Seeing What Is: “White Privilege,” “Antiracism,” The Police – Lessons from a Losing Culture on the Authority of Language at a time of MovementNikita Nelin
“We got engaged, preparing for a summer wedding, and started talking about kids. Then the pandemic hit. My industry crumbled and hers pressurized. Social distancing left us sheltered in place in our new neighborhood, as we watched the world outside first shudder, and then take to the streets, while we tried to reconcile our place in it with the disappearance our own dream.”
I’ve written about the controversy over the prosecution of Michael Flynn. On the one hand, the effort by the Trump administration to drop charges against Flynn smacks of an authoritarian interference with the independent judiciary and the rule of law. On the other hand, there are questions about the original prosecution itself as an overreach by security agencies.
Melvin Rogers argues that the protests and riots convulsing Minneapolis and the United States are about more than the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis policeman. “The anger and rage on display in Minneapolis is not only about police violence, however. It is taking place against a broad horizon of state violence, which among other things takes the form of utter disregard for the pain of black Americans.”
In eulogizing Larry Kramer, Masha Gessen tells us that Kramer was a devoted reader of Hannah Arendt. What attracted Kramer was not simply Arendt’s fearlessness. And not only her deep support for the right and practice of civil disobedience. Kramer found in Arendt a thinker of political power. For Arendt, politics is about acting in concert with others and such collective action is the source of power.
In an earlier post about Michael Flynn, I linked to Matt Taibbi’s essay arguing that Flynn was mistakenly prosecuted by an overzealous FBI. Now Eli Lake has published a detailed and devastating account of the way the FBI railroaded Flynn. The importance of these stories is that the resistance to Trump continues to put its faith in the FBI and other institutions and to base its case against President Trump on the...
The AIDS activist and playwright Larry Kramer died this week. Kramer started ACT UP (The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) in 1987 to fight hard for both gay rights and action against AIDS. His uncompromising activism and fight reinvented civil disobedience in the 1980s and 1990s, giving birth to tactics that have come to define democratic activism.
Rebecca Traister tells the incredible story of Marga Griesbach, now 92 and a survivor of—well of everything. Griesbach just recently made it back from a harrowing cruise to her home in Washington state. She was born Marga Steinhardt in Germany in 1927.
James Wallner has published a “review” of Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition on the occasion of the new edition that appeared last year from the University of Chicago Press.
Martin Gurri argues that truth is based on trust. Trust in turn requires some authority in whom we trust. If we trust not in God, then we may trust in science or in experts, or in the people collectively amassed in a self-governing state. But we live, as Hannah Arendt argues, in an age when authority is no longer feasible. It is beyond doubt, Arendt writes, that “authority has vanished from the modern world.” And yet Arendt does not despair.
On May 5, 2020, anonymously leaked video brought the lynching of Ahmaud Arbery in Glynn County, Georgia into the light of the public realm. It is devastating footage and I was overwhelmed when I truly comprehended what I was witnessing. As I did, I cried out of grief, shame, and anger. I looked to my husband and confessed, “I did not want to see this.” But, the fact is I did not see much, even if what I had witnessed was just enough to understand...