Jon Melrod: A Radical’s Journey from Campus to the Shop Floor in 1970s Wisconsin

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Sewell Social Science, Room 8108 and Online via Zoom
@ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
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School for Workers is proud to co-host Jon Melrod: A Radical’s Journey from Campus to the Shop Floor in 1970s Wisconsin with The Havens Wright Center for Social Justice, and the South Central Federation of Labor (SCFL).

This is a hybrid in-person and online event (Sewell Social Science, Room 8108 and Online via Zoom). If you would like to attend online, you must register in advance.

A Room of One’s Own bookstore will welcome Jon Melrod and Bill Franks for a discussion of his book, Fighting Times: Organizing on the Front Lines of the Class War, on Thursday, September 28, at 6 p.m.

Born into the political and cultural quiescence of the 1950s, Jon Melrod grew up in apartheid-like Washington D.C. Active in the student movement that opposed the Vietnam War and a supporter of Black liberation, Jon embraced the ideology that the working class held the power to radically transform society. He left the campus for the factory in 1972. For thirteen years he immersed himself in the day-to-day struggles of Milwaukee’s working class, both on the factory floor and in the political arena. Despite FBI and Milwaukee Police “Red Squad” interference, Jon organized a militant rank-and-file caucus and rose through the union ranks to a top leadership position in UAW Local 72. After a mass workforce cutback imposed by American Motor Corporation’s joint-venture partner, French automaker Renault, he left to attend Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco in 1985. Graduating cum laude with a JD, he opened a law firm in San Francisco successfully representing hundreds of political refugees. In 2004, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given only six months to a year to live. Determined to overcome the illness, he marshalled both western and alternative treatments and, despite the odds, survived the deadly disease. After 13-year-old Andy Lopez was gunned down by a Sonoma County deputy sheriff, he reupped his bar membership and jumped back into the struggle against police violence.


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