Obituary: Ron Elbert

We are saddened to have to report the death in November of our comrade Ron Elbert of the World Socialist Party of the United States. He joined the WSP in the 1980s and became a regular writer for their journal The Western Socialist and its successors as well as contributing to the Socialist Standard. For a period he served as the party’s Secretary General, an administrative post in our parties. Our condolences go to his family and friends.

Sara Ellenbogen writes:

As Ron Elbert’s stepdaughter, I am deeply saddened to report his passing last July. Besides being a wonderful stepfather, Ron was a long-time dedicated member of the World Socialist Party and became one of its vital organizers along with my mother, the late Karla Rab, whom he met through the Party.

He was a gifted and passionate advocate for socialism. He lectured in public forums such as Community Church of Boston and when I taught a course on business ethics and asked him to present an evaluation of a passage in the textbook to the effect that capitalism was the most rational system, his analysis was brilliant. As a Masters student in history at the University of Massachusetts/Boston, he wrote a thesis on the history of the Socialist Party of Canada which he planned to publish, traveling to British Columbia to interview members. He could always be found at local progressive gatherings, such as the Bread and Roses festival, sitting behind a table laden with World Socialist Party literature, engaging passers-by in conversation about the movement.

Ron cared as much he did about social justice because he cared so much about people. Social change was what he wanted to dedicate his life to. I remember one time I asked him to look at a cover letter I’d written for a job in a homeless center. He added one sentence to it. He wrote ‘The poor are often only able to get services at the expense of their dignity. Our community is greatly in need of people to provide them services in a way that respects their dignity’. That was the way he treated people.

Ron always ended his email messages with a quote from the socialist writer William Morris below his signature. I think he might have liked me to conclude with that quote.

‘We who were once fools and dreamers then shall be the brave and wise
There amidst the world new builded shall our earthly deeds abide
Though our names be all forgotten and the tale of how we died.’

Next article: Proper Gander – Lights… Camera… Political Action? ⮞

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