2 The Nation. Artistic Dispatches from the Frontlines of Resistance No More Piecemeal Rights A new Nation series launching October 2. In her column “How to Win the Culture War” [Aug. 28/Sept. 4], Laila Lalami included an unnecessary adjective in the sentence beginning “If Democrats give up on women’s reproductive rights…” (emphasis added), and thus inadvertently allowed right-wing “Democrats” to set the terms of the discussion. These Democrats have always preferred that other people’s rights be treated piecemeal; it’s a delaying tactic. Women’s rights necessarily include the right to make their own medical decisions; this is too obvious for debate. Either you are for women’s rights, or you’re against them. If you’re against them, you have no business in government in the 21st century. I will tell that to Ben Ray Luján or Bernie Sanders or any other damn fool who thinks we should still be patient, humble, and deferential and beg for a little bit here and a little bit there, please, if it wouldn’t be too much trouble. Those days are gone, boys. You don’t tell the people what’s important; we tell you. Or your successors, if you haven’t the wit to listen. Katharine W. Rylaarsdam TheNation.com/OppArt baltimore PETER KUPER When Small Is Actually Big “The Next Big Thing Will Be a Lot of… Small Things” by David Bollier [Aug. 28/Sept. 4] was the first article I have ever read that completely articulated my sense of frustration with the Democratic Party. After the 2016 election, Barack Obama was quoted as having said, “I could have been elected a third time.” I don’t think so. I certainly would not have voted for him a third time. I was completely disappointed by his inability to rein in the big banks. Remember when he allowed Wall Street bankers to reward themselves with generous bonuses after they crashed the world economy? Although I hold little hope, I’ll be sending copies of this article to my senators and congressman in an effort to get them on board with the vision. Mary Kay Wiens monmouth, ore. When I began to read this refreshingly optimistic article, I had high hopes for a winning alternative to the economic status quo that David Bollier so justifiably rejects. A radically new system is sorely needed! But I was disappointed. I would love to live in a world where everything that affected me was localized and transparent, where my needs were met by the work of my own hands and by bartering with my neighbors, where my money was backed by individuals I personally knew. And I, too, am uncomfortable with having most of my well-being controlled by self-interested and powerful absentee forces. Does that make me a “libertarian”? Hopefully not. That said, I don’t wish to turn over my greenbacks secured by the cumulative real wealth of our sovereign nation in exchange for unsecured local banknotes—that would be so, so 1890s. But neither do I wish to bail out “investors” who currently hold $1,400 trillion in bank-issued derivatives and “commercial paper.” If Bollier and company want to launch a broad-based radical movement for economic redefinition, I would suggest starting with “repeal and replace” for the Internal Revenue Code and then moving on to adopt a sound monetary policy. David Bollier might suspect that I have a plan in mind. He would be correct, and I’d be willing to share it. James M. Peterson richfield, minn. email@example.com The Nation. since 1865 Bernie’s Brilliant Bill S ingle-payer health care is not a new idea, not even here in the United States, the only wealthy Western nation without universal coverage. In 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt proposed a Second Bill of Rights that included “the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.” Roosevelt, of course, spoke at a heady moment, when Democrats were signing up sor publicly acknowledges needs significant fixes. as co-sponsors for sweeping national health-care Make no mistake, the latest Republican attempt legislation. After Roosevelt’s death, Harry Truman to repeal and replace Obamacare—this time with embraced the cause and agitated for it more aggres- the Graham-Cassidy bill—is in many ways stusively than any president since, only to be blocked pider and crueler than its predecessors. There by a Red Scare that presaged McCarthyism, as is no Congressional Budget Office score yet for well as a vicious campaign funded by the American this hasty, last-ditch effort, but replacing most of Medical Association. the Affordable Care Act with inadequate block President Lyndon Johnson used his 1964 land- grants to states, along with other cuts, will easily slide election to enact Medicare and leave upwards of 32 million people unMedicaid, but the Democratic presidents insured. Seemingly as a middle finger, EDITORIAL who came after him have pulled their the bill disproportionately targets the punches on health care—mostly promotblue states that expanded their Meding schemes to better organize the inicaid rolls. To this moral obscenity, tersection of private and public care that Democrats have been unified in saying mirrored those once advanced by a dying no. But what are they saying yes to? breed of moderate Republicans. Enter Senator Bernie Sanders. BuildAnd here Democrats have paid a ing from a presidential campaign that political price, not for compromising rocked the Democratic Party establishon any eventual legislation, but for failment by putting unabashedly progresing from the outset to put forward a clear and sive proposals front and center, Sanders has used simple vision of health care as a fundamental his newfound stature to assemble an unlikely coaliright. In 1993, Bill and Hillary Clinton produced tion of Democrats to back a “Medicare for All” bill. a byzantine and dispiriting plan that blended new The basic premise isn’t novel: Medicare for All regulations, subsidies, mandates, and free-market has been introduced in the House of Representatives competition in a stew they called “managed care.” by Congressman John Conyers for over a decade, “We have no pride of authorship” over any aspect as well as promoted by groups like Physicians for of the bill, they both conceded during the rollout. a National Health Care Program and the National Lacking a moral center, the proposal died quickly Nurses United. Four years ago, when Sanders prounder a withering attack from the right and the posed a similar measure, he found exactly zero insurance industry. Barack Obama, of course, was co-sponsors. Today he has 16, including prospecconsiderably more successful in this regard. But tive 2020 presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, he began the negotiations by preemptively taking Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker. So what changed? single-payer off the table, despite having repeatGalvanized by the economic and social moveedly stated that such systems make the most sense. ments that found expression in Sanders’s camWith Obama’s punt, there went any room to nego- paign, Democrats are undeniably more willing tiate even for a public option. to embrace big ideas, even and especially in the Now Democrats find themselves yet again age of Trump. As Hillary Clinton observes in her defending a law that even its eponymous spon- memoir What Happened, “the conclusion I reach UPFRONT 4 DC by the Numbers: Leak not into the abyss; 5 ICE-Nein; 8 Comix Nation: Tom Tomorrow; 10 Trump delays response to Mexican earthquake. Sad!; 11 Snapshot: Rohingya refugees 3 Bernie’s Brilliant Bill 4 Harvard’s Shame John Nichols 9 The Score Mike Konczal COLUMNS 6 Subject to Debate Hillary Clinton Tells All Katha Pollitt 10 Beneath the Radar Winning Isn’t Everything Gary Younge 11 Deadline Poet No Wall? Calvin Trillin Features 12 The Future of BLM Dani McClain Activists in the Black Lives Matter movement turn their attention to the electoral process. 18 Trump and the Triumph of Fear in American Politics Sasha Abramsky Who let the presidential candidate get away with demonizing entire communities? Books & the Arts 25 The Culture Veil Joan W. Scott 30 Pilgrim Bell (poem) Kaveh Akbar 31 Blaming the People Jan-Werner Müller 34 In Free-Speech Territory Gara LaMarche 36 Films: Ex Libris: The New York Public Library đƫ0ƫ%() Stuart Klawans VOLUME 305, NUMBER 8, October 9, 2017 The digital version of this issue is available to all subscribers September 21 at TheNation.com. Cover illustration by Nurul Hana Anwar. October 9, 2017 The Nation. DC BY THE NUMBERS 7 Years that Chelsea Manning served of her 35-year sentence 1,104 Days that she spent in prison without trial 700K+ Number of documents leaked by Manning 109K Deaths in Iraq from 2004 to 2009, according to those documents 22 Manning’s age when she released the document trove to WikiLeaks —Gunar Olsen “Civil disobedience has always been the most dangerous thing that any person in society can do.” Chelsea Manning, speaking in September at one of her first public appearances since being released from military prison from this is that Democrats should redouble our efforts to develop bold, creative ideas that offer broad-based benefits for the whole country.” On health care in particular, according to a recent Pew survey, a major- Kowtowing to power is an old Cambridge tradition. ity of Americans now believe that the federal governarvard is arguably the most elite of ment should be responsible for making sure everyone America’s elite universities, so how it has coverage, and a majority of Democrats think that positions itself in relation to official single-payer is the best way to achieve that goal. All power reveals much of what we need to of this forms the context for the sudden popularity of know about the balance between supMedicare for All, but there is also a quieter genius to Sanders’s particular bill that helped bring about this posedly liberal academia and the illiberal officials who would narrow the national debate. This is why stories moment. The Medicare for All Act of 2017 is unambiguous about how Harvard maintains that balance have for about its goal: It would eliminate all private insurance decades generated headlines not just in the education and replace it with a vastly expanded government pro- sections of great newspapers but on their front pages. gram. Doctors, hospitals, and drug companies would When Cambridge tips too hard toward Washington, make less, but everyone would have access to com- when it bends to political or media pressure, that’s newsprehensive health services—including dental, vision, worthy—and unsettling. Harvard made a lot of unsettling news in midsubstance-abuse treament, and reproductive care— September. The most jarring reports came without any out-of-pocket costs. That is its after CIA director Mike Pompeo used the principle, and it is unwavering about it. Casting out bully pulpit afforded him as a docile member The bill’s pragmatism lies in how it gets Manning of Donald Trump’s administration to attack there. Medicare expansion would spool out whistle-blower Chelsea Manning’s selection over several years, first by enrolling chilat the as a visiting fellow at the Kennedy School’s dren under 18 and dropping the eligibility CIA’s behest Institute of Politics. Within hours of Pomage to 55, a step that even non-backers like dishonors the peo’s pronouncement, Harvard distanced Senator Tim Kaine support. By its fourth itself from Manning—an all-too glaring inyear, incremental expansions would finally university. dication of the influence that the Trump create a true Medicare for All program. During that transition, many people who are uncov- administration and its allies have even over the most ered would be able to buy into the system through respected institutions of higher learning and over the provisions championed by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, intellectual discourse that is supposed to flourish beyond who supports the bill, and Senator Debbie Stabenow, the boundaries of inside-the-Beltway politics. Pompeo announced on September 14 that he would who doesn’t—yet. Canvassing his fellow senators, including those who not appear at Harvard for a speaking engagement in prohave taken a wait-and-see approach, was key to Sand- test over Manning’s appointment. Attacking the former ers’s ability to build a surprisingly broad base of sup- US Army intelligence analyst—who provided WikiLeaks port, as was the backing of dozens of outside groups, with nearly 750,000 military and diplomatic documents from MoveOn.org to the Working Families Party to that she said revealed details of the “death, destruction the United Mine Workers. That Sanders was one of and mayhem” in Iraq—as “a traitor to the United States the most vocal defenders of Obamacare—even as he of America,” the CIA director told Harvard officials: “Ms. consistently criticized it as insufficient—helped build Manning betrayed her country and was found guilty of 17 serious crimes for leaking classified information to credibility, too. Of course, Medicare for All is still a long way from Wikileaks. Wikileaks is an enemy of the United States.” The next morning, the Institute of Politics revoked becoming reality. Republican control of Congress and the White House is the most obvious impediment, and Manning’s fellowship and apologized for offering it to her. Manning tweeted that Harvard had decided to “chill that’s before we see the insurance industry, the hospital industry, and Big Pharma devoting every ounce of their marginalized voices under @cia pressure.” That’s a harsh awesome power and influence to destroy it. And yes, assessment. But another set of headlines lent credence there are still holdouts in the Democratic Party who carp to concerns that the university was kowtowing to the about the costs, or insist that we have to focus on protect- right: The same week that saw Manning, a trans activist, ing Obamacare first before going for single-payer—as if dismissed by the Kennedy School also brought word that Harvard administrators had reversed the history departyou can’t do both at the same time. But thanks to a deft mix of politics and policy from ment’s recommendation to admit Michelle Jones, a PhD Senator Sanders, that faction shrank dramatically in the applicant who’d been released from prison after serving past year. And that, in addition to its promise to not 20 years for killing her young son. Jones went to college only improve the health but save the lives of millions of and began doing academic research while still incarcerAmericans, may be one of Medicare for All’s most en- ated, emerging as a paragon of the “model prisoner.” during legacies—the beginning of the end of the Demo- Yet she was rejected by Harvard officials who, The New cratic Party’s unthinking and self-sabotaging belief in York Times reported, were concerned about “a backlash [from] conservative news outlets.” Jones is now in a PhD the idea that principle and pragmatism can’t coexist. Harvard’s Shame H WIKIMEDIA CC 4.0 4 WIKIMEDIA October 9, 2017 program at New York University. Manning offered another harsh assessment of Harvard when she wrote that the revocation of her fellowship illustrated “what a military/police/intel state looks like—the @cia determines what is and is not taught at @harvard.” But the facts were just as harsh: The CIA director raised an objection to Harvard’s invitation to a sharp critic of the agency, and within hours that invitation was rescinded. It is true that Manning was sent to prison for her actions, and it is true that she’s a controversial figure. But President Obama commuted Manning’s sentence in January—cutting decades off her 35-year sentence. The 29-year-old analyst turned activist walked free in May. Upon her release, Sarah Harrison, the acting director of the Courage Foundation and a former WikiLeaks editor, said: “Chelsea deserves her freedom, and the world’s respect, for her courageous, inspiring actions in 2010. Chelsea’s releases through WikiLeaks helped bring an end to the US war on Iraq, galvanized Arab Spring protesters and inspired subsequent truthtellers.” Daniel Ellsberg, of Pentagon Papers fame, has spoken of Manning as a “hero” and suggested that she was the victim of “an unprecedented campaign to crack down on public servants who reveal information that Congress and American citizens have a need to know.” Manning has been honored as a whistleblower by the German section of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms and by the Federation of German Scientists, and she has been awarded the Sean MacBride Peace Prize by the International Peace Bureau and the Sam Adams Award by the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence. In other words, Manning’s selection for a Kennedy School fellowship made perfect sense if the university intended to foster a serious dialogue about war and peace, intelligence gathering, and the public’s right to know. Yet there was no serious dialogue about maintaining Manning’s fellowship after Pompeo objected and former CIA deputy director Michael Morell resigned his Kennedy School fellowship in protest. There was barely enough time for Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney—the daughter of the former vice president who famously obtained five deferments to avoid military service during the Vietnam War—to label Manning a “spy/traitor” and call for cutting federal funds for Harvard to protest its association with someone who actually served in the Iraq War. Cheney made noise. But Pompeo, as a key player in the Trump administration, shook Harvard officials with a letter that growled: “Ms. Manning swore an oath to the United States Constitution, promised to protect her fellow soldiers, and signed a commitment to abide by the law. She did none of that and yet Harvard has placed her in a position of honor.” The Nation. Recognition by the Kennedy School is viewed as an honor. But this honor has often gone to controversial figures. The Institute of Politics that disinvited Manning welcomed as its first “honorary associate” in 1966 the sitting defense secretary, Robert McNamara. That visit sparked campus protests against McNamara’s management of the Vietnam War. Harvard officials apologized to the defense secretary for the student outburst, but McNamara would eventually acknowledge that he and his Pentagon team “were wrong, terribly wrong” about the war that the students had protested. McNamara would also admit to filmmaker Errol Morris that when he and Army Air Forces Gen. Curtis LeMay plotted the firebombing of Tokyo during World War II, they “were behaving as war criminals.” Yet McNamara returned frequently to Harvard in his later “apology tour” years, even as the Times editorialized with regard to his role in Vietnam that “Mr. McNamara must not escape the lasting moral condemnation of his countrymen. Surely he must in every quiet and prosperous moment hear the ceaseless whispers of those poor boys in the infantry, dying in the tall grass, platoon by platoon, for no purpose. What he took from them cannot be repaid by prime-time apology and stale tears, three decades late.” This year, while Manning has been deemed unacceptable, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer—whose blundering prevarications on behalf of the Trump administration made him a national laughingstock—is being welcomed as an Institute of Politics fellow. So, too, is Corey Lewandowski, whom Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi accurately identified as “the Donald Trump acolyte known for bullying the press and selling influence on behalf of the president.” When he announced this year’s fellows, Institute of Politics interim director Bill Delahunt claimed that the “diverse group of policymakers, journalists, political advisers and activists provides a robust platform for dynamic interaction with our students and the larger Harvard community.” But now, the fellow who risked and then endured imprisonment in order to let the American people know what was being done in their name in Iraq—the fellow who has emerged as an outspoken dissenter from the Washington consensus regarding military policy, intelligence gathering, and official secrecy—has been rejected. That didn’t happen because of new revelations regarding Chelsea Manning. It happened because of the objections raised most loudly and prominently by Pompeo, a secretive and conflicted Trump administration appointee whose attacks on Manning confirm his determination to silence open and honest debate about intelligence gathering. When Harvard took its marching orders from Mike Pompeo, the university was JOHN NICHOLS wrong, terribly wrong. I M M I G R AT I O N Cold as ICE O n September 13, Phoenix New Times revealed that two Motel 6 locations in predominantly Latino areas of the city had been sharing their guest lists with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, leading to at (!/0ƫĂĀƫ..!/0/ƫ!03!!*ƫ!ruary and August of this year. Across the country, ICE agents have been arresting undocumented immigrants in locations where they’re most vulnerable: i E.%'ƫ 2%!.ƫ(+.!/ƫ!.** !6, who fled his abusive family in Mexico as a minor, was arrested by ICE at a children’s shelter on the day he turned 18. i Immigration agents arrested Diego Ismael Puma Macancela, a 19-year-old Ecuadoran immigrant, at his cousin’s house on the day of his senior prom and the day after they arrested his mother. i Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, a father of four, was pulled over and arrested by ICE after dropping off his youngest daughter at school in Los Angeles. His wife and another daughter were in the car with him. i ICE agents have repeatedly arrested undocumented immigrants at courthouses, even when they were there to seek protection from domestic abuse. i ICE agents ate breakfast at Sava’s Restaurant in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and then proceeded to arrest the kitchen staff. i Sara Beltrán Hernández, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador and mother of two, was removed by ICE agents from a hospital where she was undergoing treatment for a brain tumor. —Jake Bittle 6 October 9, 2017 The Nation. JUSTICE B enjamin Rachlin’s new book, Ghost of the Innocent Man: A True Story of Trial and Redemption, discusses the case of Willie J. Grimes, wrongfully imprisoned for 24 years, and documents his long, exasperating struggle for freedom. But Grimes’s story is far from unique. Here are a few statistics on unjust incarceration in the United States: i Post-conviction DNA testing leads to exoneration after a person has spent an average of 14 years behind bars. The convictions of 71 percent of these innocent men and women involved eyewitness misidentification; 41 percent of these cases involved cross-racial misidentification. i Innocent people in the US have collectively served more than 18,000 years in prison since 1989. i 47 percent of known exonerees are black, and black people are seven times more likely to be wrongfully convicted of murder than their white counterparts. i One study estimates that at least 4.1 percent of inmates on death row would be exonerated if they remained there indefinitely. i 18 states do not compensate exonerees for the years they’ve spent behind bars: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming. i 74 of the 166 people who were exonerated last year pleaded guilty to crimes they did not commit. —Glyn Peterson Katha Pollitt Hillary Clinton Tells All We need to reckon with the story told in What Happened. H illary Clinton can’t catch a break. “Flawed” is attached to her name like a Homeric epithet. Never mind that she won almost 3 million more votes than Donald Trump: She lost in three swing states by 80,000, proof that she’s a horrible person who ran the worst campaign ever. But what could you expect? She’s a bitch and a cunt (men), or can’t-put-my-finger-onit-but-just-not-likable (women). She’s got a shrill voice and thinks she’s oh-so-special. She voted for the war in Iraq—true, so did John Kerry and Joe Biden and that momentary darling of the left, John Edwards, but her vote was just… different. She supported the 1994 crime bill, which Bernie Sanders voted for, but that was different too. She gave those speeches to Goldman Sachs. She’s too feminist, or not feminist enough, too liberal, too conservative, too tame, too outspoken, too known a quantity—but also, who is she really? And she’s too privileged—not at all like Kerry, who married into millions, or, for that matter, FDR. She was too hawkish for the left but too female to be commander in chief for the right—and why did she want to be president anyway, a question asked of no man ever but which she faced a thousand times. Whatevs! Lock her up—if not in prison, in a retirement home. Because have I mentioned that she is old? Just Google “creepy grandma grin.” Now Grandma has written a book about the campaign, and how dare she? Nobody wants to hear from her—except maybe the 65,844,954 people who voted for her, the young women (yes, young women) who waited in line all night to attend her book launch in New York’s Union Square, the readers who have made What Happened a No. 1 best seller, or the millions who watched her interview with Rachel Maddow. After all, Hillary writing a book about world-historical events on which she has a unique perspective is nothing like Bernie Sanders publishing a book one week after Election Day, or Barack and Michelle Obama getting a reported $65 million advance for their memoirs, or any of the many other political figures who have told their side of the story while people still remember their names. Some actual headlines: “Hillary, I love you. But please go away”; “Hillary, time to exit the stage”; “Hillary Clinton Is Not Sorry”; “no twinge of remorse.” Actually, the book is one long twinge. I lost track of the number of times Hillary blames herself. “I felt that I had let everyone down. Because I had.” “How did I let that happen?” she asks of the media’s obsession with her e-mails. “I should have seen that coming,” she says of the storm of criticism for those lucrative speeches to bankers. “That’s on me.” “I blamed myself. My worst fears about my limitations as a candidate had come true…. I had been unable to connect with the deep anger so many Americans felt or shake the perception that I was the candidate of the status quo.” She spends a whole chapter on her unsuccessful attempt to repair the damage she did by saying, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business”—the unfortunately blithe introduction to an empathetic discussion of what the country owed the miners and their communities. It became an endlessly repeated out-ofcontext sound bite and branded her as the Cruella De Vil of the white working class. Obviously, she should don sackcloth and ashes and crawl into the forest to die. But no, she dares to say that others had a part in the way the election went: Bernie Sanders, the media, James Comey, Russia, fake news. CNN’s Dylan Byers is bothered by that, tweeting: “The Hillary Clinton ‘I-takefull-responsibility- Hillary has but-here-are-all-thewritten a book other-reasons-I-lost’ tour continues to be about worldintrinsically problem- historical events atic.” I don’t see why. All major events have on which she multiple causes. The has a unique left focuses on her rather mild jabs at Sanders, perspective. And but her other critiques why not? are far more serious— and dead-on, too. The media was at its worst: There was endless coverage of the e-mail non-scandal (Chris Cillizza alone wrote at least 50 columns!) and almost none of her actual positions. While both candidates received largely negative coverage, a curiously neglected Harvard study shows that Trump’s platform got more attention than his scandals, while for Hillary it LEFT: AP PHOTO / CAROLYN KASTER; ILLUSTRATION: ANDY FRIEDMAN Trial and Error Tired of struggling on the stairs? 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Call to see if you qualify. © 2017 Aging in the Home Remodelers Inc. 82821 Elevators have been around since the mid 19th century, and you can find them in almost every multistory structure around… except homes. That’s because installing an elevator in a home has always been a complicated and expensive home renovation project… until now. Innovative designers have created a home elevator that can be easily installed almost anywhere in your home by our professional team without an expensive shaft-way. Its 8 Contrary to the claims of her critics, Clinton’s book is one long twinge of remorse. October 9, 2017 The Nation. was the reverse. Comey’s interventions—especially his letter to Congress, just 11 days before the election, stating that he was reopening his investigation into whether she had mishandled classified documents—were disastrous. Without that announcement, Nate Silver strongly suggests, Clinton would have won. (I just hope I live long enough to learn why Comey kept quiet about the FBI’s investigation of Trump’s Russia ties.) The steady drip of hacked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and the campaign itself, the dissemination of false stories on Facebook through Russian bots and trolls—what Obama called “this dust cloud of nonsense”—it adds up. An RT video called “How 100% of the Clintons’ 2015 ‘charity’ went to… themselves” was viewed 10 million times. So what happened? As she acknowledges, Hillary—the policy wonk, Girl Scout, and “lifelong fan of school supplies”—never quite grasped what she was up against until it C O M I X was too late. She is constantly being surprised: that Trump is a grotesque and ignorant bully, that people are as angry and irrational and sexist as they are, that the media isn’t more interested in her carefully considered, achievable policies on every social problem under the sun, that truth doesn’t matter. She took too much pride in refusing to promise everyone “a pony,” whether it was Bernie’s proposal for single-payer health insurance and free public college (not ponies in my view) or Trump’s promise to resurrect coal mines and factories. That let Bernie and Trump, from different angles, put her in the position of being Mean Mom to their Fun Dad. Mean Mom, of course, is the one who makes sure that the vegetables are eaten, the homework gets done, and the bills are paid on time, while Fun Dad makes the kids feel they have power and life is exciting. In the end, Mom got more votes, but Dad—both dads—got more love. Q We’ll be paying for that for a long, long time. N AT I O N October 9, 2017 9 The Nation. T H E S C O R E / B RY C E C OV E R T + MIKE KO N C Z A L Accidental Advocates and improper processes. The subsequent crimes showed, in retrospect, how wrong the Obama administration was in not seeking prosecutions. Wells Fargo also demonstrated the need for an independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was set up under Dodd-Frank. Local newspapers and prosecutors discovered that Wells Fargo was abusing clients by opening fake accounts in their names, but there was little they could do about it: City prosecutors are under-resourced and lack the regulatory authority necessary to challenge a national bank. The CFPB, however, was designed to take on just such malfeasance. Wells Fargo is the poster child for how broken the regulatory structure is without a dedicated consumer cop on the beat. Which brings us to the Equifax scandal. Equifax, one of the three main consumer-credit data companies, is paid to spy on and compile all of your personal financial records. The company holds sensitive data on almost every aspect of our lives, yet hackers were able to get past their weak protection Equifax’s calamitous blunder, more systems. This is because than any white paper, demonstrates you aren’t a customer of Equifax; you are the comthe need for strong new regulations. pany’s product. As a result, Equifax has no incentive to whether the Dodd-Frank financial-reform act provide you with good services. In the wake of went far enough to ensure that a bank couldn’t the hack, Equifax offered a credit-monitoring suddenly collapse the economy. The incident tool, but to use it consumers needed to sign a led to fresh demands for higher capital requiremandatory non-arbitration agreement that said ments, and derivatives regulators used their they wouldn’t sue the company. (Equifax has new powers to impose a $100 million fine on since dropped this requirement after an outcry.) JPMorgan for manipulating the credit markets. These kinds of non-arbitration agreements Or take criminal charges. As Jesse Eisinger replace courts with a private judicial system of discusses in his new book, The Chickenshit Club, company lawyers, and they have since metasthe Obama administration decided not to agtasized across the entire economy. The CFPB gressively pursue criminal charges against the recently finalized a rule that would outlaw these banks for wrongdoing in the financial crisis. Yet mandatory agreements by financial companies criminal conduct would go on to be rampant: starting next year. Among other things, the rule The banks knowingly manipulated key financial would prevent Equifax from forcing people into markets such as the LIBOR interest-rate and arbitration after it goes into effect. Yet under an the foreign-exchange markets. HSBC laundered obscure congressional procedure, Republicans money for Mexican drug cartels. Abuses in the have the ability to repeal this rule with only 50 foreclosure chain resulted in people losing their votes in the Senate. Though they might still do homes through the banks’ fraudulent paperwork it, they’re having a harder time now, since they TRACY MATSUE LOEFELHOLZ T would be on the hook for any further abuses. As reported by David Sirota, Equifax was one of the lead companies lobbying against the CFPB rule. But Equifax’s calamitous blunder, more than any white paper, demonstrates the need for strong new regulations to protect our personal data. If the rule survives, we can thank the companies whose own horrible gaffes demonstrated the need for it in the first place. MIKE KONCZAL Thanks, Equifax, for Proving We Need Tough Finance Reform Yes, the data hack means your identity is now for sale. 143 million people at risk 209,000 Id $ en on 30 titie m th ea s w ar e c o ke bl h rt h t ac k he financial sector is one of the biggest enemies of reform and accountability. Yet by consistently screwing up, it has also become the most influential advocate for outside regulation. Consciously through malice, or unconsciously through its size and complexity, it has time and again demonstrated the importance of the existing rules and the need for additional oversight. Take JPMorgan’s “London Whale” scandal of 2012. At the time, the company bragged of its “fortress balance sheet” and opposed many of the rules being put in place on the arcane financial instruments known as derivatives. The general idea was that the housing crash and subsequent panic was a one-off event, and the banks would be just fine monitoring themselves. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a JPMorgan derivatives trader in London lost $2 billion. That instantly killed any efforts to roll back regulations in Congress; instead, the worry became credit-card numbers stolen But Equifax’s wrongdoing went further than just gross negligence. Equifax waited 6 weeks to disclose the breach. 3 executives sold stock before the announcement. A software ﬁx available 2 months earlier was not installed. EVEN WORSE: People were required to sign away their right to sue before Equifax would provide any help. Sources: Bloomberg, CNN 2017 Infographic: Tracy Matsue Loeffelholz 10 October 9, 2017 The Nation. Gary Younge Winning Isn’t Everything US-MEXICO On Shaky Ground I t took President Trump a week to send condolences to Mexico after the country suffered its worst earthquake in a century. Nearly 100 people died and over 15,000 homes were destroyed in the 8.1-magnitude quake. Trump’s reason for the delay? Bad phone reception. “Spoke to President of Mexico to give condolences on terrible earthquake,” Trump tweeted. “Unable to reach for 3 days b/c of his cell phone reception at site.” Ever since Trump’s election, relations between the United States and Mexico have been strained. In September, survey results released by Pew showed that the US was viewed unfavorably by nearly two-thirds of Mexicans, the highest unfavorability rating in 15 years and more than double the figure from two years ago. After a second devastating earthquake on September 19 killed dozens of people in the state of Morelos and destroyed several buildings in Mexico’s capital, Trump immediately sent his condolences, tweeting: “God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you.” But a polite tweet following a second disaster is unlikely to make amends. After Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston in late August, the Mexican government immediately offered food, power generators, medical personnel, and other forms of aid—help that the Trump administration never officially accepted. Here’s Trump’s chance to return the favor. —Miguel Salazar O n November 20, 2016, the Grenfell Action Group, a tenants’ organization for a tower block of low-cost housing in one of London’s wealthiest areas, issued a statement regarding the company that managed the property, the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, titled “KCTMO—Playing With Fire!” The tenants wrote: “[We] firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO…. It is our conviction that a serious fire in a tower block or similar high density residential property is the most likely reason that those who wield power at the KCTMO will be found out and brought to justice!” These proved to be prophetic words. Seven months later, in the early hours of June 14, the 24-story Grenfell Tower was consumed by flames, leaving an estimated 80 dead and 70 injured. In this building disproportionately inhabited by immigrants, people of color, and the poor, some people leaped to their deaths; others were burned alive. Ordinarily, following a tragedy such as this, the political implications would have been buried even before the victims’ bodies had been recovered. In the version of requiem so often recited by the political and media classes after a mass shooting in America, sentimentality is privileged over the critical faculties: “Now is not the time for politics. Let us mourn instead.” But this was no ordinary moment. The fire took place less than a week after the British parliamentary elections. The Labour Party, led by the left-wing Jeremy Corbyn, had run a campaign arguing for the redistribution of wealth (including more social housing) and against austerity, thereby challenging a consensus that had dominated British politics for a generation. As a result, with these arguments still reverberating, the tragedy was immediately understood as the product not of bad luck, but of bad policy. With the black smoke still billowing from its upper stories more than 24 hours later, Grenfell Tower stood as an enormous sepulchre to the inhuman ramifications of inequality and neoliberalism. People started drawing a distinction between the living standards of the emergency-service personnel, who risked their lives to save the tower’s residents and have seen a significant decline in wages following a seven-year public-sector pay cap, and the ballooning wealth of those who live in the nearby Kensington and Chelsea neighborhoods. Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May visited the first responders at Grenfell but failed to meet with residents when she was initially scheduled to do so—and when she finally did manage to meet them, she was booed. Corbyn, on the other hand, was embraced. None of this could bring back those who had perished, but thanks to the broader arguments made during the weeks before, the incident was framed as an avoidable outrage made possible by greed and neglect. Corbyn’s liberal detractors are quick to point out that Labour did not win the election. On this point they are, of course, correct. Nobody won it: The Conservatives emerged as the largest party but lost their majority and, at the time of the Grenfell fire, were still cobbling together a shaky coalition with Northern Ireland’s Democratic UnionThe Grenfell ist Party—the UK equivalent of an only Tower tragedy recently demilitarized was immediately Tea Party. (Indeed, the main reason Cor- understood as byn’s supporters were the product so buoyed by the result was that his critics in not of bad the party had predicted luck, but of a humiliating defeat; when Labour actually bad policy. gained seats, the bar had been set so low they couldn’t help but jump for joy over it.) But the fact that Labour lost doesn’t mean nothing was gained as a result of Corbyn’s campaign. There is more to politics than elections, and more to elections than just winning. This doesn’t mean elections aren’t important: The world would be a better place if the Conservatives weren’t in power, and even with their fragile coalition, they can do a lot of damage. But the ILLUSTRATION: ANDY FRIEDMAN The Labour Party may have lost the election, but it gained powerfully in influence. October 9, 2017 terrain on which British politics is now being fought is radically different thanks to Corbyn’s leadership and the policies he set out. There is a different idea of the progressive things that are possible and the regressive measures that are no longer tolerable. A clear left alternative has been not only presented but found popular. This has had two main consequences. First, the Conservative government, fearing an assault from its left, has had to make important concessions regarding key pillars of its policies. Within a week of the vote, the Tories all but conceded that austerity had run its course. Recently, they declared an end to the 1 percent pay cap for public-sector workers. They have also signaled that they may back down on education cuts. Of course, none of these promises should be taken at face value; to ensure that the Tories deliver, pressure will have to be maintained. S N A P S H O T / DA R YA S I N Trail of Tears AP PHOTO Rohingya Muslims enter Bangladesh after fleeing the massacres in Myanmar. More than 400,000 people have crossed the border since the killing began. 11 The Nation. Which brings us to the second point: that the return of these alternatives to the public square, along with the electoral proof that they’re popular, has emboldened many to keep fighting. Prison officers and firefighters have already rejected the government’s enhanced post-pay-cap offer. Meanwhile, the Tories lost a parliamentary vote to maintain the freeze on health workers’ pay and to impose a rise in tuition fees. A poll shows that more than half of the public thinks the pay cap is unjustified, and more of them credit Corbyn for the change in policy than May. Labour didn’t win the election, but it did win the argument. And while winning both would have been preferable, Labour’s ability to shift the frame of the debate will make a concrete difference in the lives of many and lay the foundations for more progressive interventions in the future. Corbyn’s Labour Party still lacks power, but it has gained powerfully in influence. Q The terrain on which British politics is now being fought is radically different thanks to Corbyn’s leadership and the policies he set out. Calvin NO WALL? Trillin From what has transpired in deals made this fall, It’s possible that we’ll have no wall at all. Deadline Trump’s backers are worried. They’d hate to resign Poet Themselves to not having a Maginot Line. The Nation. THE FUTURE OF iCan the movement win in the Trump era? DANI McCLAIN October 9, 2017 The Nation. 13 n june 1, the right-wing blogger and avowed white supremacist jason kessler and other alt-right activists met for dinner on the patio of Miller’s Downtown, a popular burger joint in Charlottesville, Virginia. The dinner was two weeks after white nationalists had gathered in the city’s Lee Park, wielding torches as a kind of dress rehearsal for the mid-August “Unite the Right” rally that left counterprotester Heather Heyer dead and dozens more injured. According to local reports, members of the white-led group Showing Up for Racial Justice surrounded Kessler’s party that night at Miller’s, recording the gathering on their phones and shouting, “Nazi, go home!” At a nearby table sat University of Virginia professor Jalane Schmidt, who at the time was trying to establish a Black Lives Matter chapter in Charlottesville. As black passersby stopped and showed interest in the confrontation, participants in the SURJ action directed them to Schmidt’s table. She considers that night to be her group’s ﬁrst real meeting. Schmidt knew that many BLM chapters were founded in response to police shootings. “It begins in a crisis,” she told me. “In our case, it was the crisis of the alt-right organizing in our town.” O Despite reports to the contrary, the national constellation of racial-justice organizations loosely referred to as the Black Lives Matter movement is alive and well. It would be easy to think otherwise: BLM appears less frequently in the news than it did between 2013 and last year, when the movement responded forcefully in the streets and online to a string of black deaths at the hands of police. Now, when BLM is mentioned at all, it’s often because a member of the Trump administration is issuing a dog whistle to the president’s supporters, as was the case last month when Trump’s personal attorney forwarded an e-mail to conservative journalists characterizing BLM as “totally inﬁltrated by terrorist groups.” But even in more sympathetic portrayals, BLM is said to have lost or squandered the power it began building in July 2013 following George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. According to a recent BuzzFeed article, BLM is beset by debilitating internal rifts over direction and funding, preventing the movement from doing much at all to accomplish its aims. But conversations with just over a dozen people in the movement suggest otherwise. BLM organizers are still in the streets in places like Charlottesville and Boston, where white supremacists mobilized this summer. From St. Louis, Missouri, to Lansing, Michigan, they’re engaging with electoral politics in new ways. And they’re taking the time to reﬂect on and develop new strategies for moving forward given the changed political terrain. rump’s election, like his campaign, brought a new fervor to efforts to crush black organizing and roll back the gains made during the Obama administration. Since last year, so-called “Blue Lives Matter” bills, which increase the penalties for offenses against police officers and in some cases designate them as hate crimes, have proliferated in state legislatures. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in late August that President Trump would sign an executive order again allowing local police departments to procure military gear like bayonets and grenade launchers. As president, Barack Obama had banned the transfer of such equipment after protesters and police clashed in Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of Michael Brown’s shooting. State legislatures are also considering laws that make nonviolent public protest costly and, in some cases, deadly: Lawmakers have tried to pass legislation T ILLUSTRATION BY NURUL HANA ANWAR that limits civil liability for motorists who hit protesters with their vehicles, as well as other legislation that puts protesters on the hook financially for any police presence their demonstrations require. “We haven’t seen comparable policies and practices since the McCarthy era,” said Alicia Garza, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter “If we’re Global Network, when I asked her whether the Trump not creating era demands a new approach to black organizing. “So, yes, our tactics do have to change.” our own The tactics may be evolving, but the organizers I spoke independent with reminded me that in a “leader-full” movement such as this one—that is, one that prizes collaborative and depolitical centralized leadership—no one individual or group is in a force to position to decide for everyone else what tactics to prioritize over others. Still, it was clear from my conversations counter that activists in leadership positions within BLM-afﬁliated a potent groups were expressing much more interest in electoral backlash politics than I’d heard in the past. “In the early stages to our very of the movement, people were talking mostly about the system and a system of criminalization,” existence, criminal-justice said Jessica Byrd, who runs Three Point Strategies, a conwe’ll be sulting ﬁrm that she refers to as “the electoral political ﬁrm of the movement.” These days, black organizers are turngone.” — Alicia Garza, ing their attention to the electoral system as yet another Black Lives Matter social structure that places black people at a disadvantage. Global Network This means a new level of engagement in electoral politics as well as the interrogation of a system that diminishes black voters’ power through the antiquated Electoral College, voter-suppression measures, and laws that disenfranchise people with felony convictions. “As much as we need to change the people, we need to change the process,” said Angela Waters Austin of Black Lives Matter Lansing, whose chapter is coordinating a statewide get-out-the-vote and political-education campaign called Election 20XX. “What are the policies that continue to make a Donald Trump possible? If he did not get a majority of the popular vote, then why is he the president?” As the 2016 presidential campaign unfolded, BLM activists gained a reputation for using disruption as a way to push the movement’s key issues. At the Netroots Nation conference that took place during the primaries, black Dani McClain activists famously interrupted the candidates’ forum with is a contributchants and heckles. At one point, Tia Oso of the Black ing writer with Alliance for Just Immigration (the organization headed The Nation and by Opal Tometi, one of BLM’s three founders), took the a fellow at the stage. Soon after, Democratic candidate and former MaryNation Institute. land governor Martin O’Malley stumbled with a tone-deaf proclamation that “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.” Once Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders had the ﬂoor, “he talked over the protesters, got defensive about his racial-justice bona ﬁdes, and stuck to his [stump speech],” Joe Dinkin wrote on The Nation.com. After trying and failing to disrupt a New Hampshire campaign appearance by Hillary Clinton, a BLM Boston member asked her a halting, long-winded question that did the favor of making her response—“I don’t believe you change hearts. I believe you change laws”—come off as refreshingly sensible. At the time, some progressives criticized these moves, blaming BLM for undermining Democratic candidates when the obvious threat, in their eyes, came from the Republicans. But to many black organizers, these disruptions were a principled way to hold candidates who claimed to represent their interests accountable. When I asked her whether she wished that Black Lives Matter had endorsed Hillary Clinton in the general election, Garza pivoted away from Clinton entirely and talked about how the Democratic candidates had bungled their BLM moment at Netroots. “When he was pressed, I wish that Bernie had said, ‘Of course black lives matter, and here’s what that means for me,’” she offered. Had Sanders discussed how “we function under a gendered and racialized economy” and done more to build relationships in communities of color, his run for president would have received more support, she added. The problem, in other words, is with candidates who alienate black voters, not with BLM’s refusal to play nice. As the midterm elections draw near, organizers are laying the groundwork for two new initiatives—the Electoral Justice Project and the Black Futures Lab—that they say will address this alienation and transform the ways that black communities participate in the 2018 elections and beyond. And for Byrd and Garza, each of whom is behind one of these efforts, it is not the ascendance of Donald Trump that demands a new kind of black political power. The Nation. October 9, 2017 (After all, despite the pressure that BLM activists put on Democratic candidates during the campaign season, 94 percent of black women voters backed Hillary Clinton, as did 82 percent of black men. Black turnout “did come down,” Kayla Reed, a movement organizer in St. Louis, acknowledged. “But Democrats are not investing in areas where they have a base.”) Instead, organizers told me, to understand the movement’s new energy around elections, you have to understand Tishaura Jones’s failed campaign for mayor of St. Louis. In March, Jones—then treasurer of this largely Democratic city—narrowly lost the party’s mayoral primary, 30 to 32 percent. Just six weeks earlier, she’d been polling at 8 percent in a ﬁeld of seven Democrats. The winner was the only white candidate in the pack with a sizable following. That Jones came from Battleground state: behind to lose by just 888 votes suggested that she’d been The white-supremacist underestimated by the mainstream media and more estab“Unite the Right” rally in lished politicians. But the young black St. Louis residents Charlottesville left one who’d been energized by the protests in nearby Ferguson counterprotester dead weren’t surprised by her near-win: They had been workand dozens injured. ing hard for Jones behind the scenes, sensing support for her in black communities citywide and ﬁnding ways to build on it. Members of the St. Louis Action Council, which was “You need formed in the wake of the Ferguson protests, had started teaching themselves the ins and outs of voter organizing to know what you’re a year earlier, when they’d gotten involved in the race for St. Louis circuit attorney, the city’s top prosecutor getting into job. They asked the candidates their positions on issues once you like cash bail, juvenile detention, and marijuana decrimicall yourself nalization, and decided to endorse State Representative a BLM Kim Gardner. Today, they claim some credit for getting chapter. The Gardner into ofﬁce, thereby helping to elect the city’s right’s going ﬁrst black circuit attorney. “From Kim’s campaign to Tishaura’s campaign, we grew,” said Reed, who directs to come the St. Louis Action Council. “People trusted us more.” after you. In advance of the Democratic mayoral primary, Reed’s You’re going group partnered with other local community organizations to hold a January debate, during which they quizzed to need the candidates on issues like economic development and security.” displacement, the school-to-prison pipeline, and the rela— Patrisse Khantionship between the police and black communities. AcCullors, Black Lives Matter Global cording to Reed, some of the questions were an effort to Network determine how the candidates’ goals aligned with “A Vision for Black Lives,” the detailed policy statement that the Movement for Black Lives released in August of last year. (Reed also leads the Movement for Black Lives’ electoral organizing committee. The Black Lives Matter Global Network is one of more than 50 allied organizations that comprise M4BL.) For the young black organizers, Jones stood out: Her platform included a plan to place social workers inside police departments, and she rejected calls to hire additional ofﬁcers. To Reed and others, Jones was embracing a “divest framework” that echoed “A Vision THE FUTURE OF AP PHOTO / STEVE HELBER 14 October 9, 2017 for Black Lives,” which calls for pulling resources out of “exploitative forces including prisons, fossil fuels, police, surveillance and exploitative corporations” and investing those same resources in “the education, health and safety of black people.” The debate that Reed’s group co-hosted drew a crowd of 1,500, and 33 percent of those who participated in an exit poll indicated that they supported Jones, Reed said. So the St. Louis Action Council paid little heed to the 8 percent that Jones had polled just days earlier. “What we knew was that polls often do not speak to what’s actually happening in communities that are not [made up of] regular voters,” Reed told me. By this point, she added, she could feel the energy around Jones’s campaign in the communities where she works. But she knew that the campaign was doomed unless one of the other leading black candidates agreed to drop out of the race. Once the St. Louis Action Council endorsed Jones, it threw its weight behind her for the next month, canvassing, getting out the vote, and partnering with the national civil-rights organization Color of Change to tell 20,000 St. Louis residents via text messaging that Jones was its endorsed candidate. In the end, it wasn’t enough. None of the other black candidates—all of whom were men, organizers point out—yielded to Jones, so the black vote was split and a white alderwoman named Lyda Krewson became the next mayor in a city in which black people comprise a slim plurality (49 percent), and in a region rocked by police shootings that have pushed questions of systemic racism to the fore. ones’s loss was a wake-up call to the movement’s leading organizers, and it made many of them prioritize bringing the power they’d built over the past four years into the electoral realm. “We should play out each one of those races not as a local race, but as a national race,” Garza told me. “Nationally, we didn’t mobilize for Tishaura. Tishaura should’ve been our Bernie. Stacey Abrams [a progressive black woman vying to become Georgia’s next governor] should be our Bernie.” That means offering hands-on, onthe-ground support, she said. “All of us should have been sending caravans of people to St. Louis to knock on doors if they wanted that.” Jones and Abrams aren’t the only candidates that Garza thinks the movement can support. Chokwe Lumumba, the black progressive who was elected mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, in June, is another; so are Pamela Price, running for district attorney in Oakland’s Alameda County, and Andrew Gillum, running for governor in Florida. Identifying exciting candidates like these and deploying national resources to campaigns where they’re needed is just one part of an electoral game plan, Byrd told me. In November, she and Reed will launch the Movement for Black Lives Electoral Justice Project, an effort to educate and mobilize black voters that will kick off with town-hall gatherings in cities throughout the South and in what Reed calls “migration cities”: Midwestern cities with sizable populations of black Americans who moved north during the Great Migration. Voter education will be essential to these efforts. “We don’t understand what the TOP: COURTESY OF MOBILIZE MISSOURI; BOTTOM: WIKIMEDIA CC 4.0 / CHRIS KENDIG J The Nation. “Tishaura should’ve been our Bernie”: Backed by a local racial-justice group, Jones finished second in the St. Louis mayoral primary. BLM groups often “begin in a crisis. Our crisis was the alt-right organizing in our town.” — Jalane Schmidt, Charlottesville organizer and University of Virginia professor A new level of engagement: BLM leaders like Alicia Garza are more invested in electoral politics than ever before. 15 [ Justice Department] is doing, or what this executive order signed by Trump actually means,” Reed said. “We want to ﬁnd a space to spark a continued conversation with a hope of getting more people to these midterm elections.” Garza is launching her own electoral organizing project, called Black Futures Lab, this year as well. The $3 million initiative involves creating an institute where participants will learn how to craft and advocate for policy change, as well as recruiting and training candidates and campaign staff. “If we’re not making decisions about policy and about representation, if we are not creating our own independent, progressive political force to counter what is a potent backlash to our very existence, we’ll be gone,” Garza said, citing the imprisonment and exile that black-liberation organizers have faced throughout history. “Our ability to operate aboveground will be severely compromised.” For BLM activists, the key to success is keeping these electoral efforts independent. “We’re not going to build a black-voter mobilization project because one candidate deserves it or the Democratic Party needs it,” Byrd said of the Electoral Justice Project. “Black people deserve it.” None of this means that organizers will be stepping away from the tactics they used earlier in the movement. Last summer, after ﬁve Dallas police ofﬁcers were shot dead after a protest and conservative commentators laid the blame at the feet of Black Lives Matter, BLM groups didn’t go quiet in an attempt to tamp down accusations that their actions led to the ambush. Instead, activists from Black Youth Project 100, Million Hoodies NYC, the #LetUsBreathe Collective, and elsewhere doubled down on direct action in the following weeks. They showed up at the police-union headquarters in lower Manhattan, at the Oakland Police Department, and in Chicago’s Homan Square, the location of a warehouse where police detained and interrogated thousands of people who had no proper legal representation. “For us, it was about telling a certain narrative,” said Charlene Carruthers of Black Youth Project 100. “Our movement has a clear vision that doesn’t center itself around individual police ofﬁcers. Our groups were being blamed, without critical questioning of what we’d been doing for the past several years.” (The Chicago group’s activities 16 The Nation. should allay any doubts that black organizers can walk and chew gum at the same time: Earlier in 2016, BYP100 participated in the successful citywide campaign to oust State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.) There have been fewer street protests calling for police accountability in 2017—partly because, in the wake of Trump’s ascent to power, there have been protests about so much else. The anti-Trump resistance has no doubt borrowed from the massive antiwar marches of the early 2000s and the Tea Party protests in the ﬁrst years of the Obama presidency, but BLM also provided a crucial blueprint, according to several of the organizers I interviewed. BLM normalized confrontation and direct action, and recognized the underlying issues at stake. “Black Lives Matter begins this moment talking about state violence, about militarization, fascism, authoritarianism,” said Dream Hampton, an informal adviser to some movement organizers. “We had all this analysis and framing that was absolutely correct.” And the fact that those “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts, yard signs, and chants continue to be seen and heard everywhere is further proof of the movement’s enduring impact. “‘Black Lives Matter is only rivaled by ‘Make America Great Again,’” Hampton observed. “Don’t act like the phrase itself isn’t worth its weight in gold.” n charlottesville, the phrase itself didn’t move jalane schmidt much at first. “A hashtag does not a movement make,” she remembers thinking. But once the “Vision for Black Lives” policy platform came out, she was impressed. Schmidt had felt frustrated as she followed the debates among local organizations regarding the city’s Confederate monuments over the past year and a half, with conservative preachers and a quiet, careful chapter of the NAACP serving as the official voice of black Charlottesville. The city was becoming a focal point of white-supremacist organizing, but the church leadership and legacy civil-rights organizations had suggested ignoring their meetings and torch rallies. So Schmidt decided that it was time to start a BLM chapter. “We saw a need to have another vehicle for black mobilization in town, given the situation that we had,” she said. At 48, Schmidt is older than the typical BLM activist; but as a queer black woman, she appreciated the role that other queer black women had played as the movement’s founders. Black Lives Matter was also the organization that was most consistent and outspoken in its claims to be unapologetically black. Schmidt thought she’d found a good fit. At that ﬁrst unexpected chapter meeting in Miller’s Downtown, held “right under the noses of the white supremacists,” Schmidt collected the names and contact information of local people interested in getting involved. “As much As she and other core members learned about more altas we need right and neo-Nazi rallies planned in their community, to change they reached out to national BLM organizers for guidance and support. David Vaughn Straughn, another core the people, member of the Charlottesville group, remembered his we need to frustration as he tried e-mail address after e-mail address change the listed on the BLM website—for organizers in New York, Chicago, Boston, Denver, and Washington DC, and on process.” and on—and received no response. Eventually he made — Angela Waters contact, and the ﬂedgling chapter got on a call with PaAustin, Black Lives trisse Khan-Cullors, a BLM Global Network co-founder, Matter Lansing and Nikita Mitchell, BLM’s organizing director. But the conversations around strategy never clicked. “Organizing in a small Southern town is different from organizing in a big city,” Schmidt said. “In a big city, you can use these big, disruptive tactics and then fade back into the woodwork of 3 million people. Here, the people we might piss off—we’re going to have to work with them next week.” I THE FUTURE OF October 9, 2017 There was also the question of whether their group would be allowed to carry a BLM banner during the “Unite the Right” counterprotests. Though the BLM Global Network doesn’t require local groups to clear their decisions about actions or tactics with the national group, it does require new groups wishing to organize under the Black Lives Matter mantle to go through a series of conversations and trainings before ofﬁcially using the phrase in their name. According to Schmidt, she asked KhanCullors: “There are going to be all these white people there wearing ‘Black Lives Matter’ T-shirts, but we’re not allowed to [call ourselves a BLM chapter or march under a BLM banner]?” The national group at ﬁrst said no, then reversed itself a few days before the events that would garner national attention for the eruption of violence and the displays of white-supremacist hatred. The Charlottesville group is still not an ofﬁcial chapter, but the BLM Global Network ampliﬁed its call to action on the national organization’s social-media channels just before the weekend of August 12. “Had that ampliﬁcation been given sooner, I think we would have had more individuals coming down and helping us defend our city,” Straughn said. “I just wish I had more of a personal connection with somebody who could’ve got the ball rolling a little bit quicker.” Khan-Cullors is open about her regrets. “It’s really unfortunate that we took too long” to respond to the black activists in Charlottesville, she told me. “It’s always hard to tell what needs a rapid response.” In my conversation with her, what at ﬁrst might sound like bureaucratic pettiness came across instead as an expression of the difﬁculties that any national organization faces as it goes through the pains of rapid growth. The BLM Global Network has reason to tread carefully when it comes to authorizing new groups: It is now the target of two lawsuits brought by police ofﬁcers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who claim that BLM has created an unsafe environment for law enforcement. Groups calling themselves BLM chapters, but lacking the training that Khan-Cullors and Mitchell offer, have engaged in actions—such as inﬂammatory chants picked up and broadcast by the media—that provide fuel for such legal claims. “You need to know what you’re getting yourself into once you start calling yourself a BLM chapter,” Khan-Cullors said of the responsibility she bears. “You’re going to get a lot of publicity. The right’s going to come after you. You’re going to need security.” A highly visible four-year-old movement and the national organization that emerged from it are bound to stumble when it comes to providing resources, training, and support to places across the country faced with crisis. Nowadays, that feels like everywhere, and black organizers are meeting the challenge with a spirit of experimentation. Rather than creating chaos, they’re looking for a way out of it. “We are reﬂective of the needs of hundreds of thousands of people in this country who have been feeling that the government cannot and will not do its job,” said Shanelle Matthews, the communications director for the BLM Global Network. Electoral organizing, street protests, disrupting Democratic events, and crafting new and visionary policies are all ways to begin to meet the challenge, Matthews added. “However nimble we need to be Q to approach that, that’s what we’re going to do.” Inside stories of how activist staffers countered corporate lobbies “A wonderful read.” — ROBERT REICH “ Witty and penetrating…” — NORMAN ORNSTEIN “ This book is the story of a public servant … and his fellow activist staffers, whose valiant work on consumer protection has helped millions of Americans.” — RALPH NADER “A lively and thoughtprovoking book…” — JAMES A. THURBER “ This may be the most important political book written about our current political dysfunction…” — MATT MYERS "WBJMBCMFGSPNZPVSGBWPSJUFCPPLTFMMFStDMPUItFCPPLt XXXWBOEFSCJMUVOJWFSTJUZQSFTTDPN VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY PRESS Please join Danny Meyer and Katrina vanden Heuvel for a unique evening in support of The Nation at Meyer’s celebrated restaurant Untitled at the Whitney Museum. An exclusive three-course dinner will be preceded by a cocktail reception and conversation. Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at the Whitney Museum 99 Gansevoort Street New York, NY For tickets and information, go to: nationdinner.eventbrite.com The best conversations happen at the dinner table! 18 October 9, 2017 The Nation. TRUMP TRIUMPH FEAR AMERICAN POLITICS AND THE OF IN He demonized entire races and religions and celebrated torture during the presidential campaign—and still won. Torture had, by that point in the campaign, become Trump’s leitmotif—and he did far more than applaud the waterboarding sanctioned by George W. Bush’s administration, as if that weren’t bad enough. Time and again, Trump urged his crowds of supporters on by dangling before them the prospect of violence for violence’s sake. Time and again, he ﬂaunted his contempt for international norms by embracing torture—the word, for so long taboo, as much as the deed—as an ofﬁcial policy of state. And yet he never deﬁned exactly what kind of state-sponsored torture he was advocating, or exactly what actions he sought to make the courts, the military, and the general public complicit in. More than half a millennium ago, as the Spanish Inquisition gathered steam, the fanatical grand inquisitor, Tomás de Torquemada, wrapped himself in the mantle of faith and declared that he would torture to save souls and destroy heretics. The Inquisition began by liberally employing tormento del agua (a technique the US military and intelli- LEFT: REUTERS / DAVID BECKER I n late march 2016, a series of powerful bomb blasts killed nearly three dozen people at the international airport in Brussels, Belgium, as well as in a train carriage pulling out of one of the central city’s busy stations. Within hours of the atrocity, then– presidential candidate Donald Trump had taken to the airwaves and to Twitter. He didn’t make statements expressing moral and emotional solidarity with the victims and their families. Nor did he talk about the extraordinarily complex political and intelligence challenges confronting multicultural Western societies in the face of the ISIS attacks. Instead, he used his platform to proselytize for torture. Salah Abdeslam, the recently captured suspect in the previous year’s Paris attacks, would, said the presidential hopeful, have talked “a lot faster with the torture,” and in doing so might have spilled the beans on his confreres in Belgium before they could launch their own attacks. by SASHA ABRAMSKY October 9, 2017 gence agencies rebirthed after 2001 with the label “waterboarding”). When this method failed to extract the desired response, Torquemada’s team moved on to more drastic methods, such as the strappado, in which the victims had their hands bound behind their backs and then were hung by them from a rope; and the infamous rack, on which the victims were stretched slowly, dislocating joints and destroying muscles, ligaments, and bones. The list of the Inquisition’s torture techniques is long, and its legacy wafts through the centuries—a potent reminder of the horrors that a handful of fanatics can unleash on a civilization. More than ﬁve centuries later, Torquemada’s name still evokes cruelty and extremism. In the 18th century, Enlightenment philosophers like Cesare Beccaria and Voltaire sought to discredit torture as a legitimate tool of the state. It was, they argued, a relic of barbarism, both unjust and ineffective. In the democratic age that was then dawning by ﬁts and starts, torture would have no ofﬁcial place. It could not be a formal part of the legal system, nor could it be publicly defended by those claiming their right to govern from the people and, as their reason for governing, to serve the people. This didn’t mean that torture disappeared; far from it. But the Enlightenment critique did lead to a public rejection of the practice. When it did continue, it was either in dictatorships or, in democracies, hidden deep in the shadows, used in extreme situations but never publicly acknowledged. The legal and linguistic wiggle room that democracies created to insulate themselves from charges of torture speaks to the grave moral opprobrium that was directed toward the practice. Which is why Donald Trump and his supporters’ extraordinary embrace not just of acts of torture but of the word itself was a watershed moment. Here was a man vying for the highest ofﬁce in the United States, as a candidate of one of the two major political parties, who wanted to turn into a moral good, to romanticize, acts of savage violence that for hundreds of years had been regarded as beyond the democratic pale. In speech after speech, Trump’s rhetoric normalized the extraordinary, making torture simply one more part of the state’s standard tool kit, as run-of-the-mill as ﬁngerprinting or booking. This truly was the banality of evil described by the philosopher Hannah Arendt. In front of his adoring crowds, Trump played the Beyond the pale: This etching depicts a priest supervising his scribe while prisoners are tortured during the Spanish Inquisition. Trump has legitimized bigotry and given the imprimatur of a major political party to criminal violence. tough guy well. They wanted theater, and he provided it. They wanted cathartic violence, and he offered it up to them in spades. He was like the Maﬁa ﬁgure in cinema who intimidates and thrills his audiences by talking about his enemies “sleeping with the ﬁshes.” But for all the bravado, the reality-TV star turned presidential candidate never actually got down and dirty and explained to his audiences—especially those people in the military—exactly what he would be asking them to do when, as president and commander in chief, he authorized “the torture” and a “hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” Would he make them dismember ISIS recruits limb from limb? Would he order them to impale suspects slowly on spikes? Would he have them, as the Nazi Gestapo did with their victims, hang terrorism suspects from meat hooks? Would he have enemy ﬁghters disemboweled, as partisans did during the brutal Russian civil war that followed the 1917 revolution? Would he order psychiatrists to break the minds of dissidents and terrorists, as Soviet medics did under Stalin? Would he order soldiers to throw young men and women out of helicopters and airplanes into the ocean, as Argentina’s military dictators did in the 1970s and ’80s? Or would he ask them to force confessions out of suspects, like the rogue police unit on Chicago’s South Side that I wrote about in the 1990s, by tying them to scalding-hot radiators, by mock-executing them, or by using the Vietnam War–era “telephone” torture, in which electrodes are clipped to the victims’ genitals and a windup device, like a ﬁeld telephone, is then cranked to deliver devastating electric shocks? T hese are not the kinds of questions that one normally asks a leading presidential hopeful. But then again, no serious candidate for the American presidency—or for the leadership of any other functioning modern democracy— had ever fetishized torture the way Donald Trump did. No modern presidential candidate had declared entire races and religions to be the enemy. And no leading candidate had sung the song of fear as perfectly as did Trump to his angry, vengeful, and deeply fearful throngs. As the real-estate mogul’s campaign gathered steam, one saw in Trumpism the interweaving of a host of fears—of immigrants, of Muslims, of domestic crime and criminals, of changing cultural mores, of refugees, of disease—and a host of deeply authoritarian impulses. In such a milieu, it became acceptable to bash refugees ﬂeeing appalling conﬂicts, and even to argue—as did several GOP hopefuls during the party’s presidential primary— that only Syria’s Christian refugees should be admitted into the country. Less than two months after the November 2015 terrorist atrocity in Paris, Trump released a half-minute television commercial. “The politicians can pretend it’s something else,” a narrator intoned, “but Donald Trump calls it radical Islamic terrorism. That’s why he’s calling for a temporary shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until we can ﬁgure out what’s going on.” After another few seconds devoted to the candidate’s plan to build a wall to seal off the United States from October 9, 2017 from New York to seduce young white Maine women, and calling for drug dealers to be guillotined—told the crowd that asylum seekers were the carriers of all sorts of diseases, including something he referred to as the “ziki ﬂy.” This was presumably a reference to the Zika virus, carried by mosquitoes and at that moment striking fear not throughout the Middle East but in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the southernmost reaches of the United States. Travel-ban protest: Members of the Yemeni community and others wave US and Yemeni flags at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall, February 2. Sasha Abramsky is a frequent contributor to The Nation. This article is adapted from Jumping at Shadows: The Triumph of Fear and the End of the American Dream, published in September by Nation Books, an imprint of the Hachette Book Group. TOP: AP PHOTO / KATHY WILLENS Mexico, the footage cut back to Trump. His anti-immigrant solutions, he shouted out to an enthusiastic crowd, would “make America great again!” Throughout the primary season and the general-election campaign, Trump ginned up his crowds by calling for the mass execution of terrorism suspects, by advocating collective punishment and “the torture,” and by mocking Muslims for their dietary rituals and religious beliefs. These words aren’t just empty slogans. They come with consequences, and they legitimize bigotries and hatreds long harbored by many but, for the most part, kept under wraps by the broader society. They give the imprimatur of a major political party to criminal violence. In the ﬁve days following Trump’s December 7, 2015, announcement that he would seek to ban all Muslims from entering the country, hate crimes against Muslims surged. When researchers at California State University, San Bernardino, analyzed crime data from the period, they found a shocking 87.5 percent increase in such crimes against Muslims in that ﬁve-day period compared with the same week in 2014. Taken as a whole, in the 20 states that the researchers looked at, anti-Muslim crimes increased by 78 percent in 2015 over the previous year. A demagogue such as Trump connects best with a scared audience, with people so addled by fear that they cease to think rationally. Trump’s appeal, as he mowed down his Republican primary opponents and contested the general election, wasn’t based on how he hewed to facts but on how he played to emotions. That many of his statements were spun out of thin air was far less important to his cheering crowds than that he seemed to connect with their anxieties about a world run amok. It was the same playbook used by a slew of Tea Party ﬁgures in the years leading up to Trump’s eruption onto the national political stage. In mid-February 2016, Maine Governor Paul LePage, a self-made businessman who’d won election as part of the Tea Party sweep of 2010, addressed a town-hall meeting in which he urged stringent restrictions on the admission of Syrian refugees into Maine. LePage—whose political résumé was full of such controversial acts as ordering ofﬁcials to destroy a mural on the Department of Labor building showing striking trade unionists in a positive light, talking about African-American drug dealers coming north T here are, in modern america, friction zones, spaces both physical and psychological, where our dreams coexist with our nightmares, where opportunity and despair intermingle, where innocence and depredation collide. In these zones—along the US-Mexican border, where fears of invasion and terrorism loom like grotesque caricatures; in our terrors about children being abducted, raped, or killed; in neighborhoods that serve as buffers between decayed and desperate ghettos and wealthy suburbs; in the anxiety we feel at airport security lines, as the convenience of interconnected travel clashes with our fear of terrorists—in all of these places, different rules apply. Out of these nightmares, demagogues like LePage and Trump can rise: would-be leaders who promise quick and violent ﬁxes to deep and intractable problems. In the friction zones, anything goes—up to and including torture. It is on the border, for example, that undocumented migrants caught by the Border Patrol frequently have their faces pushed into cactus spikes. It is in our suburbs that parents who allow their children to play outside, or single moms who leave their kids unattended while they head off to job interviews, can ﬁnd their lives uprooted by hostile personnel from Child Protective Services. It is in poor neighborhoods that men—and it’s usually men, although, as the Sandra Bland case shows, poor women aren’t immune from this treatment—can be yanked from cars and savagely beaten or killed by the police on nothing more than a hunch or a whim. It is in these friction zones that our sense of decency is most aggressively undermined and our willingness to embrace unsavory policies and law-enforcement practices is most viscerally displayed. In an age of anxiety, it is too easy to assume that everyone has fallen into the fear trap, that the choice isn’t whether to fear but simply what to fear. This was Trump’s demagogic gamble—and, in the short term, it paid off for him hugely. It is also too easy to assume that the most debased style of political rhetoric will always work; that political speech that sows discord will drown out that which seeks unity; that race- and religion-baiting will beat the language of universalism. Yet even in a season of rage, there are people everywhere who insist on bucking the trend—people who understand that the language of fear and hatred is often simply a manifestation, in mutated form, of deeply unfair power relationships. Theirs are the stories that we must nurture: Their more optimistic understanding of community is the one that offers a way forward in an age too often paralyzed by anxiety and rendered brutal Q by our epidemic of fear. JOAN WALSH A national-aﬀairs correspondent for The Nation, coveted MSNBC political analyst, and author of the award-winning What’s the Matter With White People? Finding Our Way in the Next America, Joan will be sharing exclusive insights from her coast-to-coast reporting on a range of issues, from the disastrous state of the Republican Party, to the unraveling of Trump’s presidency, to why ﬁrst-time female candidates could be the key to taking back statehouses nationwide. We’ll also be joined by Katrina vanden Heuvel, Dave Zirin, Dorian T. Warren, Calvin Trillin, Victor Navasky, and others. (See our site for the full list.) ERIC LIU AI-JEN POO JOHN NICHOLS PATRICIA J. WILLIAMS REV. DR. WILLIAM J. 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As the train entered the outskirts of Paris, she turned to me and said in surprise, “I didn’t realize the French were a black Joan W. Scott is the author of The Politics of the Veil. Her new book is Sex and Secularism. people.” It was my turn to be surprised, until I looked out the window and saw that we were in the banlieues, the segregated neighborhoods consisting largely of West and North African “immigrants” that ring the city. I put “immigrants” in scare quotes because many of these people are long-term residents of France; indeed, many of them are citizens. The word is nonetheless regularly used in France to distinguish them from the Français de souche—the legitimate (white) members of the nation. “Immigrant” has become a kind of epithet these days, and not only in France. Everywhere in Europe, and also in the United States, immigrants are blamed for all manner of problems: crime, unemployment, disease, the deterioration of public services, the exhaustion of public funds, threats to liberal culture and mores. Right-wing populist politicians in nearly every country of the Western Hemisphere appeal to voters with plans to cleanse the national body of these impure invaders, to expel them, to build walls to keep them 26 out. References to a “crisis” of immigration have become a convenient way to talk about many other things as well: race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and, especially, the human costs wrought by global capitalism and the growing inequalities it has engendered within and across the nations of the world. These references to an “immigrant crisis” antedate the arrival of waves of refugees fleeing war and violence in Africa and the Middle East; the recent refugees have only heightened the discourse. Three new books attempt to see beyond the contours of the current crisis and to tap into a deeper set of economic, political, and cultural anxieties. Rita Chin’s The Crisis of Multiculturalism in Europe offers a comparative history of the ways in which politicians in several Western European nations have dealt with growing numbers of non-Western immigrants from the 1950s to the present. Sara R. Farris’s In the Name of Women’s Rights examines the unlikely convergence in recent years among right-wing nationalist political parties, neoliberals, and certain feminists around the question of “emancipation” and nonWestern—particularly Muslim—women in France, Italy, and the Netherlands. Rafia Zakaria’s Veil shifts the balance away from white secular Europe toward the experience of Muslim women, mapping the stereotypical representations of the veil in Western culture and then reflecting, in an intensely personal way, on the many meanings that the veil can have for the people who wear it. Despite their differences, these three books illuminate how Western liberal democracies, since the 1950s, have struggled to develop strategies to manage diversity in societies once considered homogeneous— secular, white, and Christian. Although some of the nations of the West were long used to assimilating other Europeans, the arrival of former colonial subjects was a different matter. Viewed through the racist lens that had justified imperial conquest, these brown, mostly Muslim people were seen not only as different but as inferior. Their difference was also seen as a threat to European national identity. It was one thing to tolerate their presence as a temporary solution to shortages of labor; it was quite another to consider them and their families as permanent residents with the equal rights of fellow citizens. I n her well-researched volume, Rita Chin, a professor of history at the University of Michigan, provides detailed information about the different policies developed in the countries she studied: France, Germany, Britain, Switzerland, and The Nation. The Crisis of Multiculturalism in Europe A History By Rita Chin Princeton University Press. 384 pp. $35 In the Name of Women’s Rights The Rise of Femonationalism By Sara R. Farris Duke University Press. 272 pp. $25.95 Veil By Rafia Zakaria Bloomsbury. 136 pp. $14.95 the Netherlands. By comparing them, she highlights not only their different policies but also their overarching similarities: Cultural racism is the underlying stance taken in the face of increasingly diverse ethnic and religious populations. Chin calls this diversity “multiculturalism,” a term that—despite a whole chapter devoted to its various definitions—remains confusing in her various usages. It is Chin’s word for describing an objective reality and for invoking the policies that developed in response to this reality. It is also an epithet employed by European politicians in the 1990s to distinguish their policies from the reviled American ones, which viewed multiculturalism as a positive respect for ethnic and racial differences. By using the same word to denote the nature of diverse populations and the discourses about them, Chin’s study loses a certain analytic acuity. Still, it offers a rich historical account of the continuities and changes in immigration policy in the countries she studied. Chin’s account begins with labor recruitment. She notes that guest-worker programs took off after World War II and flourished in the expanding economies of the 1960s. When European laborers were scarce, men were recruited from the former colonies: “The twin concerns of empire and labor…drove the emergence of multicultural societies.” For these newcomers to Europe, programs were set up by their hosts that encouraged expressions of religious and cultural difference as a way of maintaining the workers’ attachments to their countries of origin and in the expectation that when the jobs were done, they would return home. For example, religious leaders were imported from these workers’ home countries. The policies had little to do with multiculturalism, in the sense of positively recognizing the plural nature of European nations. In fact, it was quite the opposite: October 9, 2017 They sought to ensure the disposable and replaceable nature of the migrant labor force as a “reserve industrial army.” When guest workers were no longer needed during the economic downturn of the 1970s, Western European leaders moved to close their nations’ borders and end the recruitment of foreign labor. But they were faced with a dilemma they couldn’t easily resolve: These workers had been bringing their families in the preceding decades with an eye to settling on European soil, and they had been living in Europe in communities that had been encouraged through various state-sponsored programs to express their religious and cultural differences. Now Western European countries had to come to terms with their own labor and cultural policies, having inadvertently brought the empire home. “The nearly twenty-five year scramble to procure foreign workers,” Chin writes, “had resulted in the permanent settlement of transient labor that was increasingly nonwhite, non-Christian and nonEuropean.… Communities of different ethnicities, cultures, and religions increasingly lived side by side with the British, French, Dutch and Germans, spawning multicultural societies throughout Western Europe.” An aspect of this story that Chin doesn’t emphasize enough is the vast economic problem posed by the presence of these now unemployed or underemployed surplus laborers and their families, who found themselves doubly disadvantaged by their cultural difference. But she does describe in detail the various strategies that national leaders developed to deal with the presence of these guests who had now overstayed their welcome. The strategies included policies that promoted views of ethnic and racial groups as separate, balkanized identities and euphemisms about improving “race relations” that denied the structures of discrimination that poisoned them. These strategies also included calls for assimilation and integration that placed the burden of religious and cultural accommodation on the migrants themselves. For the most part, Western European countries did not want to acknowledge “how radically their societies had changed,” and many politicians sought to depoliticize a situation that would soon explode, despite their best efforts, into furious debates about race, immigration, and national identity in the late 1980s and 1990s. For many countries in Western Europe, 1989 seems to have been a turning point: the moment when a series of developments focused new attention on immigrants, espe- P R E S E N T I N G T H E N AT I O N W I N E C L U B 4 Exceptional Wines for Just $30 Plus 1¢ Shipping — Save $93! 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In France, the celebration of the bicentennial of the French Revolution coincided with an important electoral victory for Jean-Marie Le Pen’s National Front (attributed to the success of his antiimmigrant campaigns) and the first of the affaires du foulard (the attempt to prohibit girls wearing Muslim head scarves from attending public schools). The Berlin Wall also came down in the fall of that year, opening up discussions on the meaning of democracy (free markets and sexual liberation included), as well as a flood of cheap immigrant labor from Eastern and Central Europe. These new immigrant workers were considered a problem, but nowhere near as much as Muslims, especially after the Ayatollah Khomeini issued his fatwa against the novelist Salman Rushdie, creating an international cause célèbre and hardening many liberal Europeans’ views on the subject of Islam. Chin points out that the fatwa was particularly decisive for many Europeans who were already worrying about the growing number of Muslim immigrants and citizens within their countries. “For many Western Europeans,” she writes, “this was the moment when Muslim immigrants with diverse national origins merged into a single, distinctive category. This was also the moment when Islam was first identified as unbending, an intolerant religion that explained Muslim immigrants’ failure to properly integrate…. [T]his was the pivotal juncture when Islam itself came to be seen as a central threat to ‘liberal values’…across all the major Western European powers.” As many celebrated the victory of liberal democracy over communism, commentators also began to point to the “failure” of multiculturalism and its policies of recognition and appreciation of diversity. But what they meant by “failure” was not that the policies failed to create more welcoming societies, but rather that Muslim culture simply wasn’t compatible with the national traditions of European countries. Throughout Europe, “their” culture was defined as antagonistic to “ours.” In what some critical scholars came to call “the new racism,” culture became a byword—and not only among the European right. As Chin notes, it had “supplanted biology as the key marker of incommensurable difference.” Chin cites comments by Margaret Thatcher in 1978 as an example of what she characterizes as this new wave of “cultural nationalism.” Reacting to a report that projected the arrival of millions of people from Pakistan in the United Kingdom by the end The Nation. of the century, Thatcher observed: “Now, that is an awful lot and I think it means that people are really rather afraid that this country might be rather swamped by people with a different culture. The British character has done so much for democracy, for law and done so much throughout the world that if there is any fear that it might be swamped, people are going to react and be rather hostile to those coming in.” T his increasingly politicized fear of European culture being “swamped” soon became a “clash of civilizations,” a term coined by the Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis in 1990 and then popularized in a 1993 article by the political scientist Samuel Huntington. The term deliberately evoked the religious wars of the medieval period in order to rally the forces of contemporary Western Christian secularism in a crusade against the Muslim enemy. To disarm this foe, the states of Western Europe enacted laws and regulations that ranged from criminalizing certain individual displays of religious affiliation to limiting the height of the minarets on mosques. In their attempts at containment (euphemistically referred to as “integration”), these European nations tightened the eligibility requirements for entry and naturalization, as well as proposed tests of cultural literacy and linguistic mastery for migrants from Muslim and other non-Western countries. In effect, as the sociologist Sara Farris points out, immigrants were expected to possess knowledge of their new country “before the actual contact with [it] begins.” Farris’s In the Name of Women’s Rights is more theoretical in its approach, offering a supplement to Chin’s historical narrative that focuses on the specific question of nonWestern women migrants, most of whom are Muslim. Whereas Chin offers one chapter on women and gender, Ferris devotes her entire book to that subject. Beginning in the 1970s and ’80s, Farris argues, non-Western immigrant women “became the object of political scrutiny and stereotyping. Typical orientalist gendered dichotomies began to be applied to them: if migrant males were usually depicted as brutes and uncivilized, women were portrayed as passive and submissive.” By contrast, Western European women were deemed autonomous and empowered by, among other things, laws that now permitted divorce and abortion and addressed discrimination in education and the professions, as well as cultural practices defined as “sexual democracy” or “sexual liberation.” October 9, 2017 Many of these new feminists and nationalists turned their attention to the veils worn by Muslim women, arguing that they were the very symbol of the immigrants’ purported backwardness, the sign of an intolerable gender inequality alien to the West. The push to rescue Muslim women, Farris argues, was the result of what she terms the “ideological convergence” of calls for gender equality with xenophobic anti-immigrant campaigns—the “femonationalism” mentioned in the subtitle of her book. Femonationalism, she explains, “describes, on the one hand, the attempts of Western European right-wing parties and neoliberals to advance xenophobic and racist politics through the touting of gender equality while, on the other hand, it captures the involvement of various well-known and quite visible feminists and femocrats in the current framing of Islam as a quintessentially misogynistic religion and culture.” Farris argues that the political anxiety about Muslims in general took the form of advocacy for the emancipation of Muslim women in particular because of “a specifically economic logic”: Whereas Muslim and other non-Western migrant men were viewed as a “reserve army of labor”—that is, a supplemental labor force to be employed only when needed—their female counterparts, working in the domesticservice and care industries, were seen as a part of the “regular army of labor,” constituting an indispensable, irreplaceable labor force that could not otherwise be found. This labor force was needed, Farris notes, to secure the social reproduction of the population itself. The importance of this migrant female labor force to the social and economic wellbeing of Western nations was evident in the state policies of the countries that Farris studied: France, Italy, and the Netherlands. These countries provided a variety of subsidies to families for domestic service and elder and child care, sometimes in the form of cash payments, sometimes as tax credits. In this way, they at once commodified and privatized social services, for which Muslim and non-Western migrant women provided “the lion’s share of supply.” This work was defined by government agencies as necessary and vital; it was also considered a permanent feature of the job markets of these countries, a way of helping Muslim women to integrate socially and culturally. Since they did not compete with native women workers, and as a result of what Farris notes were the “neoliberal reforms in October 9, 2017 welfare regimes in the direction of the socalled commodification of care [and]…the feminization and racialization of specific labor markets,” migrant women workers were critical to the economy, and so they became defined not as a liability but as victims to be saved. Nationalists turned to the language of secular feminism in order to criticize the way in which these women were oppressed by their cultural and religious norms—as embodied by their veils. Likewise, many European feminists insisted that it was precisely “care” work that would “save” Muslim women by providing them with wage-earning labor that was inherently emancipatory. There is an irony in this, as Farris observes. The European feminists’ insistence that migrant women’s autonomy would be furthered by the work of domestic service defined as liberating the very household drudgery that these feminists had long sought to escape. There is both a racist and a sexist element to this, Farris says, because “they reinforce the conditions for the reproduction at the societal level of Muslim and non-Western migrant women’s segregation, traditional gender roles, and the gender injustice they claim to be combating.” V eil, the highly personal meditation by Rafia Zakaria, a journalist and philosopher of Pakistani origin, provides a voice from the other side of the story recounted by Chin and Farris— a voice that is rarely listened to by the politicians and feminists who associate unveiling with the liberation of Muslim women. In a series of chapters that reflect on her own personal experience (wearing a full-face veil at her traditional Muslim wedding in Karachi; watching her grandmother drape a veil around her face when men got too close to her in the market; observing women at the Finsbury Park Mosque in London), Zakaria explores the many meanings of the veil as it is worn and observed. Each chapter has a different theme, among them submission, purity, rebellion, feminism, and subversion. Zakaria’s style is associative, not linear; no single line of argument is developed. The aim is to appeal to personal experience as a way of establishing authority for her assertions, and also as a way of evoking sympathy in the reader (who is presumed to be Western). Veils, Zakaria argues, offer a range of subjective and objective meanings that depend on the “particularities of person and politics and context.” Indeed, one of the many meanings of this piece of cloth is The Nation. that it can be a form of empowerment for the women who choose to wear it. “Independent of context, it does not have much meaning,” but in specific settings (within and outside the Muslim community), the veil can have many positive ones: as a sign of submission to one’s faith, or an individual’s purity, or her desire for collective, communal identification. It can also, Zakaria argues, give a certain sense of pleasurable power: that of seeing without being seen. Its wearing can sometimes signal rebellion— a challenge to the Western European “aesthetics of the public sphere”—and even a certain strain of feminism, allowing women to express their individual autonomy. Zakaria’s approach also differs from Farris’s and Chin’s in its scope. Chin has a chapter on how veiled women became, in the 1990s, evidence of Islam’s cultural incompatibility with the West, and Farris, expanding on this, examines how, for European nationalists and feminists, the veil became a symbol of how Islam denies Western liberalism’s ideal of sexual democracy. Zakaria’s explanation is at once narrower and more directed to the present. She is less interested in the deep historical roots of the immigrant question; instead, she frames her argument within the context of the socalled War on Terror that began in the early 2000s. This draws her readers’ attention to the present political implications of the veil. “The fully veiled Muslim woman,” Zakaria explains, “once imagined as singularly exotic and repressed, an emblem of the harem of old, ripe with forbidden sexual possibility, did not fit into [the] rhetoric of the War on Terror. That War could no longer be based simply on the demonization of the Muslim man; it required an extension of suspicion to the Muslim woman, particularly the Muslim woman who was not willing to do away with the veil.” If Chin offers us history and Farris sociological theory, Zakaria’s more personal, philosophical approach is intended to contest the singular meaning that the veil has acquired in much of the West. By exploring the subjective experiences of the veil, we begin to see how both wearing it and not wearing it have profound psychic resonances for those who make these choices, as well as for those who regard it with hostility or even just curiosity. In one notable example, Zakaria writes of the desire of white women in the days of empire to unveil “other” colonized women, a desire that established their superiority as representatives of a higher civilization. Or, referring to the work of the Iranian-American artist 29 Shirin Neshat, Zakaria notes the startling message conveyed in a photograph of a fully veiled woman pointing a gun at the viewer: “A veil is revealed then to be not just fabric but a partition and a boundary…. To put the veil back on, to retreat into feminine space, is a wish for reclamation.” These psychic resonances of the veil— “desire,” “wish”—deserve more attention in analyses of Islamophobia in general and of the place of veiled women within it in particular. But the representation of Muslim women as sexually repressed is key to understanding these resonances, and it is underexamined by all of these authors, including Zakaria. In the course of the 21st century, sexual liberation (the individual’s ability to sleep with whomever she chooses) has come to be equated with gender equality and with freedom more generally, eclipsing all of the other measures of equality that might be used. A certain form of sexual desire (that experienced by the autonomous individual of liberal political theory) is presented as universal and natural, not as a culturally produced artifact of the West. This view of things elicits a visceral repugnance to the alleged perversions of Islam: “We” project our experience of thwarted desire onto “them.” As a result, the stark contrast between Islam and the West on the question of sexual liberation confirms the West’s sense of its own superiority in the matter of gender equality, even as it conceals the vast discrepancies in wealth and status. In this way, the binary that many liberals, feminists, and nationalists invoke—sexual freedom versus sexual repression—translates discrimination (based on economics, race, class, or religion) into a moral virtue that quarantines the bad influences these immigrants bring with them. It is not the poverty or exclusion they experience in our societies that defines “those people” as unacceptable, but rather their retrograde beliefs and behaviors, especially around issues of sex. At the same time, the belief that “our” system of gender relations is universal and natural while “theirs” is perverse soothes the anxieties and uncertainties that haunt the relations between the sexes on “our” side. In France, as I have suggested elsewhere, the veiled woman is perceived as deeply disquieting because her veil suggests that sexuality presents a problem for social relationships that must be addressed by declaring sex off-limits in public space. This is a challenge for a republican political system that, on the one hand, promises equality for all and, on the other, has historically 30 The Nation. excluded or subordinated women because of the difference of their sex—a difference that has to be openly displayed as justification for their different treatment. If gender equality is defined only as sexual emancipation, then all of the other inequalities faced by women in France—political, social, and economic—are made to disappear, and existing gender norms are held firmly in place. The fantasy of freedom is sustained by comparing uncovered French women with those Muslim women covered by the veil. Although political cultures vary in the countries of Western Europe, something similar operates in all of them. T here is clearly a crisis of immigration in Europe. It is evident in the deadlock between an increasing insistence by politicians on the homogeneity of cultural nationalism, on the one hand, and the presence of diverse populations within national borders, on the other. It has only intensified in the wake of the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees from the war-torn and economically devastated countries of the Global South. We are at a turning point (one of the meanings, after all, of the word “crisis”): Will those “black people” that we glimpsed from the train, and who are sequestered in the banlieues, Pilgrim Bell My savior has powers and he needs. To be convinced to use them for good. Up until now he has been. A no-call no-show. The menace. Of ecstasy like a hornets nest buzzing. Under ice. Like scabs of rust. On a plane wing. I am younger than. I pretend to be. Almost everyone. Is younger than I pretend to be. I am a threat. And full of grief even. In my joy. Like a cat who kills. A mouse at play and tries. To lick it back to life. The cat lives. Somewhere between wonder. And shame. I live in a great mosque. Built on top of a flagpole. Up here. Whatever happens happens. Loudly. All day I hammer the distance. Between the earth and me. Into faith. Blue light pulls in through. The long crack in my wall. Braids. Into a net. The difference between. A real voice and the other kind. Is the way its air vibrates. Through you. The violence. In your middle ear. KAVEH AKBAR October 9, 2017 ever be accepted as fully French? Will the day come when I would react not in surprise but in affirmation to that young woman (“Yes, some French are black”)? And what of Western feminism? Is there a path away from the binaries of “West/East” and “sexually liberated/sexually repressed” that might yield a more genuinely inclusive vision of what emancipation and gender equality could mean? A glimmer of what might be possible on this last question came from a collective of women in France—Muslim and nonMuslim, religious and secular—that was formed during the debates over the headscarf law in 2003–4. These women declared that they were opposed to all forms of domination, whether patriarchal, capitalist, or state-imposed: no forced wearing of the veil, no forced removal of the veil. By focusing on domination as the common denominator, the women found a way out of all those other politically and culturally divisive binaries—not by denying their power, but rather by offering a way to place them in their proper context. On the subject of refugees and the masses of migrants pouring into European cities from Africa and the Middle East, these authors offer different perspectives. Chin suggests that, on the ground, there is more genuine integration than the politicians would care to admit, and that this provides hope for the future of multiculturalism. Zakaria offers her book as an “object lesson” (the name of the series to which it belongs) on the multifaceted nature of cultural signs, as a way of trying to influence, and so change, stereotypical representations of the veil. Both seek to bring ideas more fully into compliance with reality, as if the two were distinct realms, even as they recognize their interdependence. For Farris, too, material interests and rhetorical expression are inextricably entwined; she emphasizes how the structures and ideologies of discrimination are at once productive of and deeply rooted in economic interests. Her reading of “femonationalism” as a symptom of neoliberal capitalism gives little hope that a quick or effective solution is possible for the crises at hand. So we are left without certain answers, and that’s as it should be: The goal of these books is not prediction but critique. And in that regard, they are useful and important, providing needed insight and detail to deepen our understanding of how we got here—a necessary step for thinking about whether and how we might be able to move Q to a better place. October 9, 2017 The Nation. BLAMING THE PEOPLE Is democracy really the problem? by JAN-WERNER MÜLLER H ow many bizarre electoral outcomes does it take to shake our faith in democracy? Apparently, one is enough. Even before the presidential election last November, New York magazine’s Andrew Sullivan was fretting about socalled “hyperdemocracies,” in which people have an unquenchable thirst for equality and refuse to accept limits on the popular will. This summer, writing in the Los Angeles Times, James Kirchik concluded from the Brexit vote and the recent snap election in the United Kingdom that “our duly elected Jan-Werner Müller teaches politics at Princeton University. His book What Is Populism? came out last year. Against Democracy By Jason Brennan Princeton University Press. 304 pp. $29.95 representatives” should have the courage to ignore “the uninformed opinion of the masses.” Social scientists as well as political philosophers have been ready to second that opinion: Ever since Philip Converse’s pioneering studies in the 1950s, American political scientists have amassed a wealth of evidence confirming just how little voters know—and just how incoherent or plain illogical their political choices can be. This empirical work has run in tandem with that of political theorists less worried about vot- ILLUSTRATION BY TIM ROBINSON 31 ers’ ignorance than about their intolerance. John Rawls, still the most influential liberal philosopher in the United States today, argued that for a liberal polity to be stable, “unreasonable” citizens would have to be “contained” just like “war and disease.” One might think that the obvious answer to voter ignorance is education, and the answer to the more specific quandary of voter unreasonableness is perhaps some sort of civic reeducation. But the political philosopher Jason Brennan is having none of this argument. In his book Against Democracy, Brennan points to evidence that the generally rising education levels in the United States have not made citizens more knowledgeable about politics. Like many social scientists, he thinks there’s a simple explanation for why Americans remain so clueless: Ignorance is a rational choice. Since one’s individual vote has an infinitesimally small chance of actually deciding the outcome of an election, it simply isn’t worth the time and effort to bone up on policy basics—or even read the Constitution. As Brennan argues in another of his writings on the subject, democracy’s “essential flaw” is that it spreads power out widely, thereby removing any incentive for individual voters to use their own, more diffuse power wisely. Of course, some voters seem happy to participate in the process nevertheless; they still display a passionate interest in political, and even constitutional, matters. But most of them, according to Brennan, treat politics like a spectator sport or, even worse, a brutal contact sport. The completely ignorant are what he calls “hobbits”; by contrast, those who root for one team and hate the other are “hooligans.” For hooligans, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing: They understand enough to be deeply convinced that their team is on the side of the angels and that the other side are devils (witness how 40 percent of Trump supporters in Florida thought that Hillary Clinton had literally emerged from hell ). But they are incapable of rationally weighing policy options or even comprehending their own basic interests. For the hooligans, it’s all about identity. In Brennan’s peculiar typology, there is a third species of voter, which he calls “vulcans.” Vulcans coolly examine the evidence and then form their political judgments accordingly. Needless to say, they’re a minuscule minority, and, less obviously, they cannot be upheld as anything resembling role models: After all, most people simply don’t have the leisure to become vulcans—as Oscar Wilde once said of socialism, it takes 32 too many evenings. More worryingly still, hobbits are so ignorant and ill-informed that they can’t recognize the superior reasoning of the vulcans and take their cues from them. For these low-information voters, Brennan asserts, certified experts are more or less on the same level as the far-right radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones when it comes to professional reputation and credibility. B rennan’s answer to this “essential flaw” of democracy is as drastic as it is seemingly logical: Restrict the franchise on the grounds of some basic test of knowledge. Following the philosopher David Estlund, Brennan dubs this “epistocracy”—rule by the knowledgeable—which has a long and disturbingly distinguished history in Western political thought: Plato advocated it, as did, in much attenuated form, a 19th-century liberal like John Stuart Mill, who wanted university graduates to have additional votes. (He got his wish: In the UK, “university constituencies”—which allowed Oxbridge alumni to cast two ballots—were only abolished in 1950, by a Labour government.) Although Republicans remain busy in the United States restricting the franchise on the basis of essentially fraudulent claims about “voter fraud,” neither the Republican nor the Democratic party openly advocates for the exclusion of voters on the grounds of incompetence—a notion that is still taboo in contemporary democracies. Even so, excluding children and the mentally incapacitated from casting a ballot is a largely uncontroversial practice across these same democracies; and in many American states, felons are disenfranchised for the rest of their lives. Of course, Brennan is well aware that restricting the franchise on the basis of tests was long deployed in the United States for the purpose of racial discrimination. But he wants us to ignore its past uses and marshals a range of abstract arguments as to why epistocracy deserves serious consideration. For one thing, he claims, democratic citizenship is not like fandom for a sports club. Even if one’s personal vote is unlikely to make a difference, letting lots of ignorant people cast a ballot for their favorite “team” has dramatic consequences: their choices empower lawmakers to pass legislation which ultimately authorizes police officers to coerce anyone who is not willing to comply with the “team’s” ideals. Here “fandom” is sure to result in violence. Brennan also insists that the varying degrees of ignorance and prejudice displayed by different citizens don’t somehow end up neutralizing each The Nation. other. Ignoramuses, he says, don’t vote randomly; instead, they will empower those who support irrational economic policies or seek to trample our civil liberties. And if all that weren’t bad enough, mass-democratic politics turns people into “civic enemies” of one another, in Brennan’s view. Rejecting the pious notion that political participation tends to “educate, enlighten, and ennoble,” Brennan argues that more political involvement is likely to turn hobbits into hooligans. One need only think about the polarization in the United States today to see his point that “politics gives us genuine grounds to hate each other.” Or so it might seem. An obvious rejoinder to Brennan’s call for disenfranchisement is that any meaningful concept of democracy is predicated not just on an ideal of freedom, but on a notion of political equality. Epistocrats have to reckon with the fact that they are advocating for a basic inequality in our fundamental rights. Brennan thinks this isn’t really a problem: What are sometimes called the “expressive” functions of democracy, he argues, are massively overrated. If people want to express themselves, they should write a poem instead of heading to the ballot box; and if the state wants to communicate to its citizens that it cares about them, it should ensure decent policy outcomes—as opposed to formal political equality combined with enormous social injustice, as is the case in most democracies today. Epistocracy, in other words, would be paternalistic—but, so Brennan claims, even the worst-off today would benefit from seeing it instituted. As other critics have pointed out, Brennan is long on identifying the flaws of the actually existing democracies today and short on the institutional details of even an ideal epistocracy. Who would create the test to establish who gets to vote and who doesn’t? Who would be truly competent to judge other people’s competency—and, for that matter, what are the measures of competence? How would the transition to epistocracy be engineered and justified? Should people actually have to vote to disenfranchise themselves? And if the resulting policies were still judged insufficiently rational, would the franchise have to be ever more restricted? After all, even if the ignorant weren’t able to vote anymore, they could still use their rights of free speech and free assembly to advocate for what the 44th president of the United States famously called “stupid shit.” Would the end point then be what social scientists have referred to as “bureaucratic authoritarianism”— which is to say, rule by the few, purportedly October 9, 2017 in the name of the collective well-being? Reading Brennan in Beijing, one would think, must provide a boost to the leaders of the self-declared People’s Republic. Apart from practical questions, there is also the issue of whether one of the most basic conditions of democracy—the universal franchise—is quite so easily waved away. Can disenfranchisement really be done in a “clean” way that doesn’t jeopardize equal treatment and status in other spheres? In effect, epistocracy would amount to a kind of political quarantine: We, the knowledgebearers, need to protect the country from “them.” It is hard to see how the people in the latter category would not be effectively stigmatized, even if the disenfranchisement were somehow accomplished benignly. Symbolic politics is never merely symbolic; perceptions have consequences. To treat disenfranchisement as if it were primarily a question of “self-esteem,” or hurting citizens’ feelings, is frivolous at best. Brennan himself seems uneasy about this possibility and hence feels compelled to suggest a way for everyone to affirm epistocracy and thereby smuggle some notion of equality back into his system. He writes that “it’s not difficult to imagine an epistocratic society in which everyone regards one another as having equal status. Perhaps they endorse epistocracy because they think it tends to produce more equitable results, and for that reason think their commitment to epistocracy expresses a commitment to equality.” But voluntary consent to epistocracy would presumably undermine the very rationale for wanting such an elitist scheme in the first place: If citizens were sufficiently sophisticated to understand the reasons for their own exclusion from electoral politics and were willing to consent to such an indignity, they would likely also understand the basic pros and cons of candidates and policies, which would qualify them as voters in the first place. So epistocracy doesn’t seem to square with democracy’s intrinsic value in affirming equality and giving everyone a chance to advance his or her interests, as idealized as that notion might be. But Brennan’s advocacy is also based on a curiously unrealistic way of understanding how democracies fail on an instrumental level. In his view, modern democracies are broken because they don’t achieve rational ends. But the democratic process isn’t really about individual voters making rational or irrational choices—a perspective that can only ever yield variations on H.L. Mencken’s quip that “democracy is a pathetic belief in the October 9, 2017 collective wisdom of individual ignorance.” Nor is democracy about rationality versus irrationality; only technocrats think that way about politics. Rather, it is a system that allows leaders to gain power on the basis of their claims to represent different ideas, interests, and identities. Obviously, the latter are ultimately individual, but they end up being combined into larger political forces. These are not objectively given; they are formed in a dynamic, openended process of struggle over who and what gets to be represented, how, and by whom. Democratic representation is therefore neither about finding the one right policy answer nor about the mechanical reproduction of already existing interests and identities. New blocs of interests and forms of identification are themselves an outcome of politics. To treat democracy only in terms of the individual voter and his or her competence is like having microeconomics without any macro. Such an approach fails to see that the quality of democracy depends crucially on the space between individual voters and the policy decisions that bind them together. Different institutions—from the courts to the media to the rules of election campaigns—make an enormous difference here. As the American political scientist E.E. Schattschneider put it, “the problem is not how 180 million Aristotles can run a democracy, but how can we organize a community of 180 million ordinary people so that it remains sensitive to our needs. This is a problem of leadership, organization, alternatives, and systems of responsibility and confidence.” T he terms “leadership” and “responsibility”—as horribly elitist as they may sound to some—should remind us that ignorance and misinformation are not just facts of life; they are often also the result of fully conscious decisions by political elites who would like to protect and extend their interests. Americans are polarized and often treat their fellow citizens as “civic enemies” not because democracy has an inherently “gladiatorial” nature and brings out the worst in us; nor is it because the country is naturally divided into red states and blue states. Polarization is a project that confers great political and economic benefits; unreasonableness can be big business. Gerrymandering, doing away with the Fairness Doctrine in the media, and inviting Alex Jones on prime-time TV are not choices dictated by democracy as such. The Nation. Instead of blaming the people for their irrationality, we might ask instead about the “leadership” of a figure like David Cameron, who called a referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union purely to pacify critics in his own party. Rather than citing endless statistics about how shockingly little Americans know about politics, we might also wonder about the “responsibility” of a figure like Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, who can reshape the entire political game by deciding that his own and his party’s interests would be best served by maintaining a state of perpetual conflict, and never cooperation, with the Democrats. True, what pundits have described as a recent, supposedly unstoppable “wave” of populism might confirm the kinds of worries about democracy that Brennan and plenty of journalists articulate. But it’s important to remember that a figure like Nigel Farage, the former leader of the populist UK Independence Party, did not bring about Brexit all by himself; he needed the backing of very established figures from the Conservative Party like Michael Gove. It was Gove, after all, who, in the face of warnings about Brexit by many experts, announced that “the people of this country have had enough of experts.” The irony was that Gove himself clearly spoke with the authority of an expert: He has always been seen as one of the Tories’ most prominent “intellectuals.” It took nothing less than an expert to convince people that claims of expertise are overrated. Trump’s victory, in turn, is not best understood as a “revolt of the masses” driven primarily by an undereducated, racist white working class. Rather, it was a triumph of hyperpartisanship: Trump needed the blessing of not-exactly-grassroots populist figures like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, and former House speaker Newt Gingrich. When the latter told a CNN anchor last summer that he didn’t trust statistics on crime but believed instead in what people felt, he did the same trick that Gove had performed in the UK: Whatever else one thinks about Gingrich, he is considered an intellectual of sorts among American conservatives. So, as in Britain, it took an established expert to devalue the 33 importance of expertise. Once Trump had the blessing of Republican heavyweights, he became, above all else, the candidate of a very established party—and 90 percent of self-identified Republicans gave him their vote. Moreover, many of them explicitly registered their doubts about the candidate’s competence—but in a Mitch McConnell–esque world in which one side refuses to recognize the other side’s legitimacy, it was inconceivable for these voters to cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton. The issue is not so much that, as Brennan puts it, hating is fun, and more that once the deed of demonization has been done, it is difficult to undo in citizens’ minds. Democratic politics can be an unsightly spectacle. Even idealists will sometimes be tempted to agree that the best argument against it is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. But it isn’t an accident that democracy is also the system that provides the most room for freedom, however imperfectly, and does the best job of protecting basic rights. As the economist Amartya Sen famously demonstrated, democracy is the regime that avoids famines; and as the political philosopher Thomas Christiano has emphasized, democratic institutions still offer the best means for the most vulnerable members of the population to secure and advance their interests. Above all, when things really go wrong, democracy is the system that allows people to throw the bastards out—and contrary to Brennan’s suggestion, “knowing whether the bastards are doing a bad job” doesn’t require “a tremendous amount of social scientific knowledge.” As the political scientist Martin Gilens has observed, many voters have a good enough sense of how specific politicians have performed and, in fact, are able to pay attention to the cues that elected officials—as well as pundits and rival candidates—offer them. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the problems identified by Brennan are entirely fictitious; but many of them have more to do with the conduct of particular elites than they do with an ignorant or uneducated demos. Giving already powerful people even more power by restricting the influence of the most vulnerable seems an odd way of adQ dressing them. 34 October 9, 2017 The Nation. minorities in a world in which bureaucrats and prosecutors would be making the decisions about what passes); but as it does, so it also reveals a considerable deficiency in how free speech is viewed today. It would be hard to grasp from this volume that free speech has been a vital tool for progressive social change, including all movements for equality. After reading this book, one is struck by how little the lines of argument have changed—as well as by the fear that Abrams, despite an honorable and accomplished career, may be part of the problem. IN FREE-SPEECH TERRITORY Capitol Hill, 2016. The use and abuse of the First Amendment by GARA LAMARCHE F loyd Abrams has been perhaps the most prominent individual defender of the First Amendment in the United States, both in the courts and in numerous books and articles, particularly since he represented The New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case in 1971. That’s a very long run. Abrams is still at it in his short new book, The Soul of the First Amendment. It’s an effort, at a time when he believes the First Amendment is under assault from various quarters, to distill the leading arguments from his career, and it covers tensions between free speech and attempts to regulate money in politics—Abrams represented then–Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell in the Citizens United case, which opened the floodgates of dark-money spending in elections— and hate speech, and to protect privacy and national security. Each of these debates is important to have, and Abrams’s chapters on them, taken toGara LaMarche is president of the Democracy Alliance. The Soul of the First Amendment Why Freedom of Speech Matters By Floyd Abrams Yale University Press. 176 pp. $26 gether, form a larger argument about free speech: a kind of First Amendment fundamentalism that only cursorily acknowledges the countervailing concerns—indeed, at times, real harms—of racial intimidation or digital attacks on privacy and reputation, and that is now under strain from a number of progressive activists appalled at the ACLU’s defense of the neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville. But Abrams’s way of engaging the subject leaves one feeling that it’s past time to shake up First Amendment discourse. The Soul of the First Amendment makes all the standard absolutist arguments that any possible gain from regulation of speech is outweighed by its harms (arguments I happen to agree with, despite my concern about the real wounds that speech can sometimes inflict, as I have yet to encounter a regulatory scheme that wouldn’t backfire against political, racial, and religious AP / BILL CLARK A brams is a big believer in the American approach to free-speech rights. He also sees threats to their exceptional nature from many quarters. It is perhaps for this reason, in an odd echo of the Trump administration, that Abrams saves his greatest fire for two targets: Europe and the left. Among the things he notes that have bothered him and provoked his new book: His young son was turned away from a British cruise-ship screening of All the President’s Men some years ago because of the movie’s profanity; Belgium and England penalize anti-Islamic leaflets and posters; and in Finland and Germany, legal actions were taken by politicians and royalty to protect the privacy of their relationships and families. To his credit, Abrams concedes that “one could hardly argue that Canada, whose approach to [free speech] is in many ways similar to that of democratic Europe, suffers under a yoke of repression as a result.” Nevertheless, he spends many pages of a short book focusing on what he sees as insufficient protection for free speech in other Western democracies. Most of Abrams’s arguments with European free-speech practice and with the left’s greater concern about the effects of hate speech on communities of color and women rely on little evidence and few empirical studies; they are primarily anecdotal in nature. I understand that principle lies at the core of the debates, and it should. But it’s worth asking, and studying, what the relationship is, if any, between the way a society regulates some aspects of speech—slander and libel; racist and sexist utterances and writings; privacy; spending on election campaigns—and how robust its political debate actually is. These are questions not just of principle, but of social science and empirical analysis. I see no signs that political discourse in, say, France and the Netherlands is more crabbed and tame, as Abrams might have us believe, just because it is in some ways at least slightly more fettered than in the United States. Some argue that free speech serves as a October 9, 2017 valve to let off toxins that would otherwise find their way into violence. But America, with its wide-open approach to hate speech, has a steady flow of racist and homophobic violence, not to mention sexual assault in a society where the most virulent forms of misogynist pornography are a click away on the Internet. Others think that curbing virulent forms of speech fosters tolerance and community, yet some Islamic communities in Europe, where you can be penalized for denigrating race and religion, nevertheless often seethe with resentment in ways rarely seen in America—though Trump is doing his best to catch up on that score. So it’s hard to draw a connection between the prevalence of hate speech and violence and whether a society restricts or tolerates it. As Abrams does not tire of pointing out, from rejecting limits on speech offensive to minorities to allowing virtually untrammeled spending in elections, the United States is out of step with virtually all of our fellow democracies—a “weirdo” outlier, as Duke law professor Stuart Benjamin put it on a recent panel at Yale. But there are also signs of considerable slippage for First Amendment rights as traditionally construed in the United States, where a recent Pew Research Center poll registered 40 percent approval among millennials for the proposition that “government should be able to prevent people” from making offensive statements about minorities. Abrams and his generation of First Amendment scholars and advocates have had a significant effect on law and attitudes regarding free speech, often quite positive. But at the same time, since they have dominated contemporary First Amendment discourse for decades, they have entrenched the notion that it has gotten in the way of race and gender equality and fair elections, and made way for the diminishing zone of privacy. This accounts for why the First Amendment has enjoyed, over time, support from the right as well as the left. Indeed, the right is increasingly coming to “own” the free-speech territory once held by progressives, since the left keeps falling for the bait that bigots like Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter set out in daring it to block their campus appearances and confer on them the status of victims. But it’s also because so many free-speech advocates have failed for years to make an affirmative case for the First Amendment, not just as a set of ground rules but as an essential element of advancing social justice. Free speech to the early ACLU activists nearly 100 years ago—a diverse assortment of lawyers, professors, and labor, religious, and cultural leaders—was a vital tool for standing in solidarity with social movements and The Nation. advancing a progressive society. Indeed, the ACLU’s first annual report decried “an array of city ordinances and police regulations restricting free speech and assemblage” and declared that “behind this machinery stand the property interests of the country, so completely in control of our political life as to establish what is in effect a class government—a government by and for business.” It could be a tool for the right as well, and long before (in one of many harbingers of its current stance) the ACLU stood up for the rights of neo-Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois, in the 1970s, the organization found itself defending the German-American Bund. But given its founding by a group of activists involved in antiwar and left activism—including Crystal Eastman and Roger Baldwin—the ACLU was primarily allied with left-wing causes, and most of its early clients were people like textile workers, coal miners, anti-fascist organizers, and birth-control pamphleteers. I t’s this spirit of unapologetic First Amendment defense—entwined with movements for equality and social justice—that is missing today, in particular among many free-speech lawyers. Without it, there could be no Movement for Black Lives, no Dreamers, no Fight for $15, no Occupy Wall Street, no vibrant resistance movement to the right’s near-hegemonic takeover of the federal government and more than 30 states and its efforts to reestablish a “class government”—and yet you would hardly know it from the way that it’s often written about. Infused with the spirit of a quote Abrams uses from the late Saturday Review editor Norman Cousins that “the one word most expressive of democracy is ‘no,’” Abrams’s book is a good example of this obstinacy. While he acknowledges that there is “no doubt that a price is paid, sometimes a serious one,” for adherence to the First Amendment, what that price is, and who is paying it, is largely missing from these pages. If you’re a woman or person of color feeling threatened by a climate in which racist and sexist speech has been made mainstream by the president of the United States—and with pervasive and frightening ripples through the rest of society, seen in Charlottesville and coming soon to a city near you—just toughen up and be thankful for the founding fathers. If you think the Koch brothers and their many counterparts around the country are undermining the spirit of democracy, roll up your sleeves and go to Washington (or Albany or Sacramento) like Mr. Smith. For a more thoughtful weighing by free-speech advocates of the competing interests at stake, and of the real-world impact of free-speech guarantees, you’d be better off 35 spending some time with Timothy Garton Ash’s Free Speech or David Cole’s Engines of Liberty, both published last year. The limits of Abrams’s book are largely a matter of tone, not policy. But where campaign-finance reform is concerned, the problem is one of substance. In his discussion of it, he points to the fact that Donald Trump was outspent by Hillary Clinton, but no fair assessment of the power of money in politics should look only at the presidential election. In fact, the most striking disparity, as a new paper by Rob Stein and Felicia Wong points out, is at the state level, where, thanks to years of investments by the Koch network and others, the right’s control of state offices is at its greatest point since 1928. (Progressives were focused elsewhere and are playing catch-up only now.) Citing Bernie Sanders, Abrams concedes that money matters enormously in political campaigns, and that the vast income disparity in the nation inevitably favors the wealthy. But his response expects progressives to counter what the 1920s ACLU rightly called “class government” on a wildly skewed playing field: “Without limiting First Amendment rights, Congress and state legislatures may adopt the widest range of legislation to deal with income inequality ranging from higher taxes on the wealthy to higher minimum wages for the least prosperous. Problems of low voter turnout might be dealt with by legislative measures aimed at making it easier to vote….” That sounds nice, but it ignores the fact that money isn’t thrown around only in elections, but in lobbying too. According to Stein and Wong, since 2005, over 75 percent of all the money for federal lobbying has been spent on behalf of conservative causes. There’s a reason why the right spends so much money on state elections and lobbying: Its priority is to preserve its skewed advantage through gerrymandering and voter-suppression laws. When local governments, usually much more blue than states as a whole, dare to pass a minimum-wage, tax, or environmental law, state legislatures often move to override them. Justifying unregulated campaign and lobbying spending as free speech undermines the capacity of the majority of people to control their own government and has contributed mightily to the revulsion with a “rigged” system that Donald Trump was able to exploit in his campaign. Abrams does a good job of channeling the brain of the First Amendment. But its soul—the passionate, messy business of using its guarantees to forge a more just world—is what is missing from these pages. It’s up to those in the coming generation to Q breathe new life into it. BOOK RATS The Milstein Reading Room, New York Public Library. Ex Libris: The New York Public Library and Rat Film I October 9, 2017 The Nation. by STUART KLAWANS f you think of great libraries as archives of the human condition, maintained to preserve everything we’ve thought and done, then you’d figure Frederick Wiseman would eventually make a film about the New York Public Library. He, too, carries the totalizing virus. Over the course of a 50-year career, Wiseman has sought to capture the living essence of an entire world’s worth of institutions—from madhouses and wards for the terminally ill to great theater companies, universities, and ballet schools; from welfare offices, zoos, and meatpacking plants to nuclear-weapons training facilities, art museums, state legislatures, and Central Park. At his most optimistic, he turns his attention to towns or neighborhoods where he sees multiple forces interacting for the common good: in Belfast, Maine, or the Jackson Heights section of Queens, New York. At his most scathing—in Public Housing, for example—the institutions he studies seem almost deliberately constructed to make people fall apart. Look at libraries differently, though—as providers of services to the urban masses— and it will seem just as inevitable that Wiseman would get around to them. He, too, is an agent of social change. The title of “muckraker” is, of course, too simple for him, despite the scandal of his first films: Titicut Follies (1967), which the State of Massachusetts tried to ban from public view, and High School (1968), which, in the words of one reviewer, showed the systematic conversion of “warm, breathing teenagers” into “fortyyear-old mental eunuchs.” Still, just as an activist streak runs through the branches of the New York Public Library, so too does it animate all but Wiseman’s most contemplative works. He is, famously, an observational filmmaker, who refuses to conduct interviews, add explanatory texts or voiceovers to the image, layer extraneous music onto his scenes, or even provide a caption to tell you who’s talking. You get nothing except what you would have seen and heard if you’d been present with him when the action was happening. And yet, through his choice of what material to show and how to sequence it, he often constructs implicit arguments that address not so much the arrogance of power as its mindless, grinding indifference. These implied polemics are all the more persuasive for seeming to emerge from the evidence before you. In his 42nd film, Ex Libris: The New York Public Library, which receives its theatrical premiere in September at Film Forum in New York, Wiseman looks at his subject from both his Olympian and activist perspectives, and with attention to both major aspects of the NYPL’s mission: a center for scholarship and a resource for the city’s poor, ill-schooled, and homeless. Following an organizing scheme he’s used before, Wiseman bounces back and forth in his scenes between the marble palace on Fifth Avenue and a scattering of humble branch libraries in the Bronx and Harlem; public events and back-of-the-house labor; executives planning the system’s future and ordinary people using what the NYPL offers. Pay attention to context and do a little Internet research, and you can find out that the uncaptioned decision makers overheard in their deliberations are NYPL president Tony Marx, chief library officer Mary Lee Kennedy (who has moved on since the film was shot), chief operating officer Iris Weinshall, and vice president for government and community affairs George Mihaltses. I identify them here to make the point that Wiseman had access to serious people talking about critical issues. He also had access to many anonymous members of the rank and file to whom these leaders are responsible, including toddlers singing “Old MacDonald” at story time, kids doing homework and building robots after school, a researcher combing through Timothy Leary’s correspondence in the manuscript room, career-seekers at a jobs fair, and an elderly woman in Chinatown learning to use a computer. Negotiating between these two groups, and sparking the movie to emotional life, are the heroes of Ex Libris: librarians. Some of them come before you as marvels of patience and dry humor. A reference librarian on the phone desk calmly informs a caller that unicorns are actually imaginary; an after-school-program librarian in the Bronx advises a kid, “If you’re holding onto the robot to make it stop moving, then that means you need to change something on the computer.” Others are bearers of infectious enthusiasm. They boast to visiting students that in the picture collection, you can look up subjects such as “dogs in action”; they proudly show off an Albrecht Dürer print of a rhinoceros, while explaining that in the early 16th century, this treasured item was a kind of newspaper. Most crucially for the tone of Ex Libris, the librarians offer care and warmth, whether they’re doling out picture books to the schoolkids who squirm around them or distributing Wi-Fi boxes, with a sincere “Congratulations,” to a line of West Harlem residents who have qualified for the free rental. I pause to note that Wiseman could have put other librarians on the screen had he wanted to—the ones, for example, who have kept me waiting 40 minutes for a book that turned out to have gone missing, and then tossed back the call slip as if they were flipping the bird. But they wouldn’t have suited the theme he has in mind for Ex Libris. M ore a collage artist than an investigative reporter, more a phenomenologist than a historian, Wiseman has given a much different treatment of the NYPL than you would find, say, in Scott Sherman’s book Patience COURTESY OF ZIPPORAH FILMS 36 October 9, 2017 and Fortitude (written in part for The Nation, and published in 2015 just before Ex Libris went into production). Wiseman is interested in librarians as wonderful people—as comfortable making an impromptu translation from Middle English (while denying that they’re good at it) as they are teaching a blind person to read Braille, or directing a woman to copies of steamship manifests so she can trace her family’s arrival in America. He has edited Ex Libris to suggest two broad questions about these multitalented public servants: How does the NYPL keep the librarians working? And what is the broader meaning of what they do? The answer to the first question comes in the scenes of library president Marx and his executive crew and can be summed up in one word: money. Ex Libris is in some ways an essay on fund-raising, or (to be more precise) the interplay between public allocations and private philanthropy. The first time you see Marx, he’s giving a talk on this subject to library supporters, using the example of the NYPL’s digital-access initiative to illustrate how donations pouring in from one source can uncork funds from the other. The last time you see him—some three hours later in the film’s running time—he’s in his conference room, planning how to keep the money flowing toward the NYPL in the city government’s next budget. The challenge, he says, is to match the language of solicitations to the NYPL’s goals. The big, simple message for donors must somehow reflect the priorities the library has set for meeting the public’s needs. You hear a lot in the conference room about those needs in their immediate and practical form. The agenda includes providing a reasonable degree of daytime shelter for people who live on the streets (“The library is a place where we don’t keep our distance from the homeless,” Marx tells his colleagues), making up for deferred maintenance in the branches, and balancing the money spent on books that the general public wants today with the cost of books that will be useful in the future. But the larger meaning of the institution’s role emerges elsewhere: in scenes of the library’s public programs of interviews, lectures, and discussions. Here again Wiseman had a wide choice of moments to include. He selected those that suggest the most radical agenda. Ex Libris begins with a long excerpt from a book talk with the scientist and secularist Richard Dawkins. (All excerpts from the public programs are long. Wiseman, as usual, is in no hurry in this film; he believes ideas need time to develop.) Calling for nonreligious 37 The Nation. people to make themselves heard, Dawkins insists that some ideas are simply not true— the theories of young-earth believers, for example—and must be labeled as such. As for the supposed absence of awe and wonder from atheists’ lives, he says that nothing could be more moving than to contemplate the reality of a living cell, in all its stupefying complexity. And so, by borrowing Dawkins’s words, Wiseman suggests the terms that will describe the NYPL through the rest of the movie. The institution is thrilling in its complexity and resolute in its service to the truth. The complexity of the library’s operations is, of course, seen everywhere in Ex Libris. But when it comes to the issue of propagating the truth, Wiseman has decided to focus on one fact among all the others that the library addresses: the continuing legacy of slavery. By the time Ex Libris is over, you’ve heard about opposition to the slave trade by 17thcentury Muslim clerics in Africa and the defense of slavery by writers in the antebellum South. You’ve listened to Ta-Nehisi Coates talk about his family’s reverence for Malcolm X, and have sat in on a discussion held in a tiny branch library between Khalil Gibran Muhammad (at the time director of the NYPL’s Schomburg Center, and a current member of The Nation’s editorial board) and people outraged over McGraw-Hill’s whitewashing of slavery in recent textbooks. When you see a performing-arts workshop on sign-language interpretation for the deaf, the text being used for illustration is the Declaration of Independence. When you peek into a meeting of the board of trustees, Kwame Anthony Appiah is giving a presentation about the works of Phillis Wheatley. For Wiseman, this is where the scholarly and social missions of the library intersect: in speaking the truth about slavery and its aftermath, while providing services in many neighborhoods where people still bear the marks of slavery’s more obvious burdens. He gives a very fine-grained picture of the library in this dual role, neither ignoring the day-to-day operations of the NYPL system nor neglecting the beauty and delight of its collections and magnificent main building. There is so much beauty and delight in Ex Libris, in fact, and so much vivid personality in all the people, that a lackadaisical viewer could be excused for summing up the film as a loving tribute. So it is, I suppose. But even at age 87, there is nothing lackadaisical about Wiseman. The sly old wizard constructs a top hat right before your eyes—and then, while you’re admiring its sheen, pulls out a 500-year-old rabbit. T heo Anthony was born in 1989, about 60 years after Frederick Wiseman came into the world, and until recently had made only a few short documentaries. You wouldn’t want to curse him with high expectations for his first feature-length documentary, especially when he’s given it the sure-to-please title Rat Film. But the deliberately strange essay he’s composed—on what you might call the natural history of racism—is so inventive and, appropriately, so biting that he’ll have to get used to being praised. Unlike Wiseman, Anthony revels in voiceovers, soundtrack music, informative text overlays, and on-camera interviews, especially when they come at you from unexpected angles. Before you can get your bearings in Rat Film, a voice has recited a series of mockacademic titles (“Presentation of a Video Game,” “Explanation of an Experiment”); the exhaust-pipe flames of a drag racer have erupted in slow motion; a string quartet has played something inappropriately meditative; and the head of a snake has briefly ventured across a corner of the screen. Meanwhile, the ostensible subject of this documentary—rats in Baltimore—has not yet come into focus. Fuzzy video, shot in an alley at night, looks down at a rat trapped in a garbage can. The average Norway rat, the mock-academic voice informs you, can jump 32 inches, whereas the regulation height of a Baltimore garbage can is 34. (Is this true? I don’t know.) At last the picture sharpens, and you see the rat clearly, its eyes shining furiously in the dark. Having unbalanced you, Anthony proceeds to go backward in time and simultaneously outward into Baltimore’s neighborhoods. Backward: to a history of city ordinances, housing covenants, and bank-loan policies that confined African Americans to wretched slums; to the declaration, during World War II, of a war on rats, conducted with poison in these same slums; and to the writings of a prominent Johns Hopkins scientist who didn’t draw much of a distinction between the rats and the slum dwellers. Outward: to the backyards and alleyways today where some Baltimore residents hunt rats for sport (with tools including blowguns and a rod-and-reel), and where a chatty, philosophical pest-control officer makes his rounds. Baltimore has never had a rat problem, he declares; it has always been a people problem. He likes rats—they put food on his table. Rat Film is a movie for people who feel that the world we’ve made is so unbelievably outrageous that it can best be conveyed in a scramble. Viewers who demand a point-bypoint exposition will not be happy. The rest of Q us can hang on for the ride. 38 October 9, 2017 The Nation. Puzzle No. 3442 JOSHUA KOSMAN AND HENRI PICCIOTTO 1`2`~34`5`6`7`8 `~`~9~`~`~`~`~` 0````````~-```` `~`~`~`~`~`~`~` =```````~q````` `~~~`~`~~~`~`~~ w`e``~r`t`````y `~`~~~`~`~~~`~` u```i````~o```` ~~`~`~~~`~`~~~` p`````[~]```\`` `~`~`~`~`~`~`~` a````~s```````` `~`~`~`~`~`~`~` d`````````~f``` ACROSS 28 Family with an open-door policy berates her terribly (5,5) 29 Make a sucking sound, not softly: That’s an insult (4) DOWN 1 Yo, Louganis is smuggling alien in (9) 2 Picture stolen in post office (5) 4 Worsen unmanageable joint control (9) 5 Guy’s partner to perform lines (4) 6 Freedom from pests keeping oxygen out of nose (7) 7 Heard in Sanskrit: “a sizable pan” (9) 8 For example, Nobel Prize ultimately supports Southern link (5) 9 Zip code (6) 15 City vehicle with roof containing uranium (9) 17 Rose, upset both before and after, left—she’s not a good sport (4,5) 18 Finks, standing on the street with you and me, turned around to find Beyoncé or Justin Bieber (9) 20 One sound I hope for: a call from you (7) 1 Stare in hole and see, at last (4) 21 Arab, if mistreated in a nation from 1967 to 1970 (6) 3 Unexpected visitor with a stated objective: Get smoked salmon off the premises? (10) 22 Lure short-term employee at start of training (5) 10 Agitated, exploding: “No to e-mail!” (9) 23 Fictional military man getting up to dance before ball game’s fourth quarter (2,3) 11 Bell curve initially leads that fellow to error (5) 25 That guy with hair product is a philosopher (5) 12 Sip of tea, tea that is like this grid location (3,4) 13 Ask one Las Vegas resident? (6) SOLUTION TO PUZZLE NO. 3441 14 Sane Vermont inhabitant? Not in a million years (5) 16 Losing control? Christ, yes! (9) 19 It could be rough being someone who imitates a stockmarket index? (9) 21 Oil company adopts general replacement for an expletive (5) 22 Shoot bum or tramp in the head, like this grid location (3,5) 24 Hide fumbling Tarheel (7) ACROSS 1 2 defs. 9 RE(F + US)AL 10 M + O IS TEN 11 [l]-OVER-L + Y 12 pun 14 NEGLI (anag.) + GENT 16 [s]ENTRY 17 ORANG[e] 18 I + DENT + I + CAL 20 DU(CT + TA)PE 22 SU(P)ERB (rebus anag.) 25 RAM + PAGE 26 “rapper” 27 letter bank DOWN 1 F OR L OR N 2 hidden 3 INSUL(T)IN + G 4 GAL + A (rev.) 5 H + UMANITIES (anag.) 6 A + LICE 26 Film contest follows standard procedure (5) 7 anag. 8 anag. 13 HEM(IS)P + HERE 27 Fix thirst with jug—what the diagram will be after switching 12 and 22 across (4,5) 17 alternate letters 19 LAB + O.R. + E.R. 15 anag. 16 [l]ENT + OUR AGE 21 TWA + IN 23 final letters 24 “use” FORGINGAHEAD~~~ O~I~N~A~U~L~A~S REFUSAL~MOISTEN L~L~U~A~A~C~H~E OVERLY~UNDERLIE R~~~T~H~I~~~E~Z NEGLIGENT~ENTRY ~~L~N~M~I~N~I~~ ORANG~IDENTICAL L~U~~~S~S~O~~~A DUCTTAPE~SUPERB P~O~W~H~E~R~X~O RAMPAGE~WRAPPER O~A~I~R~E~G~E~E ~~~INTERSTELLAR The Nation (ISSN 0027-8378) is published 34 times a year (four issues in March, April, and October; three issues in January, February, July, and November; and two issues in May, June, August, September, and December) by The Nation Company, LLC © 2017 in the USA by The Nation Company, LLC, 520 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10018; (212) 2095400. 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