- Co-founder of the Institute for Policy Studies
- Was associated with the Students for a Democratic
Society in the 1960s
See also: Institute for Policy Studies Richard Barnet
Marcus Raskin was born April 30, 1934 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the second
son of Russian Jewish immigrants. At age 16, he left home to study
piano at New York's Juilliard
School. In 1954 Raskin graduated
from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in liberal arts, and three
years later he earned a Juris
from the University of Chicago Law School. In
1958 he moved to Washington, DC and became a legislative
counsel to a group of liberal Democratic congressmen.
1961 Raskin became an assistant (on national
security affairs and disarmament) to McGeorge Bundy, national security advisor to
President Kennedy. But Raskin's relationship with
Bundy, who supported the escalation of U.S. military engagement in
Indochina, was fraught with tension that led eventually to Raskin’s
reassignment to the Bureau of the Budget.
Raskin and political activist/rabbi Arthur Waskow co-authored
a 1961 paper, later expanded into a book, advocating America's unilateral
disarmament. In 1962 Raskin served as group
secretary for a publishing project known as The
which advocated such measures as United Nations membership for
Communist China, East Germany, North Korea, and North Vietnam;
America's unilateral cessation of nuclear testing; the dismantling of
NATO; the withdrawal
of all U.S. forces from Berlin; and allowing the USSR to access
the American DEW early-warning defense system, which had been set up
to detect incoming Soviet bombers.
in the early sixties, Raskin served as a board-of-directors member
with Ramparts magazine, described by the House Committee on Internal
Security (HCIS) as a "pro-Hanoi, pro-Castro"
publication. Meanwhile, he derided
American capitalism as a system in which “the
rich, the quick, the clever, the unseen, set out paths which the
wretched and mystified must travel.” Having felt powerless to
change this system from within the halls of government, Raskin decided
to pursue the
creation of an independent non-governmental organization to critique
official policy and undermine
capitalism. Thus did he and his friend Richard Barnet
co-found the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in 1963.
1965 Raskin and IPS associate fellow Bernard Fall edited The
which became a textbook
for anti-war teach-ins across the United States. Two years later,
Raskin and then-IPS fellow Arthur Waskow co-authored "A
Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority,"
a document that helped launch the draft-resistance movement.
with the Radical Education Project of the Students for a Democratic
in 1968 was indicted—along with William Sloane Coffin, Benjamin
Spock, Michael Ferber, and Mitchell Goodman—for conspiracy to aid
resistance to the military draft. Raskin was ultimately acquitted of these charges.
1968 Raskin chaired
the Committee for the Formation of a New Party, which created a
socialist-oriented political entity advocating the "dismantling of an
obsolete, dangerous [American] military establishment that is over-extended and
over-reaching." That same year, Raskin became a member
of the so-called Committee to Defend the Conspiracy, which was
established to aid the defendants who had participated in the violent
antiwar disruptions during the 1968 Democratic Party convention in
February 1969 Raskin (along with Barnet) was among the speakers
at the national mobilization of Clergy and Laymen Concerned About
Vietnam. The following year, Raskin told
the group Federal Employees for Peace that “government agencies
such as the FBI, Secret Service, intelligence services of other
government agencies, and the military should
be done away with in that order.”
the spring of 1972, Raskin went
to Paris as part of an American delegation that met
with North Vietnamese Communist leaders and representatives of the
Khmer National United Front of Cambodia. The delegation was sponsored
by the People's Coalition for Peace and Justice, which the HCIS characterized as being under the
"generally predominant influence" of the Communist Party
the mid-1970s, Raskin served as an advisory-board member
of the Organizing Committee for a Fifth Estate, producer of the
anti-CIA publication Counterspy. Also in the seventies, he was a sponsor of the Political Rights Defense Fund, a front group for
the Socialist Workers Party.
a 1979 New
op-ed piece, Raskin and Michigan congressman John
that “government’s responsibility is to revitalize the nation’s
economy through creative forms of public ownership.”
the 1980s Raskin became a leader
of the anti-nuclear movement, serving as chairman of the Sane-Freeze campaign
(now known as Peace Action). He also helped organize
the Progressive Alliance, a coalition of 16 labor unions and some 100
public-interest groups that laid out a progressive political agenda.
In April 1982 Raskin was the principal
for an IPS-sponsored delegation (which included also Robert Borosage) that
traveled to Moscow to meet with high-level Soviet officials who were
involved with disseminating disinformation and propaganda for U.S.
the 1984 presidential primaries, Raskin and Richard Barnet advised
Democratic candidates George McGovern and Alan
2007 Raskin published
Four Freedoms Under Siege, a book that speculates about a transformed America where corporations are controlled by government.
author of more
than 20 books, Raskin today is a professor
at George Washington University’s School of Public Policy, an advisor
to the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and an editorial-board member
of The Nation (along with such notables as
Richard Falk, Deepak Bhargava, Barbara Ehrenreich, Eric Foner, Tom Hayden, and Victor Navasky).
Further, Raskin is
a board-of-trustees member with IPS, and he directs the Institute's “Paths
for the 21st Century” project, which seeks to develop "new models of equality and alternatives
for the 21st century on questions of peace, economic and social
justice, cultural rights, democratic reconstruction, and racial and
Raskin is the father
of Maryland state senator and activist Jamin B. Raskin.