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RIP Marc Raskin, Who Connected the Dots Between Inequality and War

RIP Marc Raskin, Who Connected the Dots Between Inequality and War

Sarah Anderson

The late IPS co-founder consistently connected the dots between America’s military adventures overseas and economic and racial injustice at home.


Seems like you’ve repeated the first six paragraphs. They all were cogent paragraphs and thus, bear repeating, but it’s slightly out of vogue (or GQ) to repeat them in the same piece. (fwiw). Is there an editor in the house?)

Since there are no comments on the article itself (as opposed to a relatively insignificant editing error and two previous “likes”) at least six hours after it was posted, I feel compelled to post.

I’m 71 years old, radical for the past fifty, but had never heard of Marc Raskin before reading this article, with the possible exception of an article I saw a couple of days ago that apparently borrowed the lede from an article from IPS without mentioning IPS itself. I made the acquaintance of IPS only a few years ago with the weekly “Too Much” email from Sam Pizzigati on the excesses of the rich and feckless, which was superseded by Chuck Collins’ inequality.org.

Once a few years ago I forwarded one of Pizzigati’s numbers to a colleague at the community college where I taught economics who was the only member of the economics faculty (five people besides myself), except for a woman from Ghana whose position was tenuous (and who was recently fired), who was not effectively a supporter of fascism. His reply was that IPS was “too radical” for him.

I can’t think of a better recommendation.


I’ve always thought the Vietnam War was a means to oppress those US citizens without the means to buy college deferment. No less so today, impoverishment and lack of opportunity will lead to volunteers into military service, deceitfully misled to believe theirs is an honorable cause, say combatting terrorism, while excusing acts of brutal terrorism the US military commits. Inequality is a sign of class warfare and racism. The filthy rich - including our casino mob boss pig president - view non-millionaires as nothing more than wage-slaves, mindless consumers and canon fodder, more disposable people than Jews during WWII.


The major opponents to the Poor People’s Campaign? We can only guess, but not difficult: both major corrupt parties who represent corporations and the wealthy, not We, The People. With a 50% poverty rate, hopefully the crowds of protestors will number into the millions. We are ALL impoverished by rampant racism, racial violence, perpetual war, no real healthcare, no jobs, austerity…
I wish I could walk behind these two Reverends, certainly will be with them in spirit and in local protests in the spring.

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Marcus Raskin was very helpful to those of us who launched the DC Initiative 37 campaign in the early 90’s. William Thomas produced a film about the campaign in 1994 which featured Marcus Raskin as one of several experts making profound statements about nuclear weapons and elections. See "“Proposition One: Peace Through Reason” on YouTube.

  1. Great IPS and a few others have been bringing back to light an important voice and episode of postwar U.S. left history - including IPS’s origin.

  2. Not having looked at their website, I have tended to think of IPS as international vs. also focused on domestic issues and links between the two - making their report on Barber’s poor people’s movement less surprising.

“Raskin later recognized that [Cold War] competition with the Soviet Union…boost[ed]…U.S. labor unions and other forces that were pushing for progressive economic reforms.”

Hmmmm…this seems anachronistic.

According to the writer, Raskin thought post-WWII U.S. elites made concessions to labor and movements to head off radical change.

But surely it was the 1930’s threat of radical change - as shown by the currency of the U.S. Communist Party
and its ideas - that led some elites to support New Deal progressive reform; whereas, during the post-WWII McCarthy Period, radical labor was criminalized (Smith Act) and expunged, labor reform was reversed (1947 Taft-Hartley Act), and labor leadership reached a detente w/business, securing gains for its members rather than seeking broader social reform…

Yes, I found that a little peculiar myself. The oligarchs in this country have always demonized unions, especially in the South. But having lived through most of that history (Raskin was about 12 years older than me) I recall that despite Taft Hartley and other efforts to disfranchise labor, labor unrest was always simmering and union power and membership remained strong throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s. It was not until Regan fired the PATCO strikers in 1981 that the tide began to turn seriously against organized labor. I have to suspect that the infamous “Powell memo” of 1971 had some effect in encouraging corporations to develop new techniques to bust unions and in general keep workers subservient.

The “McCarthy Era” lasted only from 1950, when he first made specific charges of communists in the government, until his death in 1957, and his influence evaporated after the 1954 hearings. IPS was founded in 1963, when unions were still on the rise. The Military Industrial Complex was in high gear by that time, in need of skilled workers and able and willing to pay them. As strange as it might seem, the author of the article (writing for Inequality.org, an arm of IPS) is almost certainly correct on this point.

Wish I could get his millionaire Congressman son to understand this.

I agree, economagic, that “despite Taft Hartley and other efforts to disfranchise labor, labor unrest was always simmering and union power and membership remained strong,” at least into the 70’s.

But the question is not whether unions remained strong in some ways; the question is whether (as the writer and/or Raskin claimed) Cold War rivalry caused business to make concessions to unions for fear of radical change - or whether that dynamic belonged more properly to the 1930s, and not the post-WWII period, when progressive legislation was turned back and the domestic left was obviously weakened…

…though one could argue that the Civil Rights movement advanced in part because the U.S. was forced to make good on its ‘bastion of democracy’ rhetoric that it always opposed to Soviet government.