Joseph Rauh

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Joseph Rauh

Joseph L Rauh Jr (1911-1999) was a Cincinnati-born labor activist who emerged in the late 1940s as one of the most important liberals of the postwar era.

He worked for Supreme Court Justices Benjamin Cardozo and Felix Frankfurter, and then later for the Lend-Lease Administration and the Wage and Price Administration, among others.

Rauh heightened his reputation as a liberal when he helped Eleanor Roosevelt found Americans for Democratic Action in 1947. He authored the Democratic Party's controversial 1948 civil rights plank.

Rauh represented A. Philip Randolph in a 1951 suit to force the integration of an all-white railroad organization. His activity in the labor world increased through the 1950s when he was chief legal counsel to the United Auto Workers. He also served as counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Rauh died in 1992 at the age of 81.[1]

Socialist Debs award

Every year since the mid 1960s the Indiana based Eugene V. Debs Foundation holds Eugene Debs Award Banquet in Terre Haute, to honor an approved social or labor activist. The 1986 honoree, was Joseph Rauh.[2]


In 1981 Joseph Rauh was a Vice President of Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization[3].

Committee for Responsive Democracy

The Committee for Responsive Democracy began a series of hearings in New York, on November 13, 1990, on the "need for significant reform of the two party political system, as well as the feasibility of forming a new party". Sixteen hearings were planned, in eight major cities across the US. New York City Comptroller Liz Holtzman greeted the commission, saying that "many people don't see themselves as being represented".

Witnesses included Manhattan Borough president Ruth Messinger, Simon Gerson, chair of the Political Action and Legislative Commission of the Communist Party USA, Fern Winston of the Party's Womens Equality Commission. Civil Rights attorney Joseph Rauh urged work to invigorate the Democratic Party rather than turn to a third party.

Among the Commission's 49 members were former machinists Union president William Winpisinger, former California Supreme Court justice Rose Bird, former New Mexico governor Toney Anaya, environmentalist Barry Commoner, farm workers union leader Dolores Huerta, former Attorney general Ramsey Clark, author Barbara Ehrenreich, Joseph L, Rauh, Jr. and former Congressman and Presidential candidate John Anderson.[4]


  1. Rauh in The Elenor Papers
  2. Eugene V. Debs Foundation homepage, accessed March 14, 2011
  3. IVI-IPO Letterhead July 23 1981
  4. PWW December 8, 1990, page 4