The Future of our National Parks System

 

The current political administration in the United States has raised into question the future of our public lands. Given the continued discussion over the ownership of national parks and monuments, the below excerpt from Grand Canyon for Sale: Public Lands versus Private Interests in the Era of Climate Change, is both timely and informative.

This faint old path isn’t on the brochure map, but it leads to a fine perch just the same. Moving past the car choreography and selfie poses at the popular Desert View area near the eastern border of Grand Canyon National Park, I find my way on a late afternoon.

Crumbling pavers end in a trace that weaves through rabbitbrush and juniper and over to a suitable rock, right on the abyss. No glance out there yet. I don’t want to risk vertigo until I’m settled. Then, with a beer and a bag of salt peanuts, I can drift out over two billion years of geology, a hundred centuries of human striving, and a timeless void.

Anywhere you pause along the hundreds of miles of edge brings dizzying contrast. The infinitesimal meets the cosmic, as a cliff swallow careens against far-off rock and sky. The immediate—check your foot-ing on that limestone grit, there’s a long fall pending—opens abruptly onto silent eons of cycle and revision. Another contrast: under a longer gaze the wild and timeless look of this panorama bears the lasting marks of recent human activity. They are the destinations of this book.

As we head into its second century, few would disagree that we want the park system to fulfill its mandate to preserve nature. “The core element of the national parks is that they are in the perpetuity business,” as Gary Machlis, science adviser to the director of the Park Service, told me. “The irony is that our mission is to preserve things in perpetuity, and we do it on an annual budget and a four-year presidential cycle.” The natural systems of the parks, he said, represent an island of stability—as long as we protect them and plan well for their future.

The centenary of the Park Service has just passed, along with some well-deserved national self-congratulations. Perhaps this would be a discreet time to say that the parks’ natural systems are, in the estimation of many scientists, falling apart. In that view all public lands need long-term life support, beginning as soon as we can pull it together. We’re on a precipice, both politically and biologically.

Read more from the author in a recent article, ‘At Bears Ears in Utah, Heated Politics and Precious Ruins,’ on the New York Times website, or check out his website to learn more.


O.J. Simpson and the Verdicts in 1995

by W. Joseph Campbell, author of 1995: The Year the Future Began

O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing in Nevada today may have been much-anticipated and widely watched. But it was no “flashbulb moment,” not an occasion so rare and powerful that it will be remembered for years by many thousands of people.

Indeed the hearing’s outcome — Simpson won parole — was more expected than memorable, and more subdued than dramatic.

It was only faintly reminiscent of the “flashbulb moment” on October 3, 1995, when verdicts were read at the close of Simpson’s double-murder trial in Los Angeles.

On that occasion, as I discussed in my 2015 book, 1995: The Year the Future Began, the United States stood still in a rare moment of nationwide anticipation.

Simpson that day in 1995 was acquitted of the vicious slashing deaths of his former wife, Nicole, and of her friend, Ronald Goldman, and Americans by the millions stopped what they were doing to follow the reading of the verdicts on television and radio.

Simpson’s parole hearing today was televised live and streamed online. While it allowed the country an up-close look at Simpson after his nearly nine years behind bars, it was not a moment fated to be long remembered or often recalled.

Simpson, now 70, is stooped and slow afoot. But he is still voluble and self-absorbed. He went before the parole board seeking release from a prison term for armed robbery, kidnaping, and other offenses stemming from an encounter in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2007. Simpson essentially had a small posse to retrieve memorabilia he said had been stolen from him.

For those crimes, he was sentenced to 9 to 33 years in prison. The outcome of today’s hearing means he will be released as soon as October 1.

Simpson often apologized during the hearing for participating in the Las Vegas robbery, saying he wished it had never happened.

He also he revealed flashes of ego and self-absorption that characterized his high-flying celebrity lifestyle before 1995. He told parole board members he was “a good guy” and insisted, without smirking, “I’ve basically spent a conflict-free life, you know?”

He blamed other participants for the encounter in Las Vegas having spun out of control. He was unaware, he said, that handguns had been drawn.

But he made no reference to the killings of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman; their deaths were not germane to today’s hearing.

But a question that was relevant in 1995 lingers after today’s hearing. It’s a question sure to arise again when Simpson is set free from Lovelock Correctional Center in northwest Nevada. The question is:

What accounts for the seemingly endless media and popular-culture fascination with O.J. Simpson?

Some of the Simpson-fixation can be connected to the nostalgia that embraces the 1990s these days. CNN, for example, has begun a seven-part documentary series that revisits the decade. Simpson’s trial in 1995 has to rank among the top 10 events of the decade, at least in America.

It was, after all, commonly referred to as the “Trial of the Century.” While it wasn’t as consequential as the rise of the Internet, the fall of the Soviet Union, the impeachment of Bill Clinton, or the genocide in Rwanda, it was one of the decade’s “flashbulb moments.”

Simpson-fascination also can be attributed to perverse interest in how he won acquittal in 1995 despite the considerable evidence — notably, forensic DNA evidence — that was arrayed against him.

In the face of that evidence, and of the intense pressures he faced, Simpson kept his composure during the months-long trial. He didn’t testify, as he said he would. But his lawyers found ways for Simpson to declare, in the courtroom, that he was innocent.

Polls said most Americans didn’t buy it. But interest endures as to how he beat the rap.

A broader explanation for the continuing fascination lies in Simpson’s stunning fall from grace — from rich and admired celebrity to convicted felon who has spent years of his dotage behind bars. Simpson once seemed to have it all: He was a professional football star who made it to the sport’s Hall of Fame. He was a TV sports commentator, a movie actor, a pitchman. He was well-liked, even esteemed. And all that, he lost. How could he have allowed that to happen?

And then there’s race: The verdicts in 1995 exposed fault lines in how white and black Americans regard and respond to the U.S. criminal justice system. The “flashbulb moment” at the close of the trial was marked by what I described in 1995 as “stark and contrasting reactions”: Many African Americans cheered Simpson’s acquittal while many whites were shocked and dismayed.

The disparate reactions, I noted, “prompted much anguished commentary that America’s racial divide was more profound than had been understood.”

The outcome of today’s hearing precipitated no such clash of reactions.


W. Joseph Campbell is the author of 1995: The Year the Future Began and Getting It Wrong: Debunking the Greatest Myths in American Journalism.


After ‘Cronkite Moment,’ Johnson doubled down on Viet policy

by W. Joseph Campbell, author of Getting It Wrong: Debunking the Greatest Myths in American Journalism

9780520291294One of the most cherished stories in American journalism is also a tenacious media-driven myth — a tall tale claiming great achievement for the media.

This cherished story/media myth is commonly known as the “Cronkite Moment” of 1968, when CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite supposedly exposed the bankruptcy of the Vietnam War. Forty-nine years ago next week, Cronkite declared in an editorial comment at the end of a special TV report that the U.S. military was “mired in stalemate” in Vietnam and that negotiations might offer a way out.

As I discuss in Getting It Wrong, an expanded second edition of which was published not long ago, the “Cronkite Moment” had few of the effects that are often, and extravagantly, attached to it.

Notable among those effects was that President Lyndon B. Johnson watched the program and, upon hearing Cronkite’s dire assessment, understood his war policy was a shambles. It was like an epiphany for the president.

But we know that’s not true: Johnson did not see the Cronkite program when it aired on February 27, 1968. He was in Austin, Texas, at that time, at a birthday party for a long-time political ally, Governor John Connally. It is not clear whether, or when, Johnson saw the program on videotape at some later date.

In any case, Cronkite said nothing about the war that hadn’t been said by leading journalists many times before. By February 1968, “stalemate” was a decidedly unoriginal way to characterize the Vietnam War.

The second edition of Getting It Wrong, which includes three new chapters and new material elsewhere, presents further evidence underscoring that the “Cronkite Moment” is a media myth.

This material elaborates on Johnson’s conduct in the immediate aftermath of Cronkite’s special report — the days and weeks when Cronkite’s assessment should have exerted greatest impact.

But instead of recognizing that Cronkite had shown him the light, Johnson doubled down. He mounted an aggressive defense of his war policy, demonstrating by his forcefulness that he had not taken the anchorman’s message to heart.

Three days after Cronkite’s program aired, Johnson vowed that America would “not cut and run” from Vietnam. “We’re not going to be Quislings,” the president said. “And we’re not going to be appeasers.”

Johnson spoke with similar energy in mid-March 1968, telling a meeting of business leaders in Washington, D.C.:

“We must meet our commitments in the world and in Vietnam. We shall and we are going to win. … I don’t want a man in here to go back home thinking otherwise — we are going to win.”

Two days after that, the president traveled to Minneapolis to speak at the National Farmers Union convention. He took the occasion to urge “a total national effort to win the war” in Vietnam, and slapped the lectern for emphasis. “We love nothing more than peace,” Johnson declared, “but we hate nothing worse than surrender and cowardice.”

He disparaged war critics as ready and inclined to “tuck our tail and violate our commitments.”

A day later, Johnson insisted in a talk at the State Department: “We have set our course” in Vietnam. “And we will prevail.”

Thus at a time when Cronkite’s views should been most keenly felt, the president remained tenaciously hawkish.

The shift in the president’s approach came not in the immediate aftermath of the “Cronkite Moment” (which was not referred to as such until many years later). It took place in meetings with an informal group of senior counselors who collectively were known as the “Wise Men.”

They included foreign policy notables such as Dean Acheson, a former secretary of state; McGeorge Bundy, a former national security adviser, and George Ball, a former under secretary of state.

The “Wise Men” had met in November 1967 and expressed near-unanimous support for Johnson’s Vietnam policy. They met again in late March 1968, and most of them expressed opposition to America’s escalating the war in Vietnam, as Johnson was then contemplating. “The theme that ran around the table was, ‘You’ve got to lower your sights,’” George Ball later recalled.

The president “was shaken by this kind of advice from people in whose judgment he necessarily had some confidence, because they’d had a lot of experience,” Ball noted.

The counsel of the Wise Men probably was the tipping point for Johnson on Vietnam. On March 31, 1968, he announced the United States would stop almost all bombing missions over North Vietnam — and that he would not seek reelection to the presidency.


wjc_pnp_large_crop2W. Joseph Campbell is a professor at American University’s School of Communication in Washington, D.C. He is the author of six books, including Getting It Wrong and 1995: The Year The Future Began.


World Anthropology Day: The Field Under the Current Administration

Happy World Anthropology Day! Today is a day to celebrate the field and join a global recognition of all things anthropological. It is also a day to look forward and think about the future of the field, especially under our current political administration. Below, several UC Press authors share their thoughts on what the state of the field may be over the next four years.

T.M. Luhurmann and Jocelyn Marrow, authors of Our Most Troubling Madness: Case Studies in Schizophrenia across Cultures

“I think this new president is highly unpredictable, and it is not at all clear what will happen within the world, not to mention our field. On the upside, the chaos has made some of us feel that scholarship, careful methods, and good evidence matter now acutely.”

Jon Bialecki, author of A Diagram for Fire: Miracles and Variation in an American Charismatic Movement

“Other than the obvious and unfortunate changes to disciplinary funding resources that Trump’s expected budget cuts will bring, I think that this will bring back some of the classic Foucaultian concerns with power and the political that have been partially eclipsed by discussions of topics such as ontology, ethics, and post humanism. The challenge will be for anthropologists to bring the array of possibilities pend up by these more recent discussions to those earlier concerns with power and politics, and to do so in a way that will allow us to connect with a wider audience.”

Naomi Leite, author of Unorthodox Kin: Portuguese Marranos and the Global Search for Belonging

“For decades cultural anthropologists have emphasized the situated, partial nature of all knowledge, including our own, and avoided making claims to truth. The more we hear of “alternative facts” and open dismissal of academic expertise, however, the more I think we will see anthropology move in the opposite direction, toward reclaiming an authoritative voice in the public sphere—or so one can hope.”

Sarah Besky, author of The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India

“As anthropologists, we aren’t in the business of predicting the future, so I can’t say what the impact of this administration will be.  What we can do is help our students and each other gain a better sense of where we are now, and how we got here, by critically examining the intersection of racism, inequality, and corporate power.”

Juan Thomas Ordonez, author of Jornalero: Being a Day Laborer in the USA

“The new administration poses challenges to our discipline in a world where truth, lies and perceptions are conflated and used in the name of a non-existent but well “imagined” homogenous nation; a thing so absurd we had put it more or less aside in our fields of inquiry. We must meet such challenges on different fronts, from the critical stances that have made us what we are, to a more engaged anthropology that is accessible to everyone. Now is the time to speak up in unison, and to do so “bigly.””

Deborah Boehm, author of Returned: Going and Coming in an Age of Deportation

“In these turbulent times, anthropologists are reminded of the immediate—even urgent—need for public scholarship. On World Anthropology Day, I am grateful to be part of a field that includes the tools to carry out this kind of engaged research. Ethnographers are especially well positioned to witness, analyze, and respond to injustice, and to call on policymakers and the public to bring about change.”


A Reading List for the Next Presidential Era

Today we officially enter a new world ripe for change—both good and bad—as well as unprecedented conflict and inequality. Read on to discover some of our new and forthcoming titles that will help you make sense of the next four years.

Exceptional America: What Divides Americans from the World and from Each Other by Mugambi Jouet

Why does a country built on the concept of liberty have 9780520293298the highest incarceration rate in the world? How could the first Western nation to elect a person of color as its leader suffer from institutional racism? How does Christian fundamentalism coexist with gay marriage in the American imagination? In essence, what makes the United States exceptional? In this provocative exploration of American exceptionalism, Mugambi Jouet examines why Americans are far more divided than other Westerners over basic issues—including wealth inequality, health care, climate change, evolution, the literal truth of the Bible, abortion, gay rights, gun control, mass incarceration, and war.

 

Borderwall as Architecture: A Manifesto for the US-Mexico Boundary by Ronald Rael

Borderwall as Architecture is an artistic and intellectual hand 9780520283947-1grenade of a book, and a timely re-examination of what the physical barrier that divides the United States of America from the United Mexican States is and could be. It is both a protest against the wall and a projection about its future. Through a series of propositions suggesting that the nearly seven hundred miles of wall is an opportunity for economic and social development along the border that encourages its conceptual and physical dismantling, the book takes readers on a journey along a wall that cuts through a “third nation”—the Divided States of America.

 

 

La Nueva California: Latinos from Pioneers to Post-Millenials by David Hayes-Bautista

9780520292536Since late 2001 more than fifty percent of the babies born in California have been Latino. When these babies reach adulthood, they will, by sheer force of numbers, influence the course of the Golden State. Spanning one hundred years, this complex, fascinating analysis suggests that the future of Latinos in California will be neither complete assimilation nor unyielding separatism. Instead, the development of a distinctive regional identity will be based on Latino definitions of what it means to be American.

 

 

 

The FBI and Religion: Faith and National Security before and after 9/11 edited by Sylvester A. Johnson and Steven Weitzman

9780520287280The Federal Bureau of Investigation has had a long and tortuous relationship with religion over almost the entirety of its existence. The FBI and Religion recounts this fraught and fascinating history, focusing on key moments in the Bureau’s history. Starting from the beginnings of the FBI before World War I, moving through the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War, up to 9/11 and today, this book tackles questions essential to understanding not only the history of law enforcement and religion, but also the future of religious liberty in America.

 

 

Prophets and Patriots: Faith in Democracy Across the Political Divide by Ruth Braunstein

9780520293656In the wake of the Great Recession and rising discontent with government responsiveness to ordinary citizens, participants in two very different groups—a progressive faith-based community organization and a conservative Tea Party group—worked together to become active and informed citizens, put their faith in action, and hold government accountable. Prophets and Patriots offers a fresh look at two active grassroots movements and highlights cultural convergences and contradictions at the heart of American political culture.

 

 

 

How May I Help You? An Immigrant’s Journey from MBA to Minimum Wage by Deepak Singh

9780520293311In this moving and insightful work, Deepak Singh chronicles his downward mobility as an immigrant to a small town in Virginia. Armed with an MBA from India, Singh can get only a minimum-wage job in an electronics store. Every day he confronts unfamiliar American mores, from strange idioms to deeply entrenched racism. How May I Help You? is an incisive take on life in the United States and a reminder that the stories of low-wage employees can bring candor and humanity to debates about work, race, and immigration.


Debunking Media Myths, Those Prominent Cases of Fake News

by W. Joseph Campbell, author of Getting It Wrong: Debunking the Greatest Myths in American Journalism

9780520291294

The mainstream media’s recent angst and hand-wringing about a surge of “fake news” has tended to ignore that the media themselves have often been purveyors of bogus tales and dubious interpretations.

“Fake news” has plenty of antecedents in mainstream media — several cases of which are documented in my book, Getting It Wrong, a new, expanded edition of which was published recently.

The book examines and debunks media-driven myths, which are well-known stories about and/or by the news media that are widely believed and often retold but which, under scrutiny, dissolve as false or wildly exaggerated. Think of them as prominent cases of “fake news” that have masqueraded as a fact for years. Decades, even.

Continue reading “Debunking Media Myths, Those Prominent Cases of Fake News”


The Uses of Photography exhibition opens this weekend at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

 

Dawsey cover
The Uses of Photography: Art, Politics, and the Reinvention of a Medium (September 2016)

we had this dream     of truth     the truth of things

maybe in a photograph.

—David Antin

Published in conjunction with an exhibition opening this evening at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, The Uses of Photography examines a network of artists whose experiments with photography during the turbulent, transitional period between the late 1960s and early 1980s opened the medium to a profusion of new strategies and subjects. Working within the framework of Conceptual art, artists such as Eleanor Antin, Allan Kaprow, Fred Lonidier, Martha Rosler, Allan Sekula, and Carrie Mae Weems introduced urgent social issues and themes of everyday life into the seemingly neutral territory of photography, producing works that took on hybrid forms, from books and postcards to video and text-and-image installations.

And, courtesy of our partners at MCASD here’s a behind-the-scenes view of preparators, Nick and Jeremy, installing Fred Lonidier’s GAF Snapshirts.

Exhibition install
Installation of Fred Lonidier (1976), Courtesy of the artist; Michael Benevento, Los Angeles; Essex Street, New York; and Silberkuppe, Berlin.

The exhibition runs through January 2nd, and event programming includes film screenings, panel discussions with the artists, curator talks and more.

To get your own copy of the catalogue, visit the museum, or purchase online at IndieBoundAmazonBarnes & Noble, or UC Press (to save 30% on ucpress.edu, enter discount code16M4197 at checkout).


On Religion and Bad Debate

This presidential election season seems to have raised the question around debate—good and bad—to a new level.

Given the role of religion so far, the below excerpt from Seeking Good Debate: Religion, Science, and Conflict in American Public Life by Michael S. Evans, is both timely and instructive.

Seeking Good Debate

Throughout this book I emphasize that representatives exercise constitutive power simply by virtue of being visible in public debate. This cartographic power, as I refer to it, sets the boundaries of what a debate, or debates, involve. When it comes to religion in public debate, representatives of the Religious Right are the only religion representatives who explicitly pursue credibility in the public sphere. The manner of this pursuit violates deliberative expectations that ordinary Americans have of the public sphere. In theory, this normative conflict should have consequences for how ordinary Americans understand religion in public life.

But does it really? In practice, does this normative conflict emerge in evaluations of religion in the public sphere? And if so, how does it matter? To answer these questions, I analyzed how interview respondents evaluated what “religion” and “religious” mean in the religion-and-science debates in this study. I did not simply ask, “What do you think of religion in these debates?” Instead, I examined how respondents invoked religion, discussed religion, identified who and what was religious, connected religion to other ideas and concepts, and resolved apparent conflicts involving religion in their responses. What counts as religion for respondents, and what religion in public life means to them, became apparent from their responses to a variety of questions and evaluations.

For the ordinary Americans I interviewed, religion in the public sphere, no matter what the source, was commonly seen as a marker of bad debate across a variety of evaluative dimensions. Respondents understood religion in public life to violate deliberative preferences in two ways. First, prominent individual representatives from the Religious Right, whether religious figures or politicians, were recognized and evaluated negatively as public crusaders whose efforts work against good deliberative debate. Similarly, respondents were more likely to use religious identification for politicians of whom they disapproved either wholly or partly, even though most American politicians identify as religious. In contrast, ordinary persons suggested as ideal representatives persons seen as open-minded and willing to engage in considered, deliberative debate, such as respected local ministers, friends, or neighbors.

Second, and more broadly, the Religious Right’s association with distinctively religious language prompted negative evaluation of any religion talk as contrary to good debate. Because of the Religious Right’s success in “owning the space” of public religion, respondents expected that religion talk, whatever the source, indicated opposition to deliberative debate. When respondents evaluated typical statements and résumés stripped of identifying information, they identified religious language of any kind, even when uttered by moderate or liberal religious figures, as inhibiting rather than contributing to good debate. This normative conflict held across respondents despite substantive agreement or disagreement with the particular claims that representatives made in these debates.

In two separate ways, the normative conflict between the Religious Right’s pursuit of religious credibility and the preferences of ordinary persons for good debate ends up defining religion in public life as contrary to good debate. On one path, individual representatives are evaluated as “public crusaders” more interested in advancing a moral agenda than participating in deliberative debate. On the other path, ordinary persons evaluate public religious language and reasons as contrary to norms of deliberative debate. The result is that in public religion-and-science debates, no matter which path is followed to the conclusion, “religion” means “bad debate.”

Read more from the author in a recent article, ‘The Hidden Religion and Science Debate’ on the Huffington Post blog, sample another excerpt on The Page 99 Test, or follow him on Twitter and join the debate.


Notes from the Third General Assembly: A Look Back at Occupy’s Origins

Thank You, Anarchy To mark the 2nd anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, we’re revisiting the origins of the General Assembly with this excerpt from Nathan Schneider’s Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse. The book is an up-close, inside account of OWS’s first year in New York City, written by one of the first reporters to cover the phenomenon. Schneider chronicles the origins and explosive development of the Occupy movement through the eyes of the organizers who tried to give shape to an uprising always just beyond their control. Read an excerpt below, then head over to the book’s webpage to read all of Chapter One.

ONE

Some Great Cause

#A99 #Bloombergville #Jan25 #solidarityWI #nycga #OCCUPYWALLSTREET #October2011 #OpESR #OpWallStreet #S17 #SeizeDC #StopTheMach #usdor

Under the tree where the International Society for Krishna Consciousness was founded in 1966, on the south side of Tompkins Square Park in the East Village, sixty or so people are gathered in a circle around a yellow banner that reads, in blue spray paint, “GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NYC.” It is Saturday, August 13, 2011, the third of the General Assembly’s evening meetings.

“No cops or reporters,” someone decrees at the start of the meeting. Others demand a ban on photographs.

From where I’m sitting in the back, my hand inches up, and I stand and explain that I am a writer who covers resistance movements. I promise not to take pictures.

Just then, a heavyset man in a tight T-shirt, with patchy dark hair and a beard, starts snapping photos. He is Bob Arihood, a fixture of the neighborhood known for documenting it with his camera and his blog. People shout at him to stop; he shouts back something about the nature of public space. Soon, a few from the group break off to talk things through with him, and the discussion turns back to me.

The interrogation and harrowing debate that follow are less about me, really, than about them. Are they holding a public meeting or a private one? Is a journalist to be regarded as an agent of the state or a potential ally? Can they expect to maintain their anonymity?

After half an hour, at last, I witness an act of consensus: hands rise above heads, fingers wiggle. I can stay. A little later, I see that Arihood and the people who’d gone to confront him are laughing together.

Those present were mainly, but not exclusively, young, and when they spoke, they introduced themselves as students, artists, organizers, teachers. There were a lot of beards and hand-rolled cigarettes, though neither seemed obligatory. On the side of the circle nearest the tree were the facilitators-David Graeber, a noted anthropologist, and Marisa Holmes, a brown-haired, brown-eyed filmmaker in her midtwenties who had spent the summer interviewing revolutionaries in Egypt. Elders, such as a Vietnam vet from Staten Island, were listened to with particular care. It was a common rhetorical tic to address the group as “You beautiful people,” which happened to be not just encouraging but also empirically true.

Several had accents from revolutionary places-Spain, Greece, Latin America-or had been working to create ties among pro-democracy movements in other countries. Vlad Teichberg, leaning against the Hare Krishna Tree and pecking at the keys of a pink laptop, was one of the architects of the Internet video channel Global Revolution. With his Spanish wife, Nikky Schiller, he had been in Madrid during the May 15 movement’s occupation at Puerta del Sol. Alexa O’Brien, a slender woman with blond hair and black-rimmed glasses, covered the Arab Spring for the website WikiLeaks Central and had been collaborating with organizers of the subsequent uprisings in Europe; now, she was trying to foment a movement called US Day of Rage, named after the big days of protest in the Middle East.

That meeting would last five hours, followed by working groups convening in huddles and in nearby bars. I’d never heard young people talking politics quite like this, with so much seriousness, and revelry, and determination. But their unease was also visible when a police car passed, and conversation slowed; a member of the Tactics Committee had pointed out that, since any group of twenty or more in a New York City park needs a permit, we were already breaking the law. […]

Want to read more? We’re holding a book giveaway for Thank You, Anarchy over at Goodreads. Enter now to win one of 5 copies!

 


The End of the Line for California

As Californians file into the voting booth this November and try to decipher the complicated list of propositions and initiatives, many will think, “There has got to be a better way.” In this interview with KQED’s This Week in Northern California, Joe Mathews and Mark Paul, authors of California Crackup, discuss some of the proposals in their book for reforming the state’s election system and ending the annual gridlock in Sacramento. We have “finally reached the end of the line,” they argue, and are left with a system that “doesn’t work because it can’t work.” Watch the 6-minute video below:

You can hear more from the authors on the UC Press Podcast.