It is with great sadness that we report that our beloved comrade Alfred Marder, a steadfast internationalist, and anti-imperialist, died last night. Al was exactly one month shy of reaching 102 years old.
We can hardly begin to capture Al’s profound contributions to peace, justice, and civil rights by summarizing his creative and leadership accomplishments. Indeed, it is hard to capture the influence Al has had and will continue to have going forward on so many of us in the U.S. and around the world.
For several decades, Al presided over the U.S. Peace Council, which he helped found. He was also a Vice President of the World Peace Council, forcefully engaged in conferences on every continent, and active leader of his local Peace Council, organizing and participating in every local action to build broad support for peace and justice.
Al co-founded the City of New Haven, Connecticut, Peace Commission and became its longest serving Chair. His efforts placed New Haven at the forefront of municipal peace efforts shepherding the city into the United Nation’s International Association of Peace Messenger Cities, which held its first assembly in New Haven. Al served for several terms as its only president who was not the mayor of a member city.
Al was a founder and long-term Chair of Connecticut’s Amistad Committee that brought to the public a key moment in the history of the movement to abolish slavery in the United States. He led the effort to construct and chaired Connecticut’s Freedom Trail Planning Committee, highlighting events and locations historically prominent in the struggle for African American freedom in the state and throughout the nation.
Al became president of PERA, the nonprofit organization that revived and ran the New Haven Peoples Center, a progressive community center that provided space for groups organizing peace, immigrant rights, union organizing, people’s culture and the Connecticut People’s World newspaper.
Al is a working class hero. From the age of fourteen, during the Great Depression, Al participated in the people’s struggles for jobs and living wages, for equality, for access to higher education for workers, for cultural integration. Al became a leader of the Young Communist League, a union organizer, and a lifelong Communist for which he was arrested and prosecuted during the political witch hunts of the 1950s. Al not only survived persecution but vigorously continued his varied progressive, political activities.
Al was a working class intellectual. Despite many frailties of age, Al’s keen intellect was sharp to the very end. He was never without ideas for action and engagement in the people’s struggles. Words cannot express how much his friends, comrades, and the global peace community he was so much a part of will miss him, will miss his unbounded energy, his abundant sense of humor, truly a gift to all of us.
Al was dedicated to his family, which included many close friends. He is predeceased by his wife Nancy and son Ken. He is mourned by his daughter, son-in-law, grandchildren and their families, including one great grandson.
Al Marder’s death leaves a great gap in our collective, both in the U.S. Peace Council and the World Peace Council, but our work going forward will necessarily reflect his boundless and creative energy, his iron resolve to broaden the movement for peace and justice, to engage every corner of our society in that just struggle and move people to action.
U.S. Peace Council
December 19, 2023