THE OCCUPY SPRING. Saturday marks the six-month anniversary of the Occupy movement, but you won’t hear much about it, if at all, from the corporate mainstream media. To the casual observer, the Occupy movement has dwindled over the winter months: its encampments forcibly removed with few mass demonstrations, rousing speeches or dramatic confrontations with police. As editor Richard Kim explains in the introduction to our forum this week examining what comes next for the Occupy movement, Occupy’s working groups were busy planning and plotting, and you can be sure it will be back this spring. What will this second stage look like? We asked eleven people who’ve been close observers of OWS since its inception—-including Michael Moore, Ilyse Hogue, Todd Gitlin, Frances Fox Piven, Stephen Lerner, Arun Gupta and others to lay out what comes next for Occupy and to grapple with questions about its message, direction and impact. Accompanying the special forum are intimate conversations with each of the contributors looking at the challenges and critical questions of identity and form that the Occupy movement will have to confront as it transitions into the spring. Watch those here.
WHY IS OBAMA KEEPING A JOURNALIST IN PRISON IN YEMEN? National Security Correspondent Jeremy Scahill reports this week on the imprisonment of Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye, who exposed the US’s role in a 2009 bombing in Yemen that killed thirty-five civilians. Shaye was arrested in 2011 for terrorism-related charges and after a controversial “sham” trial, sentenced to five years in prison. Then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh declared he would pardon the journalist, but after a call from President Obama expressing concern over his release, Shaye remained in prison. The article ignited a firestorm of debate and discussion with each response pointing to a set of troubling issues raised by Scahill’s reporting, including a substantive exchange over at Mother Jones between Kevin Drum and Adam Serwer over US intelligence policy and treatment of alleged terrorists in the post 9/11 era. Salon.com’s Glenn Greenwald, who calls Scahill “easily one of America’s best and most intrepid journalists,” digs into the nature and circumstances of Shaye’s arrest for reporting inconvenient truths about US and Yemeni counterterrorism policy. The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf raises a critical point, “in our politics, dead innocents aren’t generally treated as costs that are set alongside the benefits of Obama’s policies. They’re just unmentioned, as if they’re insufficiently consequential to merit it.” And Gawker’s Mobutu Sese Seko wonders why more bloggers aren’t furious about “the Obama administration’s boot-stomping journalists and whistleblowers…one of those polite misdeeds seemingly everyone prefers to ignore…” In response to Scahill’s reporting, both a National Security staff spokesman and the US Ambassador to Yemen stated that Shaye’s arrest and detention are based on his involvement with AQAP, and nothing to do with his reporting or criticism of the US or Yemen.
OPINIONNATION: SACHS FOR WORLD BANK PRESIDENT? This week’s OpinionNation—our new online forum for debates and discussions on hot-button issues of the day—asks whether economist and UN adviser Jeffrey Sachs should lead the World Bank as its new President. Sachs’s candidacy has won the support of a number of progressives, who applaud his work on ending poverty and hunger and improving agricultural outcomes in developing countries. John Cavanagh, director of the Institute of Policy Studies, and Robin Broad, professor of international development at American University, argue that his approach to development remains top-down and formulaic. Sachs himself responds and challenges his critics. Be sure to read the entire exchange, available here.
WELCOME: BRYCE COVERT. We’re delighted to welcome guest-blogger Bryce Covert, editor at the Roosevelt Institute’s New Deal 2.0 blog and a regular contributor to TheNation.com. Bryce will be blogging about women and the economy. Her recent piece, “Are Women Really Victors in the New Economy,” questions whether women really have an edge in the new economy. While many have argued that the recent “mancession” presages a new economy in which women’s skills and talents are prized over men’s, Bryce marshals the latest data and finds that while more women than men are employed in growing sectors like healthcare and retail, the jobs they have there are grueling, wages are low and benefits are few. Be sure to read her latest posts, available here. And follow her on Twitter—@BryceCovert.
THE NATION’S DISCUSSION GROUPS. In over fifty cities across the country, Nation readers gather in libraries and living rooms to debate and discuss issues and articles and brainstorm ways to get involved. One such group in Sarasota, FL, is the subject of a Sarasota Herald-Tribune article, and offers an intimate look at the group’s inner workings as well as that of its newest leader, 99-year-old Joe Newman. Read that here.
COMMENTS OF THE WEEK. We remain grateful to our intelligent and engaged readership for the lively and substantive comments each week. To help elevate some of these conversations, every Friday we post the top comments of the week over at The Nation’s community page. This week’s responses to “OpinionNation: Should Jeffrey Sachs Be the Next World Bank President?” included comments from Frances Moore Lappe, Phyllis Bennis, Kathryn Ledebur and David Korten. Be sure read those here. And thanks to all for joining our first real-time online discussion with “This Week in Poverty’s” Greg Kaufmann and Lisalyn R. Jacobs, vice president for government relations at Legal Momentum, on both the roots and remedies of poverty in the US.
NEXT WEEK: REDISCOVERING GOVERNMENT. Next week’s special issue, “How Do We Restore Trust In Government?” will focus on a much-needed conversation about the purpose and role of government in 2012 and beyond. At a time when trust in government is at perhaps all time lows, the special issue will bring together diverse voices, including Jeff Madrick, Robert Reich, Dorian Warren, Mike Konczal, Rinku Sen and others to consider arguments as to why government is key if we are to have widespread economic opportunity, income equality and social justice for all. Stay tuned!
As always, thanks for reading. I’m on Twitter—@KatrinaNation. Please leave your comments below.