Hannah Arendt has become the thinker of the present moment, cited in hundreds of essays and think pieces seeking to explain our current predicament. There are some good reasons for her newfound relevance. Arendt’s fearless thinking insisted on confronting reality. She understood the uniqueness of totalitarianism, but also its origins in imperialism, bureaucracy, racism, loneliness, and the decline of the nation state.
Dariel Vasquez is a first generation college graduate from Harlem, NY. Dariel graduated from Bard College (Class of 2017) with a joint degree in History and Sociology, and a concentration in Africana-Studies. He is the founder and director of Brothers@. Youth development and mentorship is Dariel’s passion, and he’s been working with young men of color since he was 16 years old.
In a passionate, honest, and brilliant interview with Bill Moyers, Bill T. Jones is asked if he is more politically inclined now than previously in his life. Jones invokes Hannah Arendt to affirm the necessary confluence of politics, intellectual honesty, and spiritualism.
There is an apparent myth going around that cancel culture is a phenomenon of the political left. One sees this in the reaction to the Open Letter in Harpers that I signed last week. There was in that letter no mention of “the left.” The letter explicitly mentioned the danger from illiberalism from both the political right and Donald Trump as well as from cultural intolerance for curiosity and experimental thinking.
Bari Weiss resigned from The New York Times this week in an open letter, citing the effect social media has had on traditional publishing platforms.
What I’m going to do today is to talk about two remarkable upsurges of self-organized citizen activity that have spread across the United States in just the last decade. I’m going to be talking about the Tea Party from 2009 to 2011—although there are still some Tea Parties meeting—and the anti-Trump grassroots resistance that has self-organized across many communities in the country since the November 2016 election.
The weakness of a group letter—and I have never signed one before and hope not to have to sign one again—is that it never fully captures one’s own views. It is by necessity a compromise. And I feel strongly that in a group letter, no person should be attacked. That is one reason why the letter took a positive and quite abstract approach.
Daniel Denvir interviews Barbara Fields and Karen Fields, the sisters who wrote the extraordinary book Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life. The Field sisters coin the word “Racecraft” to name the magical process through which the fiction of race is made real. When a police officer who is black is conjured as a black man, this conjuring trick is what allows that officer to be discriminated against or even killed
Peter Beinart acknowledges what he calls “the painful truth” that there is not going to be a two-state solution in the Middle East. Given that reality, Beinart asks, what is the path forward? Growing numbers of Palestinians embrace a one-state solution. But in Israel and amongst Jews, the one-state solution crosses a red line, since it would likely mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state.
Since we are here concerned with citizenship, I want to preface my brief remarks by signaling the relationship between citizenship and national memory, and how the concept of race, as we see in various historical examples, necessarily replaces that of citizenship.