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Most white Americans believe they were born white. Yet their own stories of early racial experiences describe persons who were bred white. Which is it-nature or nurture? Neither. The social process that creates whites produces persons who must think of their whiteness as a...
In his testimony before the St. Louis County Grand Jury, Darren Wilson said he felt like a five-year-old peering into the face of someone who “looks like a demon” as he wrestled with Michael Brown, the black teen he later shot to death in Ferguson, Missouri. In other...
In tribute to Charlie Hebdo, we select our favourite radical publications which challenge authority with every issue. Charlie Hebdo’s willingness to offend traces its way back to France’s radical post-war activists and intellectuals who helped ignite the student revolts...
Alan Heeks explores the pathways that can take us from the ‘old story’ of addictive materialism into a new, creative and regenerative post-industrial society. Since earliest times, people have created stories to make sense of their world. In 1978, Thomas Berry1 coined the...
When every cultural force beckons us to hate, to harden our hearts and vilify the other, we must have the courage to look, deeply, with an intention to understand. To ignore the rage of the dispossessed, to dismiss it without understanding its roots, will not bring us any...
After the Paris massacre, European governments should resist narratives of civilizational conflict and push for a ceasefire in the Syrian war. The recent attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which left a dozen editors and cartoonists dead, has renewed...
More than 20 years ago, the psychologist Arthur Aron succeeded in making two strangers fall in love in his laboratory. Last summer, I applied his technique in my own life, which is how I found myself standing on a bridge at midnight, staring into a man’s eyes for exactly four...
A comics report by Stephanie McMillan about two movements that converged on Washington DC, Stop the Machine and Occupy DC.
As the editor of a progressive Jewish and interfaith magazine that has often articulated views that have prompted condemnation from both Right and Left, I had good reason to be scared by the murders of fellow journalists in Paris. Having won the 2014 "Magazine of the Year"...
The recent attack on the headquarters of the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo was devastating, underscoring violent times under the treacherous shadow of terrorism. We must take care not to lace our grief with hate, vengeance and more violence by misconstruing our...
In less than an hour of the dreadful shooting of 12 people at the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, the politicians had already started to lie to their own public. John Kerry, US Secretary of State, declared that, “freedom of expression is not able to be killed by this kind of...
Yes, Charlie Hebdo was a magazine that delighted in controversy and provocation. Yes, it skewered religion and took joy in giving offense. Yes, the magazine knowingly antagonized extremists — Charlie Hebdo's web site had been hacked and its offices firebombed before today...
This morning, many sleepy, grumpy, bloated people across the country returned to their jobs for the first time since before Christmas. Some of those people in London – the country's largest hub of early morning misery – were made to stop and consider the numb feeling inside...
Have you ever encountered a baby whose gender is unknown to you? Not knowing can feel profoundly uncomfortable. We barely realize how great the differences are in how we treat male and female people, and in what we expect of them. These differences are by no means subtle...
Wherever I go and ask people what is missing from their lives, the most common answer (if they are not impoverished or seriously ill) is “community.” What happened to community, and why don’t we have it any more? There are many reasons – the layout of suburbia, the...
Dystopian narratives have long been an alluring and thought-provoking form of entertainment, especially for those who take an interest in studying social and political structures. From classics like Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World to the current hit, The Hunger...
For white folks to claim that race should not matter is to reveal that race has never negatively impacted us. The invented supremacy of whiteness has provided us with privilege and power in politics, social institutions, and our personal and professional lives, making it a...
Rape threats are an all-too-common reality for women online. Just as often, the anonymity of the Internet makes it nearly impossible to strike back at trolls. What’s more, as is well documented, social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook have been slow, and often...
The idea of "living for the weekend​" is nothing new. The history of what we call "youth culture" is really just a history of young people being unable to reconcile their day-to-day lives with their social lives, finding solace in the tribal rites of a Saturday night and...
If you publicly dissent from and act against prevailing United States orthodoxies and the reigning US power structure, chances are good you will face personal and/or professional defamation and the charge of psychological unreliability and instability. It will be said that...
Since I began turning its pages, I assumed The Hunger Games was a rallying cry for like-minded progressives and radicals. This was thanks to its pretty upfront indictment of state-inflicted violence and, in particular, of hunger caused by gross economic inequality. Occupy...
I’m sipping a scummy pint of cloudy beer in the back of a trendy dive bar turned nightclub in the heart of the city’s heroin district. In front of me stand a gang of hippiesh grunge-punk types, who crowd around each other and collectively scoff at the smoking laws by sneaking...
The zombie apocalypse, of course, is a metaphor. It’s an allegory for the extremely unstable world we are living in at the moment. Quite a bummer huh?  This is not about ‘real zombies’. But before you, disillusioned, leave to find some truly superficial thrill, I urge you...
We who fight to create a freer world face a fundamental contradiction. On one hand, we don’t want to become a vanguard, “leading” or imposing our will on others, as that would run counter to our anti-authoritarian values. On the other hand, we believe with good justification...
Part 1 - A is for Artwashing, B is for Bicycle , C is for Commune. Like lost shooting stars the orange street lights streak past the train window, incomplete shadows sweep
First, the truth If you are naked, cold, and hungry, and somehow you get shelter, clothing, and food, you will feel better. Providing for these necessities creates a qualitative change in life, and could even be said to, in some ways, produce “happiness.” You...
When you walk or drive down a city street, what you are seeing all around you are manifestations of thoughts. Every building began as an idea in somebody’s mind. Somebody acquired the land. Somebody designed the house. Somebody had the idea to organize people together to...
For years, the walls of Oaxaca have been a canvas for expressions of social anger. Now the revolutionary role of local artists is finally recognized.  “Graffiti is revolutionary,” says Terrance Lindall, an artist from New York City, the birthplace of modern graffiti. “People...
The danger is not commercialisation per se but our constant identification with its inner and outer manifestation, in which humanity’s intelligence is led in the opposite direction from nature and spiritual evolution. What is evil, anyway, if not our identification with...
The time has come when we must demonstrate in our millions not against this or that, but rather for who we are * * * At this time of economic turmoil it can be difficult to perceive for oneself how the principle of sharing is a solution to world problems, and this is...
Just as we recognize the importance of biodiversity for the survival of the planet, so we must preserve the diverse ways of knowing that exist among humanity. In the late 1990s, a Ugandan intellectual and civil society activist called Paulo Wangoola returned home to the...
Here is how to make a child bored: first and foremost, keep him indoors so that the infinitude of nature, its endless variation and chaotic messiness is replaced by a finite, orderly, predictable realm. Second, through television and video games, habituate him to intense...
Banksy is an anoynomous English street artist and activist who has become a cult hero for his anti-establishment and rebellious artwork.
The first thing we heard when we pulled into the Finney Farm was the clattering of drums, followed by a high-pitched howling noise. Suddenly a wild pack of young girls came running out of the woods waving sticks in the air. The youngest, maybe two years old, had sticky...
In last week’s Sunday Review, psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton praised the “climate swerve” — a deep and dramatic shift in public opinion on the climate crisis. The shift is, as Lifton rightly states, “a major historical change in consciousness that is neither predictable nor...
There’s little dispute among social scientists that most of our major public programs are counter-productive on their own terms. There is also little analysis of this phenomenon as a pattern in need of an explanation and a solution. Prisons are supposedly intended to reduce...
A new world requires new stories, but people will only listen to them when they themselves are included in the storyline. This requires a ‘gear-shift’ in conversations about radical action. While working in the belly of corporate communications some years ago, I stumbled...
Here is one of those little things – tiny on the scale of the vast tragedies unfolding on Earth today – that got under my skin. A family living on wild land in Oregon in tipis, raising their daughter, is now threatened with eviction because the owners are forced to sell the...
Most children in our society protest going to school. Am I telling you something new?  They protest in many ways—by feigning illness, by dragging their feet in the morning, by doing the least they can to meet the school's demands (or not doing even that), and by violating...
Forget about solving climate change for a moment. Forget about all the problems we face. All of these problems are symptoms of a way of life that few of us are really happy with - especially when we have glimpsed the possibility of a world that could be so much more. We need...
Is it melancholy to think that a world that Robin Williams can’t live in must be broken? To tie this sad event to the overarching misery of our times? I’d been thinking about Robin Williams a bit recently. His manager Larry Bresner told me that when Robin was asked by a...
The following statement somehow showed up on my Twitter feed the other day: “Spontaneous reading happens for a few kids. The vast majority need (and all can benefit from) explicit instruction in phonics.”  This 127-character edict issued, as it turned out, from a young...
“Avoid socks. They are a fatal giveaway of a phony nonconformist.” “Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else?,” James Thurber asked in the caption to a 1958 New Yorker cartoon depicting a woman fed up with her artist partner. It remains unknown whether the...
From the crises in the Middle East to mass shootings in U.S. schools to the reckless striving for wealth and world domination, there is one overarching theme that almost never gets media coverage—the sense of insignificance that drives destructive acts. As a depth...
Much has been written about the silencing of anti-war dissent in Israel by a populace almost universally supportive of military action in Gaza. Such support – inspired by feelings of vulnerability amidst rocket fire and informed by the country’s rightward shift – has made...
It is frightening, this transition between worlds, but it is also alluring. Have you ever gotten addicted to doom-and-gloom websites, logging on every day to read the latest evidence that collapse is coming soon, feeling almost let down when Peak Oil didn’t start in 2005, or...
FEAR, PLEASURE, SORROW, thought and violence are all interrelated. Most of us take pleasure in violence, in disliking somebody, hating a particular race or group of people, having antagonistic feelings towards others. But in a state of mind in which all violence has come to...
"What I can't understand is, why aren't people rioting in the streets?" I hear this, now and then, from people of wealthy and powerful backgrounds. There is a kind of incredulity. "After all," the subtext seems to read, "we scream bloody murder when anyone so much as...
Just ahead of the sixth episode of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” comedian John Oliver admitted on “CBS This Morning” that he and his crew are “still trying to work out what this is.” But Oliver seems to know what “Last Week” isn’t: “The Daily Show.” Oliver, of course, is a...
I believe it was Oscar Wilde who said: "Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” I think this is true, and I think the consequences of it being true are as pervasive as they are...