Marc Cooper, a Nation contributing editor, is an associate professor of professional practice and director of Annenberg Digital News at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
Cooper’s career in journalism began in 1966, when he founded and edited an underground newspaper in high school in Los Angeles. After being expelled from the California State University system for his antiwar activities in 1971 by order of Governor Ronald Reagan, he signed on to work in the press office of Chilean President Salvador Allende. The 1973 military coup found Cooper working as Allende’s translator for publication, and he left Chile as a UN-protected refugee eight days after the bloody takeover.
Since then Cooper has traveled the world covering politics and culture for myriad press outlets. He reported on the Yom Kippur War, Lebanon, South Africa, Central and South America, Eastern and Western Europe and domestic American politics for dozens of publications ranging from Playboy and Rolling Stone to the Sunday magazines of the Los Angeles Times and The Times of London.
Cooper was news and public affairs director of KPFK-FM (Los Angeles) from 1980-83 and has been a correspondent for NBC, CBC and Monitor Radio. For television, he has been a reporter and a producer of news documentaries for CBS News, The Christian Science Monitor and PBS Frontline.
Cooper’s journalism awards include prizes from The Society of Professional Journalists and PEN America, and several from the California Associated Press TV and Radio Association.
An anthology of Cooper’s work, Roll Over Che Guevara: Travels of a Radical Reporter, was published by Verso in 1994. He was also a contributor to the collection Literary Las Vegas, published in 1995 by Holt.
Returning to the system from which he was expelled, Cooper has also taught in the journalism departments at the Northridge and Los Angeles campuses of California State University.
His Pinochet and Me: A Chilean Anti-Memoir (Verso), is now available in paperback.
The union representing more than 65,000 Southern California grocery workers has voted to authorize a region-wide strike against the giant Vons and Ralphs supermarket chains. A few months ago the same union authorized a strike against the Albertsons chain.
The new vote comes after an impasse was reached in contract talks last week. More than 90% of members approved the possible strike action.
At central issue, no surprise, are wages and health care benefits. Only 3 1/2 years ago the union went out on a bitterly fought 142 day strike that ended in a disappointing manner. The markets were able to impose a new two-tier contract, severely cutting back wage rates and insurance benefits for newer employees.
California voters could become the first in the U.S. to formally demand that U.S. troops be pulled out of Iraq.
By a 2 to 1 margin on Wednesday, the state senate voted to place a referendum on troop withdrawal on the February 5 primary ballot. Numerous townships and cities throughout the country have already voted for withdrawal -- but this is the first time the question would ever be put up statewide. And in this case, in the most populous state in the country.