Queen Arsem-O’Malley focuses on grassroots labor organizing, youth-led social movements, anti-carceral feminism, and critiques of mainstream media.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
Abigail Savitch-Lew focuses on urban policy, labor and race.
“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.
“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'.