Articles about Social Issues
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One Comic Perfectly Sums Up Class Differences in Society
We all know that class differences exist in society, but just how bad can it be? Auckland-based artist Toby Morris recently created an illustration breaking down the upbringing differences depending on socioeconomic status.
10 Prominent Advocates of Socialism
“Socialism” is considered a dirty word in the United States. Being a hard-working, “free market” capitalist is a part of our national mythology. But it wasn’t always this way. The socialist movement used to be quite strong in the early 20th century. There was even a socialist...
'I'd Rather Die at Sea than Stay There' - Migrants on Crossing the Med
After a terrifying journey across the Mediterranean, thousands of migrants arrive in Sicily every week. These are their stories. Emmanuel, 24, Ivory Coast
From Graduation to Garbage Job (literally): One Twentysomething's struggle
 
Don't Give In: an Angry Population Is Hard to Govern; a Depressed Population Is easy
Hours after the Conservatives were re-elected, the government looked at cutting access to work schemes for the disabled. You'd think they'd at least have the decency to bring some flowers before shafting the vulnerable, but no. Not these guys. Not today. Today is not...
A Practical Guide to Campaign Planning
Projects and campaigns usually start because we feel inspired about an idea or passionate about a particular issue. Our first impulse is to throw ourselves into action straightaway. But if we take a little time to analyse the situation and to develop a plan of action we can...
Seven Sins of Our System of Forced Education
Sometimes I find, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me and others feel, I have to speak the truth. We can use all the euphemisms we want, but the literal truth is that schools, as they generally exist in the United States and other modern countries, are prisons. Human...
Top 10 Grassroots Movements That Are Taking on the World
Waiting for political change to come about once every few years at election time is not only frustrating, but is an almost sure-fire way of ensuring that the changes you really want don’t get delivered within the time frames that are necessary. If we really want to see...
Recognizing Legacy of Police Torture, Chicago Passes Landmark Reparations
Advocates say that resolution in Chicago must be placed in the 'broader context of ongoing and endemic police violence.' Recognizing the horrific legacy of the Chicago Police Department and the widespread use of torture under former police commander Jon Burge, the Chicago...
Tractors, Ritual Baths, and Dismantling Racism: Welcome to Black and Latino Farmers Immersion
"Land is the only real wealth in this country and if we don't own any we'll be out of the picture." — Ralph Paige, Federation of Southern Cooperatives We have been uprooted from our land. As African-Americans, many of our ancestors were stolen from West Africa to be sold...
Why We Don't Make Demands
From Occupy to Ferguson, whenever a new grassroots movement arises, pundits charge that it lacks clear demands. Why won’t protesters summarize their goals as a coherent program? Why aren’t there representatives who can negotiate with the authorities to advance a concrete...
The Asshole Factory
My good friend Mara has not one but two graduate degrees. From fine, storied universities. Surprise, surprise: the only “job” she was able to find was at a retail store. Hey—it’s only minimum wage, but at least she’s working, right? And at a major-league, blue-chip company...
Dear White America: Toya Graham Is Not Your Hero
When I told my grandma that I was among a crowd of protesters pepper-sprayed while covering the demonstration-turned-riot at Baltimore’s Mondawmin Mall on Monday, her response was blunt. “Well, that should've been your answer to take yo' ass home,” she said. Had she been...
What's Happening In Baltimore Didn't Just Start With Freddie Gray
This week's chaos on the streets of Baltimore has been decades in the making. Violence erupted in the city on Monday after days of largely peaceful protests over the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who recently died of injuries he sustained while in police...
Nonviolence As Compliance in Baltimore
Officials calling for calm can offer no rational justification for Gray's death, and so they appeal for order. Rioting broke out on Monday in Baltimore—an angry response to the death of Freddie Gray, a death my native city seems powerless to explain. Gray did not die...
On the Lam with Bank Robber Enric Duran
Being underground is not a condition Enric Duran always takes literally, but one night in late January he went from basement to basement. At a hackerspace under a tiny library just south of Paris, he met a group of activists from across France and then traveled with them by...
London Activists Held a 'Die-In' for the Migrants Killed in the Mediterranean
Yesterday in the middle of rush hour, about 200 people held a die-in for the people who have lost their lives in the Mediterranean, shutting down three lanes of traffic all around Westminster for over an hour. In 2014, 3,400 migrants died from their boats capsizing as they...
Devastating Photographs Reveal Terrible Human Cost of Europe's Continuing Imperialism
Migrants seeking a better life in Europe have died by the thousands in the Mediterranean Sea in recent years while fleeing poverty and bloodshed in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The precise number of deaths is unknown. Authorities count only those bodies found in the...
Britain's Criminally Stupid Attitudes to Race and Immigration Are Beyond Parody
I sometimes wonder if satire has reached a nadir in Britain because British society has itself become a parody of itself. The Chipping Norton Set: the prime minister, a tabloid editor and a Roger Mellie-ish TV icon all conveniently living in the same little town and taking...
Choosing Life
MINISINK, N.Y.—The affable, soft-spoken dairy farmer stood outside his 70-stall milking barn on his 230-acre family farm. When his father started farming there in 1950 were about 800 dairy farms in New York state’s Orange County. Only 39 survive. Small, traditional farms...
The More a Society Coerces Its People, the Greater the Chance of Mental Illness
Throughout history, societies have existed with far less coercion than ours. While these societies have had far fewer consumer goods and less of what modernity calls “efficiency,” they also have had far less mental illness. This reality has been buried, not surprisingly, by...
Wealth Vs. Money
“There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?” The words are those of Jonas Salk, developer of the polio vaccine, speaking to Edward R. Murrow in 1955, as quoted recently in an essay by Paul Buchheit on Common Dreams. What was he thinking? Six decades later, the words...
10 Words Every Girl Should Learn
"Stop interrupting me."  "I just said that." "No explanation needed." In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My brother, on the other hand, was considered the class comedian. We were very typically socialized as a...
"The Phone Rang. It Was My College rapist."
In November 2014, not long after the Bill Cosby rape allegations blew up in the news, a friend of mine reached out to tell me her own story of sexual assault and asked if I would draw a comic about her experience. The friend, whom I’ll call Alison, was assaulted after...
How America's Culture of Shame Is a Killer for Boys
Put an end to shaming by doing one beautifully simple thing. For Americans, shame is how we make people do what we want. We use it on our children to get them to attend to us. We use it as a heavy-handed short cut in our adult relationships. We use it in our political...
Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men Of Touch
Mark Greene has one clear reason we should all fight for gay rights. Homophobic prohibitions against male touch are hurting straight men as well. “Boys imitate what they see. If what they see is emotional distance, guardedness, and coldness between men they will grow up to...
Comic Relief Is a Bad Joke - Make Charity history!
There are many institutions in our culture and society that, for me, highlight the depth of our dysfunctionality and despair. Such institutions express the shocking degree to which a social system of artificially-created human misery has been so successfully naturalised that...
Patriarchy Is Killing Our Planet
The global epidemic of violence against women and their systematic exclusion from the power structures that rule us are integral to man's violent exploitation of Earth and her resources, writes Nafeez Ahmed. The fight to save the Earth must begin with the empowerment of women...
In 5 Minutes, This Student Destroys Our Double Standards For Men And Women
Chaz Smith has a problem with boys being taught to play aggressively while girls are taught to "play it safe." Smith, a 20-year-old cinema studies major at the University of Pennsylvania, kept reading about sexual violence on college campuses and felt like he had "to do...
In Amsterdam, A Revolt Against The Neoliberal University
For three weeks now, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) has been shaken by a wave of student protests against the neoliberalization of higher education and the lack of democratic accountability in internal decision-making. Last week, UvA staff joined the rebellion, declaring...
Judgement
Many people have little trouble confessing to being hard on themselves, to being “my own worst critic” or to being a perfectionist. They are, after all, merely confessing to something that our culture upholds as a virtue: the struggle against the self. People are generally...
How About We Go Outside And Settle This Like Emotionally Stunted Men?
Listen, buddy, you’ve been pissing me off all night. I don’t know who you think you are, but I’m getting sick of your shit. So enough talk. Let’s do this. Let’s go outside and settle this like emotionally stunted men. Forget the bouncers. Forget our friends. It’s just gonna...
A Note on Call-Out Culture
Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and language use by others. People can be called out for statements and actions that are sexist, racist...
Wanted: Men Who Love
Every female wants to be loved by a male. Every woman wants to love and be loved by the males in her life. Whether gay or straight, bisexual or celibate, she wants to feel the love of father, grandfather, uncle, brother, or male friend.
From Chiapas to Rojava: Seas Divide Us, Autonomy Binds Us
Despite being continents apart, the struggles of the Kurds and Zapatistas share a similar purpose: to resist capitalism, liberate women and build autonomy. Power to the people can only be put into practice when the power exercised by social elites is dissolved into the...
Why We Need a New Social settlement
How do we live together and relate to one another?  How can we make sure that everyone has an equal chance to lead a fulfilling and secure life?  What’s the best way to help each other when things go wrong that we cannot cope with alone?  These are just some of the...
Women in Labor History
The impact women have made in labor history is often missing from textbooks and the media despite the numerous roles women have played to organize, unionize, rally, document, and inspire workers—both men and women, children and adults, citizens and immigrants—to fight for...
The Left's Self-Destructive Obsession with Shame
Perhaps the most redeeming aspect of my father’s ministry was his tireless work to help people heal from guilt and shame. I saw the transformative impact that his efforts had on people’s lives as they built the strength to lay down years of resentment and bitterness, and...
When Exceptions Prove the Rule: Poverty, Whiteness and Privilege
As someone who writes regularly on the subject of white privilege, I am often electronically attacked by those who insist that the very notion of such a thing is a mere figment of my imagination: well, mine, and that of all the other “race hustlers” out there. “Don’t you know...
Going to Places That Scare Me: Personal Reflections on Challenging Male Supremacy
"Going to Places that Scare Me: Personal Reflections on Challenging Male Supremacy" is an excerpt from the critically acclaimed book, Towards Collective Liberation: Anti-Racist Organizing, Feminist Praxis, and Movement Building Strategy by Chris Crass. Around the world, women...
Ursula K. Le Guin on the Future of the Left
When you’re given the opportunity to publish Ursula K. Le Guin, you leap at it—even if you’re ​ostensibly a fiction magazine and what lands on your desk is one of Le Guin’s political essays. It’s all connected, anyways. The recent ​National Book Award-winner and science...
An Anti-Capitalist Woman Invented Monopoly and a Man Got All the Credit
The surprising origins of a beloved board game In March of 1903, a single woman in her late thirties walked into the U.S. Patent Office to secure her claim to a board game she had been diligently designing in the hours she stole from her day job as a stenographer. Lizzie...
Articles on Privilege Theory
So one particular night I went on a knowledge binge and spent 9 hours reading about privilege theory. Below you'll find excerpts and links to most of the articles I read. My extremely brief conclusion is that PT is definitely helpful to understand and is useful up to a...
Disorderly Conduct
Last weekend I decided I would get the kids outdoors for a little time in nature. The Susquehanna River was frozen over, with the most remarkable ice formations. Even though the water is not deep in this part of the river, ice somehow piled up several feet. The photograph...
Radical Farmers Use Fresh Food to Fight Racial Injustice and the New Jim Crow
If we are to create a society that values black life, we cannot ignore the role of food and land. In August, five young men showed up at Soul Fire Farm, a sustainable farm near Albany, New York, where I work as educator and food justice coordinator. It was the first day...
What I Learnt about Inequality after Spending Time with Some of the Richest People in the world
So what are the super-rich: are they bastards? Are they, as Hemingway put it, just like us, but with "more money”? Are they going to save us? Destroy us? Are they corporate psychopaths who've channelled their murderous impulses into making money, not serial killing? Or are...
Thank You Letter to the Daily Mail - Activists use paper's promo offer to deliver supplies to migrants in Calais
Dear Our New Favourite Newspaper, The Daily Mail: A thousand thanks for your tireless support for the much-abused Calais migrants! (Or, as they’re also known, “Fellow Human Beings”.) Some freeloading scroungers might have cynically used your festive promotional offer with...
Why Anti-Racism Will Fail
Editor's note: Thandeka wrote this in 1999, but her analysis and contribution to the discussion on anti-racism remains as relevent to today as ever. She addressed this to Unitarian Universalists, but you can read it pretending she's addressing middle-class liberals; it works...
The Rise of the Greek Left Is a Call for Pan-European change
The Greeks have voted for SYRIZA in order to be able to breathe, but deeper aspirations for freedom, social justice and radical democracy are very high. Welcome to Greece. This is the first time since the Spanish revolution of 1936 that a left party wins general elections...
The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think
It is now one hundred years since drugs were first banned -- and all through this long century of waging war on drugs, we have been told a story about addiction by our teachers and by our governments. This story is so deeply ingrained in our minds that we take it for...