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Campus-oriented news, first-person reports from student activists and journalists about their campus.

What Are ‘Nation’ Interns Reading the Week of 5/4/15?

Argan Morocco

A group of women make argan oil using traditional methods in Essaouira, a city in Western Morocco. (ZiLiv/CC BY-ND 2.0)

Queen Arsem-O’Malley focuses on grassroots labor organizing, youth-led social movements, anti-carceral feminism, and critiques of mainstream media.
@qaween

Towards a Black Muslim Ontology of Resistance,” by Muna Mire. The New Inquiry, April 2015.

“Black Muslim existence as black resistance is as old as America itself.” In a time when black resistance is at the forefront of public conversation, former Nation intern Muna Mire highlights and discusses the role of Black Muslim struggle throughout the history of the country.

Cole Delbyck focuses on LGBT politics, East Asia, and representational issues in film and television.
@cdelbyck

Rent-a-Foreigner in China,” by David Borenstein. The New York Times, April 28, 2015.

I’m clearly in the wrong line of work. This fascinating entry in the Times’ Op-Doc series follows a Chinese housing developer who hires foreigners (whites are the most profitable) to make her properties seem attractive and “international” to potential buyers. Borenstein beautifully captures the expanse of China’s towering—and often empty—high rises, while exposing the disturbing racial hierarchies at play.

Khadija Elgarguri focuses on MENA issues including women’s rights, the relationship between foreign policy and cultural change, and women’s roles in protest movements in the region.
@dijaawad

Argan oil: the cost of the beauty industry’s latest wonder ingredient,” by Josephine Moulds. The Guardian, April 28, 2015.

Argan trees are grown “almost exclusively” in indigenous areas of Morocco, where the women who produce the oil have suddenly found themselves at the mercy of global companies (like L’Oréal) that have “cottoned on to this apparently magical resource.” Although women’s co-operatives, created by global entities to source the oil, provide indigenous Moroccan women with a source of income, there is still “plenty of scope for exploitation.” Fortunately, NGOs are beginning to step in to “professionalize” the women and help ensure the process is mutually beneficial, at least on some level.

Benjamin Hattem focuses on Israel/Palestine and the broader Middle East, as well as economic inequality, homelessness, and the prison system.
@BenHattem

Phantom Troops, Taliban Fighting, and Wasted Money—It’s Springtime in Afghanistan,” by Gary Owen. Vice News, April 29, 2015.

This exposé details the US reconstruction program’s inability to stabilize Afghanistan’s economy, monitor the Afghan military, or track its own huge expenditures. It’s detailed and damning, and it suggests that the US is beginning to back away from even trying to rebuild the country.

Nadia Kanji focuses on foreign policy, political art & alternative economic structures.
@nadiakanji

Who Killed Pakistan’s Sabeen Mahmud?” by Jahanzeb Hussain. Ricochet. April 26, 2015.

In this article, Hussain delves into the murder of activist Sabeen Mahmud, who was killed on April 24 in Pakistan for speaking about the rights of Balochistan. As natural resources continue to be extracted from Balochistan for the benefit of the state, Hussain describes this as “land theft” and “a new form of imperial subjugation.” “It has now come to the point where supporters of Balochistan in the country’s major cities are being shot for expressing solidarity with the Baloch, or for merely organizing an event to discuss the issue,” he says.

Please support our journalism. Get a digital subscription for just $9.50!

James F. Kelly focuses on labor, economic inequality, world politics and intellectual history.
@jamesf_kelly

What to Say When the Police Tell You to Stop Filming Them,” by Robinson Meyer. The Atlantic, April 28, 2015.

Whether you’re a journalist, activist or bystander, it’s important to know your rights when filming the police. Any ambiguity is often the result of intimidation.

Ava Kofman focuses on technology, popular science and media culture.
@eyywa

Empathy Isn’t Everything,” by Alex-Quan. Rookie, April 20, 2015.

Whatever empathy’s universal value, it often gets emitted in discrete amounts, apportioned out along the lines of those already with privileges, with power. It’s repeatedly called for in heated conversations, even when the subjects of those conversations are still denied basic human rights. “I want to know that you will give me the due respect despite your inability to understand,” writes Alex-Quan.

Abigail Savitch-Lew focuses on urban policy, labor and race.
@savitchlew

Policing the Police,” by Simone Weichselbaum. The Marshall Project, April 23, 2015.

The Marshall Project provides a history of the Justice Department’s efforts to reform police departments over the past twenty years, and questions why the department has failed so frequently to produce any meaningful reform. Is it because conducting a meaningful investigation and monitoring process is politically unpopular, expensive to constituents, and the Justice Department is just not invested in it (especially under Republican presidencies)? Is it because the Justice Department has been unwilling to terminate funding to those departments who fail to comply—and is there any chance that the next president will make funding contingent on reform?

Hilary Weaver focuses on reproductive rights, feminism and related political, health and education issues.
@Hilary_Weaver

The Last Days of Ladies’ Home Journal,” by Allison Pohle. The Hairpin, April 28, 2015.

Former Nation intern Allison Pohle shares an insightful narrative into the history and legacy of Ladies’ Home Journal, one of the seven sisters, or original women-driven magazines. Unknown to many, LHJ no longer prints as a monthly magazine and is available in select locations and quantities. Pohle highlights the importance and necessity of a magazine like LHJ, the original backbone for stories written by and for women—one that is still needed by its audience.

 

Read Next: What Are ‘Nation’ Interns Reading the Week of 4/26/15?

‘And the Youth Shall Lead!’ Ten Voices From a Generational Moment

Baltimore

Students in Baltimore. (Photo: Andrew Burton, Getty)

This post is part of The Nation’s biweekly student movement dispatch. As part of the StudentNation blog, each dispatch hosts first-person updates on youth organizing. For recent dispatches, check out April 10 and April 24. Contact studentmovement@thenation.com with tips. Edited by James Cersonsky (@cersonsky).

1. #BlackWomensLivesMatter

On Monday, April 20, all charges were dismissed in the case of Chicago police officer Dante Servin, who shot and killed 22 year-old black woman Rekia Boyd in 2012. In solidarity with Boyd’s family, a rally outside the Chicago courthouse followed the verdict and, on April 22, Black Lives Matter hosted another rally in New York City’s Union Square. From Chicago to New York, Boyd’s name has been lifted up at larger Baltimore solidarity actions, with activists nationally calling for greater recognition of black women and girls victimized by police violence and often left out of narratives that center black men. Black Youth Project 100 has launched a petition calling for Servin to be fired and, in collaboration with Ferguson Action and Black Lives Matter, is calling for a National Day of Action to End State Violence Against Black Women and Girls on May 21.

—Asha Rosa

2. Opting Out

This spring, students at Brighton Park Elementary School in Chicago joined peers from across the country in organizing a mass refusal of the PARCC standardized test. We selected one student in each class as a leader, who made sure everyone knew their rights and passed out an opt-out form to anyone who wanted one. Before the PARCC, we assembled within our school to turn in all the forms. While the school initially dismissed our efforts, we ultimately got the administration to show us respect—“This was very well organized!” When it came time to take the test, 97 percent of eighth graders and 86 percent of seventh graders opted out, leading to normal classes the following week instead of a second week of testing. While there are many reasons to refuse the test, we, a largely Latina/o school, reject it as racist; it’s given only in English and doesn’t respect our multilingualism. And while the media acts like only whites are opting out, we are showing otherwise.

—Jennifer Nava

3. Cutting Prisons

Students Against the Prison-Industrial Complex at Brown University is organizing to combat Brown’s perpetuation of the prison industrial complex. This spring, we led a successful campaign to assign Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow as the summer reading for incoming first year students. From April 20 to 24, we organized a week of engagement addressing mass incarceration, prison abolition and community activism as part of the Prison Divestment National Week of Engagement—which hosted events from community forums in California to a sit-in in New York. Moving forward, we will continue working to get our university to divest from prisons and “ban the box” on student and staff applications to Brown, while supporting the work of Providence community activists.

—Jamie Marsicano

4. At Marquette, Students of Color Sit Down to Demand Racial Justice

On April 27, the Ad Hoc Coalition of and for Students of Color at Marquette University assembled to address campus policies on discrimination, police brutality and divestment from companies which commit human rights violations—and pressure the university to “do better” for students of color. Alongside local groups including the Coalition For Justice, four students were arrested after joining arms and sitting down in the middle of a busy campus intersection, shutting down traffic for nearly an hour. The coalition will continue to organize until its demands are taken seriously by the administration.

—Curtis Sails

5. At Colby, a Groundswell Takes Over the “Hill”

On April 12, 2010, two students of color were aggressively detained by Colby College Security in the Pugh Center for multicultural affairs. This April, as part of a yearly reminder, Students Organized for Black and Hispanic Unity organized a week of demonstrations highlighting issues of racial injustice underlying the incident. On “Disruption Tuesday,” April 14, we chanted around campus protesting violence against people of color in the United States and around the world—sparking a range of hateful, threatening and racist comments on the Yik Yak app. The next day, which other groups planned as “Well Dressed Wednesday,” we decided to protest respectability politics, which will not save us from bullets or discrimination, as part of a die-in. In response, the school organized a teach-in and dine-in with faculty and students, bringing out 500 people—an uncomfortable experience for some, but a necessary step in creating a supportive community for all students and acknowledging racism on campus.

—Miriam Valle-Mancilla

6. At UPenn, the Africa Center Meets the Global “Compact”

On April 15, the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts & Sciences announced that it would eliminate the Africa Center and move its programs to the Center for Africana Studies and the Penn Language Center, effective July 1. In response to this last-minute and unexpected decision, Students for the Preservation of the Africa Center has raised the issue across campus, with protests during Penn’s College Palooza for prospective pre-freshmen, multiple talks with administrators and an ongoing petition. We see a contradiction: the university is working to consolidate the only two areas of study dealing with Africa while simultaneously avowing to increase Penn’s global engagement with Africa. From meetings with SAS deans, we’ve witnessed little attempt to ensure that Africa and its 1.1 billion inhabitants have an independent place of study at the university.

—Students for the Preservation of the Africa Center

7. 100 Years of Genocide

On April 24, more than 130,000 activists took to the streets of Los Angeles to demand justice for the Armenian genocide, the second-largest demonstration in the city’s history. The Armenian Youth Federation, a global grassroots social justice organization, stated in its speech to the crowd, “You do not define our history; nor will you define what our justice is,” in reference to President Obama’s continued denial of the Armenian Genocide on behalf of NATO-ally Turkey. A new wave of activism is escalating demands for Armenian Genocide justice, from recognition to reparations, marked by an AYF-led call for divestment of $70 million from the University of California funds in Turkish government bonds—unanimously endorsed and adopted by UCLA and UC Berkeley undergraduate student governments—along with a newly filed lawsuit in Turkey’s highest court by the Armenian Church.

—Armenian Youth Federation, Western United States

8. No Time for American Sniper

On April 7, Middle Eastern and North African and Muslim students and allies at the University of Michigan wrote a letter to the Center for Campus Involvement asking it not to screen American Sniper, a war propaganda film that whitewashes the racism of former US soldier Chris Kyle and dehumanizes Iraqis, Arabs and Muslims, at UMix Late Night. UMix Late Night is meant to be “a series of fun, late-night activities and events for University of Michigan students… catering to the interests of a diverse student population”; this film incites racism and Islamophobia against communities on campus. In response, CCI postponed the screening, indicating that it would screen it in an appropriate setting of reflection and dialogue. After receiving backlash, including a counter-petition and viral tweet by football coach Jim Harbaugh, the university reversed its decision and reinstated the screening, further marginalizing and demonizing Arab, Muslim and other marginalized voices on campus—and prompting an ongoing, collective response.

—Farah Erzouki

9. “Martin Luther King Didn’t Move to the Side! Malcolm X Didn’t Move to the Side!”

Editor’s note: On April 28, students from the University of Maryland–Eastern Shore blockaded Route 13 in the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s murder. (Video: NEWS 24/24)

—Students from UMD–Eastern Shore

10. “All Night, All Day, We Will Fight for Freddie Gray!”

Editor’s note: After police violence against high school students prompted the struggle for black life in Baltimore—and beyond—to escalate, students gathered at Pennsylvania Station to march on city hall. (Video: video11)

—Students from Baltimore

From the Fight for 15 to the Fifth Circuit, a National Youth Groundswell

STL Fight for 15

Students and workers converge in St. Louis. (Photo: Lindsay Tracy, Student Life)

This post is part of The Nation’s biweekly student movement dispatch. As part of the StudentNation blog, each dispatch hosts first-person updates on youth organizing. For recent dispatches, check out March 16 and April 10. Contact studentmovement@thenation.com with tips. Edited by James Cersonsky (@cersonsky).

1. “$15 and a Union! No Music!”

On April 15, I went on strike from my job at McDonald’s in St. Louis because I need more than $7.65 an hour, minimum wage, to take care of my family and pay for tuition as an incoming college freshman studying to be a healthcare provider. Adjunct professors, students, home care workers and childcare workers—here and across the country—came out in force to show how the Fight for $15 is growing. We protested at fast-food restaurants, chanting “$15 and a union! No music!”

—Kaylen Smith

2. “Come On Out, We Got Yo’ Back!”

Since 1999, the Progressive Student Alliance, a local of United Students Against Sweatshops at the University of Tennessee–Knoxville, has been fighting with the campus union, United Campus Workers, for living wages and justice for women and people of color. On April 15, as part of a national student mobilization, we traveled from Knoxville to Ferguson with Show Me $15. When we made it to West Florissant Avenue, we joined 400 others, and a large group rushed into McDonald’s to support fast food workers, chanting “Come on out, we got yo’ back!” As we marched to Canfield Street, where Mike Brown was killed, we held 4 minutes of silence for the four hours that police let him lie in the street after being executed. This was a day of rage in which we rallied, took back the streets and showed that we are not intimidated by corporate resistance to raising poverty wages.

—J.T. Taylor

3. Jamming the Immigration Court

On April 17, hundreds of immigrants and advocates from across the country gathered in New Orleans, where a panel of three judges weighed a request for an emergency stay on a lawsuit filed by 26 anti-immigrant Republicans to delay the implementation of DACA and DAPA, a program announced by the Obama administration in November, which promises to shield millions from deportation. I was in the courtroom with someone who would be able to qualify for DAPA—my mom, who, 22 years ago, made the courageous decision to leave her family and career in order to give my sister and me a shot at a better future. As we listened to the arguments from both sides, we could hear the roar of people outside. As the case rolls on, we will continue preparing our community to apply for relief.

—Jassiel Perez

4. Preparing for Walter Scott

Following the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, Charleston community members formed a plan for how we would respond to a similar tragedy in our community. When Walter Scott was killed on April 4, we operated from a stance of “Negotiate, Demonstrate, Resist,” with a vision of justice founded on ending the epidemic of violence against the black community and implementing a system of police accountability. On April 8, we assembled outside City Hall, calling on the mayor to establish a Citizen Review Board, which would have the power to investigate officers independently—a departure from the rubber-stamp internal investigations that have resulted in few charges, and zero convictions, in the 209 officer-involved shootings in South Carolina in the five years preceding Walter Scott’s death. While waiting for a positive response, we have temporarily escalated to the “Resist” stage of our strategy—shutting down intersections, highways and access to City Hall on several occasions. We will continue mounting pressure until the city responds.

—#BlackLivesMatterCHS

5. Disrupting for Racial Justice

On Saturday, April 18, the University of California–Berkeley’s annual “Cal Day,” the Black Student Union blocked Sather Gate in protest of a racially hostile campus climate. On February 13, the BSU presented the chancellor with a list of ten demands aimed at increasing recruitment, retention, mental health and other resources available to Black students on campus. After receiving incomplete responses to the demands, we decided to take the message public. Despite being harassed with racist comments both online and in person, we remained peaceful while protesting for almost three hours. In the coming weeks, we will persist until our demands are implemented.

—Cal BSU

6. In Middletown, Injustice Is Not an Investment

On Thursday, April 16, 38 students at Wesleyan University hosted a sit-in at President Michael Roth’s office. As a coalition for divestment and transparency, and in conjunction with other schools with escalating campaigns, we are calling for total divestment from fossil fuels, the prison industry and the Israeli occupation. After we took over the office at noon, the president sat down with us, but no progress was made. We remained there until 10:45 PM, leaving out of consideration for the security staff who would have had to work 16-hour shifts, before returning at 7:45 the next morning with a set of updated demands for prison divestment. Subsequently, the president agreed to find out if the university had holdings in private prisons and companies such as G4S, CCA and GEO and, if so, divest and ensure no future investments would be made.

—The Coalition for Divestment and Transparency

7. In Tuscaloosa, a Historic Sit-In

For two years, students at the University of Alabama have called on the university to join the Worker Rights Consortium to ensure proper monitoring of the factories that produce collegiate apparel. On Monday, April 6, ten students, alongside community supporters and two Bangladeshi supporters, one of whom survived the April 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse that claimed over 1,100 lives, staged a sit-in at President Judy Bonner’s office—the first documented occupation of the president’s office since the university was established in 1831. Chanting, singing and remembering those who came before us, we demanded that the university respect the lives of garment workers that make its apparel and make the decision to join the more than 180 universities affiliated with the WRC.

—United Students Against Sweatshops, Local 144

8. In Grinnell, Student Power Rises

On April 18 and 19, 90 Iowans came together at Grinnell College to form the Iowa Student Power Network. Alongside members of USSA, SLAP, Iowa CCI and the Virginia Student Power Network, as well as former US Representative Berkley Bedell, students from eight campuses launched statewide campaigns to end sexual assault, fight for climate justice and build power in all 99 Iowa counties. To kick off the network, we launched the Divest Grinnell campaign with an aerial photo action visualizing “IA Students > Fossil Fuels.” We are planning to host our next convergence in the fall.

—Iowa Student Power Convergence Steering Committee

9. #MoreThanATest

After months of research and planning, Philadelphia Student Union members from the city’s flagship Science Leadership Academy launched the #MoreThanATest website, which catalogues dozens of testimonies detailing why our education cannot be reflected by standardized test scores. We demand that Pennsylvania remove Keystone testing as a graduate requirement. Instead of the current formula, in which schools receive more or less funding based on test scores, we believe that all schools should receive full and fair funding. Decision-makers cannot expect us to perform well on tests when our schools’ resources are cut year after year. Alongside students across the country this spring, we are encouraging everyone to opt out.

—Philadelphia Student Union

10. #CarryThatWeight

On April 10, the University of California–Santa Cruz revealed that it is under investigation by the Office of Civil Rights for possible Title IX violations due to mishandling complaints of sexual violence on campus. Three days later, students on campus took part in the Carry That Weight National Day of Action, shouldering mattresses to symbolize the burden sexual violence places on survivors. We held a 4-hour, continuous carry in a major campus hub, asking passersby to stop and help us in order to raise awareness. At the end of the day, two groups of students marched through campus carrying mattresses, chanting and holding signs saying “End Rape Culture” and “Safe Campuses are a Civil Right.” The Day of Action, which fell during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, is one of many events planned to engage the campus in ending sexual violence.

—Amelie Meltzer

What Are ‘Nation’ Interns Reading the Week of 4/26/15?

Detroit Foreclosure

Hundreds of Detroit homeowners at risk of losing their property are flocking to hearings that offer them a last-ditch chance to avoid foreclosure. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Queen Arsem-O’Malley focuses on grassroots labor organizing, youth-led social movements, anti-carceral feminism, and critiques of mainstream media.
@qaween

Another Round of Detroit Refugees?” by Laura Gottesdiener. TomDispatch, April 19, 2015.

As Detroit faces tens of thousands of tax foreclosures this month, Gottesdiener – who quite literally wrote the book on foreclosure – takes us inside the bureaucracy of these cases, the yearslong fight by residents to save their homes, and the dangerous "foreclosure conveyer belt" that has emptied the city.

Avi Asher-Schapiro focuses on US foreign policy, politics in the Middle East and South America, and technology issues.
@AASchapiro

Blood on the tracks: The short life and mysterious death of Deion Fludd,” by Aaron Miguel Cantú. Al Jazeera America, April 21, 2015.

The family of Deion Fludd accuses the NYPD of beating their 17-year-old son and placing his body on the tracks of the A-train. The NYPD says Fludd ran into a subway tunnel to evade arrest. Former Nation intern Aaron Miguel Cantú investigates and finds the police version of events lacking.

Cole Delbyck focuses on LGBT politics, East Asia and representational issues in film and television.
@cdelbyck

Anchorman: The Legend of Don Lemon,” by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. GQ, May 2015.

A good friend once said to me, “Don Lemon is black, gay, and still doesn’t get it. Somebody at GQ must owe CNN a favor because this profile paints a much more complicated picture of a man…an anchorman…whom above all else “just keeps on going.” What becomes clear is that despite Lemon’s embarrassing gaffes over the past year (Ferguson, Cosby, ISIS, etc.), he is a prized commodity, one CNN refuses to let go gentle into that Brian Williams goodnight.

Khadija Elgarguri focuses on MENA issues including women’s rights, the relationship between foreign policy and cultural change, and women’s roles in protest movements in the region.
@dijaawad

Israel must provide alternatives to prison for Palestinian minors,” by Leah R. Platkin. +972 Magazine, April 22, 2015.

In Israel, Palestinian children are subject to abuses that UNICEF has said breach international human rights law, are tried in military courts and can be sent to military prisons for up to 20 years for offenses such as stone throwing. This article points out that such abuses contribute to rising rates of untreated psychological trauma while disrupting children’s education and fueling a continuous cycle of resentment, and says it’s time Palestinian children are given the same access to “alternative-to-prison programs including continued education, mental health treatment, and detention prevention” that is given to Jewish Israelis.

Benjamin Hattem focuses on Israel/Palestine and the broader Middle East, as well as economic inequality, homelessness, and the prison system.
@BenHattem

The Whistleblower's Tale: How An Accountant Took on Halliburton,” by Jesse Eisinger. ProPublica, April 21, 2015.

An impressively detailed, lucid story on Halliburton’s fraudulent accounting practices and the company’s long legal battle against a whistleblower who brought their case to the SEC.

Nadia Kanji focuses on foreign policy, political art & alternative economic structures.
@nadiakanji

Refugee Camp Is Under Attack From Assad and ISIS,” by Jesse Rosenfeld. The Daily Beast, April 15, 2015.

There is “virtually no escape” for those living in the Yarmouk refugee camp, writes Jesse Rosenfeld. Between 14,000 and 16,000 residents are being bombed and shelled by both ISIS and Assad’s forces as the Syrian civil war continues to escalate. The Yarmouk refugee camp is spiraling into an even greater humanitarian crisis as they lack food, water, and medicine: “There are desperate scenes as some [residents] come out to scour the area under sniper fire and shelling and look for wells.”

Please support our journalism. Get a digital subscription for just $9.50!

James F. Kelly focuses on labor, economic inequality, world politics and intellectual history.
@jamesf_kelly

Finally, a Democrat who calls “bulls**t”: Martin O’Malley drops a profane truth bomb on GOP’s deranged economic policy,” by Simon Maloy. Salon, April 21, 2015.

While the jury is still out on O’Malley, the former Baltimore mayor and governor of Maryland who may or may not have been the inspiration for the ambitious Tommy Carcetti on HBO’s The Wire, if he decides to run for president he just might have the type of fiery candor that will resonate with the general electorate. Let’s be honest, Hillary Clinton’s campaign began shortly after her tenure as Secretary of State and it will be quite difficult for grassroots organizers to get excited about “the inevitable.” Unless we all want flammable faucets (see Global Shale Gas Initiative) it would be a welcome sign to see a candidate enter the race who can draw a stark contrast to Hillary’s positions.

Ava Kofman focuses on technology, popular science and media culture.
@eyywa

ON WHITENESS AND THE RACIAL IMAGINARY,” by Claudia Rankine and Beth Loffreda. Lithub, April 9, 2015.

I've read, and then re-read, and will continue to read this essay, which, if I tried to quote from, would need to quote it all. I hope you read it too.

Abigail Savitch-Lew focuses on urban policy, labor and race.
@savitchlew

House Rules,” This American Life. NPR, November 2013.

At the recommendation of The Nation's new staff member, Vanessa Dunstan, I listened to this podcast on the extent to which housing discrimination persists, though often invisibly, in New York and throughout the country. After the passage of The Fair Housing Act in 1968, HUD Secretary George Romney—yes, Mitt Romney's father—went under Nixon's nose and spearheaded an interpretation of the act that “affirmatively further[ed]” integration. Nixon, desperate to hold onto his Southern constituency, replaced Romney and shut down the program, with detrimental effects that last to this day.

Hilary Weaver focuses on reproductive rights, feminism and related political, health and education issues.
@Hilary_Weaver

Sally Mann's Exposure,” by Sally Mann. New York Times Magazine, April 16, 2015.

In this essay, world-renowned photographer Sally Mann discusses her much-critiqued book of photos, “Immediate Family,” and reflects on how these photographs, and their controversial focus, informed her career. Mann writes that her photos are art, should be appreciated as such and allowed to stand alone to convey their individual messages.

 

Read Next: What Are ‘Nation’ Interns Reading the Week of 4/21/15?

What Are ‘Nation’ Interns Reading the Week of 4/21/15?

Chairman Mao

A guard stands in front of the Tiananmen Gate of the Forbidden City in Beijing. (Osrin/CC BY-NC 2.0)

Queen Arsem-O’Malley focuses on grassroots labor organizing, youth-led social movements, anti-carceral feminism, and critiques of mainstream media.
@qaween

Keep Your Friends Closer,” by Isabelle Nastasia. Mask Magazine, April 2015.

"Vulnerable people have been materially supporting one another always.... I’m realizing more and more that keeping my phone on and picking up every single time might be the most radical thing I can do these days." On creating support networks, looking out for each other, and friends who save your life.

Avi Asher-Schapiro focuses on US foreign policy, politics in the Middle East and South America, and technology issues.
@AASchapiro

As Colombian Oil Money Flowed To Clintons, State Department Took No Action To Prevent Labor Violations,” by Matthew Cunningham-Cook. International Business Times, April 8, 2015.

Hilary Clinton campaigned in 2008 against a free-trade agreement with Colombia, citing the government's troubling human rights record and history of intimidating trade unionists. But as secretary of state, she reversed her position, praised Colombia's human rights record, and ignored the complaints of local labor activists. Some digging by IB Times' Matthew Cunningham-Cook has now revealed that at "the same time that Clinton's State Department was lauding Colombia’s human rights record, her family was forging a financial relationship with Pacific Rubiales, the sprawling Canadian petroleum company at the center of Colombia’s labor strife.”

Cole Delbyck focuses on LGBT politics, East Asia and representational issues in film and television.
@cdelbyck

Chairman Mao Invented Traditional Chinese Medicine,” by Alan Levinovitz. Slate, October 22, 2013.

My only encounter with “traditional Chinese medicine” is gua sha—a skin treatment that leaves you with bruises for weeks and awkward questions in the gym locker room. Who knew Mao Zedong was responsible for exporting this voluntary form of abuse abroad as propaganda to prey “on the human desire for magical solutions to intractable problems?” In 2013, the US Senate designated October 7-13 as Naturopathic Medicine Week, which indirectly celebrates the contributions of the Chairman, who, in fact, never believed in Chinese medicine in the first place.

Khadija Elgarguri focuses on MENA issues including women’s rights, the relationship between foreign policy and cultural change, and women’s roles in protest movements in the region.
@dijaawad

Women and the Arab Spring: a dream turned nightmare,” by Abdalhadi Alijla. openDemocracy, March 20, 2015.

In a tumultuous post-Arab-Spring era, women throughout the region are caught in proxy wars and subjected to the effects of political and social instability, which creates a situation where “women are unable to have their voice heard, exercise their basic rights, fight against discrimination and harassment or even be active participants in political and social spheres.” Alijla says that while equality laws do exist, “it’s only ink on paper,” and argues that the only viable solution is to initiate bottom-up reforms to ensure that regional progress in the advancement of women’s rights is not lost.

Nadia Kanji focuses on foreign policy, political art & alternative economic structures.
@nadiakanji

Navajo Women Walk 1000 Miles to Protest Pipeline,” by Leigh Cuen. Red Power Media, April 9, 2015.

Since January, over 70 people of the Navajo First Nations community have been walking across the American Southwest to protest a fracking oil pipeline in New Mexico. The walk is being documented on social media, where they state: “Since the 1920's, our land and people have been sacrificed for energy extraction for oil, gas, uranium, and coal, which is poisoning our land, water, air, and people.” This walk also commemorates the 150th anniversary of “The Long Walk,” where their ancestors were forced to walk at gunpoint for nearly three years to Bosque Redondo, where they were virtually all imprisoned.

Please support our journalism. Get a digital subscription for just $9.50!

James F. Kelly focuses on labor, economic inequality, world politics and intellectual history.
@jamesf_kelly

Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street backers: We get it,” by Gabriel Debenedetti, Kenneth P. Vogel and Ben White. Politico, April 15, 2015.

Hillary Clinton has a lot of work to do if she’s going to convince voters that her newfound populism isn’t just empty rhetoric. It will be interesting to see how Clinton positions herself on the minimum wage or paid sick leave while still having to court her power base in Lower Manhattan.

Ava Kofman focuses on technology, popular science and media culture.
@eyywa

The Assistant Economy,” by Francesca Mari. Dissent, Spring 2015.

Mari travels through the lifecycle of emotions encountered as an executive assistant, with anecdotes from those working for Sontag, Altman, and anonymous hedge fund billionaires. "The real expense of this work," she notes, "is how much the boss—and the idea of the boss—occupies his assistants after hours."

Abigail Savitch-Lew focuses on urban policy, labor and race.
@savitchlew

Dozens Arrested During Brooklyn Bridge Protest Against Police Violence,” by Ashley Southall and C.J. Hughes. The New York Times, April 14, 2015.

A new round of anti-police violence protests shocked cities across the country on Tuesday, including in Manhattan, Oakland, San Francisco, and Chicago. By The New York Times' description, the New York protest was more disruptive than usual—and perhaps it was, but it's also necessary to inquire why and to what effect. You will not read about what I saw coming off the train in Brooklyn: police officers suddenly ramming protesters onto the ground or into walls, as reported widely on social media.

Hilary Weaver focuses on reproductive rights, feminism and related political, health and education issues.
@Hilary_Weaver

Real Delusions of an Unreal Disease: the History of Morgellons,” by Stassa Edwards. Jezebel, April 15, 2015.

When Joni Mitchell was rushed to the hospital last month, my best friend sent me a text and said she was calling in sick to work should anything happen to the legendary singer, whose music is our go-to consult for post-college angst and real-world-adult-woman struggles. In the weeks that followed, more came out about Mitchell’s self-diagnosed skin disease, Morgellons. In this piece detailing the history of Morgellons, Edwards assures us that while Mitchell’s pain might be very real, the disease itself is not.

 

Read Next: What Are ‘Nation’ Interns Reading the Week of 4/9/15?

Ask NYU: What’s The Deal With Andrew Hamilton?

Andrew Hamilton

(Credit: Bridget Casey)

This piece was originally published by NYU Local and is reposted here with permission.

On March 18, the NYU Board of Trustees announced their decision to appoint Andrew Hamilton as the next president of the university. He has previously served as Vice-Chancellor of Oxford and Provost at Yale, and he will assume his position at NYU in January 2016. Following the official memorandum sent to faculty and students, Hamilton wrote an enthusiastic e-mail to personally introduce himself to the NYU community.

So, NYU Local took to the streets around Washington Square Park to ask students about their opinions of their president-to-be. Some graduating seniors replied with a confused “who?” while another shrugged and expressed her ambivalence towards “just another old white man.” A surprising number of students referred to “Alexander” Hamilton. Most students, however, had much to say about John Sexton, Andrew Hamilton, and the future of their education at NYU.

“I feel like I have more feelings about Sexton leaving than I do about who the new president is. I’ve only been here for a semester and a half, but from what I’ve heard about Sexton, he’s really the face of this growing empire that NYU is and this corporate attitude towards running a university. Frankly, I don’t know what [Sexton] looks like, I wouldn’t know him if I saw him, but the idea of him is upsetting to me. I doubt much will change [with Hamilton as president]. I’m very, very sure nothing will.”

Rowan, graduate student at Gallatin

“I am excited about the new president because he does not have a business or a law degree, and I think that will contribute to the way he runs the university in that he probably won’t run it as a business. He is a researcher, so he may be interested in making NYU a research university… I think [this decision] may have also had something to do with integrating Poly more, because Hamilton is a scientist, specifically a chemist.”

Xena, freshman at CAS

“I haven’t read [the e-mail] yet… I care to a certain extent, but I don’t have that much time left here. I’m a first semester senior, so I guess I feel like it doesn’t affect me that much, which is probably not the right attitude. I know there’s been a lot of drama [with John Sexton and the current NYU administration] and I’m definitely wary of all the tuition hikes… I’m interested to see if anything changes or if it will just stay the same.”

Sophie, senior at Gallatin

“I read what he had to say… How much could really change? He’s just one guy, even though he’s at the top. Even the President of the United States doesn’t have that much power. You can’t really tell if he’s a nice guy or not, because obviously his e-mail will make him sound nice no matter what. He probably didn’t even write it himself.”

Matt, sophomore at CAS

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“Oxford seem to be sad to have lost him, which may be a good thing for us, given that Oxford is such a distinguished university. Honestly, I’m sad that John Sexton is leaving. He’s gotten a hard time here, but he seems to be a devoted president. It seems like NYU is going in an interesting direction. We’ll just have to see in a few more years what actually happens.”

Andrew, senior at Gallatin

“He’s an academic, not a businessperson, so I am cautiously optimistic that he might repair the relationship between faculty and the administration.”

Tommy, sophomore at CAS

“I am more curious to see what [Hamilton] will do. I think a lot of students are concerned about unnecessary spending on senior faculty and whether he will do anything to change that, or continue to be paid ridiculous amounts of money at the expense of students. Another concern that I have is what he will do about NYU’s expansion plan and labor policies in some of our satellite campuses. He has not spoken to any of those issues, which leads me to think that maybe he will just continue what John Sexton has started. But, with that said, I will give him the benefit of the doubt.”

Mariah, junior at Gallatin

In spite of many reservations and widespread disillusionment, it seems that NYU students will wait to judge Hamilton until next year, or at least until they finish reading that e-mail. Your move, Andy.

 

Read Next: Students Blockade for $150 Billion, Rally for Hoosier ‘Freedom’ and Rise for Martese Johnson

Students Blockade for $150 Billion, Rally for Hoosier ‘Freedom’ and Rise for Martese Johnson

Virginia protest

Students from Virginia Commonwealth University hit the streets after the beating of a UVa student. (Photo: The Daily Progress)

This post is part of The Nation’s biweekly student movement dispatch. As part of the StudentNation blog, each dispatch hosts first-person updates on youth organizing. For recent dispatches, check out March 5 and March 16. Contact studentmovement@thenation.com with tips. Edited by James Cersonsky (@cersonsky).

1. Whose Budget?

For the past month, the United States Student Association has been leading the charge to oppose $150 billion in cuts to the Pell Grant, subsidized loan, income-based repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs. Beginning March 16, students across the country made hundreds of phone calls to House and Senate Budget Committee members. On March 18, USSA students, staff and allies disrupted the Senate Budget Committee and were arrested and charged for speaking out. The week of March 23, we sent more than 13,000 emails through an online petition, culminating in an action on March 27 at the Capitol, where more than 200 students and allies, including Senator Bernie Sanders, turned out to oppose the cuts—and ten students were arrested for blocking the intersection of First and Maryland. On March 30, 250 students converged on Capitol Hill for a lobbying blitz. We are continuing to build support against these cuts while mobilizing more and bigger actions—not only until Congress rolls them back, but until higher education is free.

—United States Student Association

2. Whose History Month?

On March 23, fifty community members gathered outside the ICE field office in Santa Ana, California, and marched to Santa Ana City Jail to demand the release of Omara Gomez-Aviles, a Salvadorian mother of three who was detained as part of ICE’s “Operation Cross Check” earlier this month. At age 17, Omara came to the US fleeing the civil war and violence in her home country—including sexual abuse and an arranged marriage to an older man. Although she has two felony convictions, which make her a priority for deportation, these are from sixteen years ago—and deportation should not be a form of punishment. This protest was part of “Chant Down the Walls,” a concert series started last year in Los Angeles by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, along with youth and community activists. In the coming months, we plan to take these serenata concerts to other states, including Arizona, Texas and Alabama.

—Claudia Bautista

3. The Nittany Lion’s Last Straw

Generations of women, and too often victims of sexual violence, have suffered in silence on Penn State campus and the streets of State College. On Friday, March 20, more than 100 students rallied after a fraternity, Kappa Delta Rho, undressed unconscious women and posted pictures on social media. On March 25, Window of Opportunity, a youth-based community group, staged a march on frat row to protest in front of KDR. On Thursday, April 2, the Progressive Student Coalition hosted a public forum to discuss rape culture in our community. The next day, WOO organized another march on frat row.

—Laura Shadle

4. The Hoosiers’ Disgrace—and Uprising

After Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed the state senate in early March, the Allies Club of Brebeuf Jesuit teamed up with Freedom Indiana to challenge the bill, which allows businesses to discriminate against people on the basis of religion—with LGBT people as targets. High school students phone-banked, delivered hand-written letters to our senators and representatives urging them to vote “no” and rallied at the Indiana Statehouse. Despite our—and many other Hoosier’s—efforts, the bill proceeded to pass through the Indiana House and was signed by Governor Pence on March 26.

—Olivia Totten

5. In Charlottesville, Hitting the Streets—and the Board—for Black Lives

The brutal beating of black University of Virginia student Martese Johnson by law enforcement officers on St. Patrick’s Day sparked campus-wide protests against the systemic racism the black community experiences every day at UVA. Hundreds of people attended a March 18 rally on campus and later shut down sections of University Ave. and West Main St. before marching to the Charlottesville Police Station. When the UVA Student Council unilaterally planned a police dialogue featuring top officers from across the state, black students took over the event and demanded answers to the violent policing of black bodies, before marching out with fists raised. Organizers took to social media, using hashtags #BlackUVADemands and #NotJustUVA to connect the struggles of black students to those of the Charlottesville community, which has faced racism and discrimination for decades. One week after the beating, UVA’s Board of Visitors railroaded an 11 percent tuition increase that will expedite the privatization of UVA—a process that disproportionately hurts black and low-income students. In response, UVA Students United mobilized hundreds of students for two days of demonstrations against the hike, including a sit-in after administrators locked down a public building to prevent demonstrators from entering the BOV meeting.

—UVA Students United

6. In Lansing, Rising for a New State

On Thursday, March 26, 150 members of the Michigan Student Power Network, representing nine campuses, converged on Lansing for the Michigan Student Rise March. At the capitol, we delivered ten demands to supportive legislators, embracing a range of causes and movements and articulating a socially just vision for Michigan’s future—in opposition to policies that serve the white, rich and male ruling members of society. Following several speakers on the capitol steps, we marched to the rotunda and on to the legislative chambers. In the face of right to work, religious discrimination legislation, education cuts, emergency managers and more, MSPN is committed to building power among young people to fight for a state that supports all people.

—Michigan Student Power Network

7. From Hillel to Kehilah

On March 22, Swarthmore’s Jewish organization held a celebration to announce that it would change its name from Swarthmore Hillel to Swarthmore Kehilah, or “community” in Hebrew. The decision followed legal threats from Hillel International over Israel-Palestine programming. Two days later, the Kehilah hosted civil rights veterans Ira Grupper, Mark Levy, Larry Rubin and Dorothy Zellner, who are on a national tour, “From Mississippi to Jerusalem,” speaking with students about their experiences as white, Jewish organizers in the US civil rights movement and around Israel-Palestine. Swarthmore’s programming is part of a student movement challenging Hillel International’s restrictive “Standards of Partnership” on Israel-Palestine. On February 27, the Wesleyan Jewish community, an affiliate of Hillel International, hosted a Jewish Voice for Peace Shabbat event with nearly 50 attendees, although Hillel’s standards bar JVP. On March 20, Caroline Dorn resigned as president of Muhlenberg Hillel after her Hillel refused to host the civil rights tour—which proceeded to take place at another location with 100 attendees.

—Open Hillel Steering Committee

8. From March 29 to Spring 2016

On the morning of Thursday, March 29, twenty Divest University of Mary Washington students began a sit-in of our president’s office. On March 18, the Board of Visitors refused to hold a vote on our campaign’s proposal to form a subcommittee simply to explore options for removing the university’s investments from the fossil fuel industry. On Thursday evening, a group of students from across Virginia joined Divest UMW in a unified call for divestment statewide, culminating in the first collective action of DivestVa. Divest UMW will continue the sit-in until our demand, a plan for coal industry divestment by the end of the 2016 spring semester, is met.

—Rabib Hasan

9. 15 Now

On March 25, Temple University students and workers launched a campaign demanding at least $15 an hour for all workers on campus—from adjunct professors to food service workers to student workers. In coalition with groups across campus, Temple 15 Now wrote a letter to President Neil Theobald, articulating our fight as an issue of equality and justice in the North Philadelphia community. After a rally and speeches by students and workers, we marched to Theobald’s building—which is supposed to be open to all students and faculty—but were greeted by police blocking the entrance. We plan to escalate until the president will accept the letter himself—and listen to us.

—Zoe Buckwalter

10. 1,100—and More—Next

From March 19 to 22, I joined more than 1,100 young union leaders, students and community allies in Chicago for the AFL-CIO’s Next Up Young Worker Summit. We heard from leaders throughout the labor and progressive movements; sharpened our organizing skills in more than 80 workshops; shared successful strategies from campaigns across the country; and led dozens of sessions to strategize a raising wages agenda. On Saturday, March 21, we participated in seven actions across Chicago. I joined a large crowd to demonstrate for union rights and a $15 minimum wage outside Food 4 Less and McDonalds. Others organized leafletting for the #ChangeZara campaign, talked to Guitar Center workers about the benefits of a union contract, visited a Nissan dealership to support Nissan workers fighting for a union, supported striking Steelworkers at a nearby refinery, amplified Chicago’s #CabDriversUnited and canvassed for a teacher running for Chicago’s Board of Alderman. As a member of IBEW Local 46 and the AFL-CIO’s Young Worker Advisory Council, I have returned to Washington State eager to to build the next generation of leaders in the labor movement.

—Chelsea Nelson

What Are ‘Nation’ Interns Reading the Week of 4/9/15?

Rolling Stone

Columbia Journalism School’s Sheila Coronel and Steve Coll answer questions during a press conference on Monday, April 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Queen Arsem-O’Malley focuses on grassroots labor organizing, youth-led social movements, anti-carceral feminism, and critiques of mainstream media.
@qaween

Fight for Fifteen on Campus,” by Keely Mullen. In These Times, April 6, 2015.

Discussions of student debt, adjunct organizing, and fair wages for campus staff are often framed as separate fights, but $15 Now NU—a campaign run by a coalition of student groups at Northeastern University—connects these struggles to the corporatization of higher education. Students voted on the issue in a referendum this week, which passed with 76 percent, and negotiations with the university will begin next fall.

Avi Asher-Schapiro focuses on US foreign policy, politics in the Middle East and South America, and technology issues.
@AASchapiro

The hidden hand behind the Islamic State militants? Saddam Hussein’s,” by Liz Sly.The Washington Post, April 4, 2015.

In this provocative article, Liz Sly claims that many of the leadership positions in ISIS are actually held by former members of Saddam Hussein’s army, pushed aside when the US disbanded the Iraqi armed forces in 2003. It’s a strong counter argument to those—like The Atlantic's Graeme Wood—who insist that the key to understanding ISIS is to explore its jihadist ideology.

Cole Delbyck focuses on LGBT politics, East Asia and representational issues in film and television.
@cdelbyck

Taking Feminist Battle to China’s Streets, and Landing in Jail,” by Andrew Jacobs. The New York Times, April 5, 2015.

On the eve of International Women’s Day, five Chinese feminists—Li Tingting, Wang Man, Wei Tingting, Wu Rongrong and Zheng Churan—were arrested for provoking social instability. In the eyes of the Chinese government, social instability means organizing a campaign about sexual harassment on public transportation. Their detention speaks to the disturbing trend of suppressing grassroots activism that has escalated since Xi Jinping became president in 2012. 

Khadija Elgarguri focuses on MENA issues including women’s rights, the relationship between foreign policy and cultural change, and women’s roles in protest movements in the region.
@dijaawad

Women behaving boldly,” by Nair Antoun. Mada Masr, December 20, 2013.

As mistreatment of protesters escalates in Egypt, a 2013 peaceful protest that resulted in the mass arrest and abuse of a group of men and women comes to mind. The women refused to leave when the prosecution ordered their release because they realized that accepting special treatment would be a silent acceptance of the fact that “women’s bodies [are used] as a tool for political blackmail.” One of the women, Rasha Azab, said that she wanted to highlight the reality that the arrests “were not scandals because of what happened to the women [but] because you cannot treat peaceful protesters in that way.” 

Benjamin Hattem focuses on Israel/Palestine and the broader Middle East, as well as economic inequality, homelessness, and the prison system.
@BenHattem

How Obama Abandoned Democracy in Iraq,” by Emma Sky. Politico Magazine, April 7, 2015.

Emma Sky, a former political advisor to the commanding general of US forces in Iraq, writes a scathing critique of the Obama administration’s bungling of the fallout from Iraq’s 2010 parliamentary elections. It’s difficult to know how much to trust the source here, but it’s still an important text for understanding how Iraq got to where it is today.

Nadia Kanji focuses on foreign policy, political art & alternative economic structures.
@nadiakanji

The Chevron Tapes: Video Shows Oil Giant Allegedly Covering Up Amazon Contamination,” by Robert S. Eshelman. Vice News, April 8, 2015.

There’s been an ongoing battle between Chevron and residents of Ecuador’s Amazon forests who claim that oil spills are damaging their health and environment. Footage was recently leaked showing what appears to be two workers associated with Chevron looking for soil that has not yet been contaminated with crude oil. In the video, there’s an exchange that occurs where one of them exclaims: “Give you one simple task: Don’t find petroleum.”

James F. Kelly focuses on labor, economic inequality, world politics and intellectual history.
@jamesf_kelly

Greece Nazi occupation: Athens asks Germany for €279bn.” BBC, April 7, 2015.

Greece is getting creative with its impossible debt—it's asking for reparations for the Nazi occupation during WWII. While this is a highly symbolic gesture from the Greeks, it’s a reminder that the leaders of Syriza will continue to fearlessly challenge the balance of power in Europe.

Ava Kofman focuses on technology, popular science and media culture.
@eyywa

Portrait of an I,” by Elizabeth Gumport. Bookforum, April/May 2015.

I’ve been reading reviews of Kathy Acker’s and McKenzie Wark’s email correspondence, printed for the first time this year, as I wait to buy the real thing. Gumport reminds us of the historical moment in which e-mail became a tone, a style, a mode of thinking. Acker knew this too: “We need,” she wrote, “to regain some of the energy, as writers and as readers, that people have on the Internet when for the first time they e-mail, when they discover that they can write anything, even to a stranger, even the most personal of matters.”

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Abigail Savitch-Lew focuses on urban policy, labor and race.
@savitchlew

These Nine People Gave Up the Middle Class Dream. Was it Worth It?” by Molly Osberg. Talking Points Memo’s The Slice, March 26, 2015.

Molly Osberg’s description of a quirky communal home in West Philly and its diverse inhabitants evolves into a discussion about American conceptions of adulthood, privacy and ownership. We millennials are the so-called “sharing” generation, but most of us still aspire to capitalist, bourgeoisie ideals of home. As a former co-op resident who had decided never to live in a co-op again, I was forced to confront what ideological conceptions, and skillsets, I would need to acquire to make a truly anti-capitalist life possible. 

Hilary Weaver focuses on reproductive rights, feminism and related political, health and education issues.
@Hilary_Weaver

Despite Damning Report, Rolling Stone Will Continue 'To Do What We've Always Done.' Are They Serious?” by Hanna Rosin. Slate, April 6, 2015.

After Rolling Stone released CJR’s report about its missteps in the now infamous UVA story, Rosin takes a look at the mistakes the staff made in the story’s original reporting. Rosin says some of these blunders are “(almost) understandable and others so basic that a first-year Columbia J-school student would be reprimanded for making them.” Her biggest surprise of all: Rolling Stone is doing nothing to change its ‘editorial system'. 

 

Read Next: WhatNation interns were reading the week of 4/3/15

What Are ‘Nation’ Interns Reading the Week of 4/3/15?

Angora Bunny

(Credit: PJ Rhymes, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Queen Arsem-O’Malley focuses on grassroots labor organizing, youth-led social movements, anti-carceral feminism, and critiques of mainstream media.
@qaween

New Canadian Counterterrorism Law Threatens Environmental Groups,” by Alleen Brown. The Intercept, March 30, 2015.

The “Anti-Terrorism Act”— serious scare quotes on that one—that is being discussed in Canada is touted as a counterterrorism measure prompted by the shooting of a soldier in Ottawa. Activists and civil liberties advocates have recognized it for what it really is: a bill to quell dissent and grow the surveillance state, as evidenced in this piece discussing the impact that "security" measures have already had on environmental and indigenous activists.

Avi Asher-Schapiro focuses on US foreign policy, politics in the Middle East and South America, and technology issues.
@AASchapiro

Amazon makes even temporary warehouse workers sign 18-month non-competes,” by Spencer Woodman. The Verge, March 26, 2015.

Non-compete agreements are typically reserved for high-skilled employees, to prevent trade secrets from being passed to competitors. But the online retail giant Amazon is now forcing some of its seasonal warehouse workers to sign contracts with noncompete clauses—which prevent them from working in the warehouses of Amazon competitors.

Cole Delbyck focuses on LGBT politics, East Asia and representational issues in film and television.
@cdelbyck

NCTE Announces $1M Transgender Laboratory.” National Center for Transgender Equality, April 1, 2015.

Everybody can sit down because the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) just won April Fools’ Day. In a deliciously snarky response to a proposed bill in Florida that would make it illegal for transgender people to use public bathrooms, the NCTE has opened a laboratory to create “transgender people who do not need to pee.” NCTE’s statement not only reveals the absurdity of the Single-Sex Public Facilities Act, but also follows in the rich tradition of the LGBT community using humor as the antidote for hate.

Khadija Elgarguri focuses on MENA issues including women’s rights, the relationship between foreign policy and cultural change, and women’s roles in protest movements in the region.
@dijaawad

Iranian VP works for change from within,” by Sahar Namazikhah. Al-Monitor, March 30, 2015.

Shahindokht Molaverdi—scholar, activist and youngest member of the Iranian administration—offers insight into working for women’s rights from within. Molaverdi embodies a rare balance that enables her to enjoy the support and occasional criticism of both religious and secular groups. When asked for her assessment of global conditions for women after attending Beijing+20, Molaverdi emphasized the important yet oft-forgotten point that, “in each country, progress and challenges are related to internal and regional conditions” that uniquely shape the type and direction of change.

James F. Kelly focuses on labor, economic inequality, world politics and intellectual history.
@jamesf_kelly

The future of lonliness,” by Olivia Laing. The Guardian, April 1, 2015.

The Internet has radically altered lived experience. While the unprecedented level of interconnectedness that has been achieved may lead one to think that society is moving toward a higher mode of social organization, this transformative new medium may have the unintended consequence of leading individuals into further isolation. Laing explores whether or not true intimacy is possible in the modern world.

Nadia Kanji focuses on foreign policy, political art & alternative economic structures.
@nadiakanji

A Few Thousand of my Closest Friends: Letter from a Montreal night demo,” by Dru Oja Jay, The Media Co-op. March 28, 2015.

This piece written for the Media Co-op, a grassroots media outlet in Canada, illustrates what it’s like to participate in a mass movement. Right now, the anti-austerity movement is growing in Quebec and people are taking over the streets almost daily. “With every launch of a tear gas canister, they produce a thousand moments that will become shared history. Shared history becomes shared destiny, and shared resolve. In a word: solidarity.

Ava Kofman focuses on technology, popular science and media culture.
@eyywa

The Cuddly, Fluffy, Surreal World of Angora Show Bunnies,” by Jon Mooallem and Andres Serrano. The New York Times Magazine, April 2, 2015.

I fell for the Internet really hard today when I entered the "alien country" that is the competitive world of lethargic angora rabbits. "They are basically already sweaters," Mooallem writes. "Not just because they’re mostly wool, with that ludicrous shag frothing out of their nonphysiques; it’s their total passivity, the way they allow themselves to be handled or arranged on a table, just so, like those sea creatures that, incapable of self-propulsion, get joggled along by the tides." This is the first time I've seen a cute-clickbait slideshow paired with metaphors reminiscent of Melville, and I hope it's not the last.

Please support our journalism. Get a digital subscription for just $9.50!

Abigail Savitch-Lew focuses on urban policy, labor and race.
@savitchlew

A Promise He Can't Deliver,” by Sandy Boyer. Jacobin, March 29, 2015

Activist Sandy Boyer critiques De Blasio for his dependence on developers to deliver his promised affordable housing plan and for the mayor's unwillingness to firmly challenge 421a, one of the state's broken real estate tax credit programs. Boyer suggests that we need more funding—from the federal government and other sources—to facilitate a truly affordable housing plan. His critique may have benefited from greater discussion about what the city can do in the absence of such funding.

Hilary Weaver focuses on reproductive rights, feminism and related political, health and education issues.
@Hilary_Weaver

"Ellen Pao and the Sexism That You Can't Quite Prove," by Annie Lowery. Daily Intelligencer, March 30, 2015.

In a piece that got attention across social media, Lowery takes a look at the failed lawsuit of Ellen Pao, former employee at venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield and Byers, and the subtle sexism that exists within the professional sphere. Lowery pinpoints that it wasn't just one thing that caused the sexism against Pao; it was several little things that exist in our culture and prevent women from rising through the ranks.

 

Read Next: WhatNation interns were reading the week of 3/27/15

What Are ‘Nation’ Interns Reading the Week of 3/27/15?

Blake Brockington

(Credit: YouTube/Charlotte Observer)

Queen Arsem-O’Malley focuses on grassroots labor organizing, youth-led social movements, anti-carceral feminism, and critiques of mainstream media.
@qaween

"Private University Police Patrol Off-Campus (and Off the Record)," by Hannah K. Gold. Pacific Standard, March 17, 2015.

Campus police officers may be privately hired, but they do everything we expect public police departments to do: patrol neighborhoods, carry weapons, make arrests, racially profile people. At public universities, the Freedom of Information Act covers activities of campus police, and Illinois is now the first state to push for private campus police to be subject to FOIA requests as well.

Avi Asher-Schapiro focuses on US foreign policy, politics in the Middle East and South America, and technology issues.
@AASchapiro

All aboard San Francisco's startup bus craze,” by Nitasha Tiku. The Verge, March 23, 2015.

Leap Bus—a new startup in San Francisco—is a luxury private bus service that loops between the upscale Marina and Financial District. The Verge's Nitasha Tiku took a ride, interviewed one of Leap's founders and saw exactly what you'd expect of a private-San Francisco bus: "reclaimed wood, abundant personal space, and white people.... Wasn’t this more for elites than the masses?"

Cole Delbyck focuses on LGBT politics, East Asia and representational issues in film and television.
@cdelbyck

Trans Teen Activist, Former Homecoming King, Dies in Charlotte, N.C.,” by Mitch Kellaway. The Advocate, March 24, 2015.

Last year, Blake Brockington became the first out trans homecoming king in a North Carolina high school. He committed suicide this past Monday. His death marks the sixth reported suicide of a trans youth in the US this year.

Khadija Elgarguri focuses on MENA issues including women’s rights, the relationship between foreign policy and cultural change, and women’s roles in protest movements in the region.
@dijaawad

New Media and the Spectacle of the War on Terror,” by Maymanah Farhat. Jadaliyya, March 4, 2015

Farhat places the US “war on terror” in the context of an ages-old psychological warfare that exploits the desires and fears of citizens to perpetuate the Military Industrial Complex in its evolving forms. She cites a “daunting repository” of “pejorative imagery” that demonizes the Middle East within the psyche of the viewing masses, and a secret CIA “cultural diplomacy” program that sought to cement US power by using “tyranny against freedom” narratives depicting Islam and the Arab world as the “othered” enemy. This “good-and-evil binary,” Farhat says, is disseminated through mass media and infiltrates “virtually every aspect of domestic life.”

Benjamin Hattem focuses on Israel/Palestine and the broader Middle East, as well as economic inequality, homelessness, and the prison system.
@BenHattem

Twitter Data Mining Reveals the Origins of Support for Islamic State.” MIT Technology Review, March 23, 2015.

A research institute in Doha data mined tweets about ISIS to try to glean some insight into why people decide to join the group. Included in the story is a troubling quote from the lead researcher about developing algorithms to anticipate people's support for ISIS based on their Twitter history: "We train a classifier that can predict future support or opposition of ISIS with 87 percent accuracy."

Nadia Kanji focuses on foreign policy, political art & alternative economic structures.
@nadiakanji

Capitalism: A Ghost Story” by Arundhati Roy. Outlook India. March 26, 2012.

This essay details the pitfalls of unabated privatization and structural adjustment, and describes how a handful of corporations continue to dominate India. Although this piece was written prior to Modi’s ascension to prime minister, she describes how aside from the neoliberal orthodoxy that he vehemently promoted, Modi was accused of "actively abetting" the killing of 2000 Muslims in 2002. Three years later, Roy’s essay remains relevant to the future of India— “Capitalism’s real ‘grave-diggers’ may end up being its own delusional Cardinals [of corporate gospel], who have turned ideology into faith."

James F. Kelly focuses on labor, economic inequality, world politics and intellectual history.
@jamesf_kelly

Big Data Is Watching You,” by Joanna Scutts. In These Times, March 12, 2015.


Critics of surveillance in the United States often reserve blame for the government, but the infrastructure that agencies like the NSA tap into arose from a calculated decision among private entities that surveillance is a profit-making venture worth undertaking. As more and more of life experience is filtered through social media, Scutts reminds us that our compliancy and desire for convenience is part of the problem.

Ava Kofman focuses on technology, popular science and media culture.
@eyywa

"New Haven Rising," by Jennifer Klein. Dissent Magazine, Winter 2014.

Labor historian and New Haven resident Jennifer Klein contextualizes the grassroots work behind the rise of the city's 2012 majority labor-backed Board of Alders, in a city whose university-medical complex-driven “growth” has rarely translated into gains for the economic or social health for the surrounding communities. Even with these wins in local elections, shifting the balance of economic power in the city will necessitate even more organizing and the coordinated collaboration of activists across the city, from within the university and from far without.

Please support our journalism. Get a digital subscription for just $9.50!

Abigail Savitch-Lew focuses on urban policy, labor and race.
@savitchlew

"In Rising Market, Vital Mitchell-Lama Program at Crossroads," by Norman Oder. City Limits, March 25, 2015

It's old news that New York's Mitchell-Lama housing program, which has provided affordable housing to middle class and low-income residents since the 1950s, is undergoing a wave of deregulation as owners pay off their public loans and opt out of the program. Yet what is state government and the de Blasio administration going to do about it? Norman Oder explains why Mitchell-Lama buildings are so badly maintained, discusses how city agencies hope to protect residents from the conversions and explains why today's economic conditions make it incredibly challenging to re-create a program resembling Mitchell Lama.

Hilary Weaver focuses on reproductive rights, feminism and related political, health and education issues.
@Hilary_Weaver

‘Woody Allen is a genius. Woody Allen is a predator:' Why Mariel Hemingway's new revelation matters,” by Erin Keane. Salon, March 26, 2015.

In my efforts to separate the artist from his art, I have always had respect for Woody Allen’s Manhattan—it has gorgeous cinematography and even features Meryl Streep as Allen’s ex-wife. But Mariel Hemingway, who played Allen's teenage love interest in the film, recently wrote in her new memoir that Allen tried to seduce her when she was teenager. This Salon piece identifies why Hemingway’s story is important and why it has become increasingly difficult to separate Allen’s personal life from his work—and speaks to the greater definition of a “predator.”

 

Read Next: WhatNation interns were reading the week of 3/22/15

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