Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Freedom/Liberty (Key Concepts)


"Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes … known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. Those truths are well established. They are read in every page which records the progression from a less arbitrary to a more arbitrary government, or the transition from a popular government to an aristocracy or a monarchy." — James Madison, Political Observations, 1795
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Anderson, Elizabeth S. "Philosophy of Freedom and Equality." Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Online Archive)

Armstrong, Sally, Paul Heinbecker and James Orbinski. "Five Freedoms: Freedom from Want." Ideas (April 11, 2019) ["Poverty has always been a defining issue in the quest to build a better world. Most political systems lay claim to the idea that they alone can create a better world. It's a kind of litmus test: if our political systems can't raise almost everyone out of relative poverty, then what exactly have we achieved? Why poverty exists at all in otherwise wealthy, prosperous democratic countries is a very incisive question, and it's not enough to just shrug and say our system is still better than any other alternative. And those alternatives? Dictatorships take us into the abyss. Right-wing libertarianism has little to offer as solutions to poverty. Soviet-style Communism didn't exactly work either, which leaves some version of western liberal democracy, either what we have now, or some variation that is still to emerge. So once we've got past that, and accepted that we've failed on the poverty file, how do we go about making things more equitable right now, making sure that wealth is distributed to those in need, and creating opportunity for the weak to become stronger?"]

Aron, Hadas. "Free Speech #56: The Populist Attacks on Academia." Think About It (May 21, 2019) ["Why do populist movements, which exist on both the left and the right, attack universities? Is there any justification for their suspicion of elites who tell us what's true, how to live our lives, and how to solve our problems? What's the relation between populism, academia, and the idea that everyone's opinion should matter, regardless of their education, birth and academic degrees? Hadas Aron is a political scientist who studies populist movements in various countries to understand the underlying problems and tensions that drive such movements. We talked about the attacks on academia, how best to understand them, and whether there are some issues that are non-negotiable even in the most robust and raucous political disputes."]

Barme, Geremie, Zha Jianying and Eugene Wang. "A conversation about the 1980s in China, on the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests." Open Source (June 6, 2019) ["China in the 1980s can sound like a Paradise Lost—paradise crushed by tanks on Tiananmen Square 30 years ago, paradise erased by massacre and state propaganda ever since, an unmarked memory hole. Except that people remember: the freedom of Democracy Wall; longhair students steeped in Confucian classics but sampling Virginia Woolf and Nietzsche for the first time, and dancing to Bob Dylan. Cosmopolitanism was in: Mao was dead, and Time magazine made the new ginger man Deng Xiaoping its man-of-the-year. John Denver of Rocky Mountain High cheered China’s long march to modernization. Bob Hope cracked jokes and swung his golf club in an NBC special from Tiananmen Square—till, poof, everything changed. What we know of Tiananmen Square is mostly the tanks turned against plain people 30 years ago. What’s just as compelling in restored memory is the charged air of hope and possibility in Tiananmen, and in China of the 80s, until just days before the crackdown, the end of reform. Tiananmen Square had more and bigger Speakers’ Corners than Hyde Park in London: students, workers, artists plying agendas; musicians trying tunes, rehearsing democracy, you could have supposed. It was a romantic proving ground of blooming civic virtue and community spirit, and the American audience loved it, too."]

Chipman, Melissa. "When Religious Freedom Imposes." LEO Weekly (October 25, 2017)

Cole, David. "Free Speech #63: The ACLU's Defense of Liberty." Think About It (May 21, 2019) ["The ACLU defends your liberties - whether you're on the right, the left, and entirely off the political spectrum. The 100-year old organization has argued and won landmark decisions before the Supreme Court to defend individual rights. Is it right to put principle above all other consideration and offer legal aid to Neo-Nazis? Or are there factors beyond the ideals of the law that inform such actions?"]

Cole, David. "Political Activism and Constitutional Law." Conversations with History (February 22, 2018) ["Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes David Cole, National Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for a discussion of two of his ten books-- his first book, No Equal Justice and his most recent book Engines of Liberty. The conversation begins with his reflections on his formative years and the skill set and temperament appropriate for a constitutional lawyer. It then turns to the work of the ACLU and his role as national legal director. On the issue of criminal justice, Cole emphasizes how the structure of the criminal justice system reinforces inequality and sacrifices justice. On the issue of the evolution of the meaning of the Bill of Rights, Cole analyzes the role of political activism in shaping constitutional law with specific reference to the establishment of gun rights and gay marriage rights. The conversation concludes with a discussion of the implications of the changing political landscape-- with its emphasis on libertarian ideology, nationalism, and the importance of social media-- for affecting constitutional law. "]

Davis, Angela and Imani Perry. "Angela Davis Returns to Birmingham, Reflecting on Palestinian Rights & Fight for Freedom Everywhere." Democracy Now (February 18, 2019) ["Civil rights icon and scholar Angela Davis returned to her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, over the weekend. She originally planned the visit to receive the Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, but the institute withdrew the award last month, soon after the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center sent a letter urging the board to reconsider honoring Davis due to her support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting the Israeli government and Israeli institutions. Facing swift and widespread outcry, the institute then reversed its decision and reinstated the award. But Angela Davis has yet to say if she will accept it. More than 3,000 people gathered Saturday evening for an alternative event to honor Davis hosted by the Birmingham Committee for Truth and Reconciliation. The event featured a conversation between Davis and Princeton professor Imani Perry, who is also from Birmingham."]

Deaton, Angus. "On How the Flaws in Capitalism are Fatal for America’s Working Class." Keen On (March 13, 2020) ["Over the last two hundred years, nothing has divided us more than our free-market economic system. Is it the source of every social injustice, from exploitation to alienation to inequality, or is it essential to our freedom and democracy? This debate is as relevant today in 2020 as it was in 1920 or 1820."]

Ellerby, Kara and Sumita Mukherjee. "How Empire Uses ‘Feminist’ Branding to Sell War and Occupation." Citations Needed #65 (February 6, 2019) ["Since the dawn of the American Empire, thin moral pretexts in our politics and press have been used to justify our wars and conquest. The invasion of Cuba and Philippines in 1898 was declared to be a fight for freedom from Spanish oppression. Vietnam was about stopping Communist tyranny. The pioneer myth of Manifest Destiny and “westward expansion” was built about “taming” and “civilizing’ the land from violent savages. But one current that flows through all of these imperial incursions has been the idea that the United States – as well as its allies the Great Britain and Israel – are out to protect women. Today's endless occupations in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan are, in large part, justified in perpetuity because the United States is a self-declared, unique protector of modernity and women’s rights. All the same, the Pentagon is increasingly promoted, in press releases and media puffy pieces, as a place where women can exercise their agency: the ultimate apex of meritocracy and a vanguard of equality. But what if this approach misses the point of equality altogether? What if this is simply a craven branding exercise, putting a liberal face on what is a fundamentally oppressive system of violence? On this episode, we explore various ways women’s rights and empowerment has been used to sell colonial objectives and how one can differentiate between actual progress and the superficial language of inclusion used cynically in service of mechanized violence."]

Ewing, Heidi and Rachel Grady. "One of Us." Film School Radio (October 15, 2017) ["In their new documentary ONE OF US, acclaimed observational filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (JESUS CAMP, DETROPIA) take a deep and moving look at the lives of three individuals who have chosen to leave the hugely insular world of Hasidic Judaism.The film follows Etty, a mother of seven, as she decides to leave a violent marriage and divorce her husband; Ari, a teenager on the verge of manhood who is struggling with addiction and the effects of childhood abuse; and Luzer, an actor who, despite having found success in the secular world, still wrestles with his decision eight years earlier to leave the Hasidic community. Produced over three years, ONE OF US offers unique and intimate access to the lives of all three as they deal not only with questions of their beliefs but also with the consequences of leaving the only community they have ever known. With their trademark sensitivity and keen interest in the nature of faith, Ewing and Grady chronicle these journeys towards personal freedom that comes at a very high cost. Co-directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady join us for a conversation on their emotionally wrenching look into a world of dogmatism, ostracism and community."]

Ferguson, Micheale L. "On the Job: Debating Sex Work." Boston Review (May 14, 2014) ["Does sexual liberation entail a laissez faire attitude toward sex, or can it involve the freedom to critically, consciously, and intentionally explore pleasure and desire?... Sexual liberation is best understood as the freedom to be curious about sex and about the broader economic and social context in which desire and sexuality are produced. It is the freedom to engage in pleasure as something to be indulged not mindlessly, but mindfully: observing our individual relationships to our bodies, to what turns us on or off, to what troubles us, and to how this may change over the course of our lives—observing all of this with curiosity."]

Gatnarek, Heather and Zach Heiden. "Abortion Rights: A Tale of Two States." At Liberty #69 (October 17, 2019) ["While abortion restrictions have left six states with only a single clinic standing, other states are finding ways to expand access. We speak with Heather Gatnarek, a staff attorney at the ACLU of Kentucky, who is helping fend off sustained attacks on what remains of reproductive care in that state. And we hear from Zach Heiden, legal director of the ACLU of Maine, where abortion was just made more affordable and accessible."]

Gilmore, Ruth Wilson. "Ruth Wilson Gilmore with Rachel Kushner." Lannan Podcasts (April 17, 2019) ["Ruth Wilson Gilmore is director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics and a professor of geography at the City University of New York. She is most famous for arguing that the movement for abolition, with its proud history of challenging slavery, should be applied today to the abolition of prisons. In an era when 2.3 million people are behind bars in the United States, she challenges us to think about whether it is ever necessary or productive to lock people in cages. She warns of the “nightmare made palatable by the terrifying numbers of prisoners and prisons produced by the last generation, while we were all, presumably, awake.” But her hope lies in the fact that “just as real was the growing grassroots activism against the expanded use of criminalization and cages as a catchall solution to social problems. In order to realize their dreams of justice in individual cases, the [freedom] riders decided, through struggle, debate, failure, and renewal, that they must seek general freedom for all from a system in which punishment has become as industrialized as making cars, clothes, or missiles, or growing cotton.” Gilmore wrote Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California(2007) and contributed to The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex (2007). The American Sociological Society honored Gilmore with its Angela Davis Award for Public Scholarship in 2012. A tireless activist, she has co-founded many social justice organizations, including the California Prison Moratorium Project, Critical Resistance, and the Central California Environmental Justice Network."]

Gladstone, Mariah. "Decades after forced sterilization, Native American women in the US still face rejection and retraumatization in healthcare." At Liberty (September 2019) ["Across the entire country, an estimated 25 percent of Native women of childbearing age were sterilized by 1976. While sterilization procedures should only have been presented as one of many contraceptive options, Native women were often coerced into signing forms or given incorrect information about their options. In one case, two 15-year-old Native girls on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana were admitted to the local clinic for tonsillectomies and released with tubal ligations. Another woman in Los Angeles was told her hysterectomy would be reversible, only to find out six years later that she had been lied to. Others still were given forms to sign for painkillers or appendectomies, finding out later that they had relinquished their ability to bear children. Unfortunately, the history of forced sterilizations in the US extends far beyond Native women. In 1973, African American sisters Minnie and Mary Relf, 12 and 14 years old at the time, were secretly sterilized by a federally funded clinic under the premise of giving the girls birth-control shots. Mexicans and their US-born descendants were described as “immigrants of an undesirable type,” and thousands of women were forcibly sterilized in California institutions from 1920 to 1950. The US is responsible for tens of thousands of state-sponsored non-consensual sterilization procedures, all done to control populations of people deemed inferior."]

Goodman, Amy. "Four Days in Occupied Western Sahara—A Rare Look Inside Africa’s Last Colony." Democracy Now (August 31, 2018) ["In this exclusive broadcast, Democracy Now! breaks the media blockade and goes to occupied Western Sahara in the northwest of Africa to document the decades-long Sahrawi struggle for freedom and Morocco’s violent crackdown. Morocco has occupied the territory since 1975 in defiance of the United Nations and the international community. Thousands have been tortured, imprisoned, killed and disappeared while resisting the Moroccan occupation. A 1,700-mile wall divides Sahrawis who remain under occupation from those who fled into exile. The international media has largely ignored the occupation—in part because Morocco has routinely blocked journalists from entering Western Sahara. But in late 2016 Democracy Now! managed to get into the Western Saharan city of Laayoune, becoming the first international news team to report from the occupied territory in years."]

Greenwald, Glenn. "Chelsea Manning’s Refusal to Testify Against WikiLeaks Will Help Save Press Freedom." Democracy Now (March 11, 2019)

---. "Glenn Greenwald." Lannan Lectures (September 27, 2017) ["Glenn Greenwald is an investigative journalist and author. A former constitutional lawyer, he founded the online global media outlet The Intercept with Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill in 2014. He is the author of several best sellers, among them, How Would a Patriot Act?; With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful and the recent No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the US Surveillance State. Greenwald has received numerous awards for his investigative journalism. In 2009 he was awarded the Izzy Award by the Park Center for Independent Media for his “path breaking journalistic courage and persistence in confronting conventional wisdom, official deception, and controversial issues.” In 2010 he received an Online Journalism Award for his investigative work on the arrest and detention of Chelsea Manning. In 2013 he led The Guardian’s reporting team that covered Edward Snowden and the NSA, which earned the newspaper the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service. Foreign Policy magazine named him one of the top 100 Global Thinkers for 2013."]
Greenwald, Glenn and Trevor Timm. "The DNC’S Lawsuit Against WikiLeaks Poses a Serious Threat to Press Freedom." The Intercept (April 20, 2018)

Guisado, Angelo. "Necessary to the Security of a Free State." Current Affairs (May 8, 2019) ["On the history of the second amendment, white militias, and border vigilantism…"]

Hansen, Randall, Lama Mourad and Joseph Wong. "In Search of Global Freedom." Ideas (December 10, 2018) ["What does it mean to be free? All societies place restrictions on what citizens can do, but some restrictions (speed limits) may be more important than others (limiting the right to vote.) But one-size freedom doesn't really fit all: "democracy" has many faces, and ideas of freedom are shaped by culture."]

Janz, Bruce. "Theses on Freedom." (Academic Website: May 1, 2020)

Jones, Martha. "How African Americans Fought For & Won Birthright Citizenship 150 Years Before Trump Tried to End It." Democracy Now (October 31, 2018) ["As President Trump claims that he can end birthright citizenship in the United States, we speak with professor Martha Jones about the history of the 14th Amendment, which states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Martha Jones is the author of “Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America.” She is the Society of Black Alumni presidential professor and professor of history at Johns Hopkins University."]

Kaye, Harvey, et al. "The Fight for the Four Freedoms (FDR vs Libertarianism)." Best of the Left #1247 (February 5, 2019) ["Today we take a look at the history of FDR's "Four Freedoms" and "Economic Bill of Rights" that laid the groundwork for the fight for economic freedom for all that continues to this day."]

Krajeski, Jenna. "What the Kurds are Fighting For: The Idea of Rojava is at Stake." What Next (October 16, 2019) ["When the U.S. abandoned its Kurdish allies, it not only left the Kurds vulnerable to devastating attacks from Turkey, but it also abandoned Rojava, the Kurdish autonomous region that lies in the northeast of Syria. Right now, the Kurds are fighting to preserve what they can of this unique political arrangement, but it might already be too late. And, maybe, it was always destined to fall."]

Krajeski, Jenna and Rapareen abd Elhameed Hasn. "The Rojava Revolution in Peril." On the Media (October 18, 2019) ["Rojava: it’s the three cantons at the top of Syria that comprise what’s more commonly referred to as “Kurdish Syria.” Each canton is governed independently but according to a shared social contract based on principles of local democracy, feminism and ecology. It’s a land that, until recently at least, had about two million people, mostly Kurdish but with ethnic and religious diversity. And its political experiment was mainly functioning — until the abrupt retreat of the United States from northern Syria. Now Rojava is being pummeled by the invading Turks — martyred to the impulses of an unmoored American president. And so it has been reported: a ruinous betrayal of an ally that has made unimaginable sacrifices in the Ameican wars against Sadaam Hussein and ISIS. But lost in that narrative is another story: the equally unimaginable sacrifice of an equitable model of governance in a region where other models have stifled freedom for centuries. First, Bob speaks with Jenna Krajeski, a journalist with the Fuller Project for International Reporting who has reported on the Kurds. Then, he speaks with Rapareen abd Elhameed Hasn, a 27-year-old activist and co-president of her local health authority in Rojava, about what it's been like on the ground."]

Lawler, Ophelia Garcia. "Trump Considers Terrifying New Policy to Eliminate Transgender Rights." The Cut (October 21, 2018)

Lepore, Jill. "On the Construction of American Citizenship." At Liberty #25 (December 6, 2018) ["Almost 250 years after the adoption of the Declaration of the Independence, debates about founding principles like equality, rights, and representation are as fraught as ever. Jill Lepore, a Harvard history professor and New Yorker staff writer, discusses her latest book, “These Truths,” an ambitious exploration of the evolution of our nation from its earliest days."]

Levinson, Ariana and Devon Oser. "Kentucky’s Right-To-Work Law: Unions Punch Back." LEO Weekly (August 29, 2018)

Moss, Candida. "Trump and the Christian Persecution Complex." On the Media (June 3, 2020) ["On Monday, President Trump stood outside St. John's Episcopal Church, which had caught fire the day prior in protests for racial justice. When he brandished a Bible before photographers, Trump knew exactly what message he was sending: Christianity is under siege and the president is the defender of the faith. Never mind the fact that peaceful protesters, clergy among them, were driven from the area minutes before with tear gas to make way for the photoshoot. The narrative of Christianity under attack is a familiar one. Just a few weeks ago, Trump declared that houses of worship should open amid the pandemic on the grounds of religious liberty — despite the public health risk. But it turns out, the myth of Christian persecution can be traced far further back than the Culture Wars. In fact, according to Candida Moss, Christian historians coined the idea that to be persecuted was to be righteous in the 4th Century and they exaggerated claims that Christians were persecuted in the first place. Moss is a professor of theology and religion at Birmingham University in the U.K., and author of The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom. Moss spoke to Bob just after Trump has announced his call for churches to open. In this week's Pod Extra she explains how Christian history has been revised for political means, from the early church to present day."]

Mounk, Yascha. "The People vs. Democracy." Ideas (December 13, 2018)
["Authoritarian populists have won elections across a large swath of western liberal democracies. Populist leaders have formed government through free and (mostly) fair elections by riding a wave of popular disaffection with the status quo. But once in power, these governments have gone on to dismantle the very institutions and conventions that help keep liberal democratic principles in place. So how are we to confront this paradox wherein liberal democracy serves a growing and undemocratic illiberalism? How do we strike a balance between the rights of individuals and the popular will? And if we can't figure this out, are the best days of the liberal democratic tradition long gone?"]

Murray, Melissa. "Marriage as a Tool of White Supremacy." At Liberty #71 (October 31, 2019) ["The Supreme Court struck down bans on interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia, the landmark ACLU case decided in 1967. But the government‘s regulation of marriage and sex didn’t start with anti-miscegenation laws or end with Loving. Melissa Murray — an expert in family law, constitutional law, and reproductive rights and justice at the New York University School of Law — discusses why the institution looms so large in America's past and present. This episode was recorded live at the Brooklyn Public Library, as part of “‘Til Victory is Won,” an evening commemorating the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to America’s shores."]

Presser, Lizzie. "When Medical Debt Collectors Decide Who Gets Arrested." Pro Publica (October 16, 2019) ["Welcome to Coffeyville, Kansas, where the judge has no law degree, debt collectors get a cut of the bail, and Americans are watching their lives — and liberty — disappear in the pursuit of medical debt collection."]

Rana, Aziz. "Two Faces of American Freedom." The Dig (July 26, 2019) ["The Two Faces of American Freedom boldly reinterprets the American political tradition from the colonial period to modern times, placing issues of race relations, immigration, and presidentialism in the context of shifting notions of empire and citizenship. Today, while the U.S. enjoys tremendous military and economic power, citizens are increasingly insulated from everyday decision-making. This was not always the case. America, Aziz Rana argues, began as a settler society grounded in an ideal of freedom as the exercise of continuous self-rule—one that joined direct political participation with economic independence. However, this vision of freedom was politically bound to the subordination of marginalized groups, especially slaves, Native Americans, and women. These practices of liberty and exclusion were not separate currents, but rather two sides of the same coin. However, at crucial moments, social movements sought to imagine freedom without either subordination or empire. By the mid-twentieth century, these efforts failed, resulting in the rise of hierarchical state and corporate institutions. This new framework presented national and economic security as society’s guiding commitments and nurtured a continual extension of America’s global reach. Rana envisions a democratic society that revives settler ideals, but combines them with meaningful inclusion for those currently at the margins of American life."]

"Revoking Net Neutrality Violates Freedom of Expression." Amnesty International (December 14, 2017)

Robinson, Jennifer. "Julian Assange’s Attorney Decries Espionage Charges as 'Grave Threat to Press Freedom.'" Democracy Now (May 24, 2019) ["In an unprecedented move, the Justice Department has indicted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on 17 charges of violating the Espionage Act for his role in publishing U.S. classified military and diplomatic documents exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. The documents were leaked by U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning. The Espionage Act of 1917 has never been used to prosecute a journalist or media outlet. The new charges come just over a month after British police forcibly removed Assange from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he took asylum in 2012. Initially the Trump administration indicted Assange on a single count of helping Manning hack a government computer, but Assange faces up to 170 additional years in prison under the new charges—10 years for each count of violating the Espionage Act. We speak with Jennifer Robinson, an attorney for Julian Assange. “It is a grave threat to press freedom and should be cause for concern for journalists and publishers everywhere,” Robinson says." Part two: "Daniel Ellsberg: Espionage Charges Against Assange Are Most Significant Attack on Press in Decades." Part three: "Jeremy Scahill: New Indictment of Assange Is Part of a Broader War on Journalism & Whistleblowers." Part four: "Assange Is Indicted for Exposing War Crimes While Trump Considers Pardons for War Criminals."]

Schönecker, Dieter. "Protecting Academic Freedom: Five Arguments for Freedom of Expression." Philosophy Now #135 (January 2020)

Scott, James C. "Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States." New Books in Political Science (June 3, 2020) ["We are schooled to believe that states formed more or less synchronously with settlement and agriculture. In Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States (Yale University Press, 2017), James C. Scott asks us to question this belief. The evidence, he says, is simply not on the side of states. Stratified, taxing, walled towns did not inevitably appear in the wake of crop domestication and sedentary settlement. Only around 3100 BCE, some four millennia after the earliest farming and settling down, did they begin making their presence felt. What happened in these four millennia is the subject of this book: a deep history by “a card-carrying political scientist and an anthropologist and environmentalist by courtesy”, which aims to put the earliest states in their place. James Scott joins us ... to talk about state fragility and state persistence from Mesopotamia to Southeast Asia, the politics of cereal crops, domestication and reproduction, why it was once good to be a barbarian, the art of provocation, the views of critics, and, human and animal species relations and zoonoses in our epidemiological past and pandemic present."]

---. "Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States." Slavery and Its Legacies (April 13, 2017) ["James Scott is the Sterling Professor of Political Science and Professor of Anthropology and is Director of the Agrarian Studies Program. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has held grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Science, Science, Technology and Society Program at M.I.T., and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. His research concerns political economy, comparative agrarian societies, theories of hegemony and resistance, peasant politics, revolution, Southeast Asia, theories of class relations and anarchism. He is currently teaching Agrarian Studies and Rebellion, Resistance and Repression. Recent publications include Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed, Yale University Press, 1997; “Geographies of Trust: Geographies of Hierarchy,” in Democracy and Trust, 1998; “State Simplifications and Practical Knowledge,” in People’s Economy, People’s Ecology, 1998; and The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia (Yale Press, 2009)."]

Strangio, Chase. "A Shifting Landscape for Transgender Rights." At Liberty #24 (November 29, 2018) ["The state of transgender equality is in rapid flux in state legislatures, in federal law, in the courts and at the ballot box. Progress is consistently met with backlash. In the past midterm election, Massachusetts voters staved off an effort to dismantle legal protection for trans individuals in public spaces. Yet the Supreme Court is poised to reconsider legal victories won by trans plaintiffs in the federal courts, and Trump's White House seeks to exclude trans people from the military and from federal anti-discrimination law. Chase Strangio, staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project, discusses the current legal landscape."]

---. "Trump Admin Attempts to Erase Existence of Trans People After Years of GOP-Led Attacks on Freedoms." Democracy Now (October 22, 2018) ["The New York Times reports that the Trump administration is attempting to eliminate the rights of transgender people by creating a narrow legal definition of gender. Citing a government memo, the Times reveals that the Department of Health and Human Services has undertaken an effort across several government agencies to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans discrimination on the basis of sex. That definition would be either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals a person is born with. The Times reports that the memo says, “Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth. The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex.” If enacted, the proposal would reverse the expansion of transgender rights that took place under President Barack Obama. We speak with Chase Strangio, staff attorney at the ACLU."]

Volokh, Eugene. "Free Speech #52: What We Mean by 'The First Amendment.'" Think About It (May 19, 2019) ["What do we mean when we say "The First Amendment"? It's obvious: we mean the most robust protection of speech rights, religious liberty, freedom of the press, and freedom of association in the world today. Correct, says Eugene Volokh, absolutely correct. But it could change! Listen to this illuminating conversation with a leading expert on freedom of speech and constitutional law at UCLA. Volokh clerked for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and runs the Volokh Conspiracy, a legal blog."]

West, Cornel. "Maintaining Hope in the Time of Struggle and Darkness that is the Age of Trump." The Chauncey DeVega Show #258 (October 31, 2019) ["Cornel West is one of the United States’ and the world’s leading public intellectuals and truth-tellers. He is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University and holds the title of Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He has also taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris. Cornel West is the author of several bestselling books including Race Matters, Democracy Matters, and his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. He is also a frequent guest on CNN, C-Span and Democracy Now. Cornel West explains why hope must be kept alive in times of darkness and struggle, the power of the Black Freedom Struggle and blues sensibility to sustain and improve American democracy, and why neoliberal gangster capitalism’s assault on our humanity must be resisted. He also reflects on his support of Bernie Sanders and why Dave Chappelle is an example of the artist as truth-teller and essential provocateur."]


West, Stephen. "The Frankfurt School (Part 6) - Art As a Tool for Liberation." Philosophize This (December 2, 2017) ["Art doesn’t change the world, but it may change the consciousness of people who CAN change the world.” - Herbert Marcuse]

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Ursula K. Le Guin accepting the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 2014: I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom: poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality. … We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.
“In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights.
Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone…Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights. We do not intend to let them do this to us. We demand this fraud be stopped. Our weapon is our vote.” —Martin Luther King, speaking about right-to-work laws in 1961 
I just finished Elizabeth Varon's Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War an essential history (one of many, also check out Douglas Blackmon's Slavery By Another Name and Carol Anderson's White Rage) for understanding the resurgence of racist ideologies in America, the rise of Trump, the battles over memorials celebrating traitors, and the recent violence and NAZI/confederate imagery at far-right demonstrations (like Charlottesville - Lessons from Charlottesville ). -- Michael Benton (January 31, 2018)

The serious threat to our democracy is not the existence of foreign totalitarian states. It is the existence within our own personal attitudes and within our own institutions of conditions which have given a victory to external authority, discipline, uniformity and dependence on The Leader in foreign countries. The Battlefield is also accordingly here - within ourselves and our institutions. - John Dewey (quoted in Fromm, Erich. Escape to Freedom. Open Road Media, 2013: 19-20.)

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