Harris Gruman

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Harris Gruman

Harris Gruman is a Boston based socialist activist.

Colorado activism

In 1995 Harris Gruman was a Staff Organizer for the Colorado Coalition for Single Payer. He was also a co-founder and the Secretary of Colorado Democratic Socialists of America.[1]

Mass-Care connection

In 1995, Boston Democratic Socialists of America heard DSA National Director Alan Charney at an August "retreat and radical Bar-B-Q" at the home of Democratic State Representative Jim Marzilli in Arlington. Charney worked with local leaders to develop a strategic plan for the local's work.

That plan "will certainly include continued participation" in MASS-CARE, the coalition for a state singlepayer health care plan for Massachusetts. Harris Gruman, a co-founder of Colorado DSA, recently joined MASS-CARE's staff.[2]

Neighbor to Neighbor


In 1996 Gruman was an organizer for Massachusetts Neighbor to Neighbor.

Democratic Socialists of America

In 2000 Gruman was Boston contact for Democratic Socialists of America[3].

DSA meeting

On Thursday, January 25, 2001 a forum on the lessons to be drawn from the recent elections followed an "important Boston DSA members meeting", at the Workmen’s Circle 1762 Beacon St., Brookline Speakers included;[4]

Boston DSA chair

In 2001 Harris Gruman was Chair of Boston DSA and Campaigns Director for Neighbor to Neighbor.[5]

2001 Boston DSA executive

Boston Democratic Socialists of America members met January 2001 to elect an Executive Board for another year and discuss political priorities. All current members were re-elected with the exception of Harris Gruman, who declined another term as Chair to focus on his new position as Director of Massachusetts Neighbor to Neighbor. Former DSA National Director Jack Clark "will replace Harris as Chair". Returning E Board members included David Knuttunen, Martha Older, Vic Bloomberg, Jack Bray and Barry Hart. David Keil and Mike Pattberg were also re-elected Yankee Radical editors; so was Joe Morgan as Treasurer Emeritus. In addition, two new recruits were “drafted,” Allen Graubard and Adele Greenberg.[6]

Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Awards Reception

Boston Democratic Socialists of America presents awards annually in memory of Eugene V. Debs, Norman Thomas, Julius Bernstein and Michael Harrington.


On June 12, 2001, Harris Gruman 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.[7][8]


The Awards Committee in 2002 consisted of:

Barbara Ackerman, Doug Butler, Kathy Casavant, DSA Executive Board, Harris Gruman, Julie Johnson, Eleanor LeCain, Rep. Jim Marzilli, Judy Meredith, Marcia Peters, Ald. Denise Provost, Rep. Byron Rushing, Rep. Frank I. Smizik, Jim St. George[9]


On September 24, 2006, Boston Democratic Socialists of America presented its annual Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Award to "our longtime comrade, Director of Massachusetts Neighbor to Neighbor Harris Gruman". Hosted by former Neighbor to Neighbor Director John Maher and Co-Chaired by Senator Pat Jehlen and MA AFL-CIO Vice President Ed Collins, the event was also a fundraiser for both Boston DSA and the Mass Alliance Some Alliance endorsed candidates were among the attendees, including Denise Provost, Jarrett Barrios, Willie Mae Allen, Claire Naughton and Will Brownsberger. Political Director Georgia Hollister Isman explained how the Mass Alliance helps elect progressives to the MA legislature, and introduced some of the candidates.

Pat Jehlen and John Mayer noted how Harris combines the skills and abilities of an ace precinct captain and shrewd political strategist with a vast knowledge of the more obscure Austria, Italy, which undoubtably comes in handy on the campaign trail.

Hosts were John Maher and Ellen Sarkisian, "perennial" MC was Julie Johnson of the Mass Teachers Association and DSA, primary organizers were Susan Davidoff and Mike Pattberg.[10]


On June 30, 2009, Boston Democratic Socialists of America presented its annual Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Award to Professor, author, and health care reformer Rashi Fein, along with the winners of a union election at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, accepted by Sonia Marshall, the key organizer of the campaign. Sheila Decter of the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action presented the award to Rashi Fein. The event was held at the home of Marcia Peters and David Karaus. Mike Fadel of SEIU Local 1199 (formerly Boston DSA staff person) and the AFSCME-affiliated New England Organizing Project were benefactors of the event.[11][12]

Harris Gruman was a supporter of the event.

Boston DSA post election 2004 forum

On November 19, 2004 Boston DSA held a post election 2004 forum at the Community Church, 565 Boylston St. Speakers were;

  • Holly Sklar, a long time activist and author whose works include Raise The Floor: Wages and Policies That Work For All of Us; Streets of Hope The Fall and Rise of an Urban Neighborhood (about Roxbury's Dudley Street Initiative); and Trilateralism: The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management,which foretold the global corporate economy long before globalization was a buzzword. She has also written for Z Magazine, The Nation and USA Today,and is a consultant for United for a Fair Economy.
  • Michael Hirsch, a labor journalist and union staffer who is a member of the National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America, the editorial committee of Democratic Left, and the editorial board of the journal New Politics. In the 1970s he was a member of International Socialists and active with the United Steelworkers Union in Gary, Indiana through 1985.
  • Harris Gruman, has headed DSA locals in Boulder, CO, Baltimore, MD, and Boston, MA. He is now Director of Massachusetts Neighbor to Neighbor, which organizes low income urban neighborhoods on economic justice issues and has focused its electoral work on the state legislature and , since August, pro-Kerry swing state phone banking.[13]

DSA Labor Committee

In February 2009 Boston Democratic Socialists of America sponsored a forum on the Employee Free Choice Act with DSA Vice-Chair Elaine Bernard, MA SEIU Political Director Harris Gruman and Steve Schnapp from United for a Fair Economy before about 40 people. Out of that meeting a DSA Labor Committee emerged, organized by David Duhalde with several non-members, working to build support for EFCA. The group has been joining with Jobs with Justice and tenant groups to publicize other issues related to the economic crisis.[14]

Stop the Cuts Coalition

On April 27th 2009, Massachusetts the Stop the Cuts Coalition rallied at the State House to protest the deep budget cutbacks proposed in the FY10 budget, and to urge the MA legislature to raise new revenue to offset them. At the April 27th event, facilitated by Stop the Cuts chair and SEIU Political Director Harris Gruman, Mayor Joe Curtatone of Somerville spoke about the dire consequences of the budget cuts to localities like Somerville that would cause lay offs to police, fire fighters, and teachers. Rich Rogers of the Greater Boston Labor Council also spoke about the larger economic crisis and urged the state to preserve jobs by raising new revenue.[15]

Campaign for Our Communities

The Campaign for Our Communities, was a 2012 Massachusetts organization seeking progressive tax reform to raise at least $1 billion in new revenue to partially address the state’s $2 billion shortfall.

The organization's our model legislative initiative being “An Act to Invest in Our Communities” (sponsored by Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and Rep. James O'Day.[16]

Our goal is to continue to build a broad coalition of communities, businesspeople, and labor to mobilize to preserve our essential services in a fair and balanced way.

The campaign's contacts were Harris Gruman of SEIU, and Rebekah Gewirtz.[17]

Tax Day forum

Saturday, April 12 2014, a Tax Day Forum was held in Boston's Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St., with speakers: Mel King,Congresswoman Katherine Clark, Congressman Jim McGovern, Harris Gruman SEIU, Carolyn Federoff AFGE, Local 3258, Lew Finfer Raise Up Mass., Rep. Jay Livingstone, Grace Ross, Tilly Teixeira MA Senior Action, Joe Kebartas Veterans For Peace, Joann Thomas & Alan Booth MAHT, Amy Tighe 350MA, Andrew Fish Mass PIRG, Nathan Proctor Mass Fair Share, Ed Woll, Jr. MA Sierra Club, M.K. Merelice Green Rainbow, Dr. Richard Fine Medical Researcher, Robert Folan-Johnson ACT UP, Phyllis Evans NEU4J, Michael Kane National Alliance of HUD Tenants and other community leaders, all of whom will join people directly impacted by budget decisions.

A framework for action included a diverse set of initiatives, including immediate measures like collecting signatures for the Raise Up Massachusetts minimum wage and earned sick time ballot initiatives, as championed by Harris Gruman of the SEIU State Council, to medium-term measures like lobbying the six Massachusetts congressmen who voted NO to the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ Better Off Budget last week, as championed by Michael Kane, to more long-term initiatives like proposals to wipe out childhood poverty in Massachusetts, as championed by gubernatorial candidate Don Berwick.[18]

Toward Radical Democracy

Toward Radical Democracy was a 2018 "Proposal for Internal Voting Reform in Boston DSA".

If you would like to sign on in support of this proposal, please click here. To date, over 100 members of Boston DSA have endorsed it. We also welcome support from DSA comrades in other chapters.

Signatories included Harris Gruman.