People Standing against Tanks: The Civil Resistance of August 1991 and Its Ambiguous Legacy

Nonviolent civil resistance helped change history 30 years ago this August. When a group of hardline Communists within the Soviet Union attempted a coup in August 1991, they were met with significant resistance from other Soviet citizens, including both ordinary people and elites. The civil resisters ultimately prevailed over the coup plotters. The failed coup … Continue reading People Standing against Tanks: The Civil Resistance of August 1991 and Its Ambiguous Legacy

A Cold War Comes Home? Anti-Asian Racism in Light of US-China Hostility

Racism against Americans of Asian heritage has received significant attention recently. Concerns about anti-Asian hate crimes arose last spring as the Covid-19 pandemic began to affect the United States.[1] The horrifying murders of eight people, six of them Asian, in the greater Atlanta area in March 2021 revived concerns about bigotry toward Asian Americans. As … Continue reading A Cold War Comes Home? Anti-Asian Racism in Light of US-China Hostility

Making a Nonviolent Revolution: Review of Civil Resistance: What Everyone Needs to Know

Certain historical episodes of nonviolent resistance to injustice are famous: the Indian struggle for independence; the American civil rights movement; and the Arab Spring uprisings come to mind. However, many people who are aware of such episodes are not familiar either with the larger history of nonviolent resistance or with how such resistance can be … Continue reading Making a Nonviolent Revolution: Review of Civil Resistance: What Everyone Needs to Know

Masking Up but Not Shutting Up: Defending Freedom of Speech during a Pandemic

Shortly after the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global pandemic, activists and journalists raised concerns about how governments’ response to the crisis might restrict freedom of expression and other civil liberties.[1] More than a year later, we have a better sense of how the pandemic response has limited press freedom and the flow of … Continue reading Masking Up but Not Shutting Up: Defending Freedom of Speech during a Pandemic

Lethal from the Start: Uranium Mining’s Danger to the Most Vulnerable

Nuclear weapons kill directly when they are exploded in wartime or in tests.[1] They also kill indirectly: obtaining uranium, the metal used to produce both nuclear power and nuclear weapons, can expose people to radiation or other hazards. The results are often harmful, even lethal. As with nuclear testing, the people exposed to these hazards … Continue reading Lethal from the Start: Uranium Mining’s Danger to the Most Vulnerable

“The Affairs of a Handful of Natives”: Nuclear Testing and Racism

While nuclear weapons haven’t been used in war for over 75 years, they have still killed and hurt people since 1945. Testing of nuclear weapons has exposed many people to radiation, with its terrible health consequences. Further, the people harmed by nuclear testing have frequently been from different, far less powerful, ethnic groups than the … Continue reading “The Affairs of a Handful of Natives”: Nuclear Testing and Racism

“I Gave Birth to Too Many Children”: Population Control and Repression in Xinjiang

The Chinese government is currently pursuing a campaign of repression against Muslim ethnic minorities in the region of Xinjiang. Prompted by fears of terrorism and separatism, the roughly three-year-old campaign has reportedly involved surveillance, imprisonment, and psychological and physical torture. The campaign may also involve coercive population control, including sterilization and abortion. Unrest in an … Continue reading “I Gave Birth to Too Many Children”: Population Control and Repression in Xinjiang

“Millions Who Are Already Hanging by a Thread”: The Global Repercussions of Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic threatens life in multiple ways. The virus not only has killed people directly—more than 400,000 to date—but has also worsened poverty and inequality.[1] By disrupting the world economy, the pandemic has taken away many people’s livelihoods and harmed the poor. The illness and the resulting economic hardships don’t fall equally on everyone but … Continue reading “Millions Who Are Already Hanging by a Thread”: The Global Repercussions of Covid-19

Sickness is the Health of the State? Civil Liberties and Conflict during a Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has consumed the world’s attention during these early months of 2020. The virus’ health threat, especially to older people and other vulnerable groups, is correctly the primary concern right now, with the pandemic’s economic consequences perhaps being the second greatest concern. Both these aspects of the pandemic fully deserve the attention of … Continue reading Sickness is the Health of the State? Civil Liberties and Conflict during a Pandemic

“Remember Pearl Harbor—Keep ‘Em Dying”: War and Racism in the Pacific

American planes dropped firebombs on Tokyo 75 years ago, on the night of March 9-10, 1945, killing an estimated 80,000-100,000 people.[1] The firebombing began a six-month-long American bombing campaign against 66 Japanese cities that culminated in the two atomic bombings and killed roughly 400,000 people in total.[2] This killing campaign was the climax of a … Continue reading “Remember Pearl Harbor—Keep ‘Em Dying”: War and Racism in the Pacific