Sunday Jan 29

Winter 2022

PUBLISHER'S NOTE – 52.4

We’re ending the year strong, but with mixed feelings.  We’re somehow in the post-pandemic, but also now in the pre-recession.  In the USA, we survived the midterm elections, barely with a split decision, but we’re worried about the fate of democracy and the progressive movement everywhere.  Where is the world going, and how can we get it moving in the right direction? That’s the question, and in this issue, we have tried some new twists and features, but some of it is also bittersweet, as we celebrate lives in our community and at the same time mourn them passing.  It’s been that kind of year!

I’m often scratching my head when I read about this newish thing called “autofiction.”  What is that exactly? Part autobiography and part fiction, right?  We lead this issue with something that I’m calling docufiction.  It’s a short story, but so close to many organizers’ experiences that it seems almost nonfiction, but if there is such thing as docudrama, Richard Wise’s “Taking on the Landlord: Organizing 101”, must qualify.  Next, Moshe be Asher writes this time the need for conflict and confrontation in organizing that has to also include more accountability.  His piece is followed by Bruce Boccardy’s take on the midterms.

Our first excerpt is very timely, given the World Cup, as Professor Gregory Mitchell shares his research findings from Panic without Borders that might surprise some readers inundated by the frequent media barrage about sex trafficking before major sports and tourism events: there’s no there, there.  I’ll be hearing this drumbeat with Mardi Gras on the calendar ahead.  Ellen Cassedy, one of the founding organizers of 9-to-5, shares one of the many organizing stories from her new book, Working 9 to 5, which is not docufiction, but the real deal when secretaries started organizing in Boston.

Who knows if there is something about things coming in threes, but as we prepared to go to press, we realized that we had to remember some of our friends and peoples’ warriors.  John Russo reflects on Staughton Lynd’s long career in the struggle and the importance to him of “accompaniment”, a lesson for us all.  Drummond Pike shares memories of Emmett Aluli, the great native Hawaiian activist and path breaking doctor, who was not only our longtime friend and comrade, but played one of the pivotal roles in stopping the Navy’s bombing of the island of Kaho’olawe.  Randy Shaw underlines the great contributions of Fred Ross, Jr., following in his father’s footsteps, over a seminal 50-year organizing career.  Presente!  They are already missed.

James Mumm continues to go deep on the Democrats, looking at three new books that point the way that they should go, if only they will.  Mike Miller examines the career and advocacy of an old friend, Marion Nestle, and reminds us all that there are politics in food as well.

Our columnists don’t’ let up.  Phil Mattera bristles a bit at the federal intervention in the railway strike.  Drummond Pike details some of the history and importance of ESG investing.  Gregory Squires reminds of how much is at stake in the Supreme Court’s review of affirmative action and racial guidelines in education.  John Anderson offers some good news from Canada on ACORN victories on rent control.  I finish in Backstory sharing an interesting and novel analysis of organizing in the Civil Rights Movement when compared to military tactics, strategy, and history

Hopefully, this issue will help get you through 2022 and charge your batteries for what has to be done in 2023.  Onward!


A couple of footnotesWorld Cup fans, we have a special feature on our website which is another excerpt from Williams Professor Mitchell on his look at Qatar and the trafficking that was so critical there.  Pod people on the go, we’re now narrating some Social Policy features as podcasts that you find on any of the platforms where you subscribe to podcasts.