Alfred Marder, who spent most of his life organizing efforts in support of the Communist Party, died on December 19, 2023, just a month before his 102nd birthday.
He joined the Communist Party at the tender age 15 in 1938, and became the chairman of the Connecticut Young Communist League by age 16.
Marder helped establish and lead the New Haven Peoples Center and eventually served as President of the Center.
He also served as President of the Amistad Committee, and as president of the U.S. Peace Council and vice president of the World Peace Council.
Marder worked with other young Communists in his youth to organize an evening college for workers through the New Haven Teachers College.
He also organized an unsuccessful campaign for the Communist Party in 1952 to allow African Americans to work as bus drivers.
He was one of eight arrested in 1954 under the Smith Act which allowed for federal prosecutions of Communist Party leaders. The Communist Party described the arrests as "witch hunts in Connecticut for thinking communist thoughts." Marder went underground to dodge the charges at the time, but was eventually caught, tried and ultimately acquitted.
Marder has remained active with the Communist Party throughout his life.
In March 2012, Joelle Fishman, the chair of the Connecticut Communist Party USA, announced that the Peoples Center had planned a 90th birthday celebration for Marder.
U.S. Representative (CT-03) Rosa DeLauro was on the host committee for the event.
She was joined on the committee by then State Senator Toni Harp (who previously awarded Fishman with the "Key to the City" of New Haven), as well as a number of politicians who are still serving in office today, including State Senator Martin Looney, State Rep. Juan Candelaria, State Rep. Patricia Dillon, State Rep. Toni Edmonds Walker, State Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield (who won the Amistad Award this year), and State Rep. Roland Lemar.
The Communist Party USA celebrated Marder when he turned 100, saying his life "reads like a serial thriller with plenty of comedy and tragedy, defeats, and victories."
Below is the family's official obituary.