Hard Losses: Larry West,
Bill Eisman, Darrell Ringer

     CrossRoads mourns the deaths of three dedicated
activists and dear friends, each lost tragically before
their time.
     Larry West, 39, died of AIDS in San Diego November 12,
1993. Active in the gay/lesbian movement, the solidarity
movement and the socialist left in Madison, Wisconsin and
Chicago, Larry was a treasured friend of many of us who
launched CrossRoads. Marcy Rein, now managing editor of News
for a People's World, crafted this message for a December 12
memorial for Larry in Chicago:
     "We knew Larry for what seems only a minute, really,
though it was a minute pregnant with dreams....Many of us
first met Larry in 1987, when the revolutionary organization
we worked with held a conference on `the lesbian/gay
question.' For all its embracing of many contradictions, the
socialist movement had been slow on that one -- so this
meeting was a heartfelt coming together for many of us,
Larry especially. It gave almost a sense of coming home for
someone who refused in his low-key way to ever hide any of
who he was, his sexuality or politics or humor or any of
     Not that the meld was easy all the time, but somehow
Larry remained remarkably free of bitterness. He was
empathetic, with an eye for the big picture. Though he found
out he was HIV-positive at the same time many of our
dreams/illusions/organizations were shattering, he was
careful to listen to everyone around, cared that they were
getting through it all right."
     Veteran activist Bill Eisman died November 18 from
injuries suffered when he fell from a ladder outside his
home. He was 71.
     In 1979 Bill helped found the U.S.-Vietnam Friendship
Association, which he co-chaired with his wife Beatrice. He
made numerous visits to Vietnam and was preparing to go
again in January to bring supplies and support. Shortly
before his death he had also finished collecting a shipment
of medical goods for the 1994 Friendshipment to Cuba.
     Bill was a member of the Committees of Correspondence
in Northern California, chairing the region's Peace and
Solidarity Task Force. Donations in memory of Bill Eisman
can be made to the Vietnam Friendship Village Project
U.S.A., 849 Almar Avenue, Suite C-194, Santa Cruz, CA 95060.
     Darrell Ringer, a widely respected progressive farm and
labor organizer in western Kansas and a leader of the
National Committee for Independent Political Action, was
killed in an tractor accident December 7. Darrell was 40,
survived by his wife Margaret and five children.
     Darrell and Margaret were indicted for leading a
militant protest in the early 1980s against a farm
foreclosure. In 1984 Darrell ran for Congress, and in 1986
he came within a few percentage points of winning the
Democratic primary in an effort to run against Bob Dole for
U.S. Senate. Darrell sacrificed for his commitment to
fighting the powers-that-be; he lost a farm in the mid-'80s
and was fired from a packing plant in 1992 because he was
organizing with his fellow workers.
     Darrell and Margaret were struggling to hold onto the
new small farm they had acquired; it will now be even more
difficult for Margaret. Contributions can be sent to
Margaret Ringer, Box 224, Concordia, KS 66901.