Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is the editor-at-large at The American Prospect and a columnist for The Washington Post. His email is hmeyerson@prospect.org

Recent Articles

Future of the Past

At first glance, it looked to be a triumph of the human spirit. There, at a joint news conference last week in Jerusalem, stood the patriarchs of the rival faiths of the Middle East -- Israel's chief rabbis, the deputy mufti of Jerusalem, leaders of the Catholic and Armenian churches -- Jews, Muslims, and Christians, together at last. And the cause that had united them? A gay pride festival scheduled for August in Jerusalem. The leaders of religious orthodoxy had come together to help ban the festival. Interreligious harmony reigned as historic enmities gave way to a common loathing of homosexuals. We have seen the future of the past. The photograph of the clerics that ran in the newspapers may some day be viewed as an artifact of the founding of the Orthodox International. Globalization is bringing modernization and the demand for equality to the doorsteps of the most traditionalist societies and enclaves. Orthodox faiths are not accustomed to interreligious cooperation -- there is...

Free Trade, Drug-Free

Spreading democracy is one thing. But do we really want America to be known for spreading the pricing practices of our drug companies? In Guatemala, the United States has become the sales rep for the pharmaceutical industry. Citing urgent public health concerns, the Guatemalan legislature enacted a law last year that permitted the marketing of generic drugs alongside their brand-name equivalents. Citing the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), whose ratification congressional committees will begin to consider next week, the U.S. trade representative then told the Guatemalans that any such drug legislation would stop CAFTA dead in its tracks. If the five Central American nations (plus the Dominican Republic) that had signed CAFTA wanted it ratified, Guatemala would have to repeal the new law. Reluctantly, Guatemala obliged. Though the rules laid down by the World Trade Organization permit generic competition, CAFTA imposes a five- to10-year waiting period on generic...

Labor War in Illinois

For a while last week, Illinois was home to the kind of union-against-union labor war that America hasn't seen since American Federation of Labor (AFL) unions and Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) unions used to clobber each other while fighting for new members, in the days before the two federations merged 50 years ago. Hundreds of organizers from both the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) were pounding on doors in rival efforts to persuade the state's 48,000 child-care workers to vote to join their respective unions. What made the campaign exceptional, however, was that the SEIU was able to enlist hundreds of additional organizers from other unions to pound the pavement on its behalf. “We had almost 200 organizers today from the UFCW [United Food and Commercial Workers], the Teamsters, and UNITE HERE [formerly the Union of Needletrades, Textiles and Industrial Employees and the Hotel...

Target of Opportunism

For Tom DeLay, Terri Schiavo came along just in the nick of time. "One thing that God brought to us is Terri Schiavo, to help elevate the visibility of what is going on in America," DeLay told a group of Christian conservatives last Friday. And what, exactly, is going on in the United States? "Attacks against the conservative movement, against me and against many others," DeLay told his flock. So God has now thrown in with DeLay in his efforts to pack the House ethics committee with his allies so that he no longer need be the subject of the scrutiny and censure of his peers. I don't think this is what Martin Buber meant when he referred to an "I-Thou" relationship with the Lord, but I could be mistaken. For Bill Frist, Terri Schiavo came along at an opportune moment. After inspecting some videotapes made by her parents, the doctor announced that the examinations by court-appointed physicians were erroneous in concluding that Schiavo has been in a persistent vegetative state for the...

Labor Intense

LAS VEGAS -- “I think John Sweeney's administration is rhetorically prepared to embrace any and all proposals for change to stay in power,” one of American labor's dissident leaders told me in January. “If John Sweeney is re-elected, he's out of gas. Nothing is going to change over there” at the AFL-CIO, and American labor's, headquarters, where Sweeney has been president since 1995 and where he is up for re-election in July. “This should all be clearer,” the leader continued, “by Vegas.” Vegas -- the executive-council meeting of the federation held from March 1–3 in Las Vegas -- has come and gone, and while some things are clearer, others are murkier, and most everything is grimmer. Las Vegas marked the moment when the federation had to confront the dissidents in its midst -- chiefly, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Teamsters, and UNITE HERE (clothing and hotel workers). The dissidents, fed up with the federation's poor growth since Sweeney took over, were...

Pages