Posted on August 22, 2012 by the Website Workers Council
By Kevin Akin
Gayle Justice, a former leader of the Peace and Freedom Party, passed away on Saturday, August 19, 2012 in Portland, Oregon, at the age of 72. Gayle ran for US Senate in 1974, helped with many other campaigns, and was the lead local organizer of the 1980 state convention in San Francisco. He helped develop the strong San Francisco tradition of Peace and Freedom Party participation in demonstrations on many issues.
Gayle's daughter Michelle Justice-Dennis sent this photograph of Gayle Justice (second from the right) and David Wald (second from the left) at a protest at the Oakland docks. Perhaps some who were there could provide more information about this demonstration. Additional reminiscences of Gayle Justice would be appreciated from those who worked with him.
By Tom Lacey
I'm pretty sure that photo was taken on the picket line at the Port of Oakland in March of 1984, in support of the ILWU dockworkers who were refusing to touch South African cargo. I lived with Gayle and Leslie from around '74 to '75 in the Page Street "commune" in San Francisco. While not a real fan of political theory (he had complete International Publishers sets on the bookshelf, but I never saw him open one) he was passionate about practice. He was a veteran organizer, having worked several years as a business rep for SEIU. He was a strong believer in the United Front-and thought Peace and Freedom should participate in every coalition built along those principles.
By Maureen Smith
Gayle Justice was one of the first people I encountered after joining Peace & Freedom Party early in 1970. He was active in the Eugene V Debs Club in San Jose. He may have even founded it since he did attend the San Francisco founding meeting for Peace and Freedom Party in February of 1967. Gayle had a great influence on my future involvement in PFP as his constant organizing and planning events and campaigns included the first ballot initiative against the Vietnam War to be placed on a city ballot in the United States, protesting Nixon's visit to San Jose in the fall of 1970, and work on local and statewide PFP campaigns. Gayle was arrested and beaten at the San Jose protest when he put himself between the cops and others who they were attacking.
Because of Gayle Justice, I attended the founding convention of the People's Party in Dallas and the followup convention in St. Louis that nominated Ben Spock for President and Julius Hobson of the D.C. Statehood Party for VP. After the November election, I found myself on the picket line at the San Jose Hospital supporting workers organized by Gayle who was a Business Representative and Organizer for the Hospital and Institutional Workers Union, Local 250 of SEIU. This was an eye opening experience for me as I saw the commitment of these workers to this unfair labor practice strike. "Dignity" was on their minds as much or more than wages and working conditions.
When the strike ended, Local 250 hired several strikers to organize hospitals in Santa Clara County. I was also hired part time to organize thanks to Gayle. A year later, I was hired full time after successfully organizing some convalescent hospitals. Gayle was enthusiastic, energetic and devoted to workers. When he felt that the workers at the University of Santa Clara had been betrayed by Local 250, he resigned and left the job.
Meanwhile, in Peace and Freedom Party, he organized for the 1974 convention in Sacramento where we would confront the libertarians in the party. We held our convention at the State Capitol and rented out an entire motel in West Sacramento. This was the historic meeting where Peace and Freedom Party was declared a Feminist Socialist Party. Some current leaders in our party called for unity while the majority voted for feminism and socialism.
Gayle continued working in and organizing Peace and Freedom Party from San Francisco until the end of 1982. He tried to convince the party to organize by Assembly District instead of by County but that never came to pass.
Gayle Justice left this world on August 18, 2012 and his life was celebrated on August 25th in Portland, Oregon with family and friends. Gayle Justice is present here.