al-strasburgerAl Strasburger, a lifelong Red Banker widely recognized for his presence at antiwar, antinuke and pro-labor demonstrations, died early Thursday, redbankgreen has learned.

An affable and unrepentant “revolutionary socialist ” who considered Castro a hero and thought Stalin had been judged too harshly, Strasburger could often be seen leading protests at the gates of Fort Monmouth or outside the post office on Broad Street.

In between, he cut he lawn of his Oakland Street house with a sickle and made regular visits to unemployment offices, where he handed out anti-capitalist literature, often to the bemusement of job-seekers.

“I’m pretty far to the left,” Strasburger told redbankgreen in an interview in September, 2006, when he was 74 years old.


Strasburger, whose parents were both labor activists, graduated from Red Bank High School and earned degrees from  from Washington Square College (now part of NYU) and the University of Wisconsin at Madison before embarking on a 37-year career with the state Division of Youth and Family Services.

He helped organize Monmouth County’s first anti-nukes protest in 1962 and made repeated trips to Cuba, which he called “the most lied-about country of the last 30 or 40 years. Most Americans think of Cuba as an outlaw nation. It’s a beacon to the Third World. It’s a small agricultural country that successfully and courageously stood up to U.S. imperialism.”

From our story:

“You could call me a communist,” Strasburger says, settling into an armchair and apparently not wanting to quibble over labels. But he’s never been a member of the Communist Party, and considers it insufficiently determined to remake the world into one in which workers control the means of production. Their idea of being on the left, he says, is to endorse the Democrat.

“I’m a revolutionary socialist,” he says. “I see the world as a class struggle, the rich against the poor. I want major change to this society.”

Violent change? “I think the workers should seize power, because that’s a prerequisite for a successful society,” he says. “There has to be a great revolution because the powers that be will not give up control without a fight.”

Laura Dardi, an Oakland Street neighbor, fondly recalled that Strasburger gave her children “pennies and organic raisins” when they trick-or-treated his ramshackle home.

“He started this whole movement in this community toward a more peaceful outlook for everyone, not just certain people,” Dardi said.

From an obituary in the Asbury Park Press:

Allen is survived by a son, Steven and his wife, Ana of Germantown, Tenn.; two daughters, Annette Marinkovic of Ann Arbor, Mich., and Rhoda Russo and her husband, Robert of Haworth, NJ; two sisters, Amanda Porter of Bradley Beach, and Dorothy Argyros of Neptune; his beloved companion, Rev. Jackie Carr-Hamilton and her family, daughter and son-in-law, Felicia and Everett Cheavers and their children, Felice, Everett III and Dequan; and five grandchildren, Jason Allen, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Elizabeth Strasburger of Germantown, Tenn.; Christopher Robert and Matthew Thomas Russo of Haworth, NJ; and special friend, Valerie Carr of Gary, Ind.

The Thompson Memorial Home, Red Bank, was entrusted with his arrangements. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date.