TRIBUTE: MICHAEL TANZER (July 1935 – January 2024)


Mike Tanzer, writer, scholar and activist intellectual, was a great friend of MERIP’s from its early days. He was always generous to and supportive of the publication as a donor and occasional contributor to our pages. Sometimes his support took the most practical forms. When desktop computers became available, they were still expensive in relation to MERIP’s finances. Mike loaned MERIP the funds that enabled us to purchase a system, bringing great relief to our small staff now freed from the seemingly endless retyping of manuscripts!

Mike’s early career as an economist included a stint with the Asia affiliate of what was then Standard Oil of New Jersey, an experience which informed his first book, The Political Economy of International Oil and the Underdeveloped Countries. This pathbreaking analysis detailed how political power shaped the dominant role of giant Western-based companies with oil-producing and consuming countries. His was a perspective that we in MERIP learned from and shared. It influenced the magazine’s analysis of the power dynamics underlying the oil embargo during the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war, which became MERIP’s first book, Middle East Oil and the Energy Crisis.

Mike’s friendship, like his writing, reflected his lifelong commitment to truth-telling, social justice and non-dogmatic politics. We will miss him and we salute his life.


Read the previous article in MER issue 309 “Palestine—Before and After October 7.”

How to cite this article:

Joe Stork, James Paul "Michael Tanzer," Middle East Report 309 (Winter 2023).

For 50 years, MERIP has published critical analysis of Middle Eastern politics, history, and social justice not available in other publications. Our articles have debunked pernicious myths, exposed the human costs of war and conflict, and highlighted the suppression of basic human rights. After many years behind a paywall, our content is now open-access and free to anyone, anywhere in the world. Your donation ensures that MERIP can continue to remain an invaluable resource for everyone.


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