Ward Morehouse, co-founder of the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD), died suddenly on June 30 swimming laps, one of his favorite activities. He was 83. His death comes less than nine months after POCLAD’s other co-founder, Richard Grossman, passed away.
Though Ward was a co-founder of POCLAD, I always felt he was the “grandfather” among us — wise, supportive, gentle, and humble. He contributed to our POCLAD collective a unique and diverse political perspective born from his direct experiences with people and conditions outside the U.S. His discussion of corporate rule and strategies to create genuine democracy through the lens of the Bhopal tragedy humanized my understanding of the global reach of corporate power and the need for fundamental change. It also helped me realize our kinship with others suffering harms from corporate rule as well as the various forms of resistance and movements for real democracy taking place globally.
I knew very little of Ward’s immense knowledge and experiences until spending time driving him around Ohio on a speaking tour about a dozen years ago. He was as humorous as he was intelligent, interested in me personally as he was in conditions of the world. Ward was never afraid to show his emotions — whether it was the love of his family (including his dog Buster), of us fellow “POCLADistas” (his word) or those in his many other circles. I will always cherish his insights and opportunity to support him as he supported me through some mutually trying times.
Ward was not the boastful sort. His disarming manner, firm convictions, and vast and diverse knowledge made him a compelling orator. His “communication” skills had another dimension — APEX Press— which he founded. Along with our newsletter, By What Authority, several of POCLAD’s most important resources that were produced by APEX were the central vehicles for sharing outward the ideas and strategies generated by our small little collective which have ended up having a disproportionate influence in our nation.
Ward sometimes looked more than slightly disheveled, as his shirts were often untucked, shoes untied, shirt pocket overflowing with pens, and papers and folders on multiple issues and projects stashed into bags of all sorts. Yet his mind and body were always focused on kindness, service and fundamental social change.
To read other reflections from “POCLADistas” about Ward, go to http://poclad.org/BWA/2012/BWA_2012_July.html