Politics & Society

Tikkun’s vision is that we can create a caring society. What if our goal as political and social activists were both an equal society, in terms of wealth, rights, and power, and also an empathic society, where we cared about each other’s well-being? That would change the way we do politics. See our Core Vision. Please note that the articles we publish reflect a wider range of opinion and sometimes include ones arguing against our editorial positions.

Most Recent Articles


Trusting the Water Again: Understanding the West Virginia Chemical Spill
by Natasha Zaretsky
On the morning of January 9, 2014, Charleston residents noticed that the air smelled like licorice and that the water tasted like it too. Inspectors soon traced the odor and taste to a chemical storage facility owned by a company called Freedom Industries. There, near the bank of the Elk River, inspectors discovered that a 48,000-gallon tank was leaking an industrial chemical called MCHM (methylcyclohexane methanol) used to cleanse coal.


How Jews Brought America to the Tipping Point on Marriage Equality: Lessons for the Next Social Justice Issues
by Amy Dean
The story of Jews’ contributions has continuing political relevance. The campaign for marriage equality offers valuable lessons for how to break through public resistance on other issues that Jewish groups are now addressing, including economic justice initiatives like paid sick leave, rights for domestic workers, and raising the minimum wage.

Politics & Society

Accounting for Egyptians’ Exuberance for Violence
by Mark LeVine
It was very hard to come to grips with the fact that on the third anniversary of the outbreak of the Egyptian revolution, tens of thousands of Egyptians were chanting nationalist slogans while waving photos, placards, banners and posters of General Abdel Fattah El-Sissi, exhibiting a kind of hero worship and cult of personality that was unimaginable in the Mubarak era.

Nonviolent Activism

Nelson Mandela: A Jewish Perspective
by Michael Lerner
Jews love and loved Nelson Mandela. He inspired us with his insistence that the old regime of apartheid would crumble more quickly and fully when faced with revolutionary love and compassion than when faced with anger and violence. Mandela also challenged us to think deeply about whether the current situation in Israel/Palestine reflects the ethic of compassion that is so central to Judaism.


The Spiritual Truth of JFK (As Movie and Reality)
by Peter Gabel
To put the Kennedy assassination in a historical perspective that is both spiritual and political, we here reprint Peter Gabel's brilliant article on the subject, "The Spiritual Truth of JFK (As Movie and Reality)," originally published in Tikkun in March/April 1992 in response to the original release of Stone's film.


Identity Politics and Spiritual Politics: Our Dance of Connection and Separation
by john a. powell
After years of apparent stability, white people may wake up in a neighborhood or country that feels unfamiliar and in which they are a “minority.” Then the question sneaks in: what does it mean to be American now?


The Original Rainbow Coalition: An Example of Universal Identity Politics
by Jakobi E. Williams
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.

Gender & Sexuality

Gay Men in the Locker Room of the World – Big Whoop
by Timothy Villareal
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?

Spiritual Politics

Sikh Ethics and Political Engagement
by Simran Jeet Singh and Prabhjot Singh
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.


Shifting U.S. Demographics Demand New Cross-Racial Coalitions
by Sam Fulwood III
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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