In case you hadn't heard: President Obama won. As did Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, Tammy Baldwin, and a host of other progressive politicians. But as the election obsession wanes (and we remove Nate Silver from our home page), we turn our attention to the rest of the world: to hunger strikes in Turkey, the upcoming leadership transition in China, and the continued struggle of Sandy survivors.
Nader Atassi focuses on Middle Eastern politics and society.
“Kurdish hunger-strikers fight for rights,” by Berza Simsek. Al Jazeera, November 5, 2012.
An old tactic has resurged in the struggle for basic rights in the Middle East: the hunger strike. Famously employed by Gandhi and Irish freedom fighters like Bobby Sands, more and more people in the Middle East have been going on hunger-strikes to protest what they see as violations of their basic rights. In Palestine, a huge campaign against Israel's policy of administrative detention was conducted by many Palestinian political prisoners, most famously, Khader Adnan. Similar efforts were made all over the Arab world. It has now spread to Turkey, where almost 1000 Kurdish political prisoners are hunger-striking to demand their basic rights from the Turkish government—improved prison conditions for prisoners, and cultural rights such as use of the Kurdish language in schools and courts.
Jeff Ernsthausen focuses on domestic politics and the influence of money on public institutions.
“Living Apart: How the Government Betrayed a Landmark Civil Rights Law,” by Nikole Hannah-Jones. ProPublica, October 29, 2012.
As Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Mitt Romney's father, George Romney, led a clandestine effort to integrate America's segregated neighborhoods by withholding funding to communities that maintained restrictive housing policies. Dubbed the "Open Communities" initiative, it quickly came to attention of President Nixon, who ordered the program be shut down because of the potential political impact on his 1972 reelection prospects. Nonetheless, Romney pressed on, writing to the president that "it is becoming increasingly clear that the lower, middle income and the poor, white, black and brown family, cannot continue to be isolated in the deteriorating core cities without broad scale revolution." Following his resignation in 1972, no administration has attempted to systematically withhold HUD funding to combat widespread segregation in America.
Stefan Fergus focuses on US media, the Presidency, and China.
“China's Leadership Transition: What to Look For,” by Damien Ma. The Atlantic, November 7, 2012.
With President Obama re-elected, there's another important election still to come: the Chinese Communist Party's 18th Congress. "Seventeen congresses have gone by and hardly anyone has paid much attention, including most Chinese themselves. This time is a little different." This is a pretty good, short article that details what to expect in the upcoming pageantry of the week-long CCP 18th Congress. With the next generation of Chinese leaders about to be unveiled, it's an important time to be paying attention to China and what's happening in Beijing. The article could have done with some more meat, but as a mini-primer, it's a good place to start before moving on to weightier pieces on the Chinese leadership transition (many of which can be found on ForeignPolicy.com).