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Marc Cooper

Contributing Editor

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.


  • January 23, 2006

    Dems Divided Over Who Will Challenge Arnold

    Four months out from the gubernatorial primary, California Democrats remain divided over who will be anointed to challenge Arnold Scwarzenegger's re-election. It's the State Treasurer versus the State Controller in the fight for the Democratic nomination.

    The support of the party establishment has already been rounded up by Treasurer Phil Angelides, a wealthy San Francisco liberal. More than three dozen unions, 200 elected officials and a gaggle of party insiders have already endorsed Angelides. But his most prominent rival, state Controller and Silicon Valley businessman Steve Westly has vowed to spend as much as $20 million to take the nomination for himself.

    While Angelides was among the most prominent Democrats to oppose and criticize Schwarzenegger from the outset, Westly was –until recently--more reserved in his opposition. Westly has been trying to fashion an appeal to the center. Angelides has been trying to capitalize on his more liberal Bay Area base. But as The Los Angeles Times has reported, the real political differences between the two are not substantial:

    Marc Cooper

  • January 20, 2006

    The “New” Arnold

    "I'll be back!" might be more than a toss-away movie line from Arnold Schwarzenegger. After his crushing defeat in the special election he called three months ago (all of his ballot measures going down in flames), the Governator has been zealously re-casting himself.

    His eyes set on re-election next November in this very blue state of California, Arnold has quickly moved back to the center. Dropping his slash-and-burn economic austerity proposals of last year, the New Arnold has come up with an FDR-like $200 billion plus blueprint for rebuildinng the state infrastructure.

    He's also playing a bizarre game of political pattycake with the very same unions that he attempted and failed to demonize throughout the course of 2005 (in this effort he's being assisted by a legendary Democrat: the former California Assembly Speaker and past Mayor of San Francisco Willie Brown. Veteran L.A.-based political analyst Joe Scott does his own sift of California's shifting political sands and concludes that only a fool would rule out a successful comeback by Schwarzenegger.

    Marc Cooper

  • Elections November 10, 2005

    Arnold Show: Canceled

    Buoyed by their defeat of Schwarzeneggar's "referendum revolution," Democrats and organized labor are now energized to defeat the governor's re-election bid next year.

    Marc Cooper

  • Foreign Policy October 20, 2005

    Gore Vidal, Octocontrarian

    Marc Cooper interviews Gore Vidal about an America that is increasingly controlled by corporations and suggests that the Gulf Coast hurricanes and the Iraq debacle signal the breakdown of an empire.

    Marc Cooper

  • Political Figures October 12, 2005

    Is the Terminator in Free-Fall?

    Once seen as the vehicle of hope and reform, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger looks increasingly like an oil-burning jalopy of politics-as-usual.

    Marc Cooper

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  • Cities June 15, 2005

    Stumbling Schwarzenegger

    The California governor's campaign to pass a series of ballot initiatives is off to a rocky start.

    Marc Cooper

  • Immigration Policy May 24, 2005

    Twelve Die on the US Border

    A dozen deaths in three days marks the onset of the season of death along the US-Mexican border.

    Marc Cooper

  • Immigration Policy May 19, 2005

    High Noon on the Border

    Immigration reform has a real chance of passing, and the nativist right is furious.

    Marc Cooper

  • Cities May 5, 2005

    Labor’s Lost in LA

    By supporting LA's incumbent mayor, the labor movement may have weakened its hand.

    Marc Cooper

  • Labor April 14, 2005

    The Terminator Stumbles

    Arnold Schwarzenegger now holds a markedly weakened hand.

    Marc Cooper