Contact: Caitlin Graf, The Nation, press [at] thenation.com, 212-209-5400
New York, N.Y., February 20, 2023—The Nation, America’s leading source of progressive politics and culture, today named two incisive new writers to its columnist lineup: Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) and Adolph Reed Jr. Strikes correspondent Jane McAlevey (@rsgexp), who was named to the masthead in 2019, will swap her correspondent’s hat for a columnist’s perch.
The three new columnists join Elie Mystal, Katha Pollitt, Jeet Heer, Kali Holloway, Chris Lehmann, and Alexis Grenell—a team of trenchant and vital Nation voices providing crucial context to the news of the day alongside dynamic cultural commentary. In their new roles, Ackerman, McAlevey, and Reed will file monthly columns for The Nation and TheNation.com. Ackerman and McAlevey begin in March; Reed’s first column, “Race and Class: The Beginnings of an Argument,” is live today.
Ackerman’s column, “Forever Wars,” will focus on national security, but not always as conventionally understood. He’ll look at geopolitics, the economics of perpetual war, and the limits of the concept of “national security” in describing the threats faced by Americans in the 21st century. Reed’s column, “Class Notes,” will offer personal and theoretical reflections on questions of politics, race, class, intersectionality, higher education, neoliberalism, and more. McAlevey will continue filing from the front lines of the labor movement, covering workers’ rights, unions, and labor organizing, and offering insights from over thirty years as an organizer, contract negotiator, and strategist winning hard fights in and outside the USA in her new column, “Framing the Choice.”
“In a time when too many of us are eager to forget all about America’s Forever Wars, Spencer Ackerman keeps track of the bill—not just in blood and bodies, but in the burgeoning national security state such wars nurture and nourish,” says Guttenplan. “He’s an incredibly versatile writer who hasn’t let the Pulitzer or any of the many other prizes he’s received dull his edge, and I’m delighted to welcome him to the ranks of Nation columnists.”
“I’ve been reading—and been made to think by—Adolph Reed since the 1980s, when we took differing views of the Jesse Jackson campaign,” he continues. “It is a great pleasure, as well as a considerable relief, to have his powerful mind and voice in our pages. Asking Jane McAlevey to join our masthead was the first thing I did when I took over as editor in 2019. She’s been offering our readers the unvarnished facts about the labor movement for years. Now they’ll also get her unvarnished opinions.”
“As a reader of The Nation since high school, it’s an honor to join one of the most important left-wing institutions in American intellectual life,” adds Ackerman. “I’ve been reporting on national security for 20 years, but I’ve never been a columnist, and I hope to contribute to The Nation’s vital tradition of rigorous, principled, anti-capitalist, anti-militarist critique.”
“I have a long history with The Nation,” says Reed. “I grew up with it as the most visible and important venue where left and liberal political commentary met, in a household in which we waited for each new issue’s arrival. My father published in the magazine in the 1960s, and my son did in the 2010s. I published there frequently enough over the years that people have mistakenly assumed I was a columnist. I’m happy finally to be one and to be able to connect regularly with the magazine’s varied left-of-center audience.”
Spencer Ackerman is the author of Reign of Terror: How The 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump (Penguin Books 2021). A recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Magazine Award and more, Ackerman has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay and writes the newsletter Forever Wars on Ghost, which he will continue through his tenure at The Nation. Since the dawn of the War on Terror, Ackerman has been a staff reporter for outlets like The Daily Beast, The Guardian, Wired, and The New Republic. In March 2023, DC Comics will publish his spy thriller miniseries, Waller vs. WildStorm.
Adolph Reed Jr., who has contributed to The Nation for more than three decades, is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He has taught at Howard, Yale, and Northwestern Universities, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the New School for Social Research. His most recent book is The South: Jim Crow and its Afterlives (Verso 2022), and he is co-author with Walter Benn Michaels of the forthcoming No Politics but Class Politics (Eris 2023).
Reed has been a columnist for The Progressive, The Village Voice, and The New Republic, and has written frequently in The Nation, Dissent, nonsite.org (of which he is an editorial board member), and many other academic and popular journals and magazines. He served on the board of Public Citizen Inc. and was a member of the Interim National Council of the Labor Party and the executive committee of the American Association of University Professors, and he is currently on the boards of Food and Water Action and the Debs-Jones-Douglass Institute (DJDI) and is a regular voice on DJDI’s Class Matters podcast.
Jane McAlevey, who has contributed to The Nation for nearly a decade and served as strikes correspondent since 2019, is an organizer, negotiator, writer, and scholar. Fourth-generation union, and raised in an activist-union household, she is the author of A Collective Bargain: Unions, Organizing, and the Fight for Democracy (Ecco/HarperCollins 2020), Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell) (Verso 2012) and No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age (Oxford University Press 2016). Her next book, Rules to Win By: Power and Participation in Union Negotiations, cowritten with Abby Lawlor, will be published in March 2023. She is a senior policy fellow at the University of California’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment.
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