Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Whatever Happened to the American Left? by Michael Kazin

If activists on the left want to alter this reality, they will have to figure out how to redefine the old ideal of economic justice for the age of the Internet and relentless geographic mobility. During the last election, many hoped that the organizing around Barack Obama’s presidential campaign would do just that. Yet, since taking office, Mr. Obama has only rarely made an effort to move the public conversation in that direction.
Instead, the left must realize that when progressives achieved success in the past, whether at organizing unions or fighting for equal rights, they seldom bet their future on politicians. They fashioned their own institutions — unions, women’s groups, community and immigrant centers and a witty, anti-authoritarian press — in which they spoke up for themselves and for the interests of wage-earning Americans.
Today, such institutions are either absent or reeling. With unions embattled and on the decline, working people of all races lack a sturdy vehicle to articulate and fight for the vision of a more egalitarian society. Liberal universities, Web sites and non-governmental organizations cater mostly to a professional middle class and are more skillful at promoting social causes like legalizing same-sex marriage and protecting the environment than demanding millions of new jobs that pay a living wage.
A reconnection with ordinary Americans is vital not just to defeating conservatives in 2012 and in elections to come. Without it, the left will remain unable to state clearly and passionately what a better country would look like and what it will take to get there. To paraphrase the labor martyr Joe Hill, the left should stop mourning its recent past and start organizing to change the future.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Police Respond With Aggression to Wall Street Protests (via Scott)

Tim Wise on CNN, 9/24/11, Discussing Affirmative Action and its Opponents at UC-Berkeley

Tim Wise: "The point that I think needs to be made and which they often ignore, and conservative students generally ignore, is that by the time anyone steps on a college campus, whether it's Berkeley or any other school in the UC system or any college in this country, there is already been 12-13 years of institutionalized affirmative action for white folks - that is to say, racially embedded inequality which has benefited those of us who are white and it's only at the point of college admission that these folks seem to get concerned with color consciousness, with thinking about race..."


NYT: Placing Islamic Art on a New Pedestal

To quote you the introduction of this article:

IN one of Washington Irving’s tales from “The Alhambra,” the short-story collection that rooted the great 14th-century Moorish landmark in the American imagination, a poor Spaniard and his daughter discover a hidden chamber deep within the abandoned palace’s crumbling walls and spirit away the treasure inside....

I Am Troy Davis (T.R.O.Y.)

via Shaykh Abdullah Ali

Haroon Moghul in Today's Zaman

The Arab and Muslim world needs to nurture its thought leadership -- and this offers another space in which Turkey can assist, a role perhaps far more important than business ties. Turkey should marshal its considerable private sector and academic resources to build “Centers for Democracy,” employing its transnational credibility to bolster an already obviously transnational movement. I’m proposing a network of think tanks dotting the democratic Muslim world, linking scholars, activists and fresh minds, giving them real resources to think critically about the common challenges of Muslim societies and then share their learning. For too long, countries that have faced astoundingly similar circumstances have been isolated from one another’s experiences. These centers will create safe spaces to incubate political thought leadership at a crucial time, connecting activists across the democratic Muslim world -- from Mali to Indonesia. These centers will help ideas circulate, ideas relevant to the people proposing them -- in the same way Al Jazeera made it possible for Arabs to speak directly to Arabs, internationally. For there are two interconnected problems facing Muslim societies: The first is the divide between experts in “religion” and experts in “Western” disciplines. These people must talk. Where can they do that? The second problem is the dearth of cosmopolitan leaders. Let’s empower them and give them the strength -- through alliances and regional cooperation -- to confront irredentism. It’s smart for Turkey to focus on business links. These are necessary, but at the same time insufficient. We must ask ourselves: Who will be the leaders of the Middle East in the coming years and decades? How will they face up to common challenges? And how will they build trust, empathy and respect, enough to overcome years of stagnant politics? As the region rises up, it should not hesitate to think ambitiously and act globally. Why shouldn’t political thought, mutual learning and creative politics go through places like Bishkek, ─░stanbul and Dar es Salaam? The Muslim world needs to begin imagining better futures for its peoples and by its peoples, ending once and for all the frustration and isolation that has marked its societies and kept them from helping one another.*.html

via Haroon

Threats arise at Muslim Students Association event (at Princeton)

via islamophobia today

Tariq Ramadan: On the Death Penalty

Juan Cole: Palestine, Bahrain and US Hyprocrisy

Q: What is the best way to give life to the heart if its light has been extinguished?

The Royal Wedding: Ancient Origins -cambridge khutbas etc.