Maggie Phair, a founding and long-time member of the Peace and Freedom Party, passed away on June 29, 2021, at the age of 91.
In 1967, Maggie helped found the Peace and Freedom Party of California to provide an alternative at the ballot box for voters who support civil rights and oppose war. She remained a member for the next 50 years, serving on the Los Angeles Central Committee. She ran for office several times on the party’s ballot line, including twice for the 24th Congressional District in 1980 and in 1990, and for the 45 Assembly District in 1982.
Born just before the stock market crash of 1929, she grew up in the shadow of the Great Depression in Southern California.
Maggie began her activism as a student at San Fernando High School and continued through her enrollment at UCLA where she joined the Congress on Racial Equality. It was there that she met lifelong friends Vern Davidson and David McReynolds while organizing for the socialist club on campus.
Nationally, Maggie was active in the Socialist Party USA. She held several positions within the party, serving at one time as National Co-Chair. She also helped publish the party newspaper when it was in Los Angeles.
Maggie was a union organizer, a civil rights crusader, a peace activist, and a co-founder of the January 22nd Committee for Reproductive Rights in Los Angeles.
Maggie Phair practiced her beliefs on a personal as well as a political level. I remember attending camp-outs with cooperative cooking and meal sharing at Big Sur and at Mt. Tamalpais that she organized. She opened her home, an apartment, to the whole Alameda County Peace and Freedom Party delegation when we came to Los Angeles for meetings. As many as six or more of us shared her living room for the weekend.
Maggie Phair was a socialist through and through. We will miss her.
–written by Marsha Feinland
For more on the life of Maggie Phair, see the Maggie Phair Institute website. Photo of Maggie in 1954 at top right by David McReynolds.