Honor Block

True to its reputation, the prison was violent. And ugly. I witnessed cuttings and stabbings in the yard. They erupted without warning, like lightning. At night in my cell, I heard the screams of men being beaten by the guards.

Trayvon Martin: Reflections on the Black and Jewish Struggle for Justice

Since the 1960s, efforts at coalition building and solidarity work between Jewish and Black communities have suffered and never reached the pinnacle that was reached during the early days of the Civil Rights Movement. In 2013, the lack of deep and abiding connections between Black and Jewish activists became apparent in the disparate responses from Jewish communities to the events surrounding the killing of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent acquittal of George Zimmerman. To reinvigorate a coalition among blacks and Jews we need to forge deeper ties across racial lines.

Nelson Mandela: A Jewish Perspective

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 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.

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.