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Alan Canfora, presente!

By staff |
December 27, 2020
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Alan Canfora, at Kent State before the National Guard opens fire May, 4, 1970.
Alan Canfora, at Kent State before the National Guard opens fire May, 4, 1970.

Alan Canfora, one of the student activists wounded when the National Guard opened fire on an anti-war demonstration at Kent State University, on May 4, 1970, has died at age 71.

Alan was a key leader to in the militant struggle to prevent KSU administrators from building a gym on the site of the killings. The fight brought together student activists from across the country under the slogan, “Long live the spirit of Kent and Jackson State.”

While the gym was finally built in 1979, the struggle, which involved hundreds of arrests, demonstrators defying court injunctions, and clouds of tear gas, the point was made – the crime committed at Kent State would never be forgiven, and the resistance that followed May 4, would never be forgotten. Alan devoted the rest of his life to keeping alive the memory of what happened at Kent State on May 4.

Mick Kelly, a member of the Revolutionary Student Brigade in the 1970s, stated, “I traveled to Kent many times to participate in the ‘move the gym’ struggle. Alan was a courageous leader and a dynamic speaker, who condemned the crimes of U.S. imperialism. While his politics moderated in later life, his consistent work to keep alive the memory of May 4, 1970 is something to be respected.” Kelly is currently the editor of Fight Back!

Joe Iosbaker, a leader of Freedom Road Socialist Organization, stated, “When I started college in the fall of 1977, I travelled to protests at Kent State to stop the administration there from building a gym on the site where the National Guard killed four students and wounded nine. Alan Canfora was the survivor of the massacre that kept the struggle going for justice for the victims at Kent and at Jackson State from May of 1970.”

Iosbaker continued, “At those protests, I was tear gassed repeatedly, beaten, and run over by state police on horses. I was radicalized, I also met Alan Canfora and became his friend. We were roommates when we travelled to China the next summer to learn about socialism.”

Fight Back! sends it condolences to Alan’s family and his many friends. He will be missed.

Alan Canfora, presente!

Long live the spirit of Kent and Jackson State!

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