RON DELLUMS SWORN IN AS MAYOR OF OAKLAND
Dellums was the first African American elected to Congress from Northern California and the first openly socialist American Congressman since World War II.
Dellums was born in Oakland. His father, Verney Dellums, was a longshoreman. He attended Oakland Technical High School and McClymonds High School.
He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1954 to 1956. Dellums later received his A.A. degree from the Oakland City College in 1958, his B.A. from the San Francisco State University in 1960, and his M.S.W. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1962. He became a psychiatric social worker and political activist in the African American community beginning in the 1960s. He also taught at the San Francisco State University and the University of California, Berkeley.
Dellums is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans. He is a member of the fraternity's World Policy Council, a think tank whose purpose is to expand the fraternity's involvement in politics, and social and current policy to encompass international concerns.
Dellums has been in politics for over thirty years. He has held positions on the Berkeley city council, in the US House of Representatives, and is the mayor-elect of Oakland, for the term beginning 1 January 2007.
Dellums describes himself as a socialist. In the 70's, Dellums was a member of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee(DSOC), an offshoot of the Socialist Party of America. He later became vice-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which was formed by a merger between the DSOC and the New American Movement, and which works within and outside the Democratic Party. As of 2006 Dellums is no longer a vice-chair of the DSA.
While running for mayor of Oakland, Dellums was registered as a member of the Democratic party, and has run as a Democrat in all his congressional races.
In 1982 Dellums took a trip to the socialist nation of Grenada at the invitation of then leader Maurice Bishop. Grenada was building an airstrip that U.S. administration officials claimed could be used for Soviet military aircraft. Dellums traveled to Grenada on his own fact-finding mission and described his findings before Congress:
...based on my personal observations, discussion and analysis of the new international airport under construction in Grenada, it is my conclusion that this project is specifically now and has always been for the purpose of economic development and is not for military use…. It is my thought that it is absurd, patronizing and totally unwarranted for the United States Government to charge that this airport poses a military threat to the United States’ national security.
A U.S. Marine invasion of the island later obtained the purported diary of the former Grenadian defense minister. One entry in it read: "The Revo has been able to crush counter-revolution internationally. Airport will be used for Cuban and Soviet military." [ * Note: Well isn’t that convenient…]
The invasion also allegedly uncovered a letter from Dellums' chief of staff Carlottia Scott to Maurice Bishop, describing Dellums' feelings towards Bishop and, presumably, Cuban President Fidel Castro.
Ron [Dellums] has become truly committed to Grenada, and has some positive political thinking to share with you…. He’s really hooked on you and Grenada and doesn’t want anything to happen to building the Revolution and making it strong. He really admires you as a person and even more so as a leader with courage and foresight, principles and integrity…. The only other person that I know of that he expresses such admiration for is Fidel.
Additional information was recovered showing that Dellums had sent a draft copy of his report on Grenada to Bishop for editing before presenting his report to Congress.
[ * Note: Rightwing reactionary, class traitor & twisted lying racist bought-&-paid-for propagandist in the service of corporate crapitalist pig interests David Horowitz suggested Dellums' actions were treasonous. Well boo-hoody-hoo all over the place…]
[Acknowledgements in part to Wikipedia article on Ron Dellums. ]