Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is the executive editor of The American ProspectHis email is hmeyerson@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

The Life and Times of Otis Chandler

In the middle of the past century, Los Angeles was both America's fastest-growing big city and a tight little town. Every year, miles of farmland were transformed into housing tracts for the immigrants who'd come west to work in the aerospace and auto plants and studios. And the immigrants weren't coming predominantly from the Midwest anymore; the new Angelenos included Jews from New York, African Americans from the South and Democrats from all over. The people who ran the town were anything but thrilled by their new neighbors. A self-appointed committee of Republican businessmen vetted elected officials and fretted about the liberals in their midst. The police department treated blacks, Latinos and the occasional Democrat as enemy aliens. And the city's main newspaper, at first glance, seemed the adjunct of the right wing of the Republican Party. On closer inspection, it was the other way around: California conservatism, and its Republican standard-bearers, were the creation of the...

Wanna Buy a Port?

We're selling our harbors to an Arab government. Our biggest Internet companies are complicit in the Chinese government's censorship of information and suppression of dissidents. Welcome to American capitalism in the age of globalization. Here the market rules. National security and freedom of speech are all well and good, but they are distinctly secondary concerns when they bump up against our highest national purpose, which is maximizing shareholder value. This is a uniquely American value. Other nations designate certain industries as too strategic to ship abroad or sell to foreign interests. Only in the United States is the corporation answerable only to its shareholders -- not to its employees, its host communities, its home nation. It wasn't always this way, of course: In the decades following World War II, you could speak, without undue smirking, about corporate responsibility. A sense of national solidarity, high rates of unionization, and a labor force that did not extend...

Doing Good Jobs, But Losing Them

WIXOM, Mich. -- From the outside, the Ford assembly plant here, about 40 minutes west of Detroit, isn't much to look at -- a sprawling, bland mid-1950s monument to an architecturally forgettable decade. On the inside, though, Wixom is a thing of beauty, a marvel of American production. Most auto factories turn out the same basic car, though at the end of the line different grillwork and a different name may be slapped on in a desperate attempt at brand differentiation. At Wixom, three fundamentally different kinds of cars rolled off the line simultaneously. Working in small groups that are directly responsible for the cars they turn out, Wixom's employees simultaneously built cars with front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive, convertibles, sports cars, luxury vehicles, even cars with the steering wheel on the right for foreign markets. "No other plant built three different cars at the same time," says Dave Berry, president of the plant's United Auto Workers local. Some years ago Ford...

NAFTA and Nativism

Everybody talks about globalization; nobody ever does anything about it. The world labor market looms over every horizon with its promise of cheaper goods and lower pay. The public is skeptical, rightly, about the benefits of globalization, but the process of harnessing it, of writing enforceable rules that would benefit not just investors but most of our citizens, is hard to even conceive. And so globalization is experienced by many Americans as a loss of control. Manufacturing moves to China, engineering to India; que sera, sera. Except on our borders. With the number of immigrants illegally in the United States estimated at 11 million, the tensions between Americans and Mexicans -- chiefly, working-class Americans and working-class Mexicans -- are rising. And those are tensions that congressional Republicans, who don't look to have a lot of other issues they can run on this fall, are eager to stoke. In December the House approved a bill by Judiciary Committee Chairman James...

Republican Wedge Issues, 2006 Edition

Old lies die hard. We grow inured to the administration's howlers in defense of its Iraq policy, so much so that the preposterous case the president made in his State of the Union address for our continued presence in Iraq went almost unnoticed. But he actually said this: "A sudden withdrawal of our forces from Iraq would abandon our Iraqi allies to death and prison, [and] would put men like bin Laden and Zarqawi in charge of a strategic country. . . ." Is there one person anywhere inside the administration who really believes that Abu Musab Zarqawi's murderous band of outsiders would emerge as rulers over the vastly larger and very well-armed Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish legions if we pulled out? The same band of outsiders that tried to stop the Sunnis from voting in December's parliamentary election and held their turnout down, in some provinces, to a mere 90 percent? We've heard this one before. Before the war, the president told us that Saddam Hussein was an ally and co-conspirator...

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