Kenneth Lewis Kronberg
by Nancy Spannaus
The death of Ken Kronberg on April 11, 2007 represents an irreplaceable loss of a leader of the National Caucus of Labor Committees (NCLC), who contributed immeasurably to the intellectual depth and life of the LaRouche organization. While most will associate him primarily with his role in the physical production of the LaRouche organization's literature—at which he was a genius—his passion and lasting legacy lay in his contributions to creating a new Renaissance.
Ken made this contribution largely through his activity as the managing editor (i.e., the one who did the lion's share of the work) on the NCLC's political-cultural journal, The Campaigner, and as the editor of the Schiller Institute's Fidelio magazine. Many are familiar with the way he patiently, but intensely, worked with dozens of authors to edit and illustrate their work, in order to make a beautiful presentation in a thorough-composed journal.
As for his own intellectual and cultural work, it was multifaceted. He had a lifelong commitment, in line with his own family background, to keeping alive the Yiddish Renaissance tradition, and was a leading participant in the NCLC's celebrations of the German poet Heinrich Heine in the early 1980s, along with the late Mark Burdman. Ken continued his work on the Yiddish Renaissance tradition into the recent period, encouraging, consulting with, enriching, and editing the work of Steve Meyer, Paul Kreingold, David Shavin, Michele Steinberg, and others on Moses Mendelssohn, the humanist Jewish tradition.
As befitted his scientific education, Ken had also delved deeply into the work of English scientist William Gilbert (1544-1603) and his seminal work De Magnete, and he taught classes on this. Ken's depth of knowledge of science, and his compositional skills, and his commitment to educating a future youth movement at the highest level, came together in his indispensable contribution to EIR's special Christmas edition of 2005. In that issue, LaRouche's paper "The Principle of 'Power' " was supplemented by 19 contributions by members of the LaRouche Youth Movement on universal physical principles, to make a powerful Socratic dialogue. Without Ken's comittment to executing this project with attention to every crucial detail, it would not have happened.
Ken's major groundbreaking work grew out of a presentation at an NCLC national conference, and was later published in New Solidarity newspaper, the 1992 EIR special report "The Genocidal Roots of Bush's New World Order," and finally in New Federalist newspaper, as a devastating weapon in the battle against the genocide lobby, and the cultural depravity that goes with it. This was "How the Romans Nearly Destroyed Civilization," an extensive study of the devastation wrought by the Roman Empire over centuries and across continents, scientifically connecting the process of the depopulation of the Mediterranean region with the dominance at Rome of the anti-human cults and mystery religions, the blood orgies of the gladiatorial games, and the economy of "bread and circuses" which characterized Rome.
Perhaps dearest to Ken's heart was the study of Classical poetry and drama, with a particular emphasis on William Shakespeare. Ken directed the 1982 Labor Committee production of Macbeth, which toured various East Coast venues. In later years, he directed performances of various Cervantes interludes, selections from Shakespeare plays (some with adults, some with children), a full-length production of Friedrich Schiller's The Parasite, and children's productions of The Odyssey and The Magic Flute. He also taught extensively on poetry.
His work was expressed in the symposium he organized for the Winter 1995 Fidelio feature on "Metaphor and Poetry," which was introduced by his own article, "Some Simple Examples of Poetic Metaphor." He wrote short poems for his friends, and longer poems that he never circulated, as well as the poem "In Memoriam: Indira Gandhi" (reproduced on the following pages), which was written in 1986, and delivered to Mrs. Gandhi's son Rajiv Gandhi (who himself became Prime Minister of India), by Lyndon LaRouche's EIR representative in India, Ramtanu Maitra. Rajiv Gandhi had Ken's poem published in the Congress Party magazine, and the poem can also be found in the Fall 2004 edition of Fidelio.
The bare facts of Ken's life should also be noted. He was born in New York City 58 years ago to Martin and Shirley Kronberg. He attended Bronx High School of Science, and graduated in 1968 at the age of 20 from St. John's College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He spent a year in Santa Barbara, California, as a junior fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. Thereafter, he returned to New York City, where he did graduate work at the New School for Social Research Graduate Faculty, and worked as an editor for the American Institute of Physics, and for John Wiley & Sons. In 1971, he joined the Labor Committees; soon thereafter, he married Molly Hammett. Their marriage continued until his death, and produced a son, Max Kronberg, now 22 years old.
Ken was elected a member of the National Committee of the NCLC in 1974, was a steering committee member in the New York Region of the Labor Committees, and a National Committee member in the Midwest—in the Detroit Region—from 1975 to 1977. He returned to New York and took charge of the production of all literature for the political movement. He founded WorldComp in 1978 and became president of PMR in 1979. He devoted himself to maintaining quality literature production, through thick and thin, up to the day of his death.
Throughout all his political work, he collaborated closely with his wife Molly, who took a leading role in the creation of EIRNS and in production of the movement's newspapers and pamphlets. Molly joined Ken on the NCLC's National Committee in 1979.
For those of us who worked closely with him, and relied on him, and for whom now the sorrow seems almost too much to bear, Ken's force of intellect and kindness to those around him provide a legacy complementary to his intellectual contributions. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family.