Richard Walton died last week. He is an important part of our history as a party. He was always, from the getgo of our party and before, deeply wanting there to be a strong third party in the United States. As part of this, he ran for Vice President for the Citizens Party in 1984, a precursor of the Green Party. Sonia Johnson was the party’s presidential candidate that year. He helped found the Rhode Island Green Party several years later. Together with Tony Affigne and Greg Gerritt and others from that state, he also helped in founding the Association of State Green Parties in 1996/7/8. He served as Secretary of two vitally important early meetings of the ASGP – in Topsham. Maine in the fall of 1997 and in Santa Fe in the Spring of 1998. His extensive notes were crucial in giving depth and vibrancy to ASGP, the organization which morphed in a few years into the Green Party of the United States in 2001. Richard has been a stalwart member of its National Committee and its International Committee to the present day.
Richard has an amazing history of accomplishments as a journalist, a prolific author (of 12 books), as a teacher (including The New School for Social Research in NYC, and Rhode Island College, where among other achievements he helped unionize Adjunct Faculty), and as a political and community activist. He is well known as an activist against poverty, homelessness, and hunger. He has traveled to 50 countries, especially to Africa and the Mid-East. His participation in the USGP’s International Committee was steady and balanced in his ability to sort out the problems of a growing and often controversial Committee. In 2008, Richard was interviewed as part of a major feature article in The Providence Phoenix.
A personal friend, I mourn his passing and celebrate his life,
additional information on Richard Walton can be found on wikipedia
It’s taken me several days of sorrow and reflection, to reach a place where I can write a few words in Richard Walton’s memory. This very special man was my dear friend and collaborator, an inspiration, a challenge to be more gentle, more sincere, more enduring. Friends and fellow agitators for thirty years, we shared a passion for the unexpected and the insurgent, tilting windmills and laughing at the madness and sadness of it all. We met the summer of 1982, working on progressive electoral campaigns and in 1986, he was my own best ally and advisor, when I became Citizens Party candidate for governor. Over the next three decades, Richard’s commitment to peace and justice (and good humor) helped so many of us carry on, in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. He never wavered in support for the peace movement, the local music scene, Green politics, the needs and rights of the homeless, the people of Central America, his many hundreds of friends and admirers—and the salutary effects of an ice-cold brew! Like all his friends, Richard left me with more memories than I could ever recount. But a simple one is among the best; the two of us sitting at the Pawtuxet Athletic Club bar, looking out across his beloved Pawtuxet Cove, sharing a quiet beer and laughing about nothing much at all. Richard was a treasure, and my life, all our lives, will be forever changed by his having shared with us, and by his finally, peacefully, passing into a glorious, well-deserved sunset.
Richard John Walton was born on May 24, 1928 in Saratoga Springs, New York, to Gertrude and Richard James Walton. As a child he moved with his family to Providence, Rhode Island, where he was graduated from Classical High School in 1945 and received a bachelor’s degree from Brown University in 1951. His studies at Brown were interrupted for two years while he served in the U.S. Navy as a journalist’s mate.