“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 actually supposed to be fun. I thought this would be great. I would be helping the earth and at the same time have a cool art project to promote me.

But you know what happened? It wasn’t fun. I saw a part of Los Angeles I never saw before, the poor part, the economically oppressed part. I saw the police harassing people for existing. I waited for hours with people who worked in retail, cleaned houses, and took care of rich people’s kids at bus stops for busses that never came. I almost was murdered daily on my bike.

I changed the name of the project from ShameTrain LA to The Bus Bench, because I wanted to be respectful to the LA that existed, but my middle class upbringing shielded me from.

Fast forward, I’m in New Jersey, and again, I think I’m going to create a project that pushes forward the environment and complete streets and bicycles. I think this will be fun, but then I run into “we can’t have a bike lanes, because of Black people” and “we can’t have open streets, because we’re too close to Newark, and you know, Black people.”

I read through urban plans that could be complete streets, pedestrian friendly, and inclusive of bicycles, but they aren’t, because RACISM takes precedent over safety, health, comfort, and the environment.

I seriously don’t get this. I get it, but I don’t get it. People will let their hate for Black people kill them and the planet. People will Trump the possibility for a good life that harkens back to a path that we have so much nostalgia of. The future is not going to be Disney’s Tomorrow Land with everyone in their own private vehicle; that just leads to Blade Runner.

What is wrong people?

And you know what is weird, if I hadn’t wanted to ride my bicycle up Sunset Blvd., I would have never known any of this. I would have just been in my car, looking for valet, thinking about the best place to get mimosas….


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 together by aesthetics, and insofar as it is held together by a vision of governance instead of aesthetics, it’s vaguely libertarian because that’s what you get when you have a governing coalition that’s held together by aesthetics. I suspect that this is why Obama was so good at electing GOP legislators and governors. He elected a lot of other Reagan Republicans, and he converted a lot of black people into being Reagan Republicans. Reagan was Goldwater Republican, and Goldwater Republicans are Libertarians, so it shouldn’t be that big of a surprised that Obama created so many Republicans. If folks deeply believed in his style of governance, they would eventually vote Republican, anyway.

Contrast that with FDR or even Kennedy. After they left office, there were still principled FDR and Kennedy Democrats who were convert by FDR or Kennedy.

The goal isn’t to get people to pull the Democrat lever this one time; the goal is to move people to a better vision of governance. Anything that’s not that is not going to enable black people to be free.

You can say that there are principled Clinton Democrats, but I think principled Clinton Democrats are snakes because that’s the principle of governance Bill Clinton taught America.

Black people, we are a people who need good governance more than anyone else in this nation, because we can’t be free until we see justice, and we can’t get justice without revolutionizing the US political structure towards justice for Black people. FDR’s revolution provided justice for white people at the expense of black people. We simply need the same quality of governance for everyone.

Black People, remember that white Democrats don’t care about racial justice for black people. They care about beating Republicans, and not offending too many of their white Republican cousins in the process.

Our politics is not and cannot be Democrat politics. Our politics is revolutionary politics, and when the Democrats balk at the kind of revolutionary politics we need to be made whole, we must, from time to time, shut Dems down.


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 side with Aziz. This was based on my training to be a toxic male. All of us cis guys get it. I was literally told by an older boy in high school that if I wanted to get laid, that I had to keep pushing a girl past her boundaries, and that eventually she’d give in, and I’d get laid. I was also told that getting laid was the most important accomplishment for a boy and a man. I was given advice to behave how Aziz treated Grace.

My initial sympathies were with Aziz because of how society has trained both of us to treat women. Intellectually, I knew Aziz was wrong but emotionally it was difficult to see him be criticized. I had to stop and listen. I had to read the various opinion pieces and listen to my female friends to help me work past those initial feelings of sympathy. I still feel sympathy for Aziz, but I’m horrified at how much I discounted Grace’s feelings in my initial assessment.

I too love the pink pussy hats. I love the idea that so many women from around the country and the world got together to knit this hats. My Women’s March 2017 experience was beautiful and exhilarating. I see the hat and my heart soars, it takes me back to a magic special moment. Then I started listening to the discomfort and the pain that some women of color feel regarding the hat. This symbol that has personal power for me is hurtful for someone else. I need to take into account that tension. I need to understand that people with whom I am connected (through politics, race, personal connections, etc.) may see a symbol or an event very differently from me. I also need to consider the power differential in our connections, as the power imbalance may perpetuate harms. For example, as a man, my perspective may unconsciously be supporting a status quo that favors men.

I can’t speak for feminism, but I can speak as a gay man of color. I believe our movements (for me racial equality and advancement of LGBTQIA rights) work best when we stop and listen so that we can address the discomforts of our members and our allies. I think it is critical that we pay extra attention to the voices of those who come from the groups that are more marginalized and have less structural power than ourselves.

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 their most toxic theories.”

At the same time, not having someone to come out and say, “Chelsea told me about the game nights and the escape room; it was totally a project and nothing to be suspicious about” makes it really hard to trust that this was, as she claims, a strictly information-gathering venture rather than a partially-friendly effort to bring left and right together.

I would favor a return to some form of social cohesion wherein the far right is not lashing out at leftists everywhere, using provocation as a first form of communication, and openly participating on an informal, though relatively organized, level with state-sanctioned terror against migrants, people of color, and other marginalized people.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t think putting stock in such an outcome of extending an olive branch is naiive—partly because the far-right’s response to Chelsea’s appearance at their event shows where their interests lie. They are more interested in making her appearance into a publicity stunt, using a person as a token and a one-up against the left, at that. It was a disrespectful and indiscrete exhibition of their own animus, and that’s what we should expect from people like Posobiec and Cernovich who cannot control themselves.

This is why, if antifascists are going to have any agency in how we handle the far right, instead of having our ideas, words, and actions twisted to cohere to their plans, we need to confront them together. Going off on rogue missions without a support group and a trusted community will just enable them to use us. It’s important to try and understand and empathize with people, but it’s equally important, if not more important, to watch our backs and be there for each other.

The outcomes here are mixed, and nobody should be devastated by what happened. The alt light was able to make themselves appear more legitimate in the eyes of some, because of Chelsea’s appearance. Including a trans person is nothing new or particularly exciting with regards to the alt light. It was a trans person who organized one of the Berkeley freeze peach events featuring Joey Gibson, if not his entire entourage of fascists, conspiricists, and wingnuts. It’s Chelsea’s celebrity that they wanted to exploit, not only the fact that she’s a trans person.

For this reason, the immediate response of many lefties was appropriate: this is precisely why we are a leaderless movement. Chelsea was always someone who was supported by social movements and who provided hope and inspiration. Tweets come cheap, though. The important thing is the work. And consorting with the enemy aint gonna work.


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 of validating their excesses or aspirations to excess?

What if the school to prison pipeline had as much to do with the elementary school teacher than it does with the cop?

What if Betsy DeVos isn’t an anomaly? How would you know? What if the second biggest obstacle for getting justice for poor and working class women, especially women of color, is middle and aspiring middle and upper class women, especially white women? How would we know? What are the means of power and communication for poor and working class people to understand and appreciate this message? Who would say? Judy Woodruff isn’t going to admit this on the News Hour? Terri Gross isn’t going to say it on NPR? If this were true, would Kamala or Kirsten Gillibrand admit it? Where else would you get this information that your “sisters” are a significant part of the problem? Are any of the beautiful people on the news going to tell you?

And what if the primary strategy to deflect responsibility and maintain and profit from the status quo was to blame poor and working class men? Blame their crassness? What if this false sisterhood of all women is the real counter-revolutionary strategy? What if everyday feminism, a discourse that is set from the elite even if it strategically gestures towards the bottom, actively reinforces the status quo against poor and working class women and men of color? What if it took steam as backlash against black men, that is, former property, gaining political power?

White politicos are very quick to say that we should ignore race and focus on class, and that race is just a strategy to divide oppressed people and pit them against each other. What if a false solidarity between middle and aspiring upper class women, on one hand, and poor women and working class women, on the other, is the real strategy to counter-revolutionary politics? A strategy set to divide poor and working class men from poor and working class women, and thereby neuter the justice claims of anyone who isn’t aspiring to be fancy?

What would it look like? How would you know?

By the way, if you look at the math, if you are serious about a Poor People’s Campaign, white women need to be seriously vetted. We need the unity of poor and working class women



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 of unions. To prepare for “doomsday,” as I’ve heard it described, large unions have plans to cut staff by upwards of 30%. Unfortunately, this seems to be the bulk of their strategy.

Despite how common it is to hear about the decline of the labor movement, I don’t view Janus as the death of unions in the US. Or, to be more precise, I don’t think it has to mean the death of unions. Instead, it could prove to be a catalyst for the sorts of ambitious changes we need to revitalize the labor movement, and to feel confident in describing it as a ‘movement’ again.

Rather than posing a threat to the very survival of unions, Janus exposes the limits of one particular form of unionism; business unionism. Indeed, business unionism, the standard in organized labor today, has been a walking zombie for decades unaware (or possibly in denial) of its own undead condition. Come Spring, the zombie head will be lopped off once and for all.

While there’s no reason to mourn the killing of a zombie, now is not the time to wait and watch for what happens next; it’s time to create power. Two hurdles need to be overcome for labor to get back to being a movement—the working-class movement. Unions must develop an identity which goes beyond narrowed workplace concerns, and visionary rank-and-filers need to mount insurgencies against their parent union bureaucracies to take over the reins of leadership.

Partly to explain the existential dread amid many a unionist today is their inability to imagine union models outside the narrowed parameters of wage increases and grievance filings. Described as “Gomperism,” or “business unionism,” this approach to union organizing is geared toward winning contracts at all costs and is fixated on adding new members, all the time, to the union.

Union density has declined dramatically since the 1970s, but the bulk of labor’s problem is not with the number of unionized workers. There are millions of workers in unions in the US. The core problem, as thoroughly detailed in The Death and Life of American Labor by Stanley Aronowitz, is the lack of radical imagination within organized labor today.

I have personally been a part of grassroots organizations operating with zero dollars and sometimes as few as five people. Such scarcity did not prevent them from accomplishing tremendous victories. Unions have resources, people, and (most importantly) labor-power. Imagine, for a moment, the possibilities.

What if unions shifted the millions of dollars they dump into the Democrat party into the creation of cooperative living establishments? For union members, they would have access to lowered-rents or previously unavailable home ownership in areas where their neighbors are their union comrades (yes, they could begin seeing them as comrades instead of only co-workers).

Imagine, also, that they link these union neighborhoods with land trusts for sustainable farming, along with recreational centers for children and families. Such initiatives could go a tremendous way in capturing housing and food security for millions of workers and families across the country. Just think of the additional time people could have for engaging in civic matters without having to worry as much about their housing and food needs!

Above is simply one small thought experiment that began with the recognition that housing needs are union issues (something Gomperism does not often understand). Notice how quickly it expanded into a nearly utopian vision of possibilities. Unionists should do more of such imagining, and take time in their organizing for it. There are nearly limitless ways to reimagine the shape of unionism, but the best sorts of visions are those which come out of group conversations over needs and desires. Take the time for such envisioning. Resist the trap of constant ‘business’ meetings or before long you’ll be taking on the form of a zombie!

Labor cannot simply turn to community building alone. In order to fundamentally reshape the identity of mainstream unionism, any vision for a different kind of labor movement must center their strategies for accomplishing such visions through utilizing a union’s greatest weapon: strikes.

Jane McAlevey has explained perfectly the root of workers’ labor-power; to paraphrase, “the boss doesn’t need you as a worker, the boss needs you and all of your co-workers.” Strategies within organized labor need to consistently build toward strikes of all varieties—wildcat strikes, general strikes, single-day strikes, etc.—if they are to accomplish the kinds of radical gains necessary to mobilize the movement of the working-class.

In many ways, the work of rethinking organized labor’s identity simply requires learning our own union histories, which are ripe with working-class radicalism. Meaning the task is not really so daunting after all. What, then, explains the entrenched conservatism and staid routine within labor? Short answer—comfortable leadership buffered by bureaucratic regulation (both externally and self-imposed).

Yet, true as this may be, the rank-and-file can still reenergize their unions. Even though organized labor is bogged down by egotistical leaders (pointing at Richard Trumka) and a lot of pointless bureaucracy, on the whole unions are still very democratic. Indeed, the degree of democracy present in the labor movement (particularly in one’s own local) is measurably greater than what passes for “democracy” in the US electoral arena.

The story of CORE (the Caucus of Rank and File Educators) based in Chicago is instructive. They educated themselves on union history and neoliberalism, crafted an ambitious platform for reshaping their unions, developed a strategy oriented toward utilizing strikes, and then ran their own candidates for positions within their union leadership—and won. With their vision and leadership, CORE was able to revitalize their union and even beat back an assault hurled against them by the most powerful mayor in the country and former Obama Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel.

An open secret within organized labor is that radicals, socialists, anarchists, and communists are present in every union, and they are often great unionists. McCarthyism, which was facilitated by labor’s turn to Gomperism, still terrifies many of these folks to the point of their own self-censorship. Imagine if there was a groundswell of such radicals taking over leadership positions in organized labor. Forget about reforming the Democrat party, let’s radicalize the labor movement instead!

To the visionaries within labor: start an insurgency. Place yourselves at the vanguard of the labor movement, take advantage of the catalyst which you are being offered in the form of Janus, and enable labor to proclaim itself as what it can and should be—the vehicle for a working-class revolution.

I encourage folks to explore these ideas more and recommend this short list of works as something of a beginning:


Stanley Aronowitz, The Death and Life of American Labor: Toward New Worker’s Movement (London: Verso, 2014).

Jane McAlevey, No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).

David Bacon, A Radical Vision for Today’s Labor Movement, Monthly Review 2009

Janaé Bonsu, A Strike Against the New Jim Crow, Dissent Magazine 2017



Against the Fascist Creep: Talk by Alexander Reid Ross

In March 2017, author Alexander Reid Ross visited the Anarres Project for Alternative Futures to describe the way in which fascism as intellectual movement draws on a variety of traditions, both from the right and left.  In that way, it can infiltrate many different social movements from within.  His latest book is Against the Fascist Creep from AK Press (2017)


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 to come back and ask my white boyfriend: “Is she bothering you?”

I remember going on a date in college and a man assuming certain things at the end of the date because, “you are Black.”

I remember waiting alone in a bar in Las Vegas and a security guard coming up to me and saying, “You can’t work (solicit men to pay you for sex) here.”

I remember thinking in all these cases, “but I am a woman.”


I shared these experiences, because there is a lack of intersection in the #metoo discussion. There is a lack of amplification of Black woman and Black girl stories because of institutional racism and I know it is because generally we (Black Women) are taught there are problems bigger than this, that we matter the least, but I want Black women who know I am a feminist to understand I see us and your stories matter too. I see us and know that you all can’t share, so I will shared this for you.


Featured Image:  Renee Stout, Wild World

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 Trump look like a neophyte in hurling racist slurs and insults. Here are some examples:

LBJ to the Greek ambassador: “Fuck your Parliament and your Constitution. America is an elephant. Cyprus is a flea. If these two fleas continue itching the elephant, they may just get whacked by the elephant’s trunk, whacked good.”

LBJ after the Organization of American States protested the illegal U.S. invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965. “[The OAS] couldn’t pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel.”

LBJ about Vietnam: “Without superior air power America is a bound and throttled giant, impotent and easy prey to any yellow dwarf with a pocket knife.”

LBJ on Nixon: “Boy, I may not know much, but I know the difference between chicken shit and chicken salad.”

LBJ on underlings: “I want someone who will kiss my ass in Macy’s window and stand up and say, ‘Boy, wasn’t that sweet!'”

It’s well known Johnson would sit on the crapper while talking to aides, but biographer Robert Caro dug up an anecdote of LBJ pissing in his Senate office sink while dictating to a young female secretary. Johnson was notorious for groping and ogling female aides, he had long affairs with at least two women, “flings” with other female aides, and treated his wife, Lady Bird, like a servant. LBJ stole his 1948 Senate victory with manufactured votes, and him and Lady Bird came by their wealth through blatant graft and corruption.

There is so much more. Johnson would call his chauffeur, Robert Parker, “boy” or “nigger.” LBJ said of the 1957 Civil Rights Act, “Let’s face it. Our ass is in a crack. We’re gonna have to let this nigger bill pass.” When he nominated Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court, he told an aide, “Son, when I appoint a nigger to the court, I want everyone to know he’s a nigger.”

LBJ is not unique. Clinton, Nixon, Cheney were all world-class foul-mouths and racists, and Clinton is also a rapist. While I do admit to enjoying the shitshow about the Shithole-in-Chief — OK, only a little I’m not that interested in how Trump comports himself given his predecessors’ behavior. All that matters is his policies and provocations. No doubt, Trump insults like “Little Rocket Man” heighten the risk of war. But his policies of war games, sanctions, dispatching bombers and nukes and Special Forces to the Korean peninsula are the means of war. Not Twitter or Oval Office rants.

Everything else is Trump’s Live Reality TV show in which we are all imprisoned as audience members whether we like it or not. The one thing we can do is choose to direct our attention and energy elsewhere.


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 been invoked by white people to gaslight and deny. Somehow the visage of Dr. King was pulled down into the Sunken Place and transformed into the ‘good negro’. The Sunken King tells us to play nice, not get all uppity, to be nice, and behave. The Sunken King demands this from all of us regardless of our race. We are taught to see Dr. King as a something bigger than human, something better than you, or I could ever hope to be. Dr. King was special, he was burn special with special gifts, gifts that you can’t access. You can try to be like him but you will never be as good as him. Of course it is not just Dr. King, Albert Einstein is better than you too. His genius is something that no matter how hard we work we can never attain. Mother Teresa was literally sainted because she’s so much better than you too (spoiler: she was actually quite monstrous in denying pain meds to sick and denying people because their suffering glorified Christ). There’s also Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela (the dangers of being placed on a pedestal perfectly embodied by one woman), Golda Meir, Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, Aung San Suu Kyi, and many many more.

The idealization of these people pisses me off. It’s a way that we control ourselves or our controlled by those who prefer the status quo. Dr. King is transformed from a defiant figure of resistance into a tool of the status quo. Einstein’s significant life challenges are erased with the conferral of genius status. Mother Teresa’s work with the poor goes underscrutinized be we’ve placed her on a pedestal.

These were human beings. They had some specific gifts that they were born with. They were all fortunate to end up in situations that nurtured their gifts. In addition to gifts, they gained skills. Somebody, possibly many bodies, invested time and money into each of them so that they could develop their skills and gifts. They then found themselves in situations in which they got to demonstrate those skills and gifts to the world.

Guess what?

You were born with gifts. You might be able to nurture them. You might not. You might not be able to gain the type of skills that thrust you into the global spotlight. You might not. Life can be challenging and capricious. The truth is none of these people are better than you (and most of them would be the first to tell you if they could). They may have had more impact than you. They may have done more than you but no one person is better than any other.

Let these people inspire you, but be inspired by their weaknesses and their failures as much as their successes. Be inspired by their real humanity, not their Sunken Place personas. If you need someone to look up to who is better than you, look up to who you will be tomorrow, and try to be that better person.

Trump’s Comments Recall A Racist Past in Immigration Policy

By Joseph Orosco (January 14, 2018)

The condemnation of Trump’s remarks on immigration has been swift and widespread.  Most of the denunciations cast his ideas as seriously out of line with American ideals on immigration.  The problem is that they aren’t really.  From the very beginning of our nation, there has been a white nationalist core driving our immigration priorities.  Even as we struggled to be a “nation of immigrants”, most of the people we allowed in were chosen on the basis of national origin from the “whitest” parts of Europe.

The first US naturalization law of 1790 required that anyone who wanted to become a citizen had to be a “free white person”.  At its start, the Framers envisioned the US as a political society for members of a specific racial caste.  This requirement stayed in place until the mid-twentieth century.

In 1924, the US passed the Johnson Reed Act, one of the most significant comprehensive immigration reform bills in our history. It limited the number of immigrants each year and those allowed were selected on the basis of their country of origin.  Immigrants from North and Western Europe (such as Norway) had almost no restrictions on entering, while Southern and Eastern European immigrants were severely controlled. Immigration from Asia had been almost completely prohibited for several decades by this point.

The shocking issue with the act is its little known origin story.  The law was the brainchild of a notorious white supremacist named Madison Grant.  In 1916, Grant wrote a book, The Passing of the Great Race, which argued that the truly white people in the US, the Nordics, were at risk of going extinct because of the massive influx of Poles, Italians, Greeks, and Jews who Grant did not consider white (Be careful if you do an Internet search for this book–you will end up on several white supremacist websites).  Grant’s book became a bestseller and reading groups were formed among members of Congress.  Grant chaired the committee to advise Congress on immigration. The result was Johnson Reed. Grant went on to inspire the Racial Integrity Act for the state of Virginia that prohibited interracial marriage.  It was widely copied throughout the US. So for almost forty years of the 20th century, US immigration policy and marriage law was specifically designed to create a white majority population.

Congress didn’t remove this system until 1965, replacing it with one that shifted the demographic makeup of most immigrants.  Since 1965, the large bulk of immigrants have been from Asia and Latin America.  The new policies today favor creating a diverse pool of immigrants rather than one based on national origins, and they encourage immigrants, once here, to bring their family members from their former home countries in a process called “chain migration”.

Trump’s remarks, and the policy proposals on immigration that he has released in the past year, indicate that he wishes to return US immigration policy to the way it was under Grant.  Clearly, his preference for individuals from Scandinavia versus Africa or Latin America would have pleased Grant immensely.

Trump’s advisors have also proposed to reduce the total number of immigrants that can enter each year and those allowed would be selected by a merit system.  Those immigrants demonstrating English proficiency and the right job skills would have a preference.  This obviously will favor immigrants from those countries with the educational systems that can give people experience with the American way of life.  Such a system will drastically limit immigration from Latin America, Asia, and Africa by eliminating chain migration.

About a century ago, Americans struggled to find a language to describe what a multicultural, racially diverse, and democratic society would look like.  One group of progressive thinkers, led by figures such as John Dewey, Alain Locke, and Jane Addams, urged us to imagine a nation where immigrants were not forced to assimilate to a single mold, but encouraged to keep their traditions and enlarge the possibilities of what it means to be an American.  This is something I explore in my book Toppling the Melting Pot:  Immigration and Multiculturalism in American Pragmatism.  This theme is missing from public discussions on immigration today. But if we are looking to the past for hints today about what to do with our immigration policy that do not involve reinventing a white nationalist vision, then perhaps this is a conversation we need to remember.