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This Week: Countdown to Recall in Wisconsin. PLUS: A Live Chat with Van Jones | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

This Week: Countdown to Recall in Wisconsin. PLUS: A Live Chat with Van Jones

COUNTDOWN TO RECALL IN WISCONSIN. In just over a week, Wisconsin voters will go to the polls for what has been described as “the most ambitious set of recall elections in American history.” As Nation Washington correspondent John Nichols reports, commentators on both left and right agree that the recall election pitting Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett against Governor Scott Walker is not only the most competitive gubernatorial race in the country but also the second-most-important election of 2012. If successful, the result would be seen as a rejection of Walker’s anti-union austerity politics that promotes tax cuts for the rich, while attacking unions and slashing public services. With so much at stake for Wisconsin’s long-cherished progressive tradition, and for workers across the country, stay tuned for Nichols’s live coverage here, and catch Nichols on MSNBC’s The ED Show at 8 pm ET for updates throughout the week.

THE STATE OF THE OBAMA COALITION IN 2012. Please join us this Friday, June 1, at 2 pm ET, for a live-chat with Nation contributing writer Ari Berman and Rebuild the Dream president and co-founder Van Jones for a discussion focusing on the state of the Obama coalition as the 2012 election approaches. After a 2008 campaign that saw unprecedented levels of grassroots activism and young voter engagement, President Obama’s base has struggled to reconcile the enthusiasm that swept him into office with his administration’s more centrist policies. Berman and Jones will discuss what role grassroots activists will play in Obama’s re-election campaign. Nation readers will also be able to submit their questions live, here.

WHY IS THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION FUNDING A MURDEROUS REGIME? In this week’s cover story, “Honduras: Which Side is the US On,” UC Santa Cruz professor and historian Dana Frank reports how, in the name of fighting drugs, the Obama administration has allied itself with the corrupt and illegitimate Lobo regime. In the three years since Lobo took power, over 10,000 official complaints of police and military abuses have been filed and twenty-two media workers have been killed; meanwhile, the US has been quietly escalating its military presence in Honduras. As recently as May 11, US DEA agents conducted an anti-drug operation that left four people dead. Such ongoing violence has become the norm while drug-trafficking has embedded itself within the state itself. Read Frank’s investigative report here, and find out how you can call on US officials to end all police and military aid to Honduras in this week’s Take Action.

DISHONORING STALIN’S VICTIMS. Prominent Soviet historian Orlando Figes is once again under scrutiny after The Nation revealed this week a range of troubling lapses in his scholarly work, particularly in his acclaimed book, The Whispers. As Nation contributing editor Stephen F. Cohen and professor Peter Reddaway document in “Dishonoring Stalin’s Victims,” the controversy over the publication of The Whispers had more to do with the many errors and misrepresentations in the book—not, as Figes suggested, for political reasons. Memorial, a Russian historical and human rights organization founded on behalf of survivors of Stalin’s reign of terror, commissioned Figes to conduct hundreds of interviews that form the basis of The Whispers. What they found was a startling number of major and minor errors. The researchers at Memorial documented “anachronisms, incorrect interpretations, stupid mistakes and pure nonsense.” They found that “facts, dates, names and terms, and the biographies of its central figures need to be checked.” Because The Whispers is regarded by many Western scholars and readers as a model of study of Stalinist Soviet history, Cohen and Reddaway find these scholarly violations a breach of faith of Memorial and violate the memory of those killed under Stalin.

THE RESURGENCE OF MISOGYNY. From the assault on women’s access to healthcare to the role of a woman’s place in public life, a renewed assault of long-settled rights and issues have cast a dark shadow on our political discourse and has led to resurgence of misogyny in our public debate. The Nation is proud to co-sponsor a timely and important conversation that will focus how the right’s attacks on women have led this resurgence. Nation columnist Katha Pollitt will be joined by Barnard College President Debora Spar and Center for Reproductive Rights President Nancy Northrup at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, this Tuesday May 29, at 7 pm ET. More information on the event is available here. And be sure to catch Pollitt on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, this Thursday, May 31, at 9:15 am ET.

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