Author Archives: Mobilizing Ideas

The Southern Key: Class, Race, and Radicalism in the 1930s & 1940s by Michael Goldfield

BY Barry Eidlin

The U.S. Civil Rights Movement (CRM) from the mid-1950s through the mid-1970s has served as the template for contemporary social movement scholarship. Not only has the movement itself been the most widely studied, but many of the core theoretical concepts, most notably political process theory, either were developed as part of explaining the emergence and development of the CRM, or had the CRM as a key empirical vantage point.

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Perspectives on Power: A Review of ‘The Global Police State’ by William I. Robinson

By Kai Heidemann

As a sociologist working full-time at a Dutch university, I find that my summer readings come in many flavors, which range from pure escapism to essential must reads. My recommendation to social movement scholars for this summer definitely falls in this latter category. “The Global Police State” by William I. Robinson (Pluto Press, 2020) is a relatively small book that addresses some very big questions about contemporary issues of power and repression that are of immediate relevance to social movement scholars and activists alike. Although firmly grounded in critical and neo-Marxian strands of global comparative sociology, this book is intended for a broad audience and packaged as a quick read. I especially recommend this book to scholars who tend to engage in micro-level and cultural analyses of social movements, such as myself, as Robinson’s work does very well to spark some serious macro-sociological thinking about the material and class-based relations of power that contribute to the widespread silencing and subjugation of progressive social movements around the world.

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Simultaneous Battlefields: Containing Threats from Far-Right Extremists and Institutional Conservatives

BY Megan Brooker

The insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021 highlighted the urgency of contending with the far-right forces emboldened by former President Trump. Beyond pressuring Democrats to follow through on progressive promises, the left must also fight simultaneous battles of containment aimed at suppressing both the threat of direct violence posed by far-right extremists and that of indirect violence levied by institutional conservatives via policies that disproportionately harm marginalized communities.

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What’s Next? Public Religion in the United States

BY Evan Stewart

Like many of us, I watched the inauguration last month as both a citizen and a scholar trying to catch a glimpse of what was next. Having just wrapped my undergraduate course “Politics in the Digital Age” (taught over Zoom, poetically), I was eager to see whether my students’ smart observations about media, activism, and policy would come to pass in some of the first major public signals from the new administration.

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Opposing the Qultists: Activism in the post-Truth era

BY Edwin Hodge

I remember the first interview I gave at the beginning of the COVID pandemic. The journalist was with the Canadian Press and looking for a sociologist to comment on the challenges posed by public health orders and isolation in the Canadian context. He wanted to know what the single greatest challenge to people might be; I think he was expecting to hear something about suicide rates, depression, or mental fatigue, so when I answered, “conspiracy theories,” he laughed.

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“Trump may be gone, but the threat to Black lives isn’t. I hope people don’t act like it.”

By Simone N. Durham

“I hate to say it, but I almost think the movement would be better off in the long run if he wins.”

These are words I was shocked to hear come out of my own mouth in a conversation about Trump and the 2020 presidential election in June, 2020. At the time, we were in the midst of the largest wave of #BlackLivesMatter protest since the movement’s emergence in 2013. Both scholars and activists expressed that this wave was unique in its size and power. It propelled BLM to the status of the largest movement in U.S. history. Many argued that this moment marked the start of an unparalleled push for racial justice – one of such magnitude in comparison to past efforts that it could be the tipping point for antiracist activism that would finally lead to real change. But with the election looming and people framing Biden and Harris as the obvious choice (compared to Trump) for those invested in the fight racial justice, I still had concerns about what that outcome might mean for #BlackLivesMatter. Time and time again in interviews I have conducted with Black millennials about the #BlackLivesMatter movement, respondents have expressed a lack of hope for achieving racial equity and eradicating white supremacy in this country. As a sociologist acutely aware of the embedded and structural nature of racism, it’s often hard for me to feel hope for a future free from racism as well. And as the BLM protests of summer 2020 proliferated at the same time as discussions about racial politics and the 2020 election intensified, I found myself at a loss as to what electoral outcome I felt would actually propel the movement and the change it seeks forward to fruition.

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Vol.II What’s Next? Activism and Social Justice in the Aftermath of the Trump Presidency

Despite receiving more than seventy million votes, Donald Trump went down in defeat in November, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are preparing to take over the White House. At this moment, we think it is important for scholars and activists to think about the potential consequences of a Trump defeat for the causes that have brought activists into the streets over the past four years. Since his inauguration in January of 2017, Trump represented an existential threat to social justice for people of color, women, LGBTQ individuals, immigrants, and poor and working class people. At the same time, he emboldened activists and hate group members on the extreme right. We would like to publish essays that give us tools for imagining how activism will change with Trump’s departure, and how activist organizations can repair the damage that Trump has caused while also advancing beyond a return to the pre-Trump status quo.

This month, we have four outstanding contributors. Many thanks for their contributions on this topic:

We also have some other contributors on this topic, please check Vol.I last month.

 

Editors in Chief,

Rory McVeigh, David Ortiz, Grace Yukich and Daisy Verduzco Reyes

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What’s Next? Activism and Social Justice in the Aftermath of the Trump Presidency

Despite receiving more than seventy million votes, Donald Trump went down in defeat in November, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are preparing to take over the White House. At this moment, we think it is important for scholars and activists to think about the potential consequences of a Trump defeat for the causes that have brought activists into the streets over the past four years. Since his inauguration in January of 2017, Trump represented an existential threat to social justice for people of color, women, LGBTQ individuals, immigrants, and poor and working class people. At the same time, he emboldened activists and hate group members on the extreme right. We would like to publish essays that give us tools for imagining how activism will change with Trump’s departure, and how activist organizations can repair the damage that Trump has caused while also advancing beyond a return to the pre-Trump status quo.

This month, we have seven outstanding contributors. Many thanks for their contributions on this topic:

 

Editors in Chief,

Rory McVeigh, David Ortiz, Grace Yukich and Daisy Verduzco Reyes

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Elections Really Matter

BY Edwin Amenta

It is hard to overstate the importance of the recent election results to campaigns for social justice. The defeat of President Donald Trump by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris—plus the Democratic control of Congress—flips the script. Activists who would be hoping at best to delay further negative action from the Trump administration by way of protest may now expect real advances to their causes and missions through governmental action.

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Building Prisms of the People

BY Michelle Oyakawa

It is already very clear that the forces Trump unleashed will not go away just because he lost the 2020 election. Furthermore, the deeply entrenched social problems that Trump exploited and exacerbated are also not going away. Extreme inequality, racism, climate change, and the coronavirus pandemic continue to drive social instability and political violence. 

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