Deborah Meier

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Deborah Meier

Deborah Meier is an educator (in NYC and Boston), author, and a founding leader of Democratic Socialists of America.[1]

She has been active for several decades in the civil-rights, anti-war, and women's movements as well as in efforts for educational reform.


in 1954 Deborah Meier was a member of the newly formed Young Socialist League at the University of Chicago.[2]

Socialist Party

In the early 1960s, Deborah Meier was activein the Socialist Party USA in Chicago[3].

Independent Socialist League

Prominent members of the Independent Socialist League included Hal Draper and Ann Draper, Julius Jacobson and Phyllis Jacobson, Max Shachtman, Al Glotzer, Herman Benson, Gordon Haskell, Ernest Rice McKinney, Saul Mendelson, Deborah Meier, Don Chenoweth, Sam Bottone, Joe Friedman (Carter), Paul Bernick, Jack Rader, Carl Shier, Lewis Coser, Ernest Erber, Stanley Plastrik, Irving Howe, B.J. Widick.[4]

Hyde Park-Kenwood Voices

In January 1969, the Chicago radical newspaper, Hyde Park-Kenwood Voices, listed those who had helped produce its first 16 monthly issues as "writers, researchers, photographers, artists and clerical workers".

The list included Deborah Meier who was Contributing Editor.[5]

Democratic Agenda

More than 1,200 people attended the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee initiated Democratic Agenda Conference held November 16-18, 1979, at the International Inn and Metropolitan AM Church in Washington 1 DC. The conference focused on "corporate power'; as the key barrier to "economic and political democracy," concepts many Democratic Agenda participants defined as "socialism.'

The Democratic Agenda meetings attempted to develop anti-corporate alternatives" through influencing the direction of the Democratic Party during the period leading to the July 1980 Democratic National Convention in New York.

Workshops included "Corporate Pricing, Inflation and the Economy" - Deborah Meier, moderator; Leon Keyserling, Gar Alperovitz.[6]

Nicaragua trip

Deborah Meier and Rafael PiRoman visited Nicaragua early in 1983. They went as two of the three co-chairs of a delegation from the Democratic Socialists of America[7].

Although their trip was brief, they had unusual opportunities to interview numer-ous government officials and Sandinista leaders, as well as independent trade unionists and members of the political opposition...

They were guided by a Sandinista;

Our guide, who was a Sandinista, came into the meetings -the only meetings he joined us for were the meeting with La Prensa and the meeting with the opposition parties
We met for three hours with the secretary-general of the Central de Trabajadores Nicaraguenses (CTN), the central body of the opposition trade unions, and more briefly with the CTN executive committee...
The delegation and the DSA national board did, however, issue strong condemnations of covert American aid to anti-Sandinista military forces...

Paying tribute to Michael Harrington

Washington Socialist, September 1989, page 16

On Friday September 15, 1989, a tribute service was held to commemorate the recently deceased leader of Democratic Socialists of America, Michael Harrington.

Invited guest speakers were Irving Howe, Senator Edward Kennedy, Willy Brandt, Deborah Meier, Bogdan Denitch, Jack Clark and Eleanor Holmes Norton.[8]

Democratic Socialists of America

DSA founding conference

Deborah Meier, Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, spoke at the day one "Unity Session" of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee/New American Movement Unity Conference in Detroit March 21/22 1982, that resulted in the formation of Democratic Socialists of America[9].

As at 1990, Deborah Meier was a member of Democratic Socialists of America[10].

Debs-Thomas-Harrington Award

On June 24, 1993 New York City Democratic Socialists of America held its annual Debs-Thomas-Harrington awards dinner. Local 1199 president Dennis Rivera and DSA member Deborah Meier of the Central Park East Secondary School, received awards. Featured speakers included New York State Comptroller H. Carl McCall, Manhattan Borough President and DSA member Ruth Messinger and DSA honorary chair Cornel West. U.S. Rep. Nydia Velasquez, who was unable to attend because of Congressional commitments, sent greetings.[11]

Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Awards Reception


On June 12, 2001, Deborah Meier was a patron of the annual Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Awards reception which is hosted by Boston Democratic Socialists of America. The Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Award is presented to "leaders who fight for democracy, here at home and around the world". Ed Clark, Honorary Vice Chair of Democratic Socialists of America; and Communist Party USA-linked Dessima Williams received the Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Award, while DSAer John Maher received the Michael Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award. DSAer David Knuttunen; Boston-based "social justice" organization Neighbor to Neighbor; and In These Times members Abby Rockefeller and Lee Halprin were benefactors of the reception. The reception took place at the home of DSAer Marcia Peters and her husband David Karaus in Jamaica Plain.[12]


On June 13, 2002 Boston Democratic Socialists of America presented its 25th Annual Debs–Thomas–Bernstein Awards to "leaders who fight for democracy, here at home and around the world". State Representatives Pat Jehlen and Anne Paulsen, Co-Chairs of the Progressive Legislators Group received the award. Ellen Feingold, the earliest known recipient (1979) spoke on the history of the organization. David Knuttunen and Susan Davidoff were benefactors of the reception. Deborah Meier was a patron of the reception.[13]


On September 27, 2007, Boston Democratic Socialists of America presented its annual Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Award to couple Marie Kennedy and Chris Tilly, "two long-time champions of economic justice and grassroots democracy". The awards reception took place at the home of Marcia Peters and David Karaus. Honorary Co-Chairs for the event were Boston City Councilor Felix Arroyo and Elaine Bernard, Director of the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program. David Knuttunen MC'd the event, Carline Desire from the Association of Haitian Women in Boston presented the award, and East Boston State Rep candidate Gloribell Mota made a speech at the event.[14][15]

Deborah Meier was a patron of the event.

Saul Mendelson's funeral

Saul Mendelson

The Memorial Service for Chicago Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) member Saul Mendelson was held on Sunday, March 29, 1998, at the First Unitarian Church, Chicago[16].

The service was MC'd by a retired colleague, Bob Clark. Carl Shier of DSA, spoke first and was followed by Saul's friend Deborah Meier, "a MacArthur Genius Grant recipient who is now starting a new school in Boston". Amy Isaacs, National Director of the Americans for Democratic Action, spoke of what "Saul had meant on foreign affairs to the ADA".

Other speakers included Communist Party USA aligned Senator Carol Moseley Braun, Alderman Toni Preckwinkle, State SenatorBarack Obama, Illinois House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie and "a good friend from New York", Myra Russell.

The concluding remarks were made by an old friend, Harriet Lefley, a former Trotskyist with Saul Mendelson in the 1940s, who was then Professor of Psychology at the University of Miami Medical School.

Eulogies also came from Quinn Brisben, (Socialist Party USA presidential candidate 1976, 1992) and David McReynolds (Socialist Party USA presidential candidate 1980, 2000).

Both Brisben and McReynolds are also members of Democratic Socialists of America.

Memorial for Carl Shier

There was a memorial for Chicago Democratic Socialists of America leader Carl Shier at Weinstein Brothers in Wilmette on Friday, May 18. 2007, Despite the brief notice, hundreds attended. The current and past AFSCME Council 31 directors, Henry Bayer and Steve Culen, spoke. Deborah Meier and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky also shared their memories, as did two of Carl's nephews, Paul Blumberg and Dick Sard.[17]

Open Letter to Obama on Iran

In 2008 Deborah Meier, New York University of New York signed an online petition “A Open Letter to Barack Obama on Iran”.

Association for Union Democracy

In 2008 Deborah Meier was listed on the Advisory Board[18] for the Association for Union Democracy.

"Support Bill Ayers"

In October 2008, several thousand college professors, students and academic staff signed a statement ”Support Bill Ayers” in solidarity with former Weather Underground Organization terrorist Bill Ayers.

In the run up to the U.S. presidential elections, Ayers had come under considerable media scrutiny, sparked by his relationship to presidential candidate Barack Obama.

“We write to support our colleague Professor William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who is currently under determined and sustained political attack…

We, the undersigned, stand on the side of education as an enterprise devoted to human inquiry, enlightenment, and liberation. We oppose the demonization of Professor William Ayers.”

Debbie Meier of the New York University signed the statement.[19]

"Dissent" magazine

In 2009 the Democratic Socialists of America aligned Dissent Magazine masthead[20] Editorial Board members were;

Bernard Avishai, Joanne Barkan, David Bensman, Marshall Berman, Paul Berman , H Brand, David Bromwich, Luther Carpenter , Jean L Cohen, Mitchell Cohen, Bogdan Denitch , Jeff Faux, Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, Todd Gitlin, Murray Hausknecht, Agnes Heller, Jeffrey Isaac, Michael Kazin , Martin Kilson, Erazim Kohak, William Kornblum, Jeremy Larner, Susie Linfield, Kevin Mattson, Deborah Meier, Harold Meyerson, Nicolaus Mills , Jo-Ann Mort, Brian Morton, Carol O'Cleireacain, George Packer, Martin Peretz, Anson Rabinbach, Ruth Rosen, James Rule, Alan Ryan, Patricia Sexton, Jim Sleeper, Ann Snitow, Cornel West, Sean Wilentz, Dennis Wrong..

The Nation

In 2009, the Editorial board of The Nation[21] included Deborah Meier, Richard Falk, Deepak Bhargava, Norman Birnbaum, Barbara Ehrenreich, Frances FitzGerald, Eric Foner, Philip Green, Lani Guinier, Tom Hayden, Tony Kushner, Elinor Langer, Toni Morrison, Walter Mosley, Victor Navasky, Pedro Antonio Noguera, Richard Parker, Michael Pertschuk, Elizabeth Pochoda, Marcus Raskin, Kristina Rizga, Andrea Batista Schlesinger, David Weir and Roger Wilkins. Jon Bloom

New Politics

As of 2009 Deborah Meier served as a sponsor of New Politics, magazine almost completely staffed and run by members of Democratic Socialists of America[22].

DSA 2016 leadership

The 2016-17 Democratic Socialists of America National Political Committee elected members are: Jared Abbott, Hope Adair, Theresa Alt, David Green, Jose Gutierrez, Elizabeth Henderson, Frank Llewellyn, Sean Monahan, Simone Morgen, Brandon Payton-Carrillo, Joseph Schwartz, Peg Strobel and Russell Weiss-Irwin. The convention also voted to add two new honorary vice chairs: Deborah Meier and Bhaskar Sunkara. [23]

Stand with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

We Stand with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a 2018 letter signed by several Democratic Socialists of America members mainly from the DSA North Star in response to attacks on Ocasio-Cortez over remarks she made on Palestine.

A recent petition circulated by some DSA members criticizes Ocasio-Cortez for supporting a two state solution to the Palestine-Israel question and not aligning with a long list of demands regarding Palestine and Israel. Should Ocasio-Cortez fail to agree with this list of demands, the petitioners are calling for DSA to revoke her endorsement. These attacks on Ocasio-Cortez have come despite the fact that she has staked out positions which will make her one of the strongest advocates of Palestinian rights and self-determination in Congress.
We stand with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The position she has taken on Israel and Palestine are principled stances, worthy of a democratic socialist, in its recognition of both Palestinian humanity and rights and Israeli humanity and rights. On this issue, as many, she will be a voice for the voiceless in Congress.

Signatures included Deborah Meier.[24]

DSA North Star


In 2018 Deborah Meier was an original signatory of the DSA North Star founding principles statement.

Endorsing Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams

The Case for Endorsing Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams (And How To Do It Strategically) was a letter Drafted by: Danya Lagos (CBK/Labor), and circulated among New York Democratic Socialists of America members in July 2018.[1]

CoSigners, as of July 23 2018 were: Deborah Meier.



  2. Chicago Maroon, April 2, 1954
  4. TYR, April/May 2013]
  5. Hyde Park-Kenwood Voices, January 16 1969, page 4
  6. Information Digest, December 14, 1979, page 370/371
  7. Perspectives on Nicaragua - I: The revolution & democracy: Commonweal Vol. 110 • April 1983 • No. 8
  8. Washington Socialist, September 1989, page 16
  9. Conference program brochure
  10. 8th Socialist Scholars Conference, April 6-8 1990, conference program
  11. Dem.Left, July/Aug. 1993, page 10]
  12. The Yankee Radical, June 2001, page 1
  13. The Yankee Radical, Sep./Oct. 2002
  14. TYR, Sep. 2007
  15. TYR, Jan. 2008
  16. Memorial Service program
  17. new ground 112, May/June 2007
  19. Liberal Education website: Bill Ayers supporters
  23. Dem Left, DSA Convention: New Strategy for a New Era Posted by Dsa on 11.18.15 Barbara Joye
  24. [1]