Stanley Pozdziak Memorial Scholarship
“Ignorance is the enemy of working class progress.”
– The I. W. W. – What It Is And What It Is Not, 1928
The Stanley Pozdziak Memorial Scholarship provides funding to help Southern Maine DSA Members attend workshops, conferences, or other educational activities that advance the knowledge base of our chapter in support of our mission to facilitate the transition of society to a truly democratic and more socialist one, in which the means and resources of production are democratically and socially controlled to a degree that provides a fair political and economic system in which all strata of society may seek to thrive.
Any dues-paying SMDSA member may apply for consideration. Scholarship applications will be reviewed and approved by the Executive Board. Scholarships may be awarded on a full or partial basis depending on funds available. Recipients will be asked to make a follow-up presentation to the General Membership on what they have learned.
Stanley Pozdziak (1941-2008)
Stanley Pozdziak dropped out of high school to pursue migrant agricultural work before returning to Maine to take a job as a fish cutter on the Portland fish pier. Southern Maine DSA member and former Maine State Legislator Harlan Baker met Pozdziak at an anti-war rally in downtown Portland on April 15, 1970, one month before the Kent State massacre. “There were 7 to 12 of us marching down Congress street; Stan was carrying the banner, and people stood along the side of the road and spit at us,” recalls Baker. The two young men, then in their early twenties, forged a friendship that would last nearly four decades. Baker remembers Pozdziak as a hard worker and self-taught intellectual who could filet a fish with lightening speed – a requirement in an industry that paid by the piece – and who wrote numerous articles and pamphlets for Leftist publications. “He was a voracious reader and wasn’t afraid to challenge you on your opinions,” Baker says.
In 1973 Pozdziak, working alongside writer Michael Harrington and international labor organizer Victor Reuther, helped found the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC), a predecessor organization to the Democratic Socialists of America. The first issue of the DSOC’s Newsletter of the Democratic Left (now The Democratic Left) called for more “thought, self-criticism, candor, and communication” among Leftist activists searching for new direction in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.
It is in the spirit of these lofty goals and in the longstanding tradition of working class education and self-liberation that we establish the Stanley Pozdziak Memorial Scholarship.