Just the other day when 35 people from my community gathered to start a local Transition Town initiative, I thought about Frank Lindenfeld. I wished he were here to enjoy all the fruits of the decades of faithful energy he put into organizing economic democracy locally and globally. He would be right in the middle of the Occupy work fighting against corporate empire, and all of its injustices and inequalities. He would be with the folks walking to Pittsburgh to encourage PNC bank to stop investing in mountaintop coal removal. He for sure would be a companion in organizing Bloomsburg, PA to become a Transition Initiative, resilient in the face of peak energy and global climate change. I’ll bet he would jump into organizing a Bloomsburg Buck local currency! I know he would purchase most of his food from our local farmer’s network. I’ll bet he would help folks organize local canning factories. And on and on! He would be having so much fun!
Though my memory is not as clear as I would like it to be, I am sure I started hearing about Frank when I was in Baltimore in the 1970s. I remember always knowing him as the one committed to democratic economic alternatives. I am sure he visited the “collectively managed, anti-capitalist, anti-profit” woodworking business I was a part of for 22 years. I am sure the visit encouraged me. He lived near Philadelphia and I knew him through mutual friends in the Movement for a New Society. I ran into him at various times and always enjoyed the engagement.
In 1991 I moved to Bloomsburg, PA and at some point Frank enlisted me in his work. I had been the layout editor of the newsletter of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, and Frank wanted me to join the work to produce GEO Newsletter. I couldn’t turn him down and spent eight years having fun and learning about the world’s efforts to organize economic democracy. I appreciated Frank’s skill as an editor, his quiet and sweet way of working cooperatively, and his genius in gathering wonderful stories about the work in the world that he so loved, to which he was so deeply committed.
He talked me into joining him in organizing a local loan fund to support the startup of small businesses. He got the very popular president of the area’s largest bank to join in the effort. I found myself teaching consulting skills at the local university to student volunteers who would work in support of these entrepreneurial enterprises. It was good work and Frank was the heart of it all.
So, Frank, I wish you were here physically to watch the movement you loved and served so well blossom! I know you are here in spirit, and you are here in my heart and memory, and in all the ideas you so faithfully gathered, explored, taught and published. Thanks.