Tony Mazzocchi

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Anthony (Tony) Mazzocchi

Institute for Policy Studies

Anthony Mazzocchi was a memberof the Institute for Policy Studies 20th Anniversary Committee, which organized an April 5, 1983, reception at the National Building Museum, Washington DC attended by approximately 1,000 IPS staffers and former staff.[1]

Silkwood case

Tony Mazzocchi convinced Ronnie Eldridge, the editor of Ms. Magazine, to cover the Karen Silkwood story. Eldridge assigned B. J. Phillips, who wrote “The Case of Karen Silkwood” for the magazine in the spring of 1975. Mazzocchi also worked with Howard Kohn at Rolling Stone, who in March wrote a more provocative piece titled “The Nuclear Industry's Terrible Power and How It Silenced Karen Silkwood.” Barbara Newman did a March segment for National Public Radio, updating her December report.

The Ms. connection ignited two feminist organizers, Kitty Tucker and Sarah Nelson, from the National Organization for Women , to pick up the Silkwood story. “It would be terrific if the women's movement does something about this,” Mazzocchi told them.

Tucker and Nelson set up Supporters of Silkwood . They made November 13, 1975, Karen Silkwood Memorial Day, and put her front and center in NOW's “Stop Violence Against Women” campaign. They mobilized local chapters to write to their senators asking for a congressional investigation. They circulated petitions. They notified the local press and held rallies and candlelight parades in several cities to the cry of “Who Killed Karen Silkwood?” Their superb organizing, coupled with increasing interest in the women's movement, drew the media.

When NOW leaders visited the Justice Department in August 1975 to demand a thorough investigation of Silkwood's death, according to one account “nearly 100 reporters and TV crew members were waiting in the corridor and on the stone steps.”

The activists shepherded Silkwood's cause through congressional hearings and into a 1979 civil trial pleaded by Danny Sheehan, an idealistic young lawyer, and the more seasoned and famed attorney Gerry Spense. After the longest civil trial in Oklahoma history, the jury awarded Karen's father and children a $10.5 million verdict against Kerr-McGee.*

  • Kerr-McGee appealed, and in 1985 the Tenth Circuit Court ordered a new trial. Kerr-McGee then offered the family $1.38 million; the case was settled out of court .[2]

Socialist Scholars Conference 1990

The Socialist Scholars Conference 1990, held September 6-8, at the Hotel Commodore, New York, included panels such as:[3]

International Labor Solidarity: Eastern Europe and Beyond

Backing Wellstone

In 1990, Bernard Rapoport got a call from Tony Mazzocchi–the Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers union official who was so disillusioned with the Democratic Party that he founded a Labor Party. Mazzocchi told Rapoport there was not an American politician he cared about. Yet he was asking Rapoport–the insurance company executive and former U.T. Board of Regents chair –to contribute to a candidate in a U.S. senate race.

“Tony told me Paul Wellstone believes in everything we believe in,” said Rapoport. The man who inspired Mazzocchi to suspend his boycott of Democratic political candidates was a political science professor who had joined Hormel workers on a picket line and gone to jail for protesting unfair lending practices. Rapoport promised to “open up the bank” for Wellstone. Mazzocchi promised he wouldn’t be disappointed. Paul Wellstone, Mazzocchi predicted, would not waver from his principles. [4]

New Party founders

The two key founders of the New Party were Joel Rogers and Dan Cantor.

The first strategic meetings to plan the New Party were held in Joel Rogers' home in Madison Wisconsin in the very early 1990s. Present were Rogers' wife Sarah Siskind, Dan Cantor, ACORN leaders , Wade Rathke ,Zach Polett , Steve Kest and Jon Kest , Steve Cobble from the Institute for Policy Studies (in an advisory role), Sandy Morales Pope (for the first 18 months), Harriet Barlow and Barbara Dudley.

The very first meeting included Gerry Hudson from Democratic Socialists of America and SEIU and Gary Delgado, plus labor activists Sam Pizzigati and Tony Mazzocchi. Anthony Thigpenn of Los Angeles was also approached, but though supportive did not wish to play a leadership role.[5]

Advisory Board Maurice & Jane Sugar Law Center

As at Winter, 2008, the following served on the Advisory Board of the Maurice & Jane Sugar Law Center:


  1. Information Digest April l5, 1983 p77-79
  2. The man who hated work, and loved labor
  3. Second Annual Socialist Scholars Conference program.
  4. Texas Observer, Remembering Wellstone by Louis Dubose Published on Friday, November 8, 2002
  5. Spoiling for a fight: third-party politics in America By Micah L. Sifry, page 347