Dr. Arthur Lipow, 81, of Alameda, California passed away peacefully on January 6, 2016, with his wife Gretchen by his side.
Dr. Arthur Lipow grew up in Southern California and attended high school in Pasadena, receiving his B.A. in sociology from UCLA (1955). He then studied under Professor Seymour Martin Lipset at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received a Ph.D. in political sociology in 1969.
Dr. Lipow was a rigorous intellectual historian and academic. He was highly influenced by his friend Hal Draper, who wrote a classic pamphlet of democratic socialism, THE TWO SOULS OF SOCIALISM, which inspired Arthur to write his Ph.D dissertation, later published by the University of California Press, as Authoritarian Socialism In America: Edward Bellamy and the Nationalist Movement. Bernard Crick, biographer of George Orwell, praised it as a guide to the real meaning of democratic socialism – “the kind of socialism one wants.” While writing his thesis, he also served as a primary caregiver for his three young children, who frequently cajoled him to stop typing and take them to the merry-go-round and pony rides in Berkeley’s Tilden Park.
In the 1970s, Dr. Lipow moved to England, where he was a member of the Labour Party and an active participant in European Nuclear Disarmament (END). He was a founder of “Charter 88,” the British constitutional reform movement which proposes a democratic Bill of Rights for Britain. He was formerly Director of the Michael Harrington Center at Birkbeck College, University of London, and then co-founding Executive Director of Labour and Society International in London. The Harrington Centre was funded by City University of New York, and chaired by the late President of CUNY and former Peace Corps Director in Ethiopia, Professor Joseph Murphy. Among its other projects, the Centre initiated a program to assist the development of higher education in Africa, sponsored by UNESCO and the United Nations Development Project (UNDP). Dr. Lipow organized and participated in an international conference in Ethiopia in 1992, sponsored by UNESCO and UNDP, to further cooperation between institutions of higher learning North and South. He published four other books, including Political Parties and Democracy: Explorations in History and Theory; Neither Capitalism nor Socialism: Theories of Bureaucratic Collectivism (co-edited with Ernest Haberkern); The Other City (co-edited with Susanne MacGregor); and Transatlantic Crossings: A Voyage of Discovery.
A life-long rebel and champion of social justice, a crusader for civil rights in the United States and abroad, he was an active supporter of Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and César Chávez and Larry Itliong of the United Farm Workers. He was arrested protesting the final House Un-American Activities subcommittee in San Francisco May 1960 and when working with trade unionists in Czechoslovakia, where he shared a cell with Christopher Hitchens. Dr. Lipow amassed an extensive home library of more than 10,000 books on a spectrum of subjects, including politics, history, and sociology.
Upon his retirement in 1998, Dr. Lipow returned to California. Together with his wife, Gretchen Lipow, he co-founded the Alameda Public Affairs Forum in 2004 and the Center for Global Peace and Democracy in 2007. He initiated the political fight back against the SunCal Initiative which resulted in a victory for the community, thereby saving the Point from a massive development of 4,500 residential units.
He continued to pursue many of his life-long passions, including scholarship, activism, eating ice cream, hanging out in coffee shops, and spending time with family and friends. He is survived by his wife, Gretchen Mackler Lipow and his children Jenny, Stephanie (Tony Walecka) and Nicholas, grandchildren Toby Walecka and Sydney Lipow, and by his stepchildren Jennifer (Todd) Roloff, Phil Mackler, and Aaron Mackler (Stephanie) and their children Peyton and Taylor Roloff and Hazel Anne Mackler. He was preceded in death by his former wife Anne Grodzins Lipow, and his brother Myron Lipow.
The family wishes to express their gratitude to his caregiver Norma Magno, and Dr. Richard Park and the staff at San Leandro Kaiser and the Alameda firefighters who responded to his medical emergencies.
A celebration of Arthur’s life will be held soon.
Memorial donations may be made to the Alameda Public Affairs Forum or the Alameda Free Library Foundation.
“TRANSATLANTIC CROSSINGS: A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY” …
Tales that capture his experiences while living and teaching in England from 1978 to ’98.
The book is available on Amazon.com, and copies will be available at this Forum at a discount rate.
“Transatlantic Crossings: A Voyage of Discovery” is a collection of articles, essays, and documents written over a span of twenty years when Arthur Lipow was resident in Britain and was teaching at Birkbeck College, The University of London, and the Institute of U.S. Studies. He taught courses in American politics and foreign policy to advanced post-graduates students, including some Members of Parliament as well as Civil Servants. He was an active participant too in the independent, democratic peace movement, “European Nuclear Disarmament” (END) whose slogan was “Neither Washington Nor Moscow.” One of the articles here tells of his arrest in still-Communist Czechoslovakia for the “crime” of meeting with Czech peace activists who opposed the stationing of Russian missiles in Czechoslovakia. The Foreword is written by Jan Kavan, a founder of Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia, co-founded with the dissident, Vaclav Havel, who when released from a Communist prison, became the first democratically elected President of the new Czech Republic. Kavan became the foreign minister of the Czech Republic and later was elected the President of the UN General Assembly. The text of the Foreword was delivered to the inaugural meeting of “The Center for Peace and Democracy,” co-founded by Gretchen and Arthur Lipow in the U.S. in 2007. The Mission statement of the Center is reprinted in this volume along with other documents illustrating Arhur Lipow’s long journey as a peace and democracy activist and writer. Included are the texts of Charter 77, Charter 88, of which he was co-founder — a call for a democratic written Constitution and written Bill of Rights, inspired by the first ten amendments to the American Constitution; and Charter 08, signed by over 100 Chinese democracy activists — all of which Lipow hopes will inspire a “Democracy 2016” movement in the U.S. where the Constitution and the Bill of Rights have been ravaged by a Stasi-type surveillance state — all of which he hopes will lead to a global charter for democracy soon thereafter — one that defends the freedom of the press, bans torture, and acts as a barrier, legal as well as moral, to the spreading “inverted totalitarian” surveillance state (as the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin, terms it.) No less important, as reflected in the document for “Labour and Society International” is the call for trade union based social and economic justice to provide a global counterweight to the emerging global corporate economic order of “free trade,” as embodied in the North American Free Trade Agreement” (NAFTA) and the pending “TransPacificTradeAgreement” and the parallel “TransAtlanticTradeAgeement” both of which give global power to the global corporations and are supported by the two parties of American imperialism which spread their global power on a network of over 1000 overseas military bases and whose unlimited financial resources have been fraudulently blessed by the American Supreme Court in the name of the First Amendment doctrine of “corporate personhood.”
Best wishes to all of our many friends in Alameda and the Bay Area. Many thanks for your generous support over the last ten years. Stay in touch — firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.Call us at 510 -846-5465 (Gretchen) or 510-846-5464, (Arthur)
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For additional information call Gretchen or Arthur Lipow, co-chairs, Alameda Public Affairs Forum, (510) 814-9592, or e-mail ArtLipow@aol.com
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