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Weinstein, Nat and Sylvia papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Content Description
  • Processing Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Custodial History
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Nat Weinstein Biographical Note
  • Sylvia Weinstein Biographical Note
  • Arrangement

  • Contributing Institution: Holt Labor Library at CSU Dominguez Hills
    Title: Nat and Sylvia Weinstein papers
    Creator: Weinstein, Nat, 1924-2014
    Creator: Weinstein, Sylvia, 1926-2001
    Identifier/Call Number: HLL.2019.017
    Physical Description: 5 boxes
    Physical Description: 4.21 Linear Feet
    Date (inclusive): 1940-2001, undated
    Abstract: The collection comprises the papers of Nat and Sylvia Weinstein, members of the Socialist Workers Party and founding members of Socialist Action, as well as labor and women's rights activists. It includes reports, resolutions, article drafts, minutes, convention and plenum notebooks and reports, correspondence, speeches, statements, flyers, bulletins, announcements, pamphlets, and newspaper clippings.
    Language of Material: Collection material is in English and French.

    Content Description

    The Nat and Sylvia Weinstein papers (1940-2001, undated) chronicle Nat and Sylvia Weinstein's involvement in the Socialist Workers Party and the founding of Socialist Action. The collection contains reports, resolutions, article drafts, minutes, bulletins, and convention and plenum notebooks and reports reflecting the activities and statuses of the National and Political committees, San Francisco Branch and the Northern California District Committee of the Socialist Workers Party and the Young Socialist Alliance, as well as expulsions, suspensions and resignations from the Socialist Workers Party. Correspondents of note include Milton Genecin, Pedro Camejo, David Keil, Lynn Henderson, Jeff Mackler, Farrell Dobbs, and Ernest Mandel. Also included are speeches, correspondence, minutes, reports, bulletins, statements, and convention notes concerning the National and Political committees of Socialist Action, in addition to a Socialist Action constitution and various documents regarding the United Secretariat, Fourth International. The collection also comprises speech drafts, statements, flyers, letters, bulletins, announcements, articles, and newspaper clippings about the International Socialists, Independent Socialist Club, Internationalist Workers Party, Labor Party, Socialist Workers Organization, the Vanguard Newsletter, and the Student Mobilization Committee. Articles and bulletins about the Simon Bolivar Brigade, the Nicaraguan Revolution, the Cuban Revolution, and the Central and South America anti-intervention movement are present as well.
    The collection also contains letters, press releases, articles, flyers, announcements, and reports reflecting Sylvia Weinstein's involvement with the National Organization for Women's (NOW) Day in the Park march and the National March for Women's Equality, Women's Lives, as well as a defense summary and exhibits from the NOW "red-baiting" trial of Sylvia Weinstein, Carole Seligman, and Kathy Setian. Also included are documents concerning the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), the Association for the Study of Abortion, Planned Parenthood, the Northern California Pro-Choice Coalition, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the California Abortion Rights Action League, the National Black Women's Project and the Fund for the Feminist Majority, as well as Women's Equality and Reproductive Rights sashes. A Childcare Initiative Task Force Implementation Plan and documents from the Alliance Against Women's Oppression are present, as is a FBI investigative file for Sylvia Weinstein. The collection contains flyers, pamphlets, statements, notes, and letters from the Sylvia Weinstein for Supervisor Committee and the Socialist Workers Campaign Committee for Sylvia Weinstein's mayoral campaign, in addition to flyers, articles, speeches, reports, notes, and pamphlets regarding African American civil rights, the Gay Liberation Movement, and strikes of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers (OCAW), the Service Employee International Union (SEIU), and other labor unions.

    Processing Information

    Allison Ransom processed the collection and wrote the finding aid in ArchivesSpace in July 2020.

    Preferred Citation

    For information about citing archival material, see the Citations for Archival Material  guide, or consult the appropriate style manual.

    Custodial History

    The Nat and Sylvia Weinstein papers were donated to the Holt Labor Library in San Francisco, California between 2001 and 2019, and were acquired by the Gerth Archives and Special Collections at California State University, Dominguez Hills, in 2019.

    Conditions Governing Access

    There are no access restrictions on this collection.

    Conditions Governing Use

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

    Nat Weinstein Biographical Note

    Nat Weinstein was born in 1924 in Brooklyn, New York and passed away in San Francisco, California in 2014. He learned about Marxism from members of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) while serving in the Merchant Marine from 1943 to 1945, and joined the SWP in 1945. He led the New York City SWP's collaboration with Malcolm X in 1964 while serving as an organizer of the New York City branch as well as the National Committee, and was also a member of the New York City Painter's Union. He helped to restore the Seattle branch of the SWP after many members left it to form the Freedom Socialist Party, and later he and his wife Sylvia Weinstein moved to San Francisco to assist an oppositional caucus within the San Francisco Painters Local No. 4 union in their attempts to democratize their union after its leader, Dow Wilson, was assassinated. In the San Francisco branch of the SWP, Nat served on the political committee, Northern California district committee, and led a solidarity coalition with the Department Store Union Employees Local No. 1100 in a strike against the Sears Roebuck Company.
    In the early 1980s, Jack Barnes, Mary Alice Waters, and other SWP leaders began to reject Trotsky's theory of the permanent revolution in favor of connecting with the Cuban Communist Party and Sandinista National Liberation Front, which Nat Weinstein and others considered Stalinist. This revisionist faction also favored the Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Peasantry, which Lenin himself disagreed with, and also shifted from identifying as a "workers government" to considering itself a "workers and farmers government." Nat Weinstein, alongside Jeff Mackler, Tom Kerry, Lynne Henderson, Frank Lovell, George Breitman, and others, organized an oppositional faction that supported the party's foundational Trotskyist ideas, and formed Socialist Action in 1983. Although many members of the oppositional faction were suspended or expelled from the SWP, Nat Weinstein attempted to stay in the organization in an effort to recruit SWP members for his new group. Socialist Action, of which Nat Weinstein was national co-secretary alongside Jeff Mackler, continued to advocate for the Fourth International and the Trotskyist ideas of James P. Cannon, which the SWP had rejected. As Socialist Action's labor secretary, he supported a national strike of Greyhound bus drivers, as well as a strike in Minnesota by Hormel meatpacking workers, and advocated for Ron Carey in the Teamster's presidential campaign. He also involved Socialist Action in the founding of the Labor Party, which was started by Tony Mazzochi of the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers Union. In 2001, Nat left Socialist Action and formed the Socialist Workers Organization and its magazine, Socialist Viewpoint.
    Casey, Conor M. (September-October 2014) Nat Weinstein, an oral history. Socialist Viewpoint, 14(5). http://www.socialistviewpoint.org/sepoct_14/sepoct_14_38.html
    Mackler, Jeff (2014). Nat Weinstein: a life-long revolutionary. Socialist Action. https://socialistaction.org/2014/05/13/nat-weinstein-life-long-revolutionary-socialist/
    Sheppard, Roland (2014). A tribute to Nat Weinstein. Socialist Viewpoint, 14(4). http://www.socialistviewpoint.org/julaug_14/julaug_14_43.html
    Various items within the Nat and Sylvia Weinstein papers (1940-2001, undated), HLL.2019.017. Gerth Archives and Special Collections, California State University, Dominguez Hills.

    Sylvia Weinstein Biographical Note

    Sylvia Weinstein was born in 1926 in Kentucky and passed away in 2001 in San Francisco, California. Her mother's family were coal miners who participated in union activity. Sylvia met and married Nat Weinstein in New York City, and aligned with socialism during World War Two, around the time Nat learned about Marxism while serving in the Merchant Marine. She became a member of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and worked in its National Office in New York City. During this time, Sylvia and Nat assisted in organizing a meeting between Malcolm X and Fidel Castro. In the 1960s, Sylvia ran for New York City Council and for lieutenant governor, both unsuccessfully. She and Nat moved to San Francisco in 1966, where she ran for mayor, supervisor, and for the Board of Education in the 1970s and 1980s, also unsuccessfully.
    Sylvia advocated for the end of the Vietnam War, supported abortion rights, and was a proponent of free child care in San Francisco. She was a member of the National Organization of Women (NOW), among other pro-choice organizations, and helped organize an annual rally called "Day in the Park for Women's Rights." Sylvia was expelled from the SWP, was a founding member of Socialist Action alongside Nat, and later belonged to the Socialist Workers Organization. Sylvia worked for The Militant newspaper, in the national offices of Socialist Action and the Socialist Workers Organization, and also helped organize the Greyhound workers union headquarters during a strike.
    Hartlaub, Peter (2001). Sylvia Weinstein, 75, socialist activist, writer and speaker. SF Gate. https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Sylvia-Weinstein-75-socialist-activist-writer-2888793.php
    Sheppard, Shannon (2006). Tributes from the Celebration. Holt Labor Library. https://hll.org/SylviaWpg2.html
    Various items within the Nat and Sylvia Weinstein papers (1940-2001, undated), HLL.2019.017. Gerth Archives and Special Collections, California State University, Dominguez Hills.


    The collection is arranged in two series: Series I. Political organization files, 1940-2001, undated; Series II. Civil rights and labor union files, 1953-2001, undated.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Trotskyism -- 20th century
    Labor unions -- United States -- 20th century
    Socialism -- United States -- 20th century
    Women and socialism -- United States
    Reproductive Rights -- United States -- 20th century
    Cuba -- Revolution, 1959
    Nicaragua -- History -- Revolution, 1979
    Socialist Workers Party
    Socialist Action. (Organization : U.S.)
    Fourth International