Hard Crackers editor Lowell May died at his Denver home on the morning of December 19.
Born in 1949, he grew up under harsh conditions on a farm near Lorimer, Iowa. He went to high school in Hampton, Iowa (class of 1967), where he played on the football team.
He attended the University of Iowa during the Vietnam War days and was news editor of the Daily Iowan, which played an important part in the campus antiwar movement (where he learned writing and editing skills that would be useful to him for the rest of his life). He went on to law school with the intention of using his law degree to serve the popular movement. He graduated, passed the Bar and practiced briefly, but instead of pursuing a career as a lawyer, chose to work in the farm equipment industry in the Quad Cities area.
He was a founding member of the Haymarket Collective in the Quad Cities, a Marxist organization, which in 1975 affiliated with the Sojourner Truth Organization.
In 1977 he moved to Denver to work with the southwest branch of the Movimiento de Liberacion Nacional, an organization dedicated to Puerto Rican and Mexican freedom. There he helped set up a print shop, P&L Printing, which became a center of movement activity, and the Bread and Roses Workers Cultural Center. He was active with the Industrial Workers of the World in supporting the P-9 strike at the Hormel plant in Austin, Minnesota, and other worker insurgencies. He wrote or published a number of books and pamphlets on working-class history, including Slaughter in Serene: the Columbine Coal Strike Reader, co-edited with Richard Myers. He taught a popular class in dialectics, in Denver, Portland, Oregon, and northern California.
He was a founding member of the editorial board of Hard Crackers, and published an article in issue #5 about changes in his hometown he observed when he returned for his fiftieth high school reunion. Drawing upon his personal talents, his hardscrabble rural Iowa youth, and his political philosophy, he maintained throughout his life an adherence to the proposition that the working class would break its radical chains and liberate humanity. In 2016 he wrote:
I agree with Marx that the fundamental human characteristic resides in creative production for self-development as a species. A worker gets invested in the fruits of her labor and society gets involved in the fruits of common development, technological or otherwise, to the extent that it will always and inevitably resist the alienation of its efforts and their fruits. That’s where the capitalist rubber meets the socialist road, despite all ebbs and detours.
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