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.

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?

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.

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.

Online Exclusives: Identity Politics, Class Politics, and Spiritual Politics

The online exclusives below are freely accessible articles that are part of an ongoing special series associated with Tikkun’s Fall 2013 print issue, Identity Politics, Class Politics, and Spiritual Politics: How Do We Build World-Transforming Coalitions? Many of our most provocative articles on this topic appeared in that print issue, which is only accessible to subscribers. Subscribe now to read the subscriber-only print articles on the web (explore the table of contents to see what you’re missing!). If you appreciate the free web-only articles below, please do enable us to keep up this important work by becoming a print subscriber or offering a donation. We will continue to update this page as new web articles in this series come out.

Readers Respond: Letters from Fall 2013


We welcome your responses to our articles. Send your letters to the editor to Please remember, however, not to attribute to Tikkun views other than those expressed in our editorials. We email, post, and print many articles with which we have strong disagreements, because that is what makes Tikkun a location for a true diversity of ideas. Tikkun reserves the right to edit your letters to fit available space in the magazine.

Environmental Alert: Join Us in Making Revolutionary Changes to Save Life on Earth

As the oceans rise to earth-destroying levels, the agricultural heartlands turn to desert, and the rate of skin cancer grows to match the rate of the common cold… now is the time to talk honestly with the American public about dramatically reducing consumption, combating the immense power of the 1 percent, and preparing ourselves to counter the mainstream media’s obfuscations of the urgency of the coming crisis.

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.

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.

Fall 2013 Table of Contents

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