Fleischman, Harry 1914-2004

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FLEISCHMAN, Harry 1914-2004

OBITUARY NOTICE— See index for CA sketch: Born October 3, 1914, in New York, NY; died of cancer November 1, 2004, in New York, NY. Socialist and author. Fleischman was a former officer of the Socialist Party U.S.A. who later directed the American Jewish Committee's National Labor Service. After attending the City College for two years, he became involved in the fledgling Socialist Party when he attempted to organize a union at the clothes-hangar factory where he worked. Fired from that job for his union activities, he next worked at a window-blind factory and put together an effective labor strike. By 1942, Fleischman had risen to the position of national secretary for the Socialist Party U.S.A., and in 1944 and 1948 he served as campaign manager for his party's presidential candidate, Norman Thomas, about whom he would later write in Norman Thomas: A Biography (1964; third edition, 1969). After resigning his post at the Socialist Party, Fleischman worked as the labor editor for the Voice of America from 1951 until 1953; he then was named director of the National Labor Service of the American Jewish Committee, a post he held until 1979. In 1963, he became vice president of the Workers Defense League (WDL). An avid opponent of communism, Fleischman found himself struggling against not only the extreme left but also labor union leaders who staunchly resisted allowing their organizations to become racially integrated. Toward this end, in his role with the WDL, Fleischman was the driving force in getting New York City unions integrated, but an apprenticeship training program he worked on for minorities was taken over by the U.S. Labor Department in partnership with the AFL-CIO, rendering them largely ineffective. Seeing that the American labor movement was on the decline, Fleischman tried to work more within the system in later life, assisting with the Democratic Socialists of America party, and serving as executive director of the National Alliance for Safer Cities in the 1970s. In addition to the Thomas biography, he was also the author of Let's Be Human (1960).



Guardian (London, England), November 16, 2004, p. 29.

New York Times, November 7, 2004, p. A35.