Jack London Snubbed As "Communist" By City Council
March 24, 2005 Entertainment News(PRLEAP.COM) LOS ANGELES, CA (March 23, 2005) – A proposal to name a small reading room at the El Segundo public library in honor of author Jack London has been rejected due to the writer’s fiery politics.
“Quite frankly, he (London) was a world-renowned communist,” El Segundo City Councilman John Gaines told the Los Angeles Times on March 18.
Kelly McDowell, mayor of the beach community south of Los Angeles International Airport, agreed with the city council’s decision.
“From the modern-day perspective, Jack London’s political views would not be seen as mainstream, certainly not in my community … This is a conservative city with traditional values.” Mayor McDowell said.
Author and journalist Rodger Jacobs says that the El Segundo city council and Mayor McDowell “are deficient in understanding the most basic facts of London’s life and politics.”
“London was never a communist,” Jacobs asserts. “He was a member of the Socialist Labor Party and he ran unsuccessfully as a mayoral candidate in Oakland in 1901.”
Furthermore, Jacobs says, the author of such enduring classics as “White Fang” and “The Call Of The Wild”, resigned from the socialist party in 1916, the year of his death.
Jacobs’ original essay on London’s often-controversial politics, “Running with the Wolves”, was recently added to the permanent online collection of Jack London research at the U.C. Berkeley Digital Library SunSite (http://sunsite.berkeley.edu).
“The man was a mass of fascinating contradictions,” Jacobs says. “As noted London researcher Dr. Clarice Stasz points out, Jack London’s socialism was fervent, but countered by a strong drive toward individualism and capitalist success.”
The El Segundo city council and mayor’s office, Jacobs insists, should reconsider their evaluation.
“If, for no other reason,” he says, “than the fact that they are dead wrong.”
In December 2004 Jacobs launched a petition to dedicate the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Hayworth Avenue in Hollywood in honor of late novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald on the 65th anniversary of his passing in December 2005.
“One of the reasons I launched the Fitzgerald petition was because Southern Californians turn a blind eye toward any literary heritage they may have. A city councilman referring to Jack London as a communist is just one more sad reflection of this reality.”
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ABOUT RODGER JACOBS
Rodger Jacobs is a Los Angeles-based journalist, screenwriter, and feature documentary producer. His articles can be found in Wireless Week, Hustler, X Biz World, High Beam Research, Juxtapoz, Progressive News Digest, and a wide host of other periodicals.
Jacobs co-produced “Wadd: The Life and Times of John C. Holmes”, winner of the Best Feature Documentary prize at the South by Southwest Film Festival (1999).