NYC Anarchist Bob Palmer, 1924–2009

New York City Anarchist Bob Palmer, 1924–2009 Bob Palmer, an activist in New York's anarchist community since the early 1960s, died late Saturday night, April 4, 2009, from complications arising from a chronic heart condition. He was 84. Palmer was an early member of the old Alternate U on 14 Street and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, and a founder of Ecology Action East, one of the many groups that comprised Alternate U. When Alternate U disbanded in the early 1970s Palmer and several other AU activists started a specifically anarchist space and free school, called Freespace Alternate U, that was located at 339 Lafayette Street. Freespace lasted until about 1980 and a few years later Palmer was instrumental in establishing the Anarchist Switchboard on Ninth Street on the Lower East Side. From the late 1980s Bob Palmer had been involved with the Libertarian Book Club, which still meets at 339 Lafayette Street, the famed "Peace Pentagon". A book indexer since the end of World War II, Bob Palmer also was a scholar and researcher of Chinese radical history, and had written extensively about Chinese anarchist Ba Jin. Later he was involved in solidarity work on behalf of the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre, and he was part of the international network of supporters of the Democracy Movement in China. While at Freespace Palmer collaborated with Jack Frager to publish several forgotten anarchist writings, including Bakunin's Letter to Nechaev, and Bartolomeo Vanzetti's The Story of a Proletarian Life. Another Freespace project initiated by Palmer was the long-running Walking Tour of Radical New York, a stroll through lower Manhattan's "points of freedom and destiny" that was ongoing to 2008. A memorial tribute will be announced at a future date. Condolences to Bob Palmer's long-time friend and comrade, Yang Jian, can be sent to her through me at Bill Koehnlein April 4, 2009