Saul Mendelson

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Saul Mendelson

Template:TOCnestleft Saul Mendelson was a Chicago based socialist. He died March 13 1998.

Early activism

Saul Mendelson joined the Socialist movement at the age of 18, eventually chairing the University of Chicago Socialist Club.

In 1948 Bernie Karsh and Saul Mendelson were contributors[1]to the Chicago University Politics Club magazine Student Partisan.

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.[2]

Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights

In November 1967, Saul Mendelson signed a Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights advertisement in the Hyde Park-Kenwood Voices opposing efforts by Senator Dirksen to re-institute the McCarran Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950.[3]

Obama connection

Saul Mendelson, Barack Obama


Saul Mendelson taught at DuSable High School and was a member and leader of the American Federation of Teachers.

Mendelson fought for collective bargaining for public employees and was the vice-president of the Chicago Teachers Union High School Division when the first collective bargaining contract was achieved. He became a professor at Loop College (now Harold Washington College) and were its union chair from 1969 to 1986 in the Cook County College Local. Five of the times the union went on strike, Mendelson was the chapter's strike committee chair.

Civil rights

Saul Mendelson fought in the civil rights struggles with the NAACP, with CORE and with the Negro American Labor Council.

Supporting Timuel Black


In the late 1970s Harold Rogers served on a "Citizen's Committee" supporting Timuel Black's unsuccessful campaign for State Representative in the 22nd District.

The "Citizen's Committee" included "former" communist Charles Hayes, radical journalist Don Rose, socialist Chicago Alderman Leon Despres, future Democratic Socialists of America members members Saul Mendelson, Danny Davis and Milt Cohen (another former communist).

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 Saul Mendelson.[4]

DSA Conference delegate

In 1983 Saul Mendelson was a Chicago delegate to the Democratic Socialists of America conference in New York City, October 14-16, 1983[5]

Electoral politics

Mendelson was active in reform politics in Chicago, especially the campaigns for Harold Washington.

He was an area coordinator[6]in all stages of the 1983 and 1987 mayoral victories of Harold Washington and in the Charles Hayes Congressional campaigns.

The 1988 Democratic Party Convention was Mendelson's third- he traveled to Atlanta as a Second Congressional District delegate for Jesse Jackson.

Mendelson ran for State Senator in 1970 and was the foreign policy specialist for the Americans for Democratic Action. He served on the national board of the Americans for Democratic Action from 1966 until his death.

Debs Dinner founder

Saul Mendelson was a co-founder[7]of the Chicago Debs Dinner in 1958. He was its treasurer for the first ten years and worked diligently to make it a success for 39 years. Saul Memndelson received the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America Thomas - Debs Award in 1988.


In 1981 Saul Mendelson was on the Board of Directors of Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization[8].

For years, Saul Mendelson was chair[9] of the state IVI-IPO and later was chair of the South Side . It was possibly through IVI-IPO that Mendelson met Barack Obama who spoke at his memorial service.



  1. Chicago Maroon Feb 20 1948
  2. TYR, April/May 2013]
  3. Hyde Park-Kenwood Voices, Nov. 1967
  4. Hyde Park Herald April 6, 1983, page 8
  5. DSA Conference delegate list Oct. 12 1983 update
  8. IVI-IPO Letterhead July 23 1981