From this morning's Democracy Now! headlines:
Anti-War Professor Seymour Melman, 86, Dies
And longtime antiwar activist and professor Seymour Melman has died at the age of 86. He was a retired Columbia University professor. He was an advocate for nuclear disarmament and frequently wrote about how the Pentagon's massive budget compromised the quality of the nation's domestic programs. Melman was co-chairman of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy and chairman of the National Commission for Economic Conversion and Disarmament. MIT professor Noam Chomsky said "The country is a lot different than it was 30 to 40 years ago, and he had a big role in that."
From the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10980-2004Dec18.html):
Seymour Melman, 86, one of the first social critics to contend that excessive military spending has "depleted" the U.S. economy, diverting investment capital, scientific know-how and natural resources from sorely needed domestic improvements, died of an apparent aneurysm Dec. 16 at his home in New York.
Mr. Melman, a retired Columbia University professor of industrial engineering and a consultant to companies and government agencies, for 40 years urged the United States to convert its military-based economy to focus its formidable economic energy on improving roads, schools, railroads and housing.
In the early 1990s, at the end of the Cold War when a windfall "peace dividend" was expected, it seemed that Mr. Melman would finally have his wish.
From the LA Times (http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-melman20dec20,1,244062.story):
A staunch advocate of what he called "economic conversion," Melman co-wrote proposed legislation to require "alternative use" planning in military industries, labs and bases to ease the transition to civilian production.He also tweaked public opinion about "re-industrializing" America to make it less dependent on imported goods and to reinvigorate what he saw as a stagnating economy.Melman supported disarmament and opposed nuclear weapons for 50 years and had long disputed the idea that World War II pulled the United States out of the Great Depression. He was against the current war in Iraq.
From the Boston Globe (http://www.boston.com/news/globe/obituaries/articles/2004/12/19/seymour_melman_antiwar_scholar_86/):
Mr. Melman often criticized what he considered to be the United States' exorbitant spending on weapons and defense programs, saying that the money could be more usefully spent at home. An advocate for disarmament during the Cold War and after, Mr. Melman was cochairman of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy and chairman of the National Commission for Economic Conversion and Disarmament. He opposed the current war in Iraq and argued against the long-held belief that World War II pulled the United States out of the Great Depression, saying that other factors revived the economy.
From Newsday (http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/ny-bc-ny--obit-melman1218dec18,0,2143278.story):
He opposed the current war in Iraq, and argued against the long-held belief that World War II pulled the United States out of the Great Depression, saying other factors revived the economy.
From the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/18/obituaries/18melman.html?oref=login):
Professor Melman's arguments appealed to a wide spectrum, attracting unions like the United Automobile Workers and the Machinists Union as well as public advocates like Ralph Nader, who yesterday described Prof. Melman's studies as "prescient for decades."
Noam Chomsky, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor and antiwar activist, said Dr. Melman helped mobilize what once was weak and scattered resistance to war and other military operations.
"The country is a lot different than it was 30 to 40 years ago, and he had a big role in that," Mr. Chomsky said. "There's much more widespread opposition to the diversion of resources to military production, to the use of force in international affairs, to nuclear development."
Dr. Melman became an authority on a process called "economic conversion," the retooling of arms factories and military bases for civilian purposes. He outlined such plans in "The Demilitarized Society" (1988) and "Rebuilding America" (1992). He advised the United Nations on the possibilities of economic conversion from 1979 to 1980, and from 1988 on, he was chairman of The National Commission for Economic Conversion and Disarmament.