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Vol. 71/No. 17      April 30, 2007

Harry Ring, communist militant
for 71 years
Harry Ring, in late 1960s, during movement against Vietnam War.
April 18—Harry Ring, an internationalist cadre and leader of the Socialist Workers Party for more than seven decades, died at a Los Angeles hospital last night. He was 89 years old.

Born in Newark, New Jersey, Ring graduated from high school in 1936 and joined the communist movement there a few months later. He was active in the Workers Alliance of America, an organization fighting for the rights of the unemployed, like himself, and campaigning against racism, bigotry, and fascism.

Along with other communists who had been functioning for a couple of years as part of a left wing in the Socialist Party and its youth group, Ring was among those who took part in founding the Socialist Workers Party in January 1938. He served as a member of the SWP National Committee from 1954 to 1981.

Ring was part of the Militant staff from 1952 to 1989, spending much of his political life as a revolutionary journalist. He was the paper’s editor for several years beginning in 1968, and then, from 1971 to 1978, its Southwest bureau head, based out of Los Angeles.

Inspired by his older brother, a longtime working writer for a New York City daily, Ring often said how useful it would be for every new member of the Militant staff to serve a six-month apprenticeship on the New York Daily News before starting work. By his own example, he tried to demonstrate the inseparability of disciplined professionalism and socialist clarity in the effort to make understandable a paper published in the interests of the working class.

Ring launched the Militant's "Great Society" column and wrote it from 1968 until shortly before his death. His last byline appeared in the April 2 issue.

A meeting to celebrate Ring’s life and political contributions will be held soon. For more information and to send messages to this event, contact the Los Angeles SWP branch at 4229 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90011. Fax: (323) 233-9372. E-mail:


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