- Was national
secretary of the Students for a Democratic Society in the 1960s
- Husband of Heather Booth
- Became involved with the New American Movement in the 1970s
- Was a leading
figure in Saul Alinsky's Citizens Action Program during the 1970s
- Currently serves as executive assistant to AFSCME president Gerald McEntee
- Member of the Democratic Socialists of America
- Board of directors member of the the Midwest Academy
See also: Students for a Democratic Society Heather Booth
Saul Alinsky AFSCME Midwest Academy
the early 1960s, Paul Booth served as national
secretary of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the largest
and most influential radical group of its era. In 1965 Booth directed
the first anti-war march on Washington, DC. That same year, he
the first sit-in at Chase Manhattan Bank, protesting the fact that this “partner
in Apartheid” had some business dealings with South Africa.
labor movement in 1966 as research director for the United
Packinghouse Workers of America, where
a leading figure was the Communist Party USA member Jesse
At a May
1966 antiwar protest, Booth met a young woman named Heather Tobis. On the third day
of the protest, he asked Tobis to marry him. Two days later she
agreed, and the couple were wed in 1967. The bride, Heather Booth, would go on to
become an iconic figure in community organizing.
of January 1969, Paul Booth worked
for the Chicago radical newspaper, Hyde
Park-Kenwood Voices. Also circa 1969, he was a sponsor
of the GI Civil Liberties Defense Committee, which was led by the Socialist
1969 Booth and his wife, along with onetime SDS field secretary
Max and radical community organizer Harry
Boyte, published a pamphlet titled Socialism
and the Coming Decade.
screed said that because the U.S. had entered a
“non-revolutionary period,” socialist activists should eschew
confrontational tactics in favor of a stealth, incremental approach
to social change.
Also in the early Seventies, Booth became involved with the New American Movement
April 1972, Paul and Heather Booth, along with Robert
Creamer and his wife, taught
an organizer-training workshop sponsored by NAM. By
1975, however, the Booths would leave NAM because they viewed the group's unconcealed promotion of doctrinaire socialism as being doomed to failure.
May 1973, Paul Booth contributed an article
to NAM's Discussion Bulletin, wherein he outlined some ideas designed to help
socialists … begin to build the base for a mass revolutionary
movement.” That same year, Booth's wife founded the Midwest Academy, a training center for leftwing radicalism.
Also in the early 1970s, Paul Booth
was a leading
figure -- along with Heather Booth and Steve
Max -- in Saul Alinsky's Citizens Action Program (CAP), a national coalition of community organizations
coordinated through the Midwest Academy. Alinsky had established CAP to organize white middle-class residents after the Black
Power movement had driven him out of the black projects.
In 1974 Booth joined the American Federation of State, County and Municipal
Employees (AFSCME). He initially worked to build Illinois AFSCME
(Council 31), and then spent ten years as organizing director for
AFSCME International. Today Booth serves as executive assistant to AFSCME president Gerald McEntee.
In 1990 Booth
in a Socialist Scholars Conference in
New York City. He was a member of the Democratic Socialists of America at that time, and he remains a member to this day.
2005 Booth served as an advisory
committee member for "Tell the Story: The Chicago SNCC History Project,
1960-1965" -- a retrospective on the activities of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. The project was sponsored by the Chicago Area Friends of the SNCC.
Today Booth serves on the Midwest Academy's board of
Over the years, Booth has donated a great deal of money to various political campaigns and organizations. To view a list of these donees, click here.