Clara Fraser 1989

An Unvarnished Profile

Published: January 1989
Written: 1988
First Published: January 1989
Source: Freedom Socialist
Transcription/Markup: Philip Davis
Copyleft: Internet Archive ( 2014. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

The following was an obituary written in 1988 by Clara Fraser for her ex-husband Richard Fraser.

Richard Fraser; 75, originator of the theory of Revolutionary Integration, died of throat cancer on November 27, 1988 in Los Angeles. A 30-year leader of the Socialist Workers Party, he resigned from the SWP in 1966 along with the entire Seattle branch, which went on to found the Freedom Socialist Party.

Fraser's profoundly historical materialist analysis of the Black struggle illuminates the Black Question as a matter of race and class rather than nationhood; Black history is seen as a key to American history, and Black leadership as central to the American revolution.

Dick was a bold and original thinker and organizer with a broad grasp of world history, economics, and politics; he was also a compelling orator, teacher, and writer, and an administrator with singular drive and energy, and a winning public persona.

But like many male revolutionaries, he was ethically contradictory. For ten years I was his collaborator and wife, and he appeared to champion women's emancipation. But he never actually accepted and internalized women's equality; this led him to indulge in vulgar machismo and I left him.

He refused to let me share our child and rejected a party tribunal's decision approving my right to a divorce and child custody, forcing me into a two-year- long custody case: He accused me of every bad-mother sin: I stayed out late at meetings, hired sitters, worked outside the home, neglected my family, and (gasp) was living in adultery.

But the gallant judge didn't believe that a good Jewish momma could be so depraved, and I won. (Dick retaliated by withholding his $50.00 monthly child support.)

Fraser left two legacies: Revolutionary Integration, and Jon Fraser, a fine jazz musician. I am proud of my co-creativeness on both counts. For the rest, I learned a lot about the Woman-and-Man Question, so I guess he did me a favor in that regard, too. He did all of us a favor.