A History of Colonization


As someone who has a tendency to romanticize the Obama administration, particularly given our current leaky ship of state, it’s important for me to remember that the recent events written about by Chris Hayes [“Policing the Colony: From the Revolution to Ferguson,” April 17] occurred on Barack Obama’s watch. The rise of Trump and his ways of handling dissent (which we’ll surely see more of in the future) did not come out of a vacuum. This is in our nation’s DNA, alas.
Diane Smith

Democracy or Disintegration?


Thanks to Cécile Alduy, whose “Fringe No More” [April 24/ May 1] is a valuable account of French working-class bitterness, its roots, and its place in the current European situation.

The far right is one option for Europe, but another place to turn is the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25). Co-founded by Srecko Horvat, the Croatian philosopher and activist, and Yanis Varoufakis, the former Syriza finance minister, DiEM25 has an unflinching message for the times: The European Union will democratize, or it will disintegrate.

DiEM25’s proposals for democratizing the EU are innovative yet practical. It offers a sane, humane, and sophisticated response to the disruption of human institutions by the global capitalist system. Varoufakis makes his case eloquently, solidly, with humor and principled compassion. He speaks with visceral knowledge from negotiating the Greek debt with the EU. Noam Chomsky calls his work “brilliant.” Yet the organization seems absent from The Nation’s pages.

Democratic activists need publicity for the world to know that they are out there. By the nature of democratic action, most activists seem to emerge from nowhere. Lech Walesa, Nelson Mandela, the SNCC—how would they have fared without publicity?

Varoufakis was newsworthy while wrestling with the EU for the dignity of his countrymen. Why ignore the organization he is now building to continue facing down economic authoritarianism in Europe? If I am mistaken, and the people in DiEM25 are poseurs or rank amateurs, it seems The Nation should expose them.

At an issue a week, I may have missed a story somewhere—but as we learned with Bernie Sanders’s candidacy, for the media to ignore progressives is the same thing as opposing them.

Doris McCabe
bedford, va.

Borne Back Ceaselessly


I am just now getting around to reading the collection of writings in The Nation’s 150th-anniversary special issue. In the sidebar on page 26, I read that on March 5, 1877, Rutherford B. Hayes was inaugurated president despite losing the popular vote. At the time, The Nation proposed abolishing the Electoral College, “whose members ‘serve no useful purpose’ except to create ‘much sin and sorrow.’ ” A great many years later, we are still stuck in the same rut. How and when will we abolish the Electoral College so that our president is elected by the will of “the people”?
Cornelia Smollin
pittsburgh, penn.

Mon Dieu!


Eagle-eyed readers might have noticed something unusual about the French tricolor on the cover of the April 24/May 1 issue: The colors are reversed. The order, of course, should be bleu, blanc, rouge.