July 4, 2014 / From the Editor
Howard Megdal makes a defense for the hot dog: Let’s be honest: When you are …
January 20, 2017
Every Friday, we publish a short list of a few articles that have caught our attention. This week we’ve highlighted ways in which movements of resistance are developing across the country…
The Democrats and the Rhetoric of Resistance:
“For all those with preëxisting conditions, I stand on prosthetic legs to vote no,” Senator Tammy Duckworth said. “On behalf of the thousands of people who receive health care in my state in rural hospitals who do not know how they are going to get health care if this passes without a replacement, I vote no,” Senator Heidi Heitkamp, of North Dakota, whose seat Republicans will target in 2018, said. “On behalf of elderly people who cannot afford higher prescription drugs, I vote no,” Sanders said. Murphy was most succinct. “This is cruel and inhumane,” he said. “I vote no.”
Margaret Atwood speaks to being an artist in a Trumpian era:
With the Trump era upon us, it’s the artists and writers who can remind us, in times of crisis or panic, that each one of us is more than just a vote, a statistic. Lives may be deformed by politics—and many certainly have been—but we are not, finally, the sum of our politicians. Throughout history, it has been hope for artistic work that expresses, for this time and place, as powerfully and eloquently as possible, what it is to be human.
An Overview of Women’s Resistance Movements Over the Ages:
In other words, these arguments about representation, tactics, and rhetoric that we see in our own time have a long history of their own. If we knew the history of these movements a little better than we do, we might know that. The occasional Hollywood film or popular book has not quite managed to surface the way that women’s protests have always been fragile and fractious alliances. But perhaps the march on January 21st will serve to remind us that all disagreement aside, there is something to marching together that exceeds all of our many, reasonable disagreements.
If movements are to become an important force in the politics of the Trump era, they will have to be movements of a somewhat different kind from the labor, civil-rights, and LGBTQ activism of the recent past that we usually celebrate. Those were movements focused on progress, on winning measures that would remedy long-standing injustices, and they were movements that some elites also endorsed. Now the protests will have to aim not at winning, but at halting or foiling initiatives that threaten harm—either by redistributing wealth to the very top (the Trump tax and energy plans), or by eliminating existing political rights (the cancellation of DACA, the Obama executive order that protected undocumented-immigrant children, known as Dreamers), or by jeopardizing established protections and benefits (the looming prospect of privatizing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, or the threat to turn funding for public education into a system of vouchers for charter schools). So how do resistance movements win—if they win—in the face of an unrelentingly hostile regime? The answer, I think, is that by blocking or sabotaging the policy initiatives of the regime, resistance movements can create or deepen elite and electoral cleavages.
More on Democratic Resistance:
“I believe in the peaceful transfer of power,” Clarke says. “I also believe in the peaceful right to protest.”
Claudia Rakine discusses Race and the Social Imaginary:
“These systemic problems have infiltrated the mind so that when someone asks the white policeman who shoots someone, ‘Why did you shoot him in the back?’ his answer is ‘I don’t know.’ Many of them say, ‘I don’t know,’ and it’s because they’re being propelled forward by some imaginary conception of being under attack when they’re not under attack,” Rankine said recently. “I think sometimes we’re dealing with racists who go out to murder and I think sometimes we’re dealing with people who have in their consciousness a built-up idea of who they are and who the ‘other’ is, and are inside a fight that doesn’t exist except in their imagination, and because their imagination is armed, the person on the other side ends up dead.” These racist constructions in the imagination throw people of color into a “false fight for their humanity,” she said, paraphrasing the poet Fred Moten. “We’re spending a lot of energy just trying to stay human.”