With sadness MLToday notes the passing of Gerald ( Jerry) Meyer, scholar, activist, and contributor to MLToday. For over sixty years, from his student days at Rutgers University-Newark in the 1960s, where he founded the Liberal Club, opposed HUAC, and supported the Cuban Revolution, until his untimely death on November 10 after a fall, Meyer remained a tireless writer and organizer on the left.
Meyer wrote Vito Marcantonio: Radical Politician, 1902-1954 (State University of New York Press, 1989), the definitive study of the most progressive Congressman ever to serve in Washington. Meyer served as the Associate Editor of The Italian American Review and as a member of the Editorial Board of Science & Society. He wrote over forty articles and reviews including pieces on the radical politics of Frank Sinatra and the artist Alice Neel, and in July 2021 an essay on Israel, Zionism and Apartheid for MLToday.
Starting in the 1970s Meyer taught at Hostos College in the Bronx and helped lead a struggle of students and faculty that saved the college, then the only bilingual college in the country. While at Hostos, Meyer secured the appointment of the great Marxist historian, Herbert Aptheker, the first and maybe only academic recognition Aptheker ever enjoyed. Meyer was one of the first of his generation of 60s radicals to join the CPUSA, where he remained active for many years. Meyer also used his formidable organizational skills on behalf of the Brecht Forum and the Vito Marcantonio Forum.
Meyer always said that politics was his life and he would remain active until the end. He was as good as his word. MLToday sends its condolences and solidarity to Meyer’s longtime partner, Luis Romero, and his children, Adam and Anna, and his three grandchildren.