Lowenstein: The Making of a Liberal 1968

Catalyst for McCarthy

Happy Warrior

The summer of 1964, when he was not campaigning in Humphrey's "Happy Warrior" plane, he spent working in the struggle to seat the MFDP at the Democratic Convention in Atlantic City. The extremely bitter fight alienated him from most of the black activists whom he had been friendly with in SNCC and CORE.

Since 1964 Lowenstein has worked as legal counsel to his family's restaurant business in New York. He also has run for Congress once from the upper West Side (coming very close to winning); started one of the first groups to protest the war during the late summer of 1965 (Americans for a Reappraisal of Far Eastern Policy); and has been elected to the national board of SANE, the vice chairmanship of the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), the board of the Rev. Martin Luther King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and now the co-chairmanship of the Conference of Concerned Democrats. He is considered a prime candidate, according to national columnist James Weschler of the New York Post, for a seat in Congress or the Democratic nomination to oppose Senator Jacob K. Javits (R-N.Y.).

One Massachusetts politician who has known him for nearly a decade said while watching him on television last month, "he always appears to be making a speech, even in an informal conversation with only one or two other people. It makes him seem insincere."

No one doubts that he can give great speeches, but even his close friends like the Rev. Coffin say that, Lowenstein can never really sit down and talk with him about life in general. Whether modesty or pseudo-modesty one can't be sure, but Lowenstein finds it very hard to talk about himself. There is always some project which is more important than any "irrevelant" conversation. He never slackens his pace; there is never a letup in his barnstorming pace.


Some new liberal cause will occupy Lowenstein's time once the McCarthy campaign is over: South Africa, the Franco regime, or most probably a sacrificial senatorial campaign. "I think he will always fight cursades because injustice fills him with a sense of rebellion. He wants to be of help in some way . . . ," wrote Eleanor Roosevelt about Lowenstein. Norman Thomas has nothing but the highest admiration for his young friend Lowenstein.

At a time when liberals are under heavy attack for their views on the war and on civil rights from both the radicals and conservatives, Allard K. Lowenstein stands out as a liberal par excellence.