Articles

Activism

The Original Rainbow Coalition: An Example of Universal Identity Politics

Are identity and class-based politics necessarily at odds? Jakobi Williams answers with a resounding no, recalling a historic period when identity and class-based politics were dynamically entwined: the moment when the original Rainbow Coalition came into being. Set up by the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party, the Rainbow Coalition offers an inspiring example of how identity politics can result in cross-class and interracial solidarity, rather than a fragmentation of the Left.
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Books

Woolf, West, and the Conundrum of Veterans

Arguably the two most immediate—and in my judgment, truest—books from the Great War, in spite of Hemingway’s assertion that there were none, were written by authors who not only never set foot on the battlefield; neither of them was a male.
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Judaism

Responses to the Pew Report on American Jewry

Are Jews in existential free-fall? According to the latest Pew Research Center report, 22 percent of Jews have abandoned Judaism and only 15 percent identify Judaism as essential to being Jewish. Rabbi Michael Lerner shares some stirring responses and invites others to join the discussion as well.
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Gender & Sexuality

Gay Men in the Locker Room of the World – Big Whoop

NBA player Jason Collins is the first active player in the four major U.S. sports to declare himself gay since Glenn Burke in the 1970s. For a nation that remains contemptuous of nonconforming notions of masculinity, the Collins event is not a question of tolerance for gays, but of masculine identity itself: can a man who falls in love with other men be integrated into the American ideal of manhood?
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Spiritual Politics

Sikh Ethics and Political Engagement

Built into Sikh tradition is a firm ethic of adhering to a truthful and just process—the idea that the ends do not justify the means. As a result, simply stating that attacks upon Sikhs in a post-9/11 context are “mistaken” or “misdirected” because they should be directed toward another group, Muslims, is an untenable deflection. Instead, American Sikhs walk a thin rhetorical line between declaring what we are—a group that aims to elevate the consciousness of all people to appreciate our common divinity—and declaring what we are not in order to avoid the short-term consequences of popular confusion.
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Race

Shifting U.S. Demographics Demand New Cross-Racial Coalitions

Obama won by appealing to a broad swath of voters—the young, ethnically diverse, and non-affluent—who typically aren’t a part of the traditional political calculus. But he failed to garner much support among older, whiter Americans. If our political fights pit one group, one generation, or one race against all the multicultural “others,” then we all will surely lose.
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Environment

It’s Not Just Child’s Play: Nature’s Powerful Effect on Children’s Well-Being

Let us not forget our deep and intrinsic connection to the natural world—a bond that can motivate, sustain, and inform all our efforts. Nurturing children’s connection to nature is one crucial step in our multifaceted struggle to save the planet, and in turn the solace of the natural world can also become a lifeline for many children.
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Politics & Society

Why Identity Group Work Strengthens Our Capacity for All Liberation Work

There is value for leaders in being deeply rooted in their own primary identity group while at the same time learning how to be a fierce ally for all groups.
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Gender & Sexuality

Once Out of Nature: Life Beyond the Gender Binary

To truly include transgender people within Abrahamic religious traditions, we have to shatter the idol of the gender binary and face the truth that trans people embody—the truth that the gender binary represents neither the nature of nature, nor the nature of humanity, nor the nature of God.
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Global Capitalism

Revolutionary Suicide: Risking Everything to Transform Society and Live Fully

We need to commit revolutionary suicide. By this I mean not the killing of our bodies but the destruction of our attachments to security, status, wealth, and power. These attachments prevent us from becoming spiritually and politically alive. They prevent us from changing the violent structure of the society in which we live. When Huey Percy Newton, the cofounder of the Black Panther Party, called us to “revolutionary suicide,” it appears that he was making the same appeal as Jesus of Nazareth, who admonished, “Those who seek to save their lives will lose them, and those who lose their lives for the sake of [the planet] will save them.” Essentially, both movement founders are saying the same thing. Salvation is not an individual matter.
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Poetry

Fall to Your Knees and Thank God for Your Eyesight

the repeated words / sometimes made me think twice before / whimpering about a bruise on my knee, / or foolishly I would say the line just when she did…
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Politics & Society

Race, Class, and the Neoliberal Scourge

Neoliberalism, the broad set of ideas positing the market and market-centered values as the ultimate “civilizing” agent at home and abroad, has now structured our society for forty years. Ever since it began its gradual ascendance in 1973, we have experienced a marked increase in income inequality, witnessed the slow death of the labor union movement, and keenly felt a growing sense of anxiety. The task of the American Left has never been simpler and clearer—it’s to reconstitute the very idea of the public, in the hope that this reconstitution will generate a large-scale movement against neoliberalism.
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Politics & Society

Resisting Post-Oppression Narratives

Class exploitation and racial discrimination has diminished in popularity as an explanation for our society’s continuing social inequalities. In its stead, a “post-oppression” ideology and rhetoric has developed, which leaves “distortions” (such as race-based disparities) to the market alone to resolve.
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Politics & Society

Our Issues Entwine: LGBTQ Aging and Economic Justice

The aging and LGBTQ advocacy fields often propose policy solutions that are too narrow to address the complexity of how all marginalized people—including heterosexual people of color such as my parents, members of the LGBTQ community, and more—experience the process of aging. We need social transformations that address the intersecting forms of oppression that older people face.
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Activism

The Caring Majority: Building a Coalition Around Domestic Workers’ Rights

In my work, care has emerged as the connective tissue to encompass all identities and enable us to transcend to the level of values, ethics, even spirituality. We must become a nation that values care—a caring America.
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