Justin Raimondo, former editorial director and co-founder of Antiwar.com, has died at the age of 67, according to the site.
Antiwar.com reports that Raimondo died at his home in Sebastopol, California, comforted by his husband, Yoshinori Abe.
“We have to show the American people that WAR is not Patriotic,” the text reads over the photo of Raimondo.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Raimondo Co-Founded Antiwar.com With Eric Garris
According to the site, Justin co-founded Antiwar.com with Eric Garris in 1995, and eventually, it became “a leading force” against U.S. wars and foreign intervention. The site provides timely updates and comprehensive news, analysis, and opinion on war and peace.
“Inspired by Justin’s spirit, vision, and energy, Antiwar.com will go on,” the Anitwar.com staff wrote.
According to its Facebook page, Antiwar.com is “devoted to the cause of non-interventionism and is read by libertarians, pacifists, leftists, ‘greens,’ and independents alike, as well as many on the Right who agree with our opposition to imperialism.”
Antiwar.com is a project of the Randolph Bourne Institute. According to the Insitute’s website, RBI seeks to honor Randolph Bourne, a notable American journalist, social critic, and political activist of the early 20th century, by “promoting a noninterventionist foreign policy for the United States as the best way of fostering a peaceful, more prosperous world.”
The nonprofit, tax-exempt, educational organization was founded in 2001 and sponsors four projects, Antiwar.com, a fellows program for writers and researchers, a speakers program, and a student intern and campus outreach program.
2. Raimondo Was Diagnosed With Adenocarcinoma in His Lungs in 2017
Raimondo was diagnosed with 4th stage lung cancer in October 2017. He wrote a touching article in June 2018 on Antiwar.com at the request of his colleagues and fans.
“When I was first diagnosed with adenocarcinoma in my lungs I had already lost a considerable amount of weight: at my low point, I was down to less than 150 lbs, nearly fifty pounds less than my normal weight,” Raimondo began. “Today, after six months of anti-cancer treatments, I am back up to 180 lbs, and climbing.”
Raimondo then described his treatment, an infusion every three weeks, via an IV, of the newly-approved immunological drug Keytruda, which took approximately three hours. He said the effects were “extraordinary.”
The treatments radically changed his symptoms and subsequently his “life circumstance,” leading his writing to change as well as his perspective.
“For one thing, writing has certainly become a physical chore – at least, when I am sickest, usually a few days after my latest infusion,” Raimondo wrote. “I very often have to drag myself to the computer and command myself to quit complaining and get to work. As extra added incentive, I simply think of all the horrific people who would be glad to see me silent, and that is more than enough to get me started. (LOL!)”
Three days after he published the “very personal message,” the site’s Facebook page put out a request, tax-deductible donations to help Raimondo continue his miraculous recovery and keep the site afloat.
“Antiwar.com is 100% supported by you, our readers. We have never taken money from any government-funded source, and are not supported by big foundations and special interests. We need your help now to keep doing what you have come to expect for the last 23 years.”
3. Raimondo Knew His Fate Was ‘Up in the Air”
Last month, Justin shared on Twitter that he was at St. Mary’s Hospital for his first immunological anticancer treatment in several months. But, in the very personal messgage to his readers, he admitted that he knew his fate was uncertain.
“The parallel in my own life is that I wake up each morning not knowing whether I’ll last out the rest of the day,” he wrote. “Yes, I’m getting better, getting stronger, and have every intention of beating this disease – but you never know. I could experience what the doctors call an “adverse event” at any moment.”
He said that feeling is evident throughout our society, saying that it seems to be the spirit of our age. It is the age of uncertainty. However, he shamelessly plugs his website, saying that Antiwar.com will remain dependable.
“Certainly my fate is up in the air: I was talking to one of the nurses at my most recent infusion, and I asked her what she thought my prognosis was, and she replied: “We just don’t know at this point,” and that is the crux of the matter. These new immunological drugs have revolutionized the healthcare regime for cancer patients: many have gone into remission, with no relapses as yet. But we just don’t know how all this is going to turn out. I’m a guinea pig in a vast experiment, the outcome of which is completely unpredictable.
4. Raimondo Was an Antiwar and Gay Rights Advocate in San Fransisco
Antiwar.com delved into his upbringing in their obituary, stating that Justin, who was born Dennis Raimondo on November 18, 1951, grew up in Yorktown Heights, New York.
The site said that during his teenage years, he became a libertarian, fiercely advocating for peace and gay liberation. In 1968, Justin reportedly participated in the student strike at his progressive high school, Cherrylawn. After graduation, he moved to San Fransisco, where he remained for almost 40 years.
During his time in San Fransisco in the 1970s, Justin was a participant in the gay liberation movement, working hard to get the Libertarian Party to accept gay rights, according to the site. He spoke out strongly against the Dan White verdict in which White was found guilty of manslaughter and given a 7-year prison sentence for killing two prominent gay rights advocates, San Francisco mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. Justin reportedly believed that White should have been found guilty of first-degree murder.
In 1978, Justin went on to co-found the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus (LPRC), however, it disbanded in 1983, Antiwar.com said. In addition, shortly after Democratic US Senator Sam Nunn and other members of Congress moved to reinstate the military draft and draft registration in 1979, Justin worked to organize a number of anti-draft rallies that were held around the country.
5. People Are Responding to the News on Social Media
Washington editor Curt Mills shared a heartfelt message on Twitter, saying, “For someone manifestly antiwar, I’ve never met a bigger fighter.”
Host of the Bro History podcast Henry Szamota also shared a message, saying that Justin was an incredible journalist and “He will be greatly missed in a time that needs real journalism more than ever.”
Journalist Michael Tracey said that, although he could be “abrasive” and “crotchety,” Justin was an enjoyable internet debate companion.
Editor of CounterPunch Jeffrey St. Clair wrote that “A mighty voice for peace has gone silent.”