Showing posts with label LGBTQ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LGBTQ. Show all posts

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Interview on "The Radical Imagination"

Last week, I sat down with Jim Vrettos for The Radical Imagination on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network. We had an hour-long conversation about policing, pedagogy, and antifa. Watch it in full below.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The ‘alt-right’ is an unstable coalition – with one thing holding it together

In the aftermath of Charlottesville, the Associated Press (AP) has updated its style guide to change the standard usage of the term ‘alt-right’. The guide, widely followed across the US media, first added the term in November of last year, after Donald Trump won the presidential election, revealing the alt-right to be more than an electoral flash in the pan.

The update added anti-Semitism to the original definition. It now reads:

‘A political grouping or tendency mixing racism, white nationalism, anti-Semitism and populism; a name currently embraced by some white supremacists and white nationalists to refer to themselves and their ideology, which emphasizes preserving and protecting the white race in the United States.’
Both the original and updated AP definitions resemble early attempts to explain fascism in the decades following the second world war. Like the style guide versions, early writers focused attention on regime or movement attributes. This approach, often employing lists of various sizes, proved either too inclusive, or not inclusive enough.

Continue reading at Red Pepper

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Political Economy of Fascism Syllabus

In the wake of the election of an outright racist, sexist homophobe, now seems as good a time as any to debut my Political Economy of Fascism syllabus. This course is designed to take students through the complex of political theories that were grafted together in the early 20th century to become the doctrine of fascism. After familiarizing students with the historical developments leading to fascism, the basic principles of fascist thought are explored.

Given the compelling nature of fascist anti-rationalism, students are provided critical texts to disabuse them of the rabbit holes that fascism builds to pull people in. Instructors using this syllabus are strongly encouraged not to take this lightly. As per the syllabus, students should be instructed to do secondary source readings and debrief readings before reading the primary source (fascist) texts. Please instruct students that if they do not intend to do the secondary source and debrief readings, they should not dip into the primary source texts.

You can download the syllabus as a PDF using the Dropbox link here

The readings are separated by week in this Dropbox folder along with a text list of readings accessible online here

Instructors feel free to use this syllabus and reading list, but please let me know in the comments below. If you would like to modify the syllabus, I would be happy to provide the source LaTeX file the syllabus was written in.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Community Post on Feministing: Kinda Forget; Maybe Again

A little over a week ago, a piece of mine appeared on Feministing. In it, I review Donald Trump's habit of offending everyone...well, almost everyone. While he has no problem offending various ethnic groups and women, Trump is very hesitant to rebuke his more radical followers:

When pressed about his endorsement from David Duke, Trump gave only a lukewarm repudiation, doing so “if it would make you feel better.” When asked of his opinion on his name being invoked in a racist beating, he remarked, “the people who are following me are very passionate.” When asked when the US is going to get rid of Muslims, Trump responded, “We’re going to be looking at that and plenty of other things.”
Read the rest here

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Workers, Women, and Revolution: From Inequality to Solidarity

Today, I published a recap of Julie Matthaei's excellent talk at the New School for Social Research last Tuesday. You can read the whole thing at the New School Economic Review. Here's a sample:

In 1973, the URPE women founded a Marxist-feminist reading group which due to growing interest over the years blossomed into multiple reading groups. Some of the early selections were Women and Revolution by Lydia Sargent and Capitalist Patriarchy and the Case for Socialist Feminism edited by Zillah R. Eisenstein. The groups investigated complex questions such as "What is the relationship between capitalism and patriarchy?" since on the one hand capitalism appeared to break down certain "traditional" gender roles but on the other hand led to the increasing proletarianization of women without providing much accommodation for their needs as women. Additionally, these reading groups discussed whether women's liberation could be left until after the revolution and whether a concern for women's liberation could stand to divide the working class as so many male socialists at the time asserted. The answer was a resounding no.

Simmering below the surface was the question of "womanhood" itself. It soon became clear that an approach that considered only capitalism and patriarchy was insufficient to explain the experience of women of color and queer women (much less queer women of color). After some internal struggle, complemented by changes in the wider feminist movement, URPE embraced an approach that analyzed the intersections of all sorts of oppression and exploitation. As Matthaei said, they concluded, "There is no universal experience of womanhood."

Read the full article at the New School Economic Review

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sure #LoveWins. Now What?

Now that the institution of marriage -- though perhaps problematic in its own right -- has been successfully challenged on the basis of part of its exclusivity, perhaps now we can move on to issues that materially affect the queer community irrespective of their assimilation into heteromonogamous modes of romance and kinship. The next battles for queer rights will likely be against housing discrimination, healthcare access, and public services for homeless and low income folks. A while back I wrote about the perennial battle against job discrimination:

Even with their libertarian bent, mainstream economists have failed to pick up on studies showing that LGBT discrimination costs the US economy $64 billion each year in turnover costs. Additionally, skilled LGBT workers are being needlessly kept out of jobs that they would otherwise be highly qualified for. Economists refer to this as “opportunity cost.”

But they aren’t referring to it.

They aren’t referring to it despite the fact that the labor market is generally considered the economist’s domain. They aren’t referring to it despite the fact that LGBT workers make up about 8 million of the estimated 130 million US workers. They aren’t referring to it despite the fact that the President has made countless nods to the need to pass this piece of legislation. They aren’t referring to it, despite legal scholars asserting that the protections in place for sex discrimination are insufficient to protect LGBT workers.

Certainly, some commentators on the bill believe that it is once again destined to die in committee. There are certainly others who believe that the right to dignified employment free from harassment and bigotry is merely ideological. Further there are others who are concerned that ENDA will fail to protect those least likely to be given employment protection in the first place: those working for the military, religious institutions, and small businesses. Historically, landmark civil rights legislation has been anything but comprehensive or easy.

Regardless, there is absolutely no excuse for the failure of professional economists to say anything about what may be the first national labor rights victory for the trans* community in the United States.

Read the rest at the New School Economic Review

Friday, May 15, 2015


For the past two days, the Twitter hashtag #BlackChurchSex has been the hub of a very deep and thoughtful conversation around sexual expectations within Black Christian communities. As a white Ashkenazi Jew, I have no place in this conversation, and do not intend to add to it. Rather, I believe that a similar conversation needs to happen about white Christian communities. Unlike the conversation among Black Christians, the white church has the political and financial capital to impose their regressive and oppressive sexual mores on the rest of us. Thus, this conversation must involve all of us.

So let's start:

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Setting the Record Straight

I didn't watch the Bruce Jenner interview. After the backlash from the horrendous questions they asked Janet Mock and Laverne Cox, mainstream media can probably handle a coming-out story.

But they can also stir one up.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

#BoycottIndiana? I Don't Buy It

By now, most major US corporations are fairly well-practiced in the art of Culture WarsTM PR. State-level Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, which give businesses license to discriminate on the basis of the religious convictions of the owners, now exist in over 2/5ths of states. An additional 11 states have standing court decisions implementing similar provisions.

Now that Arkansas has passed an RFRA, large corporations are threatening...well not much yet. But they are writing sternly worded press releases and canceling meetings. Some Indiana-based businesses have discussed slowing expansion.

But let's pretend they go through with it. Angie's list actually does refuse to expand in Indiana. Is this altruism sincere, or just another cynical exercise in pinkwashing? Certainly, in the first instance, businesses will face lower overall profits. But will these lower profits persist? I'm not so sure.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Spoke Too Soon

Last week, I wrote about how no economists seem to want to actually publicly write about queer economic issues. Rajiv Sethi at Barnard proved me wrong.

Rajiv notes that in the wake of the passage of RFRA, certain businesses have begun posting notices that they will serve everyone. Sethi reduces this scenario to a signaling game. He goes through some potential outcomes depending on political demographics of particular areas.

I'm skeptical, however, in the fidelity of this sticker as a signaling device. Sethi poses the mere existence of these stickers anywhere in the state as an impetus for every business to make an active decision as to whether they support or oppose serving queer folks.

While I tend to agree that the adoption of such a sticker sends a clear message, I would never underestimate the ability of conservatives to deny the bigotry that they harbor. To me, it seems unlikely that a refusal to post the sticker in itself will be taken by red-state liberal consumers as a clear rejection of equality.

It's yet to be seen whether any businesses will adopt "Breeders Only" signs. I really hope not.

Friday, March 27, 2015

"No Homo" Economicus

I wrote sometime last year about the blind spot on the part of most economists about queer issues. At the time, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act was languishing in a House Committee.

Thus far, it seems the situation hasn't changed much. Yesterday, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed a "religious freedom" law allowing businesses to refuse service that violates their religious beliefs. It appears in the 21st century, businesses now have not only free speech, but also religious convictions.

Just like in the previous century, state religious freedom laws largely serve to supersede federal non-discrimination laws. Whereas with last century, these laws were largely directed at maintaining the system of racial segregation, nowadays religious freedom means discrimination against the queer community.

There are presently 19 states that have these laws on the books. Despite the fact that such discriminatory measures are almost always rebuked by economists decades after their repeal, economists with a public platform rarely take the opportunity to defend the "free market" so far as it pertains to actual freedom.

Who knows? Maybe they'll start paying attention next week.