The New Press Remembers David McReynolds

October 25, 1929August 17, 2018

The New Press is saddened to note the passing of David McReynolds, the noted gay rights and peace activist who was also one of the subjects of Martin Duberman’s magisterial dual biography of McReynolds and Barbara Deming, Saving Remnant: The Radical Lives of Barbara Deming and David McReynolds

McReynolds was a draft resister and a lifelong peace activist; in 1960 he joined the staff of the War Resisters League where he continued to work for almost forty years, until his retirement in 1999. The first openly gay man to run for president on the Socialist Party ticket, David McReynolds was a staunch opponent of the Vietnam War and was among the first activists to publicly burn a draft card; his was one of the first public draft-card burnings after U.S. law was changed on August 30, 1965, making such actions a felony punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment. 

McReynolds was also active internationally, both in War Resisters’ International and in the International Confederation for Disarmament and Peace, which eventually merged into the International Peace Bureau.

A long-time member of the Socialist Party, he supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election and continued to remain involved politically, posting on Facebook and using his legendary email list, until the very end of his remarkable life. As recently as July 28 McReynolds reposted a Democracy Now! interview with Noam Chomsky in which Chomsky heralded Alexandria Ocascio-Cortez’s spectacular victory. 

David McReynold’s life has been and will continue to be a source of great inspiration to countless people who are unequivocally against war and who strive to match his commitment—and his courage.

We extend our condolences to his family and to his many friends and allies. He will long be remembered and loved for his “radical pacifism.”

Read the obituary in the New York Timesin the New York Daily Newson the WBAI website, and on the War Resisters League website.