Queen Arsem-O’Malley focuses on grassroots labor organizing, youth-led social movements, anti-carceral feminism, and critiques of mainstream media.
“Strike votes reach 30,000-student tipping point,” by Igor Sadikov. The McGill Daily, March 16, 2015.
As of March 18, 38,000 Quebec students have a strike mandate across seven campuses, the largest strike since the massive protests of Maple Spring in 2012. Students are mobilizing against austerity measures in the province that continue to affect education, connecting students’ struggles to that of all Quebecers who will suffer from the neoliberal policies that roll back public services.
Avi Asher-Schapiro focuses on US foreign policy, politics in the Middle East and South America, and technology issues.
“What Happened in Homs,”by Jonathan Littell. New York Review of Books Blog, March 18, 2015.
This deeply moving essay—adapted from Littell’s introduction to Syrian Notebooks—recounts the work of a citizen journalist documenting the 2012 battle for the Syrian city, Homs. “[They] still believed that the constant flow of atrocity videos they risked their lives every day to film and upload on YouTube would change the course of things,” writes Littell. “They were wrong, of course, and their illusions would soon drown in a river of blood.”
Cole Delbyck focuses on LGBT politics, East Asia and representational issues in film and television.
“Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men of Touch,” by Mark Greene. Films For Action, March 16, 2015.
Can’t we all just get along and touch each other? As part of his work at The Good Men Project, Mark Greene takes aim at what he calls touch isolation, a phenomenon among straight men who are “banished to a desert of physical isolation by these same homophobic fanatics who police lesbians and gays in our society.” Greene grounds his lamentation of homosocial touching in history by showcasing powerful images of men dating back to the advent of photography who wrap their arms around each other and hold hands without fear of homophobic backlash.
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.
“Meet Estayqazat, Syria’s online feminist movement,”by Maya Gebeily. Al-Monitor, March 16, 2015.
Emerging from Syria’s war-torn society is the online feminist movement, Estayqazat (she has awoken), which aims to provide a platform for Syrian women to reclaim their sexuality and voice even when in defiance of cultural norms. Despite criticism that the majority of Syrian women are currently facing more difficult issues than agency and ownership, and the claim that “these are really trivial issues and Syrian women aren’t this oppressed,” the movement highlights the overlooked reality that, in the midst of “madness and chaos,” Syrian women’s voices are still independently sparking debate.
Benjamin Hattem focuses on Israel/Palestine and the broader Middle East, as well as economic inequality, homelessness, and the prison system.
“Occupation Apps,” by Helga Tawil-Souri. Jacobin, Spring 2015.
Telecommunications infrastructure in the West Bank and Gaza is tightly controlled by Israel, and this article does a good job showing how the Israeli private sector profits from this control. The piece unfortunately falls short when talking about the power of Palestinian telecom companies—which dominate the Palestinian economy—and when discussing the effects of Israeli control of telecommunications networks in the Gaza Strip, especially in the context of Israeli military campaigns in Gaza.
Nadia Kanji focuses on foreign policy, political art & alternative economic structures.
“How the FBI Created a Terrorist,” by Trevor Aaronson. The Intercept, March 16, 2015.
“He was charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction—a weapon the FBI had assembled just for him.” In this investigative piece, Trevor Aaronson describes how since 9/11, the FBI has been targeting vulnerable segments of the population, namely the mentally ill, in its informant-led counterterrorism stings. The article specifically describes the case of Sami Osmakac, a man diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, who became the target of the FBI’s chase against potential terrorists, where they’ve managed to imprison people in the name of security—even if the evidence was fabricated.
James F. Kelly focuses on labor, economic inequality, world politics and intellectual history.
“Here's What People Are Saying About Starbucks' 'Race Together' Campaign.” NPR March 17, 2015
The CEO of Starbucks, the country’s beloved omnipresent café, wants you to talk about race with your barista. Schultz has corporatized the café, so why not try and take advantage of its historical essence as a safe haven for public discourse? This campaign is nothing but a publicity stunt and everyone knows it.
Ava Kofman focuses on technology, popular science and media culture.
“Democratize the Universe,” by Nick Levine. Jacobin, March 19, 2015.
As developed countries set their sights on colonizing outer space, will they use its resources to make the rich astronomically wealthy or to guarantee a universal basic income? Heavens can’t wait: let’s socialize space.
Abigail Savitch-Lew focuses on urban policy, labor and race.
“How Obamacare Went South in Mississippi,” by Sarah Varney. The Atlantic, November 4, 2014.
How did Mississippi, the nation’s poorest state, become the only state in the union to have fewer residents insured after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act? Yes, racist politics and the Tea Party are largely to blame, but also the federal government for deciding to abandon its efforts there (is this the end of Reconstruction all over again?). Frustration with the shortfalls of Obamacare has only deepened many Mississippians’ lack of faith in governance.
Hilary Weaver focuses on reproductive rights, feminism and related political, health and education issues.
“Hysteria and Teenage Girls,” by Hayley Krischer. The Hairpin, March 13, 2015.
This piece details the concept of hysteria—the reason thousands of adoring fans went weak-kneed over the Beatles or why Justin Bieber fanatics scream in his presence at a burger shop. What might be thought of as a gendered scientific issue, Krischer says, has historical context dating back 4,000 years.