Queen Arsem-O’Malley focuses on grassroots labor organizing, youth-led social movements, anti-carceral feminism, and critiques of mainstream media.
“Scary Negroes with Guns,” by Messiah Rhodes. The New Inquiry, February 23, 2015.
In a powerful personal essay, Messiah Rhodes explores his relationship to guns as a Black man in America, and America’s obsession with the gun—real or imagined—in Black hands: “These dream guns indicate the depth of white America’s fear of black resistance…. Black people can be trained to protect our national security, to be snipers, to be killers, yet if we attempt to protect ourselves from a history of violent white supremacy, we become enemy combatants.”
Avi Asher-Schapiro focuses on US foreign policy, politics in the Middle East and South America, and technology issues.
“Bogus university graduates clog Iraqi job market,” by Adnan Abu Zeed. Al-Monitor, February 24, 2015.
Considering America’s long-term military involvement in Iraq, and the growing popular obsession with ISIS, there’s surprisingly little available in English about the country’s internal political and social scene. This piece from the Iraqi journalist Adnan Abu Zeed covers the widespread corruption among Iraq’s ruling class: there’s a glut of unemployed overeducated Iraqis with graduate degrees, but many still struggle to secure government jobs because the most coveted positions are sold to well-connected elites with bogus inflated credentials.
Cole Delbyck focuses on LGBT politics, East Asia and representational issues in film and television.
“Transgender Crimea,” by Dimiter Kenarov. The Huffington Post, January 31, 2015.
Through the eyes of a young trans man named Pasha, Kenarov beautifully renders the experience of LGBT refugees within the context of the Russian-Ukraine crisis. History has shown the direct relationship between political instability and anti-LGBT sentiments, which force many to abandon their homes and seek safety elsewhere. Paralleling Pasha’s own transition into a man with the evolving identity of Ukrainian citizens, Kenarov ends the article with a powerful statement: “In a sense, everybody in Ukraine was now trans.”
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.
“What Was Missing from Obama’s Anti-Terrorism Speech.” The Real News, February 23, 2015.
In this interview, academic and author Vijay Prashad describes Obama’s speech at the DC summit addressing global terrorism as “only half right.” Prashad acknowledges Obama’s point of the responsibility of Muslim scholars and clerics to push back against ISIS rhetoric and propaganda, but says the president failed to address the “issue of Western intervention in the Middle East” by ignoring the role the US and its ally Saudi Arabia have played in “fomenting the birth of the Islamic State.” In light of the US’s widening military role in the region, Prashad’s emphasis on foreign policy and geopolitics, not religion, as the root cause of terrorism in the Mid East region is worth noting.
Benjamin Hattem focuses on Israel/Palestine and the broader Middle East, as well as economic inequality, homelessness, and the prison system.
“Some Unions Think Supporting Keystone XL Was A Mistake?” by Kate Aronoff. Vice News, February 18, 2015.
Here’s a look at the growing collaborations between labor unions and climate justice advocates and how those connections have developed through labor’s changing stance on the Keystone XL pipeline. It’s an important dynamic at work underneath the ongoing fight over the pipeline.
Nadia Kanji focuses on foreign policy, political art & alternative economic structures.
“Isis has provoked an Arab alliance to bomb the West’s enemies,” by Robert Fisk. The Independent. February 16, 2015.
In America’s war against ISIS, Fisk describes how the US has found its allies in the Middle East to help do its dirty work. Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Libya’s Khalifa Hafter, and many of the GCC countries are bombing ISIS fighters, and feeling the brunt of the effects. As Fisk points out however, for Arabs the message is very clear: “Washington has an American-trained general in charge of the Libyan air force, an American-trained former field marshal and president in charge of Egypt, [and] an American-educated and British-trained king in Jordan…in the battle.”
James F. Kelly focuses on labor, economic inequality, world politics and intellectual history.
“Working Anything but 9 to 5,” by Jodi Kantor. The New York Times, August 13, 2014.
Starbucks relies on software to manage the scheduling of its employees, making use of an intricate web of sales patterns and other data to distribute labor in the most profit maximizing way possible. This article lets readers into the lives of parents struggling to raise their children when faced with unpredictable shifts that sometimes require them to work until 11 PM and return the next day at 4 AM. This is just one example of how the logic of our economy fractures social relations in the sacred pursuit of profit, but if you ask Charles DeWitt of Kronos (the company that supplies the software), “It’s like magic.”
Ava Kofman focuses on technology, popular science and media culture.
“New survey reveals everything you think about freelancing is true,” by David Uberti. Columbia Journalism Review, February 17, 2015.
For anyone who has freelanced––and attempted to get compensated for their time, expenses, and creative labor—many of these statistics are familiarly depressing. And it’s freelance investigative reporting, often funded out of journalists’ own pockets due to the dismal slashing of expense budgets, that has taken the hardest hit. “Ninety-three percent of those surveyed said they’d be interested in joining some sort of freelancer collective.” So what are we waiting for? Let’s unite.
Abigail Savitch-Lew focuses on urban policy, labor and race.
“The Complexities of Black Community Control of Police,” by Glen Ford. Black Agenda Report, February 11, 2015.
Glen Ford, founder of the Black Agenda Report, looks at the landscape of reforms that have emerged in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, from police body-camera legislation to Newark Mayor Baraka’s proposed Civilian Complaint Review Board. Ford concludes that we need nothing short of black communities seizing control of policing in their neighborhoods. I wonder if his call for principles of “self-determination” will be better received by millennials, thanks to our familiarity with identity politics, than it was in the post-civil rights period.
Hilary Weaver focuses on reproductive rights, feminism and related political, health and education issues.
“Patricia Arquette’s Feminism: Only for White Women,” by Amanda Marcotte. Slate, February 23, 2015.
Monday morning brought an onslaught of responses (including a blog post from The Nation’s Dave Zirin) after Patricia Arquette’s Oscars backstage comments concerning equal pay for women. Marcotte’s piece takes an especially holistic look at how Arquette’s comments, which failed to address issues of intersectionality, could affect women not included in the category of white-middle-class feminist. Public forums are powerful platforms, Marcotte says; it’s best to play it safe and keep responses simple before making sweeping, exclusive declarations.