance of Chuck through their continued support to AFGJ and the causes to which he dedicated his life to. Please visit AfGJ.org for articles or additional materials related to Chuck’s legacy. You may donate to AFGJ here.
Chuck was a true leader, a visionary, a master strategist and above all, a loving and kind comrade and friend. Through his wise stewardship Alliance for Global Justice grew to become a major force in building the capacity of grass roots organizers throughout the Americas to confront imperialism, neoliberalism and oppression in all forms and to strive to curb U.S. violations of human rights, both within and outside its borders.
Chuck has been a leader of the Central and Latin America solidarity movements since joining the staff of the Nicaragua Network in 1987. He gave up his successful advertising business out of disgust at Congress’ cowardice during the Iran-Contra scandal. He went on his first coffee picking brigade to Nicaragua that same year. Chuck has been in the front ranks of the movements to support the right of people in Latin America and the Caribbean to dignity, sovereignty, and self-determination. He has led delegations to Nicaragua, Venezuela, Haiti and Honduras.
Chuck has written and spoken often about US democracy manipulation programs through the National Endowment for Democracy and US Agency for International Development as well as what he calls the need to look to the Abolition Movement as our inspiration to change the culture of US militarism. He was a board member of the Latin America Solidarity Coalition and a leader of the LASC’s effort to build a stronger movement to oppose US militarism and the militarization of relations with Latin America. He was a founder of the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) Coalition and has spoken at most of the major Washington, DC anti-war demonstrations. Through AfGJ, he was a founding board member of the Honduras Solidarity Network. He held a B.A. in Government and Politics from George Mason University. His first political activism was as a high school student in 1969 when he organized student walk-out in four county high schools in his native Indiana.