Prepared by Gregory F. Gatto, April 17, 1998 and Rhonda Rinehart, December
17, 2003; Updated October 2013
5 record storage boxes, 5 cubic feet, 11th floor
Mark W. Weber received his Bachelor of Science degree in History from the University of Wisconsin in 1968, a Master of Arts degree in History and Education from Colgate University in 1970, and a Master of Library Science degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1972. He also attended Case Western Reserve University for doctoral studies in American History with a specialization in Labor History. In addition, Weber completed the Labor Leadership Program at Roosevelt University, 1973-1974, and the Certificate Program in Labor and Industrial Relations at Cleveland State University, 1984-1986.
He taught courses in reference and library management at the University of Evansville from 1976 to 1979, and in library management at Indiana University in 1990. Weber also taught courses in labor history at Cleveland State University in 1983, as well as courses in labor history and collective bargaining at Cuyahoga Community College from 1984 to 1988.
His extensive career as a librarian includes Director of Public Services, Clifford Library and Learning Resources, University of Evansville, 1975-1979; Archives Assistant, as part of a graduate fellowship at Case Western Reserve University, 1979-1980; Public Services/Outreach Librarian, Cuyahoga County Public Library, 1981-1985; Assistant Personnel Director/EEOC Officer, Cuyahoga County Library, 1985-1988; and Assistant University Librarian for Personnel, University of Cincinnati, 1988-1991. He served at Kent State University as Libraries and Media Services-Director of Staff Services, 1991-2000, and served there as Dean of Libraries and Media Services since from 2001-2010.
Weber has participated extensively in collective bargaining negotiations, administered collective bargaining agreements, and served as a mediator to resolve conflicts and potential grievances. He has also chaired and served on staff development committees, and participated in presenting educational programs on a variety of topics including: "Collective Bargaining in Ohio Libraries," "Managing Employee Turnover," and "Collective Bargaining for Library Managers."
As an active member of the community, Mark Weber is a past president of the Greater Cleveland Labor History Society, a member of the American Library Association, the Association of Jewish Libraries, Jewish Secular Community, and the Temple Tifereth Israel. He was a founder and member of the Board of The Ethical Society of Cleveland until the organization dissolved in 2003. He is certified as a humanist celebrant by the American Humanist Association and by the International Institute for Secular and Humanistic Judaism. He is the humanist celebrant for the Jewish Secular Community of Cleveland (JSCC). He served as president of the JSCC from 2011 to 2015.
His articles and book reviews have appeared in Journal of Library Administration, Library Journal, Drexel Library Quarterly, National Librarian, Chicago Sun-Times, The Plain Dealer, Jewish Studies Newsletter, and Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. He and colleague Steve Paschen have completed work on a study of Alice and Staughton Lynd from 1976 to the present. The book covers the years the Lynds spent in Ohio engaged in both struggles for worker’s rights and prisoner’s rights.
I. The Left: 1964-2001
Mark Weber became active in politics as a high school senior in the spring of 1964, when he became active in early protests against the Vietnam War. Over the next few years, he participated in civil rights marches and peace marches while a student at the University of Wisconsin. In the mid-1960s, he joined the Trotskyist Young Socialist Alliance (YSA), but resigned in 1967 over the issue of the Six-Day War in the Middle East. He briefly joined the Young Workers Liberation League (YWLL), but resigned in protest over the Soviet Union's invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. In 1970 to 1972, he was a member of the Socialist Party, and sided with Michael Harrington's anti-war faction in the debates over the Vietnam War. Eventually, the Socialist Party broke up into three separate splinter organizations.
In May of 1973, he attended the founding convention of a newly-reconstituted Socialist Party, USA. Strongly influenced by libertarian socialist ideas, he wrote the party's first statement of principles. In 1973, he was also elected to the party's first National Committee. He left the party in September, 1975, to set up the Kropotkin Society, named after the famous Russian anarchist and geographer, Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921). The Kropotkin Society served as a publishing house for his libertarian socialist views, influenced by Kropotkin and by the Polish revolutionary heretic Jan Waclaw Machajaski (1866-1926). He tried and failed to get several of Machajaski's unpublished essays translated into English. In 1982 he joined the Socialist Labor Party (SLP).
Uncomfortable with the SLP's opposition to the existing trade union movement and its rigid internal life, he protested the party's withdrawal from a movement opposing U.S. policy in Central America. As a result, he was expelled from the party at its 1987 convention. In 1982, he was a founding member of the Greater Cleveland Labor History Society. He served on the Society's Executive Board and served two terms as president. In 1995, he joined Labor Party advocates and attended the Founding Convention of the Labor Party. He was a member of the Cleveland branch of the Labor Party until 2001.
II. Politics in a New Key: 2001-present
In 1990, Weber participated with a number of moderate and conservative academics in founding the Ohio Association of Scholars, an affiliate of the National Association of Scholars. He also became close to the American Association of Liberal Education and the Council on Basic Education. In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Weber began to reassess his political convictions. He opposed the United States invasion of Iraq in the spring of 2003, and in columns in Footnotes he called for colleges and universities to invigorate liberal arts programs and to embrace once again liberal democratic values. He championed a philosophy called guild socialism which rejected both state socialism on the one hand and corporate conservatism on the other. It advocated conservation, civil liberties, the rule of law, the growth and spread of cooperatives, individual responsibility, a revitalized labor movement, and a new sense of civic engagement. Critics labeled guild socialism a kind of "left-wing conservatism."
In Jewish life he has embraced secular Judaism and was certified as a Madrikh by the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism. He was also the founder of the Ethical Society of Cleveland in 1997. He has made five trips to Colombia as part of human rights delegations organized by Witness for Peace. These delegations have focused on human rights, labor rights, and violence against campesinos, Afro-Colombians, and indigenous peoples. Currently, he serves on the board of the Ohio State Labor Party and he works with the Emergency Labor Network and the Labor Fight Back Network.
The four books which have been most influential in his political life are: Bread and Wine, a 1936 novel by the Italian socialist writer Ignazio Silone, Man's Search for Meaning, by the Austrian psychotherapist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, Guild Socialism Revisited by G.D.H. Cole, and Solidarity Unionism by Staughton Lynd.
Scope and Content
The Mark W. Weber papers were established on July 15, 1997, when Weber donated
historical materials from the Liberation Socialist League (circa 1949-1952). The
donation contains copies of Socialist Views, of which there were only
three issues. It also contains other materials, such as the Independent
Socialist and Discussion Bulletin. Weber was once a political
associate of Virgil Vogel, a founder of the LSL. The collection also includes
material on the United Labor Party (ULP) from the same period. The ULP had its
headquarters in Cleveland and ran a candidate for Mayor in Akron, Ohio
Weber's papers will prove of interest to researchers in a number of
fields since his materials reflect a wide range of interests. The papers would
be of particular value to labor history researchers, who would find the early
labor publications and essays both educational and informative. Political
history researchers, likewise, would find that the papers and publications
reflect an unique period for the Socialist Libertarian movement and the United
Labor Party in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, as well as in the United States.
Additionally, Weber's personal papers and essays highlight his insights,
activities, contributions and accomplishments in such areas as politics, labor,
management, librarianship, Judaism, and his professional career that has been
primarily directed toward the betterment of his fellow man.
The collection is organized into the following series.
As one of Ohio's top universities, Kent State offers the resources and facilities of a large university with the friendly, casual atmosphere of a liberal arts college. Enroll today to start pursuing your future at one of the best colleges in Ohio. We've been educating successful graduates for over 100 years; join us today.
Kent State University Kent, Ohio 44242 Phone: 330-672-3000