From the January-February 2016 issue of News & Letters
Olga hitched her star to Raya Dunayevskaya’s vision of human liberation and never EVER let go. She was the operational definition of organizational responsibility for Marxist-Humanism. The world will never know another like her.
When I arrived at News and Letters Committees decades ago, Olga’s was the warmest welcome one could possibly imagine. She showed a keen interest in what I and others had to say. Such good listeners are few. She worked hard, but knew when to enjoy life. She stood by her word. In day-to-day matters, she took the high ground. I do not remember a single moment of pettiness on her part. She was not one to jump to conclusions, and would get the facts before making decisions.
Olga also had the rare quality of being comfortable among intellectuals and in the blue-collar world, of bridging that gap to the great benefit of colleagues. I could speak freely with her about my work, which I could not do with a lot of others. She had her own often earthy stories about her job experiences. She was not squeamish about anything, and had an amazing sense of humor. There was often a lot of laughter when you worked with her. She saw the humor and relevance of a lot of counter-cultural resistance to capitalism, whether satire and comedians, “beat” culture, punkers, or other such iconoclastic things. I appreciated her opposition to racism, and that she did not put up with snobbery against poor whites, nor the derogatory word “hillbilly.” For someone from my own background, this was important. Not least, anyone at her home knew her hospitality and her great cooking.
I feel sadness at her passing—I can’t help it. She was so much fun, such a joy to be around. And as an activist and thinker, and as a personality, she will always be an example that I will try to live up to.
Comrade Olga Domanski was one of the most genuine and down-to-earth persons I have known. She devoted her life to the proletarian movement for over 70 years, creating a legacy that will never die. Olga knew how to motivate people, to make them feel valued, the mark of a leader. She inspired me, people in News and Letters Committees and beyond. I still have several of the post-it notes that she attached to copies of N&L mailed to me when I had a Reader’s View or article inside.
Olga inherited the legacy of News and Letters from Raya Dunayevskaya and Charles Denby. She preserved and enlarged that legacy. It must have given her a lot of satisfaction to see the 60th year of publication of N&L—an accomplishment that cannot be overstated. When humankind finally emerges into the full light of day out from under the shadow of capitalism, Olga will be remembered as one of the pioneers who laid the groundwork for that glorious day. The roll call of the revolution will honor her name. Please accept my deepest condolences to all the comrades and friends who knew and loved Olga, especially to the Chicago comrades who worked with her closely over the years, especially her devoted daughter, Erica, and her own Andy. Rest in peace, dear and faithful Comrade.
Battle Creek, Mich.
I am indeed sorry to hear Olga has passed and sorry for her friends and colleagues. My sincere condolences. I believe I’m a better person for knowing Olga. We were not close but we did get along very well, and for a number of years, we always met for lunch during the North American Labor History Conference in Detroit. It was the best part of the conference for me. She was a remarkable woman and I will think of her and keep her in my memory.
Mike Smith, former director of Walter Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs
Enclosed is a small gift to honor Olga’s life.
For more on Olga Domanski, see also:
- In memoriam Olga Domanski, 1923-2015
- Comrades and friends remember Olga
- Olga Domanski: embodiment of Woman as Reason
- Readers’ Views on Olga Domanski’s revolutionary life, 1923-2015 (March-April 2016)
- Remembering Olga Domanski
- Voices From The Inside Out: Olga’s passion for justice and freedom
- Taking organizational responsibility
- Part of ‘a generation of revolutionaries’
- Olga knew ‘what a revolution entails’
- Essay: Revolutionary feminism and Hegel’s notion of Life
- From The Writings of Raya Dunayevskaya: Women as thinkers and revolutionaries