MOVEMENTS MAKING NOISE. “When historians look back at the decades of the transition to the twenty-first century, I think they will see a distinctive era of tumult and protest, in the United States and across the globe,” writes Frances Fox Piven in this week’s issue. Our issue focuses on the state of grassroots movements working toward change—and what activists are doing on the ground. Aura Bogado details how Dreamers are fighting deportations; while Washington debates a grand immigration resolution, some activists are putting their bodies on the line to free those in detention today. And Mark Herstgaard writes how environmentalists, awaiting the Keystone XL pipeline decision, have made an historic vow to engage in mass civil disobedience. Read more on the state of movements from Kristen Gwynne on drug reform, John Nichols on election reform, and Laura Flanders on the women’s movement .
IMMIGRATION REFORM. With the so-called Gang of Eight releasing a comprehensive immigration proposal this week, is there finally hope for reform? George Zornick argues that the numbers just don’t add up—since House Republicans must cater to the far right in primary races in heavily gerrymandered districts, the GOP will likely kill the bill. And Aura Bogado reports on President Obama’s speech and why the pathway to citizenship remains uncertain. Find out more from Bogado on how immigrants are reacting to the national debate—and what should be done next.
SUPER BOWL XLVII. As our sports editor, Dave Zirin, details, the homophobic comments from 49ers player Chris Culliver have rocked the Super Bowl week in New Orleans. But the moment has been instructive. Read more from Zirin on football, manhood and the future of an LGBT-friendly culture in the NFL. Also this week, Mychal Denzel Smith addresses football and traumatic brain injury and how the lure of million-dollar contracts is like a “lottery” for economically disadvantaged players. “We talk about the culture of violent machismo as a driving motivator behind their choice to play,” writes Smith. “But it’s even more basic than that. It’s the economy, stupid.” Find out more from Smith on why it’s no coincidence that 67 percent of NFL players are black.
DIRTY WARS. Jeremy Scahill’s new film Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield made a big impression at Sundance—not only was it awarded the prize for best cinematography in a US documentary, but it was also picked up for distribution by IFC Films. Watch Scahill and director Richard Rowley talk about the film and US covert warfare abroad here. And take a look at Jeremy Scahill’s recent investigative work for The Nation.
WELCOME NONA WILLIS ARONOWITZ & MYCHAL DENZEL SMITH. We’re pleased to welcome two guest bloggers. Nona Willis Aronowitz will report on labor and the economy in the South, and Mychal Denzel Smith will cover race, politics and more. I hope you’ll take a look at some of their work from this week—read more from Aronowitz on the labor movement in New Orleans and from Smith on the routine criminalization of America’s black and brown youth. And check back for more!