Chuck Kaufman, ¡presente!

29 December 2021

It is with great sadness that the Alliance for Global Justice announces that Chuck Kaufman, our National Co-Coordinator and one of the founders of AfGJ, has died. He passed peacefully of natural causes on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 in his Tucson, Arizona home after a brief illness.

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 grassroots 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.

We will post more in the days to come. You can find information about Chuck’s memorial service here. We request that people wishing to offer gestures of comfort and remembrance of Chuck do so through their continued support to AFGJ and the causes to which he dedicated his life. You may make a donation to AFGJ here.

The Alliance for Global Justice

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29 de diciembre de 2021

Es con mucha tristeza que la colectiva de la Alianza por la Justicia Global anuncia que Chuck Kaufman, nuestro coordinador nacional y uno de los fundadores de AFGJ, ha muerto. El murió en paz de causas naturales el Martes, 28 de diciembre de 2021 en su casa en Tucson, Arizona después de una breve enfermedad. 

Chuck fue un verdadero líder, un visionario, un maestro estratega y sobre todo, un compañero y amigo muy cariñoso y amable. A través de su sabia dirección, AFGJ creció hasta convertirse en una fuerza importante en el desarrollo de la capacidad de los organizadores de base en todo el continente americano para enfrentar a el imperialismo, el neoliberalismo y la opresión en todas formas y esforzarse por frenar las violaciones en los Estados Unidos de los derechos humanos dentro y fuera de sus fronteras. 

Chuck ha sido un gran líder de los movimientos de solidaridad de América Central y América Latina desde que se unió al personal de la Red de Nicaragua en 1987. Renunció a su exitoso negocio publicitario por disgusto por la cobardía del Congreso durante el escándalo de Irán-Contra. Partió en su primera brigada de recolección de café a Nicaragua ese mismo año. Chuck ha estado al frente de los movimientos para apoyar el derecho de las personas en América Latina y el Caribe hacia la dignidad, soberanía y autodeterminación. Ha encabezado delegaciones a Nicaragua, Venezuela, Haití y Honduras. 

Chuck ha escrito y hablado sobre los programas de manipulación de la democracia de los Estados Unidos. A través del National Endowment for Democracy y la Agencia de los Estados Unidos. por el Desarrollo Internacional, así como sobre lo que él llama la necesidad de mirar al Movimiento de Abolición como nuestra inspiración para cambiar la cultura de militarismo de los Estados Unidos. Fue miembro de la junta de la Coalición de Solidaridad con América Latina (LASC) y líder del esfuerzo de LASC para construir un movimiento más fuerte para oponerse al militarismo estadounidense y la militarización de las relaciones con América Latina. Fue uno de los fundadores de la Coalición Actúa Ahora para Acabar con la Guerra y con el Racismo (ANSWER) Coalición y ha hablado en la mayoría de las principales manifestaciones contra la guerra en Washington, DC. A través de AfGJ, fue miembro fundador de la junta de la Red de Solidaridad de Honduras. Tenía un B.A. en Gobierno y Política de la Universidad George Mason. Su primer activismo político fue como estudiante de secundaria 1969 cuando organizó una huelga de estudiantes en cuatro escuelas secundarias del condado en su natal Indiana. 

Publicaremos más en los próximos días. Puede encontrar información sobre el servicio conmemorativo de Chuck aquí. Solicitamos que las personas que deseen ofrecer gestos de consuelo y recuerdo de Chuck lo hagan a través de su continuo apoyo a las causas a las que dedicó su vida.

La Alianza por la Justicia Global

Ten Lessons from the Life and Example of Chuck Kaufman

By James Jordan, National Co-Coordinator, Alliance for Global Justice

Chuck Kaufman (left) and James Jordan (right) in Cuba

Act decently and morally toward others. Chuck frequently said that he was guided by the basic moral principles he learned growing up as a Mennonite—the golden rule, living peacefully, opposing war. For him it was as simple as this-do the right thing!

Take State Power and turn it over to the people. Chuck was insistent that we could not take and wield power successfully without taking power and the structures of power away from the capitalists, the militarists, and all the oppressors.

There is no liberation without ending capitalism’s wars, without ending neoliberalism, and without getting rid of the Empire. Chuck was solidly anti-war and anti-imperialist.

Chuck said it so often, that “We should never do alone what we can do with others.”  Chuck believed in AFGJ, but, even more, he believed in the people’s movement and in AFGJ’s role in supporting them. Whenever possible, work in a coalition or network with other partners.

Revolutionary success depends on self-replication. Always share what you do and teach the skills you have. All true revolutionaries must work to make themselves replaceable.

Look beyond. Chuck believed in joining in the major struggles of the day, the struggles that have broad popular support. But he also believed that we had to be visionaries and look at the struggles that are so important, but that are not being seen, not receiving the support they require. Chuck frowned on the model of dividing up our contributions unequally among our work. He believed the more popular struggles should subsidize the vital but overlooked ones. The overlooked struggle of today is the one that flares up “unexpectedly” in the future.

Our governing structures must be non-hierarchical. It is because of Chuck that AFGJ has never had bosses or directors, but, instead, a consensus model among equals. He insisted that even the newest employee be paid the same as the longest-serving. He did not tolerate elitism.

We must strive toward diversity while rejecting tokenism. Diversity is built not by going out and recruiting people only on the basis of their identities. He believed that diversity should be achieved by real and organic relationships. Chuck’s approach was for AFGJ to go out and support the struggles important to diverse communities, and through these real and meaningful relationships, to transform AFGJ.

Set a big table. Most of AFGJ’s supporters would probably think of themselves as some kind of socialist, but not necessarily all. Our supporters range from Anarchists to liberals and social democrats, and even some libertarians. But all of us share an anti-imperialist, anti-war, and anti-interventionist outlook. The table we set is for people’s struggle, in all its varieties.

Be proud and be humble. Chuck was always proud when he was honored and recognized for his work. If someone gave him a plaque, it went up on the wall. But as he said so often, when they honor us individually, we are all honored. And that made him humble. Whatever honor he received, he shared it because he knew, it wasn’t just about him.

Tributes to Chuck

“Chuck Kaufman, presente, presente, presente” (Friends of the ATC Nicaragua)

“U.S. political activist Chuck Kaufman dies at 69 in Tucson” (Radio Havana Cuba)

“Canciller Plasencia lamenta el fallecimiento de activista Chuck Kaufman” (Últimas Noticias)

“Chuck Kaufman dedicó su vida a luchar por la soberanía de los pueblos” (El 19 Digital)

“Rosario Murillo – Remembering Chuck Kaufman” (Orinoco Tribune)

“A Revolutionary Tribute to Chuck Kaufman and the Alliance for Global Justice!” (All African Peoples’ Revolutionary Party – GC)

“In Remembrance of Chuck Kaufman” (Anarchist Federation)

 “3/30/52 – 12/28/21 Chuck Kaufman: an anchor” (Workers World)

“In remembrance of Chuck Kaufman, anti-imperialist, international solidarity organizer” (Fightback News)

“Chuck Kaufman: A Great Man has left us” (Chicago ALBA Solidarity)

“Canciller Plasencia lamentó el fallecimiento del activista estadounidense Chuck Kaufman” (Con el Mazo Dando)

“Long Live the Memory and Example of Chuck Kaufman!” (Task Force on the Americas)

Poem by Tom Ricker

“La Lucha Sigue: Chuck Kaufman, presente 1952-2021” by The Nation Report (La Lucha Sigue)

“Remembering Chuck Kaufman: A life in anti-imperialist struggle” (Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network)

“Thank-you Chuck Kaufman: Internationalist and Anti-Imperialist” (Rights Action)

Chuck Kaufman, ¡presente! memorial – January 9th, 2022

Watch memorial / Vea el memorial

Virtual guestbook / Registro virtual de visitantes

If you would like to submit a message to our virtual guestbook memorializing Chuck, you can access it here.

Si usted desea enviar un mensaje a nuestro registro virtual de visitantes del nuestro memorial, puede acceder al registro aquí.