Johnny Depp’s Tonto: Hollywood Gets it Wrong But It Still Matters

by Felicia Gustin

Imagine for a moment what the reaction would be if Johnny Depp played the African American sidekick of a white cowboy. In Black face. Folks would pretty much go ballistic, right? What if Depp’s grandmother told him that he had an African American ancestor somewhere back there? Would that make it okay? What if Depp said he wanted to reverse all the negative images of African Americans in cinema? Would that make it okay? What if the producers...

Catherine Tactaquin

Migrants’ Rights & International Solidarity

by Felicia Gustin

International Migrants Day: Interview with Catherine Tactaquin Part 1

December 18th is International Migrants Day, when in 1990 the U.N. General Assembly signed the Migrant Workers Convention, an agreement that establishes the rights of one of the most vulnerable global populations within a framework of human rights. The problem is the only countries that have actually ratified the convention are mostly countries in...

Image created by Heidi Andrea Rhodes

Towards a Real End to War in the 21st Century

by Sarah Lazare

Despite the Memorial Day “celebrations,” claims that the Afghanistan War is coming to an end, and talk of “humanitarian” military deployments to Nigeria, the naked violence of the U.S. role in the world showed through the verbal fog this month. President Obama tried to argue that an indefinite military presence is "how war ends in the 21st century." We argue instead that building movements for rehumanization and solidarity, against U.S....

The Black Self-Protection Society: Rebellion and Resistance on September 11, 1851

by Felicia Gustin

The 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington has brought civil rights struggles past and present into national discourse. And while the country marks the anniversary of September 11th there is another significant event on this date that merits attention as a turning point in the struggle for racial equality.

On September 11, 1851, William Parker (who had escaped from slavery in Maryland), his wife Eliza, and members of the Black...

A Personal Reflection on Wounded Warriors, the Disabled Community and Money

by Jacob Lesner-Buxton

In the spring of 2010, a problem was developing in colleges and universities across California. Without warning, it seemed students with disabilities were being denied accommodations that helped them succeed in school. Under a statute that had been in place for over 35 years, schools were mandated to provide disabled students with services like assistance with taking notes in...

Can Restorative Justice Save Us? A Look at an Alternative to Mass Incarceration

by Felicia Gustin

The statistics are shameful – some 2.3 million people are locked up in the United States, the highest incarceration rate in the world. Of these, a disproportionate number are Black and Brown. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in three Black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime.

For young people of color, the data is especially alarming. According to The Sentencing Project, even though African American...

Thoughts on the Verdict (Trayvon Found Guilty)

by Felicia Gustin

I gain strength from the words of the song: “We who believe in freedom cannot rest, We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes…” But then I remember the words of Native brother John Trudell, that there is a lie in the middle of that word, believe: beLIEve

We know not to believe in the criminal justice system. But we harbored a little bit of hope. Hope gets us every time. Fools us. Lures us. Entices and...

When warriors come home

by Jan Adams

My partner teaches college students about the intersection of ethics with service in the community. Every once in awhile she has newly discharged vets in her class; they often discuss war (she has experience of one). One Iraq vet with whom she developed a friendship urged her to understand:

"If anyone comes back from Iraq or Afghanistan and tells you they are undamaged, don't believe them."

I think Karl Marlantes would agree.


Border Crisis, or Juárez City is Inside Our Closets

by Gary Hicks

by Pilar Rodríguez Aranda (Reposted from here.)

(To read this post in Spanish, scroll down.)

Everyday I read, listen to, and witness the decomposition of our “human” societies, and everyday I become more convinced there will never be a real change if we do not work on the very base of it all: our own self, our family, our neighborhood and our local community. It is there where we find such barbarities that I really don’t...

Anti-War Veterans and Allies in Solidarity with Prison Hunger Strikers in CA

by Sarah Lazare

California prisoners announced the suspension of their most recent hunger strike September 5th, yet the fight to end solitary confinement and other forms of torture, inhumanity, and injustice continues. Meanwhile, the bonds of solidarity built during this struggle with people and organizations around the U.S. and world persist--from Chicago to Palestine.

In this powerful statement of solidarity, Bay Area members of Iraq Veterans...

Assata Shakur

Washington’s Most Wanted Terrorist List: Why Assata? Why Now?

by Felicia Gustin

The FBI’s announcement that it was adding Assata Shakur to its Most Wanted Terrorist List and doubling the bounty for her to $2 million is cause for alarm for the peace and justice movement as a whole. Though Assata has been living in exile in Cuba since 1984, the ramifications of Washington’s recent move are far-reaching and dangerous. Here are some of my thoughts as to the whys in no particular order:

1. ...

“Islamophobia is Part of a Long Colonial and Racist Process:” An Interview with Amer F. Ahmed

by Felicia Gustin

Islamophobia is bred from a culture of fear, misinformation and racism. Our society is rife with examples, especially since 9/11 - from stop and frisk policies directed at Muslims to government surveillance of whole communities; from increased hate crimes to media depictions that fuel the notion that Muslim equals terrorist.

To delve deeper into this topic, War Times spoke with Amer F. Ahmed, one of the country’s...

Trayvon and the Unfinished Business of Civil Rights

by Nathan Paulsen

With the murder of Trayvon Martin, a wake-up call has sounded. A boy like other boys - with family and friends, hopes for the future and a sweet tooth – Trayvon had his one life stolen from him because of the color of his skin. His blackness led him to be suspected, and stalked, and run down trying to escape his pursuer, only to have a bullet tear through his beating heart, the life bled from him in a matter of minutes.

An innocent...

"Teaching About The Wars": New Curriculum from Rethinking Schools

by Felicia Gustin

Jody Sokolower was teaching 9th grade social studies on September 11, 2001. “Progressive teachers at my school and around the country were deeply involved in figuring out how to engage students in critical thinking and social justice issues raised by 9/11,” she pointed out.

“The same was true before the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and then Iraq. We had meetings, we planned curriculum, we talked with students about going to...

What Kind of Ancestors Will We Be?

by Felicia Gustin

I think about the children in Gaza, the children coming across the Mexico - U.S. border, the children without water in Detroit, the children living with violence in Oakland.

I think about what kind of future our children face and what is our responsibility, as adults, to all children, to rid this planet of war and militarism, hatred and inequity. To save this planet.

I think about this poem by Guatemalan revolutionary Otto Rene...

The collected poems of the Affordable Care Act

by Gary Hicks (Originally published in Mother Jones ByTim Murphy)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2010, was an attempt by Democratic lawmakers to reform the health care system by creating an individual mandate to purchase insurance. But since then, the law has morphed into a specter seemingly larger. It is alternatively an abomination and a document worthy of adulation; the death of the Democratic...

Another Day in the Belly of the Beast

by Felicia Gustin

What a day!  The Supreme Courts guts the Voting Rights Act. The Senate is considering the Corker-Hoeven amendment which will require an additional 20,000 border patrol agents, increased drone surveillance, and 700 miles of new border fencing at an estimated cost of $48 billion over 10 years. Texas is moving to eliminate reproductive rights for the women of that fine state while one lone Senator (Wendy Davis) filibusters until midnight to...

Four Reasons Why Torture (Still) Matters

by Rebecca Gordon

1. It’s still happening.

Shortly after his first inauguration in 2009, President Obama issued an executive order forbidding torture and closing the CIA’s so-called “black sites.” But the order didn’t end “extraordinary rendition” – the practice of sending prisoners to other countries to be tortured. (This is actually illegal under the U.N. Convention against...

Teachable Moments: From the Manning Verdict to the March on Washington

by Felicia Gustin

Last night I dreamt that Chelsea was my daughter. Chelsea who was Bradley who was just sentenced to 35 years in prison. It was one of those wandering about, helpless, lost, not knowing what to do dreams. Kind of like how I had been feeling about the whole situation while awake.

Chelsea is just 3 years older than my actual daughter. As a parent, life is filled with teachable moments. As a parent and social justice activist, those...

Naming Names and Thoughts on Why "They" Might "Hate" Us

by Felicia Gustin

“We can be going about our lives - good and decent people. And this is the nature of terrorism. We don’t do anything to provoke them. They simply hate us for who we are and our way of life.”  — Nicolle Wallace, political commentator speaking on the Katie Couric Show, April 17, 2013

The Boston Marathon bombing was a horrific event that has touched people’s lives well beyond that city. The families of...

Ebola virus particles

Resisting the Fear Machine

by Rebecca Gordon

Like many people around the world, four-star Marine General John Kelley is really worried about Ebola.

But he’s not worried about the more than 4,000 people who have died of the disease in western Africa. And he’s only tangentially worried about people dying in this country. What is the real threat Ebola presents to the United States, according to Kelly? Increased immigration.

On October 9, 2014, reported that for...

The Government Shutdown: "The Reign of Morons" and Other Commentaries

by Felicia Gustin

This has never been about Republicans fearing that the Affordable Health Care Act would hurt the people of this country. If they really thought that, they’d let it go into affect without a whimper and when it failed, they could say, “See? We told you so!” No, this was about fearing its success. It’s also about political extremism. And racism.  

So on day one of the government shutdown, many of us are carrying on with our lives, unsure...

Looting Not Neoliberalism: A Review of The Predator State

by Lynn Koh

A review of James K. Galbraith's The Predator State.  

I was born the year of Reagan’s inauguration. The PATCO workers went on strike before I was three months old, and it’s been mostly downhill into darkness since then. Those three decades - the years of the Reagan Revolution, Clinton‘s Third Way, and the Global War on Everything - are now widely described as the era of neoliberalism.  Although the neoliberal project is most commonly...

Earth Day Means Let’s Undermine Empire

by Clare Bayard

By Clare Bayard

The month of April contains Earth Day, in that way that we often designate a month to contain concepts of year-round importance (see: Black History Month).  Earth Day is not unconnected to the predations of empires. Empire-building has always required disrupting people’s relationships with their land and ability to self-sustain. A few of April’s developments in struggles for land, survival, and democracy follow.


Hard Road to the Promised Land

by Francesca Fiorentini

“I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.”

–Martin Luther King Jr., speaking at a Memphis garbage workers strike the night before he was assassinated

In part two of this special two-part Month in Review marking this column's 100th installment, Francesca Fiorentini...

From symphony musicians to the predator state

by Lynn Koh

A society cannibalizing itself: symphony musicians kicked to the curb, school closings hitting Black and brown communities in Philadelphia (23 schools) and Chicago (54 schools), the overthrow of democratic governance in Detroit, attacks on civil servants in nearly every state.  I had promised an explanation of why these scenes may be symptoms of imperial decay.  Here it is.[1]


If you think...

Tea Party Digs In As U.S. Global Power Declines

by John Trinkl

Washington's Wars and Occupations:
Month in Review #102/October 31,

John Trinkl gauges the impact of the government shutdown and the blowback against NSA spying on Washington's international clout, while highlighting the dangers that the racist Tea Party agenda holds for progressives and the 99%.

The U.S. ship of state took some serious blows during the month of October.