19 Aug 2006

My friend Walt died from climate change


Walt died on august 20th, 2004....I miss him...here is some Walt stuff, a big unedited lovely heap of booklists, obits, memorial statments, he was the brighest star in the ecosocialist sky. And he practiced zen.

Don't let him die in vain, join the Green Party, educate yourself about ecosocialism and work for liberation.

Derek: I am very sad to have to send this. It will appear in the December CNS


In Memorium

Walt Contreras Sheasby

With the passing on August 20, 2004, of Walt Sheasby, Capitalism Nature Socialism lost a stalwart editor and brilliant contributor, I lost a dear and loyal friend, and the world lost a visionary fighter for ecological socialism. There was a bitter irony to Walt’s death, as he succumbed at age 62 to complications of West Nile Virus, one of the rogue pathogens kicked into orbit by the destabilizations of the ecological crisis against which he focussed his formidable talent in the later years of his life. Sheasby had a monk-like dedication to radical inquiry and politics, indeed, he once described himself to me in such terms. Scornful of ordinary success and worldly comfort, he lived for the cause, dividing his efforts between ceaseless activism and organization, on the one hand, and the scholarship he loved above all, on the other. He had an immense library, which included a well-thumbed set of the MEGA, Marx and Engels’ complete works. His work on Marx for this journal was of major importance, beginning with his essay on “The Inverted World,” and continuing through his recent series on Marx and the Victorians, the third installment of which was to have appeared in this issue, with its further revelations on the theme that Marx was much more deeply conversant with biological thought and much more appreciative of nature than had been previously acknowledged.

These and other contributions—and there were more, many more, on numerous aspects of radical politics—are the chief ways the world will know of Walt and miss him. What I will miss in addition, will be the wry humor, the selflessness admixed with unquenchable optimism, a certain Romanticism, and a deep fidelity and integrity that will long survive the occasional differences we experienced. Walt guided me through my own quixotic exploration into Green presidential politics in 2000, and the memory of his companionship will be with me forever.

Look homeward angel now, and melt with ruth.
And, O ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth.
Weep no more, woeful shepherds weep no more,
For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead,
Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor,
So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed, . . .
[John Milton]

Walt Sheasby

Green Party mourns loss of progressive activist and scholar

Los Angeles-The Green Party of Los Angeles County (GPLAC) lost an ardent advocate, organizer and social engineer last Friday. Claremont resident Walter Sheasby, who ran four times for public office and served as editor for "Capitalism Nature Socialism," died of West Nile Virus infection after being hospitalized since August 10.

"There was a bitter irony to Walt's death," wrote colleague Joel Kovel in a memorial statement, "as he succumbed at age 62 to complications of West Nile Virus, one of the rogue pathogens kicked into orbit by the destabilizations of the ecological crisis against which he focused his formidable talent in the later years of his life."

"I remember Walt from the early days," said Green Party of California Secretary of State liaison Jim Stauffer. "We were trying to get it together as an organization, and he was already an accomplished political organizer with many contacts in the progressive community around LA."

Sheasby previously served as a GPLAC council member and most recently as a California state delegate to the national convention in Milwaukee in June.


By John Johnson

I've known Walt, well, since the late Eighties. But we had a common history from the Sixties. Walt was a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement and various anti-war movements since that time.

Walt and I were part of a group in Pasadena known as Socially Responsible Singles. We spent a lot of time together organizing the group's political forums and presentations.

Walt, a long time member of Solidarity, had many articles published in political journals. At one time he would have been considered a neo-Trotskyite.

When I started Change Links, Walt was an early supporter and when we started taking ads, Walt would advertise regularly for his talks and other political gatherings. He had a nice series of talks at the Border Bookstore in Pasadena.

In recent years I only ran into him once in a while but our friendship remained.

Walt was married with a daughter. Separated by the time I knew him, he had a girlfriend for some time and took take of his mother in Sierra Madre, until she died last year.

Mark Andrews tells me he helped Walt move into his Claremont house a month ago and noticed that Walt was not in good health at that time. A month later when his roommate found him and while Walt was hospitalized he was unconscious until he passed away, August 19.

And I will make another plug for progressives do not only look after each other but look after themselves. I'm wearing long sleeves now.

And folks try and treat each other well while you still have the chance and try and make life a bit more enjoyable for others and yourself for the short time we sometimes have. Won't hurt ya.

As with many of us the last I heard from Walt were his articles about the Peace and Freedom Party convention where he tried to nominate Nader for their Presidential ballot position. They choose Leonard Peltier and he lost that battle, boy was he pissed. And a week later he lost his last battle to that proverbial gnat..

Presente! Walt

"In the Spirit of Walt Contreras Sheasby" (a bibliography of recent works by Walt Contreras Sheasby, an outstanding Red/Green activist and theorist, whose life was tragically cut short by the West Nile virus): .

We, the Los Angeles Branch of Solidarity, will be hosting Walt Sheasby's
political memorial.
Here are the details:

In memory
Walt Sheasby

* Ecosocialist
* Green Party activist
* Community college academic
* Recent victim of West Nile virus

A Political Memorial

Sunday, October 10, 2004, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
The First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, Channing Hall, 2936 W. 8th
St., Los Angeles

Sponsored by the Los Angeles Branch of:
Solidarity: for socialists who are activists and activists who are socialists.
For info call Scott at (562) 692-2621

We put a 3 inch by 6 inch advertisement in Los Angeles's monthly
progressive newspaper, Change-Links. It looks pretty good. I'll put
the notice on KPFK's community calendar. Hopefully they will read it
over the air.

In addition, we are pleased that prominent ecosocialists Joel Kovel
and Barbara Laurence will be on hand to make their remarks. Joel
Kovel is a well-known author and Barbara Laurence is the managing
editor of the journal Capitalism, Nature, and Socialism.

We will be holding our regular branch meeting after the memorial at
Rebecca's house. On the agenda is a discussion of ecosocialism with
Joel Kovel.

* From: Louis Proyect
* Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2004 20:59:55 -0400

>We've just learned that Walt Sheasby, a Southern California Green active
>since 1992, has passed away from West Nile disease.

This is very sad news. Walt was a Marxmail subscriber and an important
contributor, if on an infrequent basis. He wrote intelligently about Green
Party politics, JR Tolkien and a range of other questions. He will be
sorely missed.

Go to http://archives.econ.utah.edu/archives/marxism/index.htm and enter
"Sheasby" for a sampling of his substantive contributions to the cause of
In the Spirit of Walt Contreras Sheasby
Walt Contreras Sheasby, an outstanding Red/Green activist and theorist, died. His life was tragically cut short by the West Nile virus, the rise of which has been associated with climate change exacerbated by capitalism.

Here is a bibliography of recent works (both theoretical inquiries and occasional polemics) by Walt. My fellow activists -- read them and learn from him, so we can carry on the unfinished work of bringing about a new world free from brutal exploitation, dehumanizing oppression, and uncontrollable destruction of nature that he left us:

* "Third Parties '96: Birds of a Feather..." (Synthesis/Regeneration 10, Spring 1996)

* "Inverted World: Karl Marx on Estrangement of Nature and Society" (Capitalism Nature Socialism 32.8-4, December 1997)

* "Handy Hints for Building Your Own Ralph Nader Campaign" (Synthesis/Regeneration 11, Fall 1996)

* "Refor'Madness" (Progressive Populist, September 1996)

* "Anti-Prometheus, Post-Marx: The Real and the Myth in Green Theory" (Organization & Environment: International Journal for Ecosocial Research 12.1, March 1999 )

* "Growing the Red/Green Paradigm: Ecological Socialism in Root and Branch" (Synthesis/Regeneration 22, Spring 2000)

* "Ralph Nader and the Legacy of Revolt" (Against the Current 15.4 [88], September/October 2000; 15.5 [89], November/December 2000; 15.6 [90], January/February 2001)

* "Marx at Karlsbad" (Capitalism Nature Socialism 12.3, September 2001, pp. 91-97)

* "The Enemy of Nature and the Nature of the Enemy" (Capitalism Nature Socialism 13.4, December 2002, available at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ecosocialism/message/1253 and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ecosocialism/message/1254)

* "The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World" (Organization & Environment: International Journal for Ecosocial Research 15.4, December 2002)

* "George Soros and the Rise of the Neo-centrics" (Citizine, December 2003)

* "Fascism and the American Polity" (Dissident Voice, January 13, 2004)

* "J. R. R. Tolkien: Saving the Ecosystems of Middle Earth" (Marxism, March 29, 2004)

* "Tolkien and Radical Ecology in the Sixties" (Marxism, April 21, 2004)

* "Democrats Launch Anti-Nader Campaign" (Citizine, May 28, 2004)

* "Karl Marx and the Victorians' Nature: the Evolution of a Deeper View: Part One: Oceanus" (Capitalism Nature Socialism 15.2, June 2004, pp. 47-64)

* "Objections to Nader" (The UnRepentantNaderVoter, June 22, 2004)

* "The Green Divide: Conflict, and No Consensus" (Greens for Nader, July 4, 2004)

* "How the Greens Chose Kerry over Nader" (The UnRepentantNaderVoter, July 19, 2004)

* "Karl Marx and the Victorians' Nature: the Evolution of a Deeper View: Part Two: the Age of Aquaria" (Capitalism Nature Socialism 15.3, September 2004, pp. 59-78)

Article Published: Friday, August 20, 2004 - 9:36:40 PM PST

Virus claims seventh victim

Activist for Green Party succumbs to West Nile

Staff Writer

A Green Party activist and Claremont resident apparently is the seventh
Californian to die from the mosquito-borne West Nile virus.

Walter Sheasby, 62, died late Thursday at Kaiser Permanente Hospital
in Fontana after being hospitalized for 10 days with symptoms of West
Nile, according to a San Bernardino County Coroner's report Friday. Test
results at the hospital confirmed he had the virus.

State health officials reported 249 confirmed West Nile infections
statewide Friday, up from Tuesday's count of 193. San Bernardino County,
the epicenter of the epidemic, recorded 96 cases, followed by Los
Angeles County with 81 and Riverside County with 51.

Sheasby ran for political office as a Green Party candidate four times
during the 1990s, twice against 28th District GOP Congressman David Dreier.

Sheasby first ran for office in 1992, when the fledgling party first
qualified for the state ballot.

"He had the guts to run in an area that was not the most
Green-friendly in the state," said Santa Monica City Councilman and
Green Party member Michael Feinstein.

Sheasby was a prolific writer, excellent organizer and a driving force
in local party affairs, said longtime political colleague Doug Doepke.

"It's a real loss to all of us in the progressive movement," he said.

Of the 234 confirmed West Nile cases in which people showed symptoms,
97 were listed as West Nile fever and 93 were the more serious
encephalitis or meningitis. Another 44 cases were recorded with unknown

The median age for those diagnosed with West Nile fever is 46. It is
59 for those with neuroinvasive diseases like encephalitis or
meningitis, where the brain or membrane surrounding it becomes inflamed.

About 80 percent of those infected with the virus exhibit no symptoms.
In one out of five cases, infected persons suffer from West Nile fever
with flu-like symptoms including a fever, headache and rash.

The disease will progress to the more serious encephalitis or
meningitis in less than one percent of the cases.

An Upland man who was near death a week ago with both encephalitis and
meningitis has made a dramatic improvement.

Jack Raney, 45, under treatment at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical
Center, was off the respirator, out of intensive care, and mentally
alert Friday.

Raney might be moved to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center over the
weekend to participate in drug trials there, his wife Cheri Raney said.

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