Kevin Zeese, co-director of Popular Resistance with his partner Margaret Flowers, passed away early this morning. Kevin has been an active member of the UNAC Administrative Committee for over a year, playing critical roles in numerous actions including our conference this spring and collaborations like the No Foreign Bases Coalition, the Hands Off Syria Coalition, the Sanctions Kill Coalition and others. Last summer he initiated and led the Embassy Protection Collective who stayed to protect the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC after the Venezuelan Ambassador was forced to leave.
Here is a powerful excerpt from Kevin’s presentation in our UNAC Webinar last weekend:
On hearing the news of Kevin passing, Cassia Laham, the UNAC AC member who introduced Kevin in the webinar wrote:
It is with teary eyes and a very heavy, sad heart that I am writing you this email. I received a message this morning stating that our friend and comrade, Kevin, has passed away.
It came as an absolute shock, as I was just introducing my friend Kevin to thousands of viewers exactly one week ago on our webinar. Not only has this organization and the anti-war movement as a whole lost a giant, a fighter, a crucial voice; but we have lost a friend with a beautiful soul and a loving heart.
Kevin embodied all that it means to be an activist and organizer in the movement for justice and peace. He put his body on the line to protect the Venezeulan embassy, he beat the phony charges against him and the other protectors, and he didn’t let any of that stop him continuing as a leader in the movement.
His passing will leave a huge void in our organization. in the movement, and in so many hearts.
Kevin, may you rest in peace and power.
Here are some tributes to Kevin and his work:
From the US Peace Council:
The People’s Movement Has Lost One of Its Most Beloved and Treasured Activists
September 6 is a very sad day for the people’s movement in the United States. In the early hours of this day, we lost one our most beloved and treasured comrades. Kevin was not only a comrade, but a dear friend and brother to all of us. We were honored to have him as our comrade in struggle.
No one can forget Kevin’s heroic act, along with Margaret, Adrienne and David, of refusing to leave the Embassy of the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela, at a very high price to themselves, in order to prevent the transfer of its control to the representatives of U.S. puppet, Juan Guaidó. In doing so, they became not only our heroes, but those of all anti-imperialist peoples and movements around the world, especially the revolutionary people of Venezuela.
But Kevin’s outstanding role in the movement was not limited to his last heroic act. For years, he co-directed the Popular Resistance with Margaret Flowers — his partner in life — which has been one of the main sources of truly anti-imperialist information and analysis for the peace movement. As members of the National Board of the U.S. Peace Council, Executive Committee of the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases, and Global Campaign Against US/NATO Military Bases, Kevin and Margaret played a key role organizing two extremely successful conferences against U.S. And NATO Military Bases, the first in Baltimore, Maryland in January 2018, and the second in Dublin, Ireland, in November 2018.
Throughout these years, we have been benefiting from Kevin’s profound knowledge, wisdom and anti-imperialist commitment and vision. His absence will be felt during every step we will take from now on. But his comradely presence will be with us forever.
Kevin Zeese — PRESENTE!
Executive Committee of
The U.S. Peace Council
From the Task Force for the Americas:
The peace and solidarity movement lost a giant when Kevin Zeese (October 28, 1955-September 6, 2020) passed. Kevin – along with his life partner Margaret Flowers – led in the most exemplary way by doing the heavy lifting, by encouraging and mentoring others, by strategically charting the course of action, and by providing acute political clarity on the pressing issues of our times. Kevin’s lifework was about building a people’s movement in this time of social transformation.
A lawyer by training and an activist by passion, he was a brilliant tactician helping to organize protests against injustice as with his deep involvement in the Occupy Movement. He honed his considerable skills through hard work and engagement.
Kevin and Margaret founded Popular Resistance, a resource and information clearinghouse for the movement. Popular Resistance fosters a culture of resistance for real democracy and empowerment. Activities include a blogsite, interviews and podcasts, and training schools for movement activists.
Kevin was a leader in the Green Party, serving most recently as the press secretary for their current presidential candidate, Howie Hawkins, and for Ralph Nader in 2004. While putting in countless hours, he helped shape popular sentiment from inchoate discontent to political action.
A life-long peace activist, he helped found the national anti-war organization Voters for Peace. He stood for and advocated non-intervention by the US in the affairs of other nations. He served on the National Board of the US Peace Council, Executive Committee of the Coalition Against US Foreign Military Bases, and Global Campaign Against US/NATO Military Bases.
Kevin truly understood and communicated that a better world is possible and a better USA is necessary. He led by literally putting his body in the line of fire. He was one of the “final four” Venezuela Embassy Protectors in Washington, DC. Kevin was a leader in the international solidarity movement with a special focus on Venezuela and Nicaragua.
Jorge Arreaza, Venezuela’s foreign minister, tweeted upon hearing of Kevin’s passing that he was a “brave activist for peace and human rights defender – one of the American heroes.”
In addition to all their political activities, Kevin and Margaret tended a home vegetable garden, which was a source of nutrition for body and soul. Kevin was our tireless most valuable player in the movement for social justice. Now it is his time to rest and our time to emulate.
We offer our condolences to Margaret and family for the loss of our beloved comrade and brother.
KEVIN ZEESE ¡PRESENTE!
Board of Directors, Task Force on the Americas
From the Green Party:
“Kevin leaves an enormous hole in his wake.”
“He would want his legacy to be that we filled it by multiplying our efforts to bring about a better world,” Hawkins said.
The Hawkins/Walker campaign is very sad to report that our Press Secretary, comrade-in-arms and brother, Kevin Zeese, passed away last night. He was 64 years old.
“I lost a friend. All of us lost a prolific, tireless, and principled advocate and activist for peace and justice. My condolences go out to his partner, Margaret Flowers, also a committed activist, his family, and the many people whose lives were enriched by Kevin and his work,” Howie Hawkins said.
Kevin was a giant in the world of activism, from peace and justice to cannabis legalization to healthcare to independent politics. He was a well-known scholar, attorney, and writer. He was co-editor of Popular Resistance, one of the left’s most popular sources for news and opinion from a left-radical perspective, which he led with his partner, Dr. Margaret Flowers. He served as Press Secretary for the Nader/Camejo campaign in 2004.
He was most recently in the news as one of the Embassy Protection Collective, one of the last four to protect the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, D.C. against the forces of the illegitimate presidency of Juan Guaidó and the passivity of the secret service and federal security forces of the Trump administration. Kevin, Margaret and others nonviolently resisted the embassy’s takeover by puppets of the United States and tenanted the diplomatic building with the permission of the Venezuelan government for more than a month. Ultimately, they were arrested and after a trial plagued with restrictions against the defense, all federal charges brought by the Trump administration were dropped.
Kevin was also an active force of solidarity with several Latin American movements, causes and peoples against US imperialism and illegal intervention. He worked tirelessly to denounce US illegal sanctions and covert operations that affect the progressive efforts of the peoples of Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Cuba, and beyond. His legal background only strengthened his conviction about the illegality of all these US unilateral sanctions that only increase the suffering of millions of Latin Americans.
“This unexpected loss of a compassionate and hugely intellectual friend is stunning,” commented Angela Walker, the Green Party nominee for vice president. “My thoughts are with his partner, his family and with all who love him,” she continued.
“Kevin leaves an enormous hole in his wake. He would want his legacy to be that we filled it by multiplying our efforts to bring about a better world,” Hawkins said.
*Featured Image: Kevin Zeese, pictured first on the right, alongside the other Embassy Protectors.