Fred Hiatt, the Washington Post’s editorial page editor, has fired columnist Harold Meyerson, one of the nation’s finest journalists and perhaps the only self-proclaimed socialist to write a weekly column for a major American newspaper during the past decade or two.
At a time when America is experiencing an upsurge of progressive organizing and activism — from Occupy Wall Street, to Black Lives Matter, to the growing movement among low-wage workers demanding higher minimum wages, to Bernie Sanders’ campaign for president — we need a regular columnist who can explain what’s going on, why it’s happening, and what it means.
More than any other columnist for a major U.S. newspaper, Meyerson provided ongoing coverage and incisive analysis of the nation’s labor movement and other progressive causes as well as the changing economy and the increasing aggressiveness of big business in American politics. He was one of the few columnists in the country who knew labor leaders and grassroots activists by name,
Sunday’s extreme heat didn’t prevent some 200-plus Angelenos from gathering in the Ann and John Nickoll Family Sanctuary at Temple Isaiah for an informal economic summit. The audience for this Westside event, partly sponsored by Bend the Arc, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, included District 5 Councilman Paul Koretz.
The crowd saw a screening of economist Robert Reich’s 2013 film Inequality for All. Narrated by Reich, this documentary provides some of the most incisive analyses of the causes of the income gap yet found in the popular media. The film is recommended viewing for anyone wanting to learn how the American middle class has become an endangered species.
But many in the audience had already seen the film and after the lights came up emcee Serena Zeise brought out the guest speaker and Reich friend, Harold Meyerson. The affable yet acerbic Myerson is a native son of Los Angeles who years ago moved east to become a Washington Post columnist and American Prospect editor-at-large.
In this uncertain post-recession era, economic inequality seems to be the only thing you can count on being in full supply. It’s certainly a subject that’s increasingly on people’s lips – thanks in no small part to Jacob Kornbluth’s 2013 documentary, Inequality for All. The film, wryly narrated by economist Robert Reich, lays out Reich’s astute perspective on how our country has arrived at the point where 400 Americans own more wealth than the entire bottom half of the country combined.
Sunday the Southern California Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union will screen Inequality for All, an event that will serve as a refresher course for some and an eye-opener for others who have not seen the film. Afterwards, Harold Meyerson, American Prospect editor-at-large and Washington Post columnist, will offer his always lively insights into what’s happened since the documentary’s premier, along with a discussion of commercial property tax reform.
Check out this handy collection of American Prospect stories on the state of labor and the labor movement in the U.S. The anthology, The Good Fight, can be browsed online or downloaded for offline reading.
It features pieces by Robert Kuttner, Tracy McMillan, Josh Eidelson and Harold Meyerson — including Meyerson’s recent profile of the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, “L.A. Story.”
Perfect reading for this Labor Day weekend!