Leslie Cagan was born in 1947 and graduated from New York University in 1968. She has been a core participant and organizer for progressive and radical social and political activities over the span of her career.
The political career of Cagan, a lesbian Socialist-Feminist, reflects her changing social concerns over the years. In the 1960’s, Cagan was on the staff of the Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam.
Throughout the 1970’s, Cagan’s activities centered mainly on the women’s liberation movement, the lesbian and gay movement, and abortion rights. She participated in several socialist-feminist groups with several eminent feminist scholars, among them, Ellen Ross and Heidi Hartman.
Though still active in the women’s movement, Cagan’s activity shifted in 1980 to the peace and disarmament movement. From 1980-1986 Cagan was a staff member and program coordinator for Mobilization for Survival, a broad coalition of more than 100 national and local organizations committed to ending nuclear power and nuclear weapons. During this time she coordinated the largest demonstration in U.S. history: the 1982 March and Rally in Support of the United Nations Second Special Session on Disarmament, New York City. Cagan also helped organize the 1985 March for Jobs, Peace, and Justice, Washington, D.C., the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, the 1988 National Demonstration in Support of the United Nations Third Special Session on Disarmament, and the 1988 Housing Action Week. Cagan has coordinated numerous other actions, directed the 1986 Mel King Congressional Campaign in Boston, and has been on the national advisory committee of Lesbians and Gays for Jackson, New York City.
Leslie’s coalition and organizing skills have put hundreds of thousands of people in the streets in many of the country’s largest mobilizations and contributed to building diverse movements: from the Viet Nam war to racism at home, from nuclear disarmament to lesbian/gay liberation, from fighting sexism to working against U.S. intervention.
Her writing appears in four books published by South End Press, and numerous progressive publications. In recent years, Leslie was the Field Director for the ‘89 Mayoral Campaign of David Dinkins, coordinated the National Campaign for Peace in the Middle East (during the ‘90-91 Gulf War ), directed the Cuba Information Project for seven years, coordinated logistics for the Stonewall 25 demonstration in NYC, and has taught organizing skills at ZMI.
She presently coordinates the CUNY is Our Future Coalition (defending public higher education at the City University of New York), serves on the steering committee of the Same Boat Coalition City (organizing around city and state issues in NY), is a national co-chair of the Committees of Correspondence, and is on the board of the Astraea National Lesbian Action Foundation.
For the past year Leslie has worked with the Ad Hoc Committee for an Open Process in their efforts to re-energize the progressive voice in the lesbian/gay/sexual/transgender movement.
Leslie Cagan donated her papers to the Tamiment Library in four accessions: 1985, 1986, 1988 and 1991.
Leslie Cagan’s blog in ZNet;
Interview in counterpunch;
in Frontpage Magazin;
in democracy now;
in united for peace & justice;
Leslie Cagan’s Papers;
Added February 15, 2060:
For the past year Leslie has worked with the Ad Hoc Committee for an Open Process in their efforts to re-energize the progressive voice in the lesbian/gay/sexual/transgender movement. (Read the articles of his blog on ZNet).