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Wednesday, 13 September 2017 07:52

Douglas Dowd, 97, Antiwar Activist and Critic of Capitalism, Is Dead

Written by  SAM ROBERTS

Douglas Dowd, a radical economics professor and author who was in the vanguard of early teach-ins and other demonstrations against the Vietnam War, died on Friday at his home in Bologna, Italy.

He was 97.

The cause was congestive heart failure, his wife, Anna Hilbe, said.

Professor Dowd, who wrote more than a dozen books and taught for many years at Cornell University, drew on Marxism and Thorstein Veblen’s theory of conspicuous consumption to deliver what Todd Gitlin, a leftist sociologist himself, described as a “refreshingly undogmatic” view of economic history.

His critical view of capitalism was largely shaped by his disappointment that the United States, as he saw it, had failed to live up to its ideals.

“We thought we were liberating Europe and fending off the imperialism of feudal Japan,” Professor Dowd wrote in his autobiographical “Blues for America: A Critique, a Lament, and Some Memories” (1997), “but we turned up after the war occupying or controlling foreign countries all over.”

He was no ivory-tower utopian, however. He endured the Depression as a teenager, survived World War II as a bomber pilot downed over the Pacific, managed former Vice President Henry Wallace’s Progressive Party presidential campaign in 1948 in Berkeley, Calif.

Read more at NYTimes

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