Mel Rothenberg

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Template:TOCnestleft Melvin Rothenberg is a Chicago socialist. Mel Rothenberg’s radical activism goes back to membership in Chicago Friends of SNCC in the early 1960s. He is currently on the editorial board of Science and Society as well as being an active participant in the Chicago Political Economy Group.[1]

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 Melvin Rothenberg.[2]

LOM Contributing editor

In 1980, contributing editors to Line of March were Tom Angotti, Fran Beal, Ralph Beitel, William Bollinger, Dale Borgeson, Jim Dann, Michael Downing, Cam Duncan, James Early, Phil Gardiner, Steve Hamilton, Fred Lass, Dan Lund, Jan Newton, Tim Patterson, Mel Rothenberg, Ann Schwartz, Albert Szymanski.[3]

In March 1981, contributing editors to Line of March were Tom Angotti, Fran Beal, Ralph Beitel, William Bollinger, , Jim Dann, Hari Dillon, Michael Downing, Cam Duncan, James Early, Phil Gardiner, Steve Hamilton, Fred Lass, Dan Lund, Marian McDonald, Al McSurely, Jan Newton, Tim Patterson, Margery Rosnick, Mel Rothenberg, Ann Schwartz, Albert Szymanski, Cathi Tactaquin, Mike Withey.[4]


In the early 1980s Michael Goldfield and Mel Rothenberg wrote a booklet for Line of March publications entitled "A Marxist Critique of theories of capitalist restoration in the USSR".

Harold Washington for Mayor of Chicago

Circa late 1982, members of the Citizens Committee/Harold Washington for Mayor of Chicago (in formation) included Mel Rothenberg.[5]

College Professors for Washington

In 1982 Melvin Rothenberg was one of more than 100 Chicago academics, signing an open letter to the voters of Chicago endorsing the mayoral candidacy of Harold Washington.[6]

Salute to Harold Washington

On April 6, 1983, the Hyde Park Herald published an endorsement from the Hyde Park/Kenwood Citizens Committee of Democratic Party Chicago mayoral candidate Harold Washington. Signatories to the endorsement included Melvin Rothenberg and Marcia Rothenberg.[7]


In the mid 1990s Mel Rothenberg was[8]a contributing editor to Oakland based Institute for Social and Economic Studies- sponsor of CrossRoads magazine, which sought to promote dialogue and building new alliances among progressives and leftists... and to bring diverse Marxist and socialist traditions to bear while exploring new strategies and directions for the progressive political movements.

Committees of Correspondence

On February 26 1994 a Midwest Regional Meeting of Committees of Correspondence was held at West Lafayette Indiana.

Participants included Mel Rothenberg, Chicago.[9]

Supporting Committees of Correspondence

In 1994 Mel Rothenberg, Chicago was listed on a "Membership, Subscription and Mailing List" for the Chicago Committees of Correspondence, an offshoot of the Communist Party USA.[10]

In 1995 Mel Rothenberg was listed[11] as one of the "CoC members and friends" donating to Committees of Correspondence. He contributed $25.

Socialists Urge End of Fragmentation


96-06-26 an email was sent from David McReynolds and several other socialists, headed "Socialists Urge End of Fragmentation"

The following open letter has been sent to the organizations listed below.
The letter was drafted by Ethan Young, who has been connected with Crossroads, in consultation with a number of concerned individuals in all of the groups listed.
David McReynolds, member, Socialist Party USA, New York City, June 26, 1996

To: The National Convention of the Committees of Correspondence

As members of the groups listed above, we have joined together out of concern for the future of the organized socialist left. We have two concrete proposals that are being submitted to all of our groups simultaneously, so that they might be discussed and, if accepted, acted on as soon as possible.
1. We propose that joint regional meetings of our six groups be organized for members and invited individuals, as outlined in the June 1996 issue of CROSSROADS.
2. We propose that organizing begin immediately for a national conference of socialist youth in Fall 1997, initiated by the youth members and affiliates of the six groups, but open to co-sponsorship by other agreed-upon groups and individuals.

Open Letter to Obama on Iran

In 2008 Melvin Rothenberg, Professor Emeritus University of Chicago, IL signed an online petition “A Open Letter to Barack Obama on Iran”.[12]

"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.

Mel Rothenberg of the University of Chicago signed the statement.[13]

Chicago Political Economy Group

In 2009 Chicago Political Economy Group members included Bill Barclay, Ron Baiman, Sidney Hollander, Haydar Kurban, Joe Persky, Elce Redmond and Mel Rothenberg[14].

"Obama Year One"

Saturday, February 20, 2010 at Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan, Room 232, Chicago, a forum was held 'Obama Year One."

In the aftermath of the historic 2008 elections and in the midst of the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression, activists and progressives from across movements came together to push for a new New Deal. The new political and economic realities created new opportunities to mobilize for progressive changes including ending wars and militarism; promoting workers' rights; reforming healthcare; and developing economic policies that promote jobs and communities instead of corporate profits. There have been both advances and setbacks in these struggles. One year later, it's time to take stock of lessons learned, evaluate strategic goals, and plan for future campaigns. Join leaders of the labor, peace, immigrant rights, healthcare reform, and economic justice movements in assessing the past year and current political conditions to determine ways we can work together towards progressive change.

The panel included:



  1. [1]
  2. Hyde Park-Kenwood Voices, January 16 1969, page 4
  3. LOM, Vol 1,No 2, July Aug. 1980 p 2
  4. LOM, Vol 1,No 6, May/June 1981 p 2
  5. Undated circa late 1982, HWAC Mayoral Campaign Records, Box 5, Folder 1
  6. Committee to Elect Harold Washington Camp Leaflet, 1982
  7. Hyde Park Herald April 6, 1983, page 8
  8. Crossroads March 1996
  9. COC Midwest Regional Meeting running sheet
  10. Chicago CoC "Membership, Subscription and Mailing List" 10.14.94
  11. CoC Corresponder Vol4 No 5 p3
  12. Open Letter to Obama on Iran
  13. Liberal Education website: Bill Ayers supporters
  15. New Ground 128, Jan./Feb. 2008