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In Memory of Ira Gollobin and His Two Wives, Esther and Ruth July 19, 2008

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Jim Haughton
New York, NY

I first met Ira when I was a community organizer for LENA (Lower East Side Neighborhood Association) in the ’50s. Esther worked closely with me in building a strong organization. She knew everybody worth knowing and through her I met Ira at their home. Ira briefly stepped out of his study, said hello, and returned to his work: the science of dialectical materialism. It took many years before I got a copy of his book and some time to read it, study it, and get two more copies for some folks I know.

Ira had his law office not too far from where I live and we would meet for lunch and dinner at a Greek restaurant on Reade and West Broadway. A few times he invited Ruth to meet us at the restaurant where we talked at length, about everything.

Esther and Ruth were powerful women who clearly understood the nature of class struggle. Esther and Ruth were also beautiful, physically and spiritually.

Dialectical Materialism is a formidable work that deals with “Its Laws, Categories and Practices.” This book requires study, not just reading, if we are to comprehend the meaning of dialectical materialism. I never knew how many copies Ira had left! It was a big struggle getting copies for friends whom I thought would greatly benefit from studying this work. I am reading it again. . . .

Ira came to my home where some twenty black and white workers would assemble to hear him talk and ask him questions. The sessions were not only educational but inspirational. Before that time, although I did not know him, I knew that Ira defended progressives, accused of being communists, before HUAC, led by Senator McCarthy. He also provided legal assistance to undocumented workers who were members of Fight Back. Ira was also generous: he loaned me money when I was broke, which I paid back!

Shortly before his passing, Ira came by to see me. He had heard I was sick. He walked up a long flight of steep steps, paused, embraced me, and said, “Remember, it is law-governed.” He left without saying anything else.

We should all rejoice in Ira’s life and work. For me, he was a kiss from God, a friend, and an inspirational teacher. His work and spirit shall live on as we continue to address capitalist society. Long live the spirits of Esther, Ruth, and Ira Gollobin!


1. Ronnie Asbell - August 4, 2008

Dear Ruth,

Jim would have loved to be at your father’s memorial. He had many
things he wanted to say about him. He also would have loved to hear
what other family and friends had to say. Only his inability to walk
up and down his steep stairs stopped him. He will be very happy to
receive what you are mailing him.

Jim loved you father so much. There is barely a day that goes by that
Jim does not bring up Ira’s name, and always with such deep love and respect. Jim was talking about Ira like this, years before your father passed away.

Ira’s book is never far from where Jim sits. Even last night as we
had dinner with an old friend, in order to substantiate a point Jim
was making, he opened Ira’s book, read a page to us, and then closed the book singing Ira’s praises one more time.

I will look at the sites you emailed me! Love,

Ronnie Asbell
New York, NY