THE NATION ON 9/11 AT TEN. Sunday marks the ten-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. There is still much to grieve—the lives lost and the police officers, firefighters and first responders who gave their lives that fateful day. And there are those in uniform and their families who have sacrificed and are still sacrificing today. The solidarity we felt in the days after 9/11 was all too quickly shattered by an administration that used the attacks to launch a global war on terror, which has cost thousands of lives, trillions of dollars and undermined our civil liberties. It was also a time of media malfeasance when too many in the press acted like stenographers to power—and failed to ask the tough questions necessary to ensure accountability and democracy. At The Nation, our historical DNA kicked in, and in those weeks and months after 9/11 the enduring concerns of The Nation took on new relevance. As national security became an obsession in Washington—one steeped in a politics of fear—the need for an independent, critical press seemed more urgent than ever.
The Nation’s special package of essays on "9/11 at Ten" embodies that spirit. In the wake of 9/11, writes Jonathan Schell in "The New American Jujitsu," we have summoned imaginary demons and made a habit of exaggerating perceived threats so as to spare ourselves from facing the all too real burdens of our time. In "Our Vanished Civil Liberties," David K. Shipler explains how the Obama Administration may not employ lawyers advocating for the extreme abrogation of constitutional protections, but frequently ends up acquiescing to the forces that would. Meanwhile, the compelling piece by Ariel Dorfman, "Epitaph for Another September 11" explores how Chile and the United States offer contrasting reactions to collective trauma.
In the following video by Nation web editorial producer Frank Reynolds, I’m joined by columnist Patricia Williams, editorial board member Eric Foner, Jonathan Schell and David Cole—writers I was fortunate to call upon to analyze and explain the tragedy after it happened—to commemorate 9/11, ten years later. That’s available here.
I was also delighted to be joined by leading Nation writers on Thursday—Melissa Harris-Perry, Chris Hayes, John Nichols, and Eric Foner—for a special forum at The New School examining how the US has changed and not changed in the decade since 9/11.
TOM MORELLO’S JUSTICE TOUR LINKS ROCKERS AND UNIONS. When rocker and Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello spoke in Wisconsin in support of public workers in February—the height of the fight against Gov. Scott Walker’s assault on unions—few could have imagined Morello would become a central figure in that fight. As Washington DC Correspondent and 7th generation Wisconsinite John Nichols explains, Morello—joined by top artists such as Wayne Kramer of Detroit’s legendary MC5 and Tim McIlrath of Rise Against, launched their Justice Tour in Madison, in a state where unions are battling against right-wing assaults on labor rights. The tour is raising money for nonprofit media (via The Nation Institute) that exposes corporate abuse and highlights union struggles. More on that is available here.
THE ATTICA PRISON UPRISING: 40 YEARS LATER. On September 9th, 1971, prisoners in New York’s Attica prison revolted in response to the harsh conditions they were forced to endure. As tempers flared in response to harsh treatment by prison guards, a full-fledged rebellion ensued, resulting in a complete take over of the prison. When the negotiations broke down over the point of amnesty for violence conducted during the take-over of the complex, the mood in and outside the prison soured. By the time state troopers and police forces had retaken Attica by force on the morning of September 13, ten hostages and twenty-nine inmates had died.
In this video by The Nation’s Frank Reynolds and Liliana Segura, some of those involved in the uprising and its aftermath—lawyer Elizabeth Fink, former national guardsman Tad Crawford, and former Attica prisoners Carlos Roche and Joseph "Jazz" Hayden—recount what happened during those days forty years ago, and examine some of the repercussions still being felt from the police attack. For more, read Segura’s Attica at 40 in this week’s issue of the magazine and asha bandele’s After the Attica Uprising.