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The F Word: Remembering Marilyn Clement

Finally, organizer and activist Marilyn Clement has died at the age of 74 after a battle with cancer.

Over five tireless decades, she held positions with just about every key civil rights and peace group from the Southern Christian Leadership conference to the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Fuelled by a fury about how many people die for no good reason, Clement worked tirelessly for  quality healthcare for all, as founder and national coordinator of Healthcare-NOW!

"Let’s hope the Democratic Congress gets the message," she wrote in January 2007. "The voters did indeed vote for a national response to the health care crisis. They desperately need it. The Democrats must get over the chilling effect of the Newt Gingrich attack that left them trembling in their boots."

Then it was Gingrich, and the cost of health care was only up 73 percent since 2000. Now it’s even more expensive than that, and there’s a new cohort of private profit-insurers lobbying to keep the Democrats cowed and trembling.

It’s fitting that this week, the week of her death, the Nancy Pelosi announced that congress would finally, finally, vote on a single payer healthcare option. It’s progress, in part thanks to Marilyn Clement who helped make it happen. But too late. Too little, way too late.  

Marilyn, however, would put a positive spin on things — we’re on the verge of change she said at the June 7th event in New York. And she made a pitch for a new geneartion of leaders to come up and carry on the struggle. Our thoughts are with her family.

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Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders, author, and host of RadioNation on Air America Radio, has built a reputation for courageous investigative journalism coupled with compassion and a sense of humor. In writing her last book, Blue Grit, she traveled the country reporting on grassroots success stories and broadcast live to over 150 radio stations from community centers in places including Helena, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, Miami, Las Vegas, and Milwaukee. In her television appearances (Lou Dobbs, Larry King Live,) on radio and in her many books (including Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species) and articles (The Nation and others,) Flanders calls for a new politics of fairness, equality and citizen action. Articulating the human dimension of American communities in trouble, her programs have become destinations for those seeking the skills and the will to make a difference. Flanders is a regular contributor to the Nation Magazine and CNN. Before joining Air America, where she was part of the original lineup, and hosted “The Laura Flanders Show” for three years, Flanders was the founding host of the award-winning “Your Call” weekday mornings on public radio, KALW in the Bay Area and CounterSpin, the radio show of the mediawatch group, FAIR.