NATION CONVERSATIONS: NORM STAMPER ON POLICE MILITARIZATION. The violent police response to the otherwise peaceful Occupy movement, on display at Occupy encampments in Oakland, Portland, Oregon, in New York City and at college campuses across the country (most notably at UC Davis) brings into focus the increased militarization of US law enforcement. In a recent issue, Norm Stamper offered an inside look at the mistakes he made in handling the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle as chief of the Seattle Police Department, bearing witness firsthand to the beginnings of this increased militarization. In this week’s episode of Nation Conversations, Stamper sits down with associate editor Liliana Segura to explain why his recent Nation article on the increasing distance between police forces and the communities they serve has struck such a nerve with Occupiers and the general public alike. That’s available here. And don’t miss new episodes every Thursday, here at or on iTunes.

2011 STUDENT WRITING CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED. We’re pleased to announce winners of The Nation’s sixth annual Student Writing Contest. We asked students to tell us, in 800 words, what they think is the most important issue facing their generation. The breadth and diversity of responses was simply inspiring. We received hundreds of submissions ranging from high school to college students throughout forty-one states. One high school and one college winner receive a cash award of $1,000; ten finalists receive $200 each; and all receive Nation subscriptions. The two winning essays will be excerpted in an upcoming issue of The Nation magazine.

Congratulations to Bryce Wilson Stucki, an undergraduate at Virginia Tech for his essay, “Maybe I Would Be Alone,” a deeply personal (and timely) reflection of the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007. “Catastrophe is different when it is personal…” writes Stucki. “…it is easy to numb yourself when death is anonymous. But when a sweet, straw-headed girl from your dorm, whom you know, is shot just because she was around, you are forced to deal with it.” The piece is a must-read.

Congratulations to Hannah Moon, a 2011 graduate of Brooklyn College Academy in Brooklyn, New York, for her piece, “What Will Become of My Generation?” lamenting the diminished opportunities for students at a time of economic uncertainty. Be sure to read her piece here. And of course, congratulations to our ten finalists! Their excellent essays are all now available at StudentNation.

NEW YORK TIMES’S ANDREW REVKIN INTERVIEWS NAOMI KLEIN. In her Nation cover story “Capitalism vs. The Climate,” Naomi Klein concluded that climate change deniers may in fact be right to argue that confronting climate change would spell the end for free-market capitalism. Klein spoke with the New York Times’s Andrew Revkin about how she came to this realization, and their conversation, published last Thursday on the NYT Dot Earth blog, reveals the severity of the challenges we face and the urgency with which we must tackle the climate crisis. Read that here.

JESSE JACKSON ON WHAT’S NEXT FOR OWS. Earlier this week, we were honored to host Rev. Jesse Jackson at The Nation offices for a discussion about his experiences with the Occupy movement and his views on where the movement goes from here. Rev. Jackson drew important parallels with Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Poor People’s Campaign,” often described as the second phase of the civil rights movement and an effort to address the growing economic plight faced of people of all races. “The spirit goes wherever the gap is,” declared Rev. Jackson, as it did throughout the civil rights movement. Today, he argued, “the winds are blowing with hope and change,” but political action must follow. Stay tuned for exclusive Nation audio of Rev. Jackson’s remarks!

VIDEONATION: BOB HERBERT ON AUSTERITY’S VICTIMS. In this week’s follow-up installment of VideoNation, Nation web producer Francis Reynolds and web editor Emily Douglas sat down with Demos fellow and former New York Times columnist Bob Herbert to talk about the potential impact of austerity policy. “The idea of austerity in the face of the stagnant economy we have now is a little ludicrous,” said Herbert. Contrary to the dogmatic fiscal platforms proposed by conservatives, he argues, the American government needs to be investing money in job creation and creating consumer demand, not taking government funding out of circulation. Be sure to watch that here. Last week’s discussion on the power and possibilities of Occupy Wall Street is also available here.

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