This Week: The Folly of Austerity. PLUS: A New Nation Blog!

This Week: The Folly of Austerity. PLUS: A New Nation Blog!

This Week: The Folly of Austerity. PLUS: A New Nation Blog!

This week, London correspondent Maria Margaronis reports from Athens on the austerity crisis. Plus, a new Nation crossword blog, and the Izzy Awards are announced.


GREECE IN MELTDOWN. This week’s cover story, by The Nation‘s London Correspondent Maria Margaronis, offers a front row seat to the crisis in Greece–a country caught between stifling austerity and financial ruin. Weaving together a powerful account of Greek history and politics fused with the granular challenges of people’s daily lives, Margaronis reports how the second Greek bailout, which would "cut the last bit of flesh from wages, pensions and public services," makes worse an already fragile political and socio-economic situation. "The mood in Athens," she writes, "veers between sullen depression and rage. The overwhelming feeling is of being trapped." The stunning images of shattered windows and empty buildings, "where people in the street no longer meet one another’s eyes," is a grim reminder of Athens’s descent from a prosperous capital to a broken city in despair, she explains. But out of the chaos, "a tremendous outbreak of solidarity" has been born, Margaronis tells managing editor Roane Carey in this week’s episode of Nation Conversations. Listen to the podcast to learn more about the initiatives Greeks are taking to help each other as well as more about the political shifts sparked by the crisis.

Programming Note: I’ll be on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS this Sunday at 10 a.m. ET, joined by TIME’s Joe Klein, Reuter’s Chrystia Freeland and The Daily’s Reihan Salam looking ahead to SuperTuesday and what’s at stake in November.

WORLD SALAD. We’re proud to announce the debut of Word Salad, a new blog at by our dynamic crossword puzzle duo, Henri Piccotto and Joshua Kosman, the brains behind the cryptic crossword puzzle in each week’s issue. Last summer, Piccotto and Kosman competed and won in The Nation‘s historic cryptic crossword contest, to replace the late Frank W. Lewis, who served as The Nation‘s puzzle master for over six decades. Piccotto and Kosman will discuss the solutions to each week’s puzzle, offer hints to challenging clues and offer commentary on puzzles, wordplay and clueing. So, Nation puzzlers, head over to Word Salad and let the conversations (and puzzle solving) begin!

IZZY AWARDS ANNOUNCED. Congratulations to Nation Institute Fellow Sharif Kouddous and The Center for Media and Democracy for receiving the fourth-annual Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in independent media. Kouddous, a correspondent and senior producer for Democracy Now! and a contributor to The Nation, covered the 18-day Tahrir Square Egyptian uprising and brought us the "voices and faces of Egyptians, the drama of the moment and big-picture analysis — sometimes while tear gas or live rounds exploded in the background.” Check out some of Kouddous’ reporting for The Nation, available here.

For its tenacious investigative work on ALECExposed, The Center for Media and Democracy, in collaboration with The Nation, offered an inside look at the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Thanks to a leak by an Ohio-based activist, The Nation and The Center for Media and Democracy made publicly available 800 "model bills" representing decades of model legislation designed to privatize education, destroy labor unions, deregulate major industries, starve states of public revenue, pass restrictive voter ID laws, and undermine federal health care reform. An analysis of the bills was published in The Nation‘s August 1-8 issue.

BOOK REVIEWS IN THE DIGITAL AGE. The Nation remains proud to be one among few remaining publications that devotes its pages to book reviews. At a time when many media organizations are scaling back, we remain committed to a free-standing Books & Arts section, in print and on the web. As Julie Bosman rightly notes in today’s New York Times, "Magazines and journals like The New Republic, The Nation and The New York Review of Books are a few of the publications that have stubbornly resisted scaling back the space devoted to book reviews."

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. Be sure to check them out here. Medea Benjamin of Code Pink writes of managing editor Roan Carey’s recent post, "Why Occupy AIPAC?": 

Amazing, wonderful piece, Roane. Yes, AIPAC has such exaggerated power for representing such a small community and narrow interest group. In DC, they have the politicians shaking in their boots—always fearful that they might be the victims of AIPAC’s wrath. It’s outrageous that our nation is even talking seriously about yet another war after the past disastrous decade. Thanks, Roane, and thanks to The Nation for taking such a courageous stand and joining us to Occupy AIPAC!!! (see–we’ll be live-streaming and you can hear Roane talk at the summit).

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