SDUSA welcomes Eldon Clingan back into leftist activism. Eldon was a City Councilman in NYC representing Manhattan from 1969-1973. At the time he was a member of the Liberal Party. After leaving politics he focused on his family and making a living. Now after many years, he is ready to throw himself back into the fray.
Eldon was well known in the Socialist Party during his youth. He joined the SP in 1957 and was National Chairman of the YPSL. In that role, he was responsible for keeping the organization functioning while Michael Harrington did all the talking. But after having his fill of Schactman-style debate (affectionately known as the circular firing squad), he left the SP in 1961 and joined the Liberal Party. He was elected to City Council in 1969 on the Liberal Party ticket, with the endorsement of the SP. He served as Councilman during the height of the Vietnam War protests and he was directly engaged in them. But he also helped draft and push the nation’s first gay rights legislation. He was a close friend of David McReynolds, and an acquaintance of Tom Kahn and Bayard Rustin.
Eldon finds that his political views are “95% in alignment” with our organization, and has therefore chosen to join us. He wants to focus on single payer health care at this time, but also believes we need to advocate for a higher minimum wage and a more progressive tax system. He would like to see the SD establish a position on abortion and gay marriage even though he understands that our focus is economic issues. Eldon and his wife live near Boston.