Chuck Anderson, Presente!
by Michael Novick, Anti-Racist Action-Los Angeles
Chuck Anderson, a long time volunteer with Change Links, a member of the Grassroots Community Radio Coalition (GCRC) and former local board member at Pacifica’s KPFK listener-sponsored free speech radio, passed away last month nearing 79 years of age after battling cancer. He is survived by many children, grand-children and great-grand-children. I am proud that we were comrades in Anti-Racist Action, GCRC, KPFK and on Change Links. Chuck was a stalwart freedom fighter, a committed socialist who brought a life-time of experience in the struggle as a working class anti-racist committed to internationalist solidarity, and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him. As Change Links was going to press, friends held a celebration and commemoration of his life at the Peace Center on April 29.
Here’s how Chuck described himself and some of his affiliations:
“My name is Charles “Chuck” Anderson. I was born in Fullerton CA, in 1938. I live in Anaheim. I am the former president of the O.C. chapter of the ACLU, past chair of the O.C. Peace and Freedom Party, Vice President of the Elders Council of Alianza Indigena, organizer and cofounder with 15 plus years of antiwar and human rights weekly street corner protesting. I am past president of O.C. Veterans for Peace, past president of the Tustin Municipal Employee Association and former Board member of the O.C. Unitarian Church. I am a volunteer for Change Links and Turning The Tide, a member of NAACP, NLG, CAIR, ARA, Al Awda Palestinian Right of Return organization, Viva Palestinia, the KPFK Outreach Committee, and a volunteer for ANSWER Los Angeles. I am a Pan Africanist, a Bolivarian and I support open borders, open arms and open hearts for all immigrants. I am recent former Local Station Board member of radio station KPFK 90.07 FM. I attended CSUF, Rancho Santiago and Santa Ana College, Escuela Naciones Unidas in Puebla, Mexico and University of Barcelona. I received an AA Degree from Cypress College. I am bilingual (English-Spanish) and bicultural (Mexican).”
Chuck was a proletarian, worked on the docks, in ball parks, as a newspaper reporter, a gardener, custodian and many other types of employment over his long and busy. He lived for many years in Mexico, married into a large Mexican, and after returning to the US, raised his kids to be proud of their Mexican heritage. He took in many of his grandkids into his family home when needed. His history of activism against racism, militarism and imperialism stretched back over at least six decades. He was a personal associate of Robert Williams, the leader of the NAACP chapter that armed itself and fought back against KKK violence; when Williams was forced into exile, Chuck helped clear up the financial situation left behind. Chuck has personal contact with Malcolm X when he came out to the west coast, and was a published poet. He had to do some of his reporting in the Mexican and US press about conditions in Mexico pseudonymously and from quasi-clandestinity because of political repression there.
Chuck sometimes paid a price for his principled commitments, even on the left. He was forced out of his position at the OC ACLU for standing up for the UC Irvine students who spoke out against an Israeli spokesperson on their campus. He was physically assaulted or threatened on several occasions because of his outspoken criticism of reactionary politics that had found a niche at Pacifica and KPFK. He was steadfast in his solidarity with the Black Riders Liberation Party. He stayed active until his cancer and the treatment for it made it difficult for him to leave his home. I had the good fortune to visit Chuck in Anaheim with my comrade Lawrence Reyes, (who also served with Chuck on the KPFK LSB, and recently regained a position there).
We spent an afternoon on Chuck’s shaded patio catching up with current events and struggles and family matters on the same day as the counter-protest in OC against a pro-Trump MAGA march. Two days later, Chuck passed to the ancestors. As Chuck would often say, Red Salute, comrade!