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This Week: After Newtown. Plus: 2012's Progressive Honor Roll | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

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

This Week: After Newtown. Plus: 2012's Progressive Honor Roll

AFTER NEWTOWN. Our editorial in this week’s issue calls on Congress to pass legislation banning assault rifles and high-capacity magazines. “Gun control advocates should not be intimidated: the political winds at their back are strong,” we write. But with no political will to ban the sale of handguns, we argue that its time to broaden the fight—and target those who profit from guns. George Zornick reports how Walmart, the top seller of firearms and ammunition nationwide, helped make the Newtown shooter’s AR-15 the most popular assault weapon in the country. Just as his story was going to press, Walmart pulled the weapon from its website. But don’t be fooled—as Zornick reports, the move is a public relations one: the retail giant never directly sold the AR-15 on its website, and it’s still on the shelves in about 1,700 stores nationwide. Click here for more on five assault weapons you can pick up at Walmart. And take a look at a clip of George Zornick talking to MSNBC’s Tamron Hall about his investigation.

Also this week, Lee Fang asks who the NRA really represents: gun manufacturers or gun owners? “In reality, the NRA is composed of half a dozen legal entities; some designed to run undisclosed attack ads in political campaigns, others to lobby and collect tens of millions of undisclosed, tax-deductible sums,” writes Fang. Find out more on how corporations who profit from unregulated guns are funding the NRA. And take a look at Todd Gitlin’s piece on the “unbearable elasticity of gun logic” and how for the gun lobby, Newtown was evidence that more guns are necessary.

PROGRESSIVE HONOR ROLL. We’re happy to unveil this year’s annual Most Valuable Progressives Honor Roll list from Washington correspondent John Nichols. From Bernie Sanders to Boots Riley, we celebrate nineteen activists, movements and politicians. Find out Nichols’s take on most valuable media moment, book, and music—and why he chose “Legalize it!” to be the most valuable big idea. Read about the courageous work of progressives like Senator Jeff Merkley, Governor Peter Shumlin, Esther Armah, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Voces de la Frontera and more here. “After a long election season and a hopeful outcome, there is still work to be done,” writes Nichols. “Here are some of the Americans doing it.”

THE GREAT WALMART WALKOUT. A new labor campaign against Walmart faces daunting odds—do workers have a chance at taking on the retail giant? Josh Eidelson, whose reporting on the Black Friday strikes won this month’s Sidney Award, reports on OUR Walmart, an organization of Walmart workers demanding respect, affordable healthcare, and a living wage. While it would take years for workers to be able to yield significant power, Eidelson notes that “in an era when organized labor is on the ropes, and when most victories are defensive or only partial, they’re making labor’s chief antagonist sweat.” Find out more from Eidelson on how strikes are still an effective way to organize—and what the Black Friday strikes mean for the future of the movement.

PROGRAMMING NOTE. On Sunday, I’ll be joining Cory Booker, Grover Norquist and others on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Tune is as we discuss the Newtown tragedy and the so-called “fiscal cliff.” Check local listings for time and channel.

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