Rest in Power Ronald Spriestersbach, 1928-2021
Ron Spriesterbach, who passed away recently at age 93, was a warm friend and good comrade, an anti-racist and anti-imperialist to the core and to the last. Ron is pictured above on the right with his comrade Reza Pour. Like Reza, Ron was a former member of the KPFK Local Station Board and active with the Grassroots Community Radio Coalition as a manifestation of his lifelong commitment to peace, justice, socialism and liberation. He was a loving stepfather and husband. He had mourned the loss of one stepdaughter and later and more recently his wife of many decades. He was tall, gangly, garrulous, and irreplaceable. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
Ron had been a member of the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles during its heyday in defying McCarthyism and the “whitelist” of radicals while he worked at the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in Pasadena. He had fond memories of the “First Church” chorus and their repertoire of socially progressive hymns and songs, and he was an accomplished singer. He was active for many years at Cal State L.A. in anti-oppression educational efforts, hosting forums and discussions on campus for students and the community. As a Senior Scholar on global warming at UCLA, he helped many students much younger than himself to see the need for concerted, anti-corporate action for environmental justice and sustainability, such as the still growing movement for divestment from fossil fuel companies. He helped Grassroots Community Radio Coalition hold a major environmental justice conference, highlighting indigenous environmental and sovereignty struggles in Latin America and elsewhere.
Ron was also a linguist and lover of literature, reading Sartre and Camus in French, and then Cervantes and others in Spanish. He also read widely on public affairs, history and economics, and was always happy to share good reads with friends and comrades. Among his other claims to fame was possession of the entire print run of Monthly Review, the independent socialist journal, from their first issue, which featured Albert Einstein’s “Why Socialism?” essay, to date.
Ron was the author of a number of articles published in Change Links over the years, especially focused on U.S. so-called “foreign policy” and war-mongering, and he tried to debunk efforts to gin up a new Cold War with Russia or China. You can read a couple of his prescient pieces, especially in light of the current Biden sabre-rattling over the Ukraine, here: https://change-links.org/are-we-headed-toward-world-war-three/ and here: https://change-links.org/nato-sabre-rattling-new-missile-crisis-in-eastern-europe/ He was especially skeptical and alert about the role of open Nazis in the Ukrainian so-called Maidan “color revolution”.
Despite his erudition, Ron was a plainspoken, open-hearted person who did not hide from his emotions. As Che Guevara said, a true revolutionary is guided by deep feelings of love, and Ron exemplified that all through his long life. Ron Spriestersbach, ¡presente!