It is with a deep sense of loss that we report that longtime union leader and revolutionary Dave Arian passed this last January 2. There is much that can be said about Dave. He was appointed to the Los Angeles Harbor Commission and held various positions with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), including local union and international president. The individual role Dave played in the union is very important to the ILWU and his beloved community of San Pedro, California.
Dave was an activist in the social struggles over many years, gravitating to the civil rights struggles, opposition to the Vietnam War, and support for the United Farm Workers’ organizing efforts. Dave played a role in the anti-concessions movement of the 1980s and supported efforts at forming a Labor Party.
Dave played a role in the struggle to form class conscious workers, reflecting a generation of leaders that came out of the union movement and the period of industrialization that shaped two generations of leaders of the working class—Edward Sadlowski, General Baker, and Tony Mazzochi, to name a few. Dave also represented an effort by workers and union leaders to go far beyond the union movement, recognizing that a decent union contract or treading water in defense of union contracts was not enough. Dave’s father, Lou, was a longshoreman, and his mother, Rose, was an activist in her own right. They helped Dave reach a level of social understanding to help shape the working class movement.
Dave was a revolutionary and contributed to the intellectual and practical effort to redistribute the wealth in this country, along with all of the necessary components of social and civil justice for the entire working class. He participated in the struggle of ideas to elevate the working class and its leaders to thinkers and not just fighters. Dave Arian contributed to the People’s Tribune.
Dave’s contributions in these efforts were indispensable in the struggle to form a revolutionary movement in this country and to advance the debate of defining what fundamental changes are needed in the economic system. Without such contributions, many of us would not be here or the debate not as rich and profound as it is.
Thank you, Dave. We will miss you personally and miss you in the trenches and in the struggle for revolutionary change in this country and world.
Dave Arian is survived by his son Sean, daughter Justine, sister Laraine, five grandchildren and his ex-wife and friend Roxanne.