Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

One More Secession

UNITE-HERE has left the AFL-CIO, and what I want to know is whether the name of the union is being changed to UNITE-THERE. On Tuesday, the executive board of the 450,000-member union -- the product of a merger last year between UNITE (formerly the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees) and HERE (the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union) -- voted at a meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota, to leave the federation. UNITE-HERE joins the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), and the Teamsters in quitting the AFL-CIO -- defections that have now reduced the federation from 13 million members to 9 million. On September 27, those four unions, the Carpenters (which left the AFL-CIO four years ago), the Laborers, and the United Farm Workers, which are still federation members, will convene in St. Louis for a one-day founding convention of their own new federation, which has provisionally been called the...

Hasta La Vista, Popularity

SACRAMENTO -- The Arnold is on the stump again. California's embattled Gov. Schwarzenegger is careening around America's mega-state once more, a blur of Hummer fumes, cigar smoke and tanning-salon-run-amok orange glow, in a desperate attempt to save his floundering political career. The collapse of Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the marvels of current American politics. Unlike President Bush, he's not responsible for a war gone awry or a rescue effort that was totally botched. Which makes the governor's fall from grace all the more dramatic and, ultimately, inexplicable. As recently as February, a Field Poll showed that 56 percent of Californians were inclined to reelect the Governator for a second term in 2006, while just 42 percent were disinclined. Today those numbers have been flipped: In the new Field Poll, just 36 percent of Californians want to give Arnold a second term, while 56 percent don't. He trails the two announced Democratic candidates, who are almost as obscure as he...

The "Stuff Happens" Presidency

We're not number one. We're not even close. By which measures, precisely, do we lead the world? Caring for our countrymen? You jest. A first-class physical infrastructure? Tell that to New Orleans. Throwing so much money at the rich that we've got nothing left over to promote the general welfare? Now you're talking. The problem goes beyond the fact that we can't count on our government to be there for us in catastrophes. It's that a can't-do spirit, a shouldn't-do spirit, guides the men who run the nation. Consider the congressional testimony of Joe Allbaugh, George W. Bush's 2000 campaign manager, who assumed the top position at FEMA in 2001. He characterized the organization as "an oversized entitlement program," and counseled states and cities to rely instead on "faith-based organizations . . . like the Salvation Army and the Mennonite Disaster Service." Is it any surprise, then, that the administration's response to the devastation in New Orleans is of a piece with its response to...

The Backward March Of Wisdom

What I want to know is, who walked the Earth first: the dinosaurs or Strom Thurmond? It seems that the advocates of fast-forward "intelligent design" -- the folks who, by totaling up the biblical begats, believe that the universe was created in 4004 B.C. -- are erecting mini-theme-parks that feature secondhand dinosaur sculptures they've acquired in their scavengings. By putting such Tyrannosaurus Wrecks on display, they mean to prove to the public that people and dinosaurs once roamed the world together, just as their biblical time-clock and that old Raquel Welch movie clearly demonstrated. Silly stuff, certainly, but at the rate we're going, it may make it into the 2008 or 2012 Republican platform. Now that the president has endorsed intelligent design, the social conservatives and religious zealots who constitute an ever larger and louder wing of the Republican base have been emboldened in their crusades for fundamentalist values and against any science whose findings and methods...

Globalism for the Rest of Us

A mere 157 years and six months after two European political philosophers concluded a pamphlet with the words “Workers of the world, unite,” it may actually be beginning to happen. Last Thursday, August 25, a number of unions from around the world came to Chicago to announce that they are forming a new alliance that will fund and coordinate the organizing campaigns of janitors and security guards in (initially) India, Poland, Holland, Germany, South Africa, and the United States. As recently as two years ago, it was unlikely that any labor-force futurologist would have predicted that the first de facto global union would consist of the people who guard and clean office buildings and factories. But in the past couple of years, cleaning and security contractors from all over the planet have been purchased by a handful of chiefly European-based multinationals. The two largest -- Securitas, based in Sweden, and Group 4 Securicor, a British-Danish amalgam -- employ 600,000 workers between...

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