January 2, 2023

Ken Evenhuis

Ken Evenhuis, a nearly six-decades-long member and supporter of the Socialist Workers Party, died in Los Angeles Dec. 1. He was 77.

Ken and his wife, Donna, joined the Young Socialist Alliance in 1964, attracted by the SWP presidential campaign of Clifton DeBerry and Ed Shaw. They joined the party a few years later. Donna died in 2020.

In 1969, Ken applied for a job as an air traffic controller but was denied because of his membership in the SWP, with the government charging the SWP intended to overthrow the U.S. government by force and violence. The SWP at that time was on the notorious witch hunt-era U.S. Attorney General’s list of subversive organizations. Later that year he was hired as a substitute mail carrier. But in July 1971, he was fired from this job too, with the government making the same charge.

Duncan Gordon, another SWP member, had been fired from the post office on the same grounds. Gordon sued and was reinstated with the Civil Service Commission saying it made a “mistake.” This allowed the court to duck having to rule on the constitutionality of the Attorney General’s list.

The Evenhuis case came up in the Duncan case, and Ken’s firing was also found to have been a “mistake” and he was reinstated. Ken delivered mail and was active in his union, the National Association of Letter Carriers, for over 30 years. He was well known and respected by his co-workers and served as a union shop steward for years. Ken enjoyed relaxing with co-workers, often with a fishing pole or golf club in his hand.

On several occasions when a sizable venue was needed for SWP-sponsored meetings, he was able to secure the National Association of Letter Carriers union hall.

Over the years the Evenhuises took pride in being able to open their home to SWP leaders who visited Los Angeles, making sure you were well fed and comfortable. Several international guests also benefited from their hospitality, including Puerto Rican independence fighter Rafael Cancel Miranda and Cuban and South African youth on tour in the Los Angeles area.

Until his health declined, Ken was a regular at Militant Labor Forums. He and Donna were generous contributors to party funds. Ken was a careful reader of the Militant, following closely developments in the U.S. and world class struggle. Always eager for political discussion, Ken never wavered in his confidence in the political work of the SWP and in the socialist future.

Norton Sandler
Los Angeles, California

Bigotry against Catholics

Thank you so much for standing up to bigotry against Catholics as you did in your outstanding recent article Dec. 12 “Democrats, antifa push anti-Catholic attacks, bigotry.” We cannot allow the Associated Press, nor this state senator from Illinois, Sara Feigenholtz, to stir up this pernicious hatred and prejudice.

Many liberals these days, I’ve noticed, have no understanding of the historical context for these sorts of verbal attacks against Catholics. If any state legislator tries to defend their constituents’ children from older men, masquerading as “transgender women,” then the liberal media and commentators will blow it up. And I think they’re happy about such stories, because it gives them something to distort and to turn into a huge issue.

As a working class Irish-American Catholic and socialist I am happy to read your coverage of these issues. There is nowhere else to turn, it seems to me, for your kind coverage.

Jake McNeil
Chicago, Illinois