Kurt Stand was for many years part of the trade union movement as a rank-and-file member, staff worker and officer. This includes service as the elected North American Regional Secretary of the Geneva-based International Union of Food and Allied Workers. During the 1980s he was active in the DC-area local Rainbow labor committee, in labor anti-apartheid campaigns, in El Salvador and Guatemalan labor solidarity committees and in the DSA national labor commission. An active member of socialist organizations, including the YWLL in the 1970s, he joined DSA in 1983 and served in its local and national leadership up through 1997.
From 1997 through 2012, Stand was imprisoned on national security/espionage charges because of his support for the German Democratic Republic. Since his return home he has become active in Progressive Cheverly (in Maryland), and in the Metro DC DSA. He serves on the steering committee of DC Jobs with Justice and is a participant in the National Homecomers Academy (a local DC organization of community activists comprised of people returning home from prison).