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RIP Tom Hayden

On October 23rd we lost writer/activist/politician Tom Hayden. He’d lived a life of service in the pursuit of social justice.

Hayden was one of the original Freedom Riders, journeying to the Deep South in 1961 and getting beaten up for his efforts. The following year, while in jail in Georgia, he drafted the Port Huron statement that was to provide the manifesto for the SDS (Students for  Democratic Society), an organization that became central to the promotion of peace in the Sixties.

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The Most Important Publication of 2016

Nope - it's not Karl Ove Knausgaard's Some Rain Must Fall or Annie Proulx's epic novel Barkskins or even Zero K by the master, Don DeLillo. It's not Postcapitalism by Paul Mason or Thomas Mallon's biography of George W. Bush, although we're getting warmer.

It's the Chilcot Report.


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National Museum of African American History Opens and African American Director Is Locked Out

This month sees the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington.

The museum took 101 years to come to fruition. That’s not a typo. It was first suggested by African American Civil War veterans in 1915. President Coolidge agreed to it in 1929 and then the Great Depression hit, meaning funds disappeared.


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RIP Elie Wiesel 1928-2016

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” (Night)

According to the Nobel Prize committee, who awarded him the Peace Prize in 1986, Elie Wiesel was “The Messenger to Mankind.” His experiences as a Holocaust survivor meant he had the worst messages imaginable about his species, but he delivered them with grace, and he lived an exemplary life as an activist, writer and intellectual.

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Khadija Ismayilova freed

Azerbaijani investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova has been freed from prison.
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The Other Damnificados: "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City" - by Matthew Desmond

One hundred years from now, historians will want to describe African American life in the 21st century. They may well use Matthew Desmond's formulation: "Poor black men were locked up. Poor black women were locked out."
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Book review: From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation - by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

"Mike Brown was ... walking down the street. Eric Garner was standing on the corner. Rekia Boyd was in a park with friends. Trayvon Martin was walking with a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. Sean Bell was leaving a bachelor party, anticipating his marriage the following day. Amadou Diallo was getting off from work." (p. 13)

And then they were killed. By whom? By those employed to protect them: the police. All were unarmed. None was breaking the law.

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Poet Mohammed al Ajami released from Qatar prison

After more than four years in prison, Qatari poet Mohammed al Ajami has been pardoned and released.
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A review of “Frantz Fanon – The Militant Philosopher of Third Word Revolution” – by Leo Zeilig

Jean-Paul Sartre described Che Guevara as “the most complete man of our time.” Like Martin Luther King, Guevara was martyred by the forces of conservatism at the age of thirty-nine. But before Guevara there was Fanon.
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Great Writers, Great Lives: Those We Lost in 2015

Six great writer/activists we lost in 2015 ...
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