Weekly Featured Prof ile – 03/16/12 – Har old Meyerson

By: Trevor Loudon

Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is an op-ed columnist for the Washington Post and from 1989-2001 worked as Executive Editor and Political Editor of the LA Weekly. He is considered one of the most astute commentators on Los Angeles politics. Meyerson is also a long-time Vice-Chair of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the largest socialist organization in the United States.
Who is this journalist and what is the extent of his involvement with the U.S. Left? With parents belonging to Norman Thomas’ Socialist Party USA, Meyerson received an early introduction to Socialism. By 1968, at age 18, the young Meyerson was working as an aide to the Soviet-connected Senator Eugene McCarthy. His involvement with the DSA began around the early 1980s when he was listed as an at-large Los Angeles Council member for the organization. In 1983, he was a delegate to a DSA Conference in NYC. Alongside leftist leaders Michael Harrington, Cornel West, Barbara Ehrenreich and others, Meyerson spoke at the DSA’s second National Convention held in Berkeley, CA. By 1993, he was listed as a “key” California DSA contact. In a March 1998 internal memo, Los Angeles DSA leader Steve Tarzynski listed himself, Stanley Sheinbaum, Mike Davis, Meyerson and others who he thought should “gather periodically to theorize/strategize about how to rebuild a progressive movement in our metropolitan area that could challenge for power.”
But Meyerson has not only been heavily involved in the DSA. In 1982, he was a committee member of the Socialist Community School in Los Angeles. In 1996 alongside Robert Borosage, Frances Fox Piven and others, he was one of the original 130 founders of Campaign for America’s Future. Circa 2002, he served on the Advisory board of the DSA-dominated Progressive Los Angeles Network. In 2009, he was a member of the Editorial board of the DSA-aligned Dissent Magazine and also Editor-at-Large of The American Prospect. In 2010, he spoke alongside Barbara Ehrenreich; Christopher Hayes, the Washington Editor of The Nation; Gerry Hudson, Executive Vice-President of the SEIU; Liz Shuler, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO and others at a Dissent Magazine-sponsored seminar entitled, “Labor, the Left and Progressives in the Obama Era” in Washington, D.C.

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1 Response to Weekly Featured Prof ile – 03/16/12 – Har old Meyerson

  1. A bit off point, but I can recall having been in the audiences to hear two great public speakers. One was William F. Buckley and the other was Norman Thomas, the latter mentioned in the article. I remember pretty well what Mr. Buckley said. The Yale Political Union was to debate whether Gus Hall, the head of the American Communist Party, should be allowed to address the union. Mr. Buckley keynoted the debate and the force of his words seems to have turned the union around; unexpectedly, the vote was not to invite Mr. Hall. That was in 1962.

    I do not remember what Mr. Thomas had to say; I do remember how he said it. He was then (probably in 1964 or 1965) very old, nearly blind, and had to be led to the rostrum. When he spoke, however, all signs of his old age seemed to vanish. He still had a loud and booming but pleasing voice. He delivered his address standing up and leaning only slightly against the rostrum. It struck me then that his personal magnetism had played a large role in whatever successes he may have had.

    The opportunity never arose, but I would have relished an opportunity to hear Messrs Buckley and Thomas debate just about anything. Both would have done well but Mr. Buckley would have demolished Mr. Thomas as to matters involving thought.


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