Guest Voices

Good Institutions Are about Helping to Govern, Not Charity

iramiBy Irami Osei-Frimpong (February 23, 2018) I’m serious when I say that institutions should be judged by their capacity to help people govern, both govern themselves and with others. I worry that charity institutions provide services without growing people’s capacity to govern. This breeds accountability problems, and more importantly, since these institutions emerge as a matter of charity, not justice,...
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We Have More Serious Things to Worry About Than Russian Meddling

By Arun Gupta (February 21, 2018) I’m convinced the Russian state did/does have the intention to stir the pot in the U.S., sabotage elections, create chaos. But that is mainly because we destroyed their country during the shock therapy of the 1990s. There was a staggering decline in life expectancy on the scale of a full-blown invasion. Then Clinton lent...
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Wakandans are not Black and Killmonger is Right

By Tommy J. Curry (February 20, 2018) It is so funny to me how all these commentaries on Black Panther are coming out without really any understanding of the MCU. Black people love pretending they are overnight specialists in anything Black. You do understand that if you accept the existence of Wakanda, you also accept the existence of mutants like...
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Black Panther is Popular, but Black People Still Marginalized

By S. (February 15, 2018) I’m looking forward to the new Black Panther movie too, but first, let’s have a little talk about race. Since being kidnapped from Africa, black people have been marginalized. Marginalized means we have been placed at the margins, we are never centered. Our rights, our voices, our experiences, our lives, our needs, our everything, are...
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The Alt Right is Not Just Nazis

By Alexander Reid Ross (February 15, 2018) Here’s why I call them the “Alt Right” instead of just “Nazis.” The Alt Right is a composite of a number of far-right tendencies including anarcho-capitalists, silicon valley neo-reactionaries, MRAs, Klansmen, and other forms of fascists. Broadly, it’s a fascist movement, but it’s a fascist movement of a certain character. Calling them the...
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On the Unfinished Work of Extending Rights to All Americans

By Irami Osei-Frimpong (February 13, 2018) The basic problem is that our rights were conceived with property owning white men in mind. These rights presupposed economic security and independence. Security and independence came in the form of property. And that’s why the Constitution is primarily concerned with securing property rights. Also the exercise of rights relies on the collegiate fraternity...
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OK Maybe The Markets Are in a Downturn

By Arun Gupta (February 10, 2018) If you care about what’s happening in the financial markets, now is the time to panic. But then again, if you care, you are probably in the top 10% in terms of wealth in America as they own 84% of the stock. On Monday, I shrugged at the 4% drop in the markets in...
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Why Do Poor Americans Eat So Unhealthy?

By Teka Lark (February 9, 2018) The LA Times asks:  Why Do Poor Americans Eat So Unhealthy?  I will tell you one of the reasons. Poor people (economically oppressed, they are poor for a specific reason) live near arterial roads. Arterial roads gets you to highways quickly. And if you need a place do put a fast road where people...
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Capitalism Isn't Collapsing...Yet

By Arun Gupta (February 6, 2018) If you are hoping capitalism is going to implode because the markets tanked today, don’t hold your breath. The drop on Monday, February 5, in percentage terms was far from historic. If you look at the first picture, a six-month chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, it looks like it fell off a...
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Without Jobs, Our Freedom is Hollow

By Irami Osei-Frimpong (February 5, 2018) You have to understand that when you have access to property and an independent, above subsistence income, your conception of rights is markedly different from someone without property and depends on a non-contract employer for an income. The Founders conceived of rights for people like themselves. In order to exercise any of the rights...
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When It Comes to Protecting Immigrant Workers, Strategic Organizing is the Answer

By Arun Gupta (February 4, 2018) This is an insightful report on how to organize against Trump’s deportation regime. Here are some important lessons. One:  Immigration is as much about labor as about race. Trump won by racializing working-class conflict, stoking white nativism and resentment against all immigrant workers from farms to high tech. A few years ago I interviewed Ana...
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"We Can't Have Bike Lanes Because of Black People"

By Teka Lark (January 31, 2018) When I first started in alt transit advocacy it was 2006, I saw Inconvenient Truth at the Santa Monica Pier and was convinced I alone was killing the planet. So I sold my Mini Cooper S and quit my job to start my art project: ShameTrame LA. It was a conceptual project that was...
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Black People Need Good Governance Toward Justice

By Irami Osei-Frimpong (January 28, 2018) I’ve been thinking about Ann Richards and Obama. Everyone loves Ann Richards. I think she was great. Or at least I think she was fine. She won Texas without teaching people how to govern, so it snapped right back. Obama is similarly blessed. There are no principled Obama Democrats. The Obama coalition is held...
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Our Movements Work Best When We Listen to the Discomfort

By S. (January 28, 2018) I am not a woman but I am a queer POC of color. We face common enemies but sometimes we become the enemy. I try my best to listen to women so that my behavior is not harmful or at least less harmful to women. My gut instinct in the Grace and Aziz storywas to...
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Consorting With the Enemy Ain't Gonna Work: Chelsea Manning and the Alt-Right

By Alexander Reid Ross (January 25, 2018) If you want to know what I think of the Chelsea Manning debacle, the nicest way I could put this is that I suppose it was probably a well-intentioned twofer. Kind of like, “Hey, I’ll gather intelligence while trying to make a difference by being nice and therefore showing that gender diversity disproves...
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Does Everyday Feminism Actually Reinforce the Status Quo Against Working Class Women and People of Color?

By Irami Osei-Frimpong (January 22, 2018) What if a subset of women composed the second biggest obstacle to gender justice in issues like affordable childcare, eldercare, fair wages and Union empowerment for women who work lower prestige jobs, etc. What if this subset of women blamed poor and working class women for being poor and working class as a way...
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Locals Insurgency: A Call to Action for Unionists

By Alex Riccio (January 22, 2018)   A pending Supreme Court case, Janus v. AFSCME, is all but guaranteed to pass in favor of the plaintiff. This decision will make Right to Work (aka Right to Greed) laws a national standard. For many who are involved in organized labor, this prospect is viewed as a threat to the very survival...
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But I am a Woman

By Teka Lark (January 18, 2018) I remember being in LA waiting at a bus stop (I had given up my car to be environmentally conscious) to teach kindergarten in Compton and the police slowing down to ask if I was a prostitute. I remember sitting with my boyfriend at a downtown coffee shop and the police making a u-turn...
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Trump is Dangerous for His Policies, Not His Manners

By Arun Gupta (January 17, 2018) Trump is a unique danger given everything from embracing neo-Nazis to threatening genocide, but his manners are in no way uniquely offensive for an American president. That great American president loved by liberals, Lyndon Baines Johnson, who oversaw passage of the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, and implementation of the Great Society, makes...
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Be Wary of the Sunken King: Reflecting on the Humanity of Our Heroes

By S. (January 16, 2018) If you’re a black person who was born after Dr. King died you were probably subjected to white people (possibly teachers, professors, mentors, role models, actors, friends, etc.) tell you how amazing Dr. King was and then have the same person turn around and engage in a racist behavior. Since his death, Dr. King has...
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We Are Carved Out of Salt of the Earth and Humanity

By Octaviano Merecias-Cuevas (January 12, 2018) About the “s***hole” comment. Dear my fellow immigrants and refugees friends/sisters/brothers. They don’t know the long, dangerous and tired road that we have paved and walked to come to this country. The ones with privilege do not have the scars in their skin to prove it, nor they will ever be able to feel...
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Philanthropy is Not Justice

By Irami Osei-Frimpong (January 10, 2018) There is a nice section in Kant’s Toward Perpetual Peace that runs like this: “Both philanthropy and respect for the rights of the human being are duties; but the former is only conditional duty whereas the latter is unconditional duty, commanding absolutely, and whoever wants to give himself up to the sweet feeling of...
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Democracy Demands It: A Review of Fire and Fury

By Marc Cooper (January 7, 2018) Here’s my take on Fire and Fury: Wolff’s book reads much much better than I expected. To categorize it as tabloidy or gossip-ridden reveals only ignorance and/or envy. He is a graceful and incisive writer who demonstrates true talent in penetrating and explaining the psyche of his subjects. The specific anecdotes, that can always...
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Life in the Second Gilded Age

By Mark Rudd (January 5, 2018) One year after the Resistance began, I think we’re doing ok. A year ago we discussed broad strategy–to build the mass movement on issues such as racism, poverty, war, and environmental destruction, and to work toward power, meaning turning the Democratic Party to becoming a party of the people. We’ve taken a year’s worth...
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Remember Freedom's Eve

By Teka Lark (January 2, 2018) It was just the 155th Anniversary of Freedom’s Eve. Freedom’s Eve began in 1862 on New Year’s Eve. It was the night before the Proclamation of Emancipation issued by President Lincoln. People often think that slavery ended after that. It did not. People weren’t freed automatically on January 1, 1863. In order for people...
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