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Kathleen Sheldon and Stephen Tarzynski Papers, 1973-1999
MSS 052  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The papers of husband and wife Stephen (Steve) Tarzynski and Kathleen (Kathie) Sheldon document their involvement with and the activities of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and its predecessor the New American Movement (NAM). The collection includes materials on the Los Angeles Socialist Community School and the Socialist Scholars Conference. Steve Tarzynski also worked as a pediatrician and was actively involved in health care rights issues.
Background
Kathleen (Kathie) Sheldon and Stephen (Steve) Tarzynski are husband and wife. They have two children, Mercy and Ben, and live in Santa Monica. In the early 1980s, the Sheldon/Tarzynski family spent two years in Mozambique where Sheldon researched women workers and Tarzynski worked as a pediatrician for the socialist government.The New American Movement (NAM) was a socialist organization founded in June 1971. It sought to bring people from different parts of the working class together to support each other in separate struggles and to build a socialist party that could bring about a truly democratic revolution. NAM worked for better housing and health care, supported the fight for immediate reforms to expand women's rights, opposed racial and sexual oppression, and organized around such issues as nuclear energy, job safety, and foreign policy.The school began in the fall of 1975 after a group of NAM members decided to follow the example of the NAM East Bay School in Oakland and reach out to educate people about socialism. The school intended to: 1) raise socialist consciousness in the community through education; 2) establish a positive socialist presence and to create a public NAM presence in Los Angeles; 3) develop the knowledge and skills of NAM members and independent activists as well as educate people new to politics; and 4) link concrete activist projects in the city with socialist ideas. With the merger, the DSA took over the running of the school. Classes taught included everything from Marxism, Euro-Communism, U.S. poverty, free speech issues, Los Angeles politics, school desegregation, labor organizing and history, the Spanish Civil War, South America, Africa, and the Middle East to classes on music, parenting, languages, and burnout.Building on the successful East Coast based Socialist Scholars Conferences that had been running since 1982, the Los Angeles Chapter of the DSA, the Socialist Community School, and Concerned Faculty (UCLA), along with other sponsors including the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, sponsored the First Annual West Coast Socialist Scholars Conference in 1993. The call for papers issued for the event cites the 1992 Los Angeles uprising as a motivating factor for the conference. Scheduled plenary speakers included Rudy Acuña, Prossy Delacruz, Harold Meyerson, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Bogdan Denitch, Julianne Malveaux, and Manning Marable. The conference was an apparent success and plans were discussed for a follow-up conference in 1994.
Extent
6 boxes, 1 half-box, 1 legal-size box

2 1/6 linear feet
Restrictions
Copyright has not been assigned to the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research. Researchers may make single copies of any portion of the collection, but publication from the collection will be allowed only with the express written permission of the Library's director. It is not necessary to obtain written permission to quote from a collection. When the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research gives permission for publication, it is as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
Availability
The collection is available for research only at the Library's facility in Los Angeles. The Library is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Researchers are encouraged to call or email the Library indicating the nature of their research query prior to making a visit.