Celebrating And Remembering Frank Lindenfeld
This issue is a much-belated tribute to Frank Lindenfeld, who co-founded both GEO (in 1992) and Changing Work Magazine (1984). Frank left us, physically, in June of 2008, but his gentle, empowering, and visionary spirit continues to guide us in many, many ways.
As you’ll see from the wonderful mosaic of remembrances in section I, Frank wore many of GEO’s hats – he raised funds, wrote and edited articles, kept the books, crafted by-laws, obtained our 501(c)3 status, recruited and encouraged new members, etc. Outside of GEO, these remembrances find him donning a multitude of other hats: e.g., assisting the development of Jamaica’s sugar cane cooperatives, serving on committees in and as President of the Association for Humanist Sociology, and creating a micro-loan program in Bloomsburg, PA. And before all of that, he helped found and then directed Summerhill West, a free school in California. This vast, grateful circle of remembrances – spanning more than four decades – reveal how deeply, wholeheartedly, and humanely Frank was able to touch people, and how much of GEO sprang, and still springs, from his heart and his wisdom.
Frank’s publications also span a diverse range. Three of these are included in section II: “Free Schools, Free People”, “Why Some Worker Co-ops Succeed and Others Fail”, and his major opus, “The Cooperative Commonwealth”. As revealed in the commentaries by Bob Stone and Michael Johnson, both of GEO, this latter article has retained its north star influence over the two decades since it was written.
Many more of Frank’s writings will soon be available on our web site. Some of these focus on Summerhill West and its efforts to rethink and reallocate “power”, others on the overall impact of the free school movement that glowed fiercely in the 1960s and ‘70s, only to dwindle to a few lonely sparks by the 1980s, and still others on the O&O (Owned and Operated) Supermarkets, a worker buyout and takeover of failed A&P groceries in Philadelphia. A full bibliography of Frank’s written work is provided at the end of section II.
There is a bright thread running through this entire Memorial issue, both joining the diverse remembrances and linking them with the insightful publications. GEO’s Ajowa Nzinga Ifatey captured this thread, and speaks for all of us:
The best thing about Frank was not his ability to do all the things he did, but more so his ability to do them and at the same time to value and empower us as individuals. Probably each of us who worked with him has been deeply inspired by him. He leaves a model of the kind of world we are fighting to create and of the people we can become.
Thanks to the special issue editorial team: Len Krimerman, Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Ajowa Nzinga Ifateyo, Ethan Miller and Marty Heyman.
Many thanks to Bob Stone for taking and providing many of the pictures, and Katherine Lindenfeld for sharing many of her copies of the pictures.
Len Krimerman (2012). Introduction to the Frank Lindenfeld Memorial Issue: Celebrating And Remembering Frank Lindenfeld. Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO). https://geo.coop/story/introduction-frank-lindenfeld-memorial-issue
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