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Leslie Cagan: Give Peace a Chance

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Leslie Cagan

From Vietnam to Afghanistan. From El Salvador to Angola. From Reagan’s STARWARS to Obama’s drones. From solidarity with the Cuban revolution, to marches to mobilizations wherever there is a fight.

Global peace warrior Leslie Cagan, has devoted more than 60 years of activism to pushing back and inspiring multi-generational legions of activists.

Born to a Jewish family in the Bronx, Cagan tagged along with her parents to political rallies as a small child in the 1950s.

The self-proclaimed “red diaper baby” – children of people affiliated with the United States Communist Party – first learned of organizing from her grandmother who was a founding member of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union.

“We don’t think that the death and destruction of U.S. service people and the Iraqi people can be justified in any way,” offers Cagan.“…And we basically see this as an opportunity to say…that there are too many of our young people who have died in this war.”

The “we” in Cagan’s words are often aimed at the United States government. While she makes a distinction between the government’s actions and the people’s aspirations, she also holds everyone responsible for calling the government’s war deeds to account.

Her strong and inspiring words are the stuff that rallies thrive on.

Throughout her career Cagan has been consistent: fighting against U.S. war and adventurism abroad and for LGBT equality, feminism and the antiapartheid movement. Cagan’s activism has touched the Black Panther Party of the 1970s to the new century United for Peace and Justice Coalition including more than 1,300 domestic and international organizations.


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