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From Asian America, with love

We are living in a time of deep division and manifold crises – a crisis of democracy, a climate crisis, an economic crisis, a crisis of state and political violence, and a COVID crisis that has stolen over 220,000 souls in the United States and over 1 million worldwide. We are also living in a time of mass uprising to demand an end to racism and to realize America’s aspiration of inclusive, multiracial democracy. Tens of millions of people in the United States have participated in peaceful protests against the widespread abuse of power on the part of police in … Read more “From Asian America, with love”

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White Supremacy as the Form of North American Capitalism

When it comes to thinking about race and human rights, I’m obsessed. You’ve probably noticed that. But what might be less obvious (or, who knows, maybe more obvious) is that the pandemic has put my obsession on blast. Case in point, I was up at 5:30 today, eventually landed at my desk, and there I saw that a long-time human rights activist I know from Portland had asked me a question via direct messenger.

By then it was 3:30am in Portland, but when I answered, she was awake. Good to know there are other people as obsessed as me. And … Read more “White Supremacy as the Form of North American Capitalism”

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In Defense of Strategy and Against Property Damage…For Now

There’s a debate being waged over protest tactics, with the side in support of escalating tactics, or at least of not standing in the way of escalation, making their case along the lines of this article, In Defense of Property Damage, published in The Nation. The debate is largely academic in the sense that it addresses questions of theory and principle, not strategy and tactics in the context of specific struggles. What’s the difference and what does it mean in regard to how we answer the question, how far should we escalate tactics before we go too far?
Read more “In Defense of Strategy and Against Property Damage…For Now”
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Demonization and Authoritarianism

Demonization has been a central concern of mine as it is, I think, what the path to authoritarianism is paved with whether the demonizers are on the right or the left. It is one of the temptations that lead us down the slippery slope toward repression, state violence, and more. Why?

First, because demonization animates hyper-nationalism as nationalisms are fundamentally xenophobic, clarified in opposition to perceived enemies. And, very importantly, demonization also favors the right in the U.S., as far right movements lean into historical bigotries in order to build on the nationalist impulse and suggest that exclusion on the … Read more “Demonization and Authoritarianism”

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Culture versus Cancel Culture?

I’ve been asked a number of times now to write something about the cancel culture, that Harper’s letter (do I need to say more?), and what it all means by certain left wing(ish) publications. People ask me, is it McCarthyism? Or, are the people who are criticizing cancel culture just protecting an unregulated marketplace of ideas in which they’re the deciders when it comes to what can and can’t be said in certain venues by trying to cancel those who might cancel them?

I’ve remained silent basically because the debate seems to hinge on ideas that I think are far … Read more “Culture versus Cancel Culture?”

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Antisemitism Is Racism

I believe that the reason that so many progressives, including racial justice progressives, don’t understand the threat of antisemitism and even, really, that antisemitism is in fact racism!!! is that we understand racism wrong, or at least incompletely. Here’s what I mean.

U.S. residents, for the most part, think of racism in terms of effects – impoverishment, incarceration rates, etc., – and not in terms of root causes like economic exploitation and the gathering and consolidation of power. When considered in those terms, any group can be targeted if enough pressure is exerted by a competing and, especially, dominant group. … Read more “Antisemitism Is Racism”

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On 50th anniversary of MLK assassination, ICE deports Khmer refugees to Cambodia

By Sina Sam* and Soya Jung

Today, the United States is scheduled to deport 43 Khmer refugees on a flight from El Paso, Texas to Cambodia. Some reportedly have significant mental and physical disabilities. The fact that these deportations are taking place today, on the 50th anniversary of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee, is a cruel irony. King’s assassination came exactly one year after delivering his Beyond Vietnam speech at Riverside Church in New York City, in which he methodically traced connections between the U.S. war in Southeast Asia, and entrenched poverty and racism … Read more “On 50th anniversary of MLK assassination, ICE deports Khmer refugees to Cambodia”

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Twenty-Five Years after Sa-I-Gu: Multiracial Politics in Times of Crisis

 

This is a transcript of a panel discussion that ChangeLab convened at last year’s Association of Asian American Studies (AAAS) Conference in Portland, OR. It was first published in Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Studies, Volume 4, no. 2 (Fall 2017) and is republished here with permission.

Soya: Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us. My name is Soya Jung, and I’m a senior partner at ChangeLab, which is a racial justice experimental think tank that studies how demographic change, neoliberalism, and the rise of right-wing movements are affecting racial politics, with a special focus … Read more “Twenty-Five Years after Sa-I-Gu: Multiracial Politics in Times of Crisis”

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Put Some Knowledge in Your Pocket!

ChangeLab is grateful to our comrades at If You Don’t They Will for creating this awesome portable resource for understanding and defeating white nationalism. Download it, print it double-sided, and fold it into a pocket-sized guide!

If You Don’t They Will is a collaboration that provides concrete and creative tools to counter white nationalism through a cultural lens. For more information, contact them at ifyoudonttheywill@riseup.net
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Navigating the Pro-Democracy and Antiracist Struggle Ahead

 

These are volatile times, rife with both grave dangers and progressive possibilities. ​

To help prepare for the long pro-democracy and antiracist struggle ahead of us, ChangeLab is sharing this small downloadable/printable discussion guide, written by Scot Nakagawa and Suzanne Pharr. We hope it’s useful.

Stay tuned for more tools and resources, and please give us your feedback and thoughts in the comments. Hearts open, fists up!