Monday, April 22, 2013

Paul de Armond Remembered

Editor's note: The following responses to Life on the Line were received via e-mail. Since they comprise the reflections of Paul de Armond's working peers and colleagues, they are reprinted verbatim. We are grateful for their kind and thoughtful words.

It was Paul DeArmond who brought each of us together. As human rights organizations or individual researchers, each of us was engaged in trying to better understand the political emergence of the Patriot, Wise Use, and Militia movements.  The mid-90 convergence of these movements would pre-sage the rise of the Tea Party nationally fifteen years later.  During those two days Paul challenged us to both collaboratively research a growing threat against democracy thereby creating a space for collaboration that is still modeled today around the country.  Paul was the definition of sacrifice in the face of bigotry and intolerance and never backed down from what was right. He was a tireless fighter for rights, transparency, and democracy.  It was never a “job” for Paul but a passion and conviction that those who seek to undermine civil society should be held accountable for their actions, regardless of the physical threats directed his way.  In traveling the roads of right wing violence and intimidation, Paul’s sense of humor and wit were a welcome relief to sheer horror of bombings, death threats, and intimidation occurring at the time.  He was a colleague, friend, a fellow traveler for justice and I am better for having known him.  So is our nation. 
--Eric Ward, former field organizer at Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment, publisher of The Beacon at Coalition for Human Dignity, and national field organizer at Center for New Community, Chicago

Paul was a dedicated and brilliant anti-bigotry researcher, a strident voice against injustice, and a dear friend. In his own special way, he made the world a better place. He will be greatly missed.
--Devin Burghart, vice president of Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, Seattle

Paul de Armond is a friend, a colleague, and a strong and brilliant advocate for defending human rights. He has never let me down. His commitment to basic decency is melded into his wry and generous persona. I have learned much from him, and can never repay the debts that have accrued.  I aspire to contribute half of what he has accomplished to buttress the struggle for progressive social and political change. It is an honor to know him.
-Chip Berlet, researcher on the anti-democratic far-right in the US, and former director of Political Research Associates, Boston

Paul was committed to creating a political arena that was both unflinchingly truthful and completely safe, so that diverse opinions could be shared without fear.  In the pursuit of this goal, he courageously entered and exposed dangerous situations, documenting sub rosa activities with an unassailable level of professionalism.  His contributions reached the level of national significance.
--Sherilyn Wells, past president, Washington Environmental Council

He made great contributions to fighting right-wing forces in the US.
--Marc Brenman, former executive director, WA State Human Rights Commission

Paul was a pioneering thinker about our mutual interests in "networks and netwars."  And also a pioneering practitioner of what John Keane calls "monitory democracy."  In my view, that means Paul was ahead of his times, and his contributions will endure.
--David Ronfeldt, retired senior researcher at RAND Corporation, Santa Monica

Paul was a man with a good heart. He did courageous work to defend his community and in service to democracy. He will be missed.
--Chuck Tanner, former research director, Coalition for Human Dignity, Portland

There is no way really to describe the extent of his dedication, his energy, the incredible depth and texture of his research and the quality of his understanding. They're prodigious. But what impresses me most about Paul de Armond is his immense generosity of mind, his collegiality, his commitment to enlightening -- you could call it benign forced feeding -- all of us who are trying in one way or another to understand, with him, what is happening to our country.
---Jane Kramer, The New Yorker

He was a brilliant and good man. It was criminal that he didn't receive a MacArthur award.

--Jeff Elliott, editor, Albion Monitor

He contributed so much to the well being of this community and beyond.
--Shirley Osterhaus, past president, Whatcom Human Rights Task Force

I'm deeply saddened to learn of Paul's passing. I learned a lot from him and delighted in the time I was able to spend with him. The world has lost a great friend and advocate.
--Gene Metrick, former editor, The Western Front


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