One weird trick to show support for leftist civil liberties

The last couple of months have seen a lot of intra-left argument about the ACLU. And the last couple of years have seen a lot of argument, all over the place, about “free speech” – what should be included under that banner, what exceptions there should be, what the priorities of people who care about […]

Z is for zombie because this topic never stays dead

I’ve been seeing a resurgence in recent months of people arguing about the use of “Zionist” and related terms, people using those terms while obviously not knowing what they mean, and so on, so I guess I need to do a post on this, to try to make the discourse less terrible and useless. This […]

A tale of three protests

A small tale of three protests in Washington, DC, this calendar year, and their sequelae*…

January 20, 2017: Roughly 230 protesters, street medics, legal observers, and journalists, were mass arrested on Inauguration Day in DC during a black bloc anticap/antifa march that broke chain store windows. Police surrounded the march and did not allow anyone […]

Toxic masculinity is bad for the Jews

Hello everyone. I apologize for being so bad about posting. I’m trying to finish my dissertation and apply for postdocs; it makes it hard to do longform writing that isn’t dissertation-related.

I’m not going to recap what went down with the JDL (Jewish Defense League) at the action I medicked for IfNotNow (a progressive Jewish […]

Make new activists, and keep the old…

I’ve been seeing some argument lately around how people new to activism and how people not new to activism talk to and about each other.

To those who are bitter. To the ones who were derided as foolish children because of the issues they fought for, issues which perhaps are newly fashionable. To the ones […]

We need to talk about how we talk about the black bloc

Ever since I checked social media after medicking the Inauguration Day protests in DC, I’ve been seeing bad, frustrating takes on the black bloc. For the uninitiated, a black bloc is a group of protesters who wear all black, including bandannas or other masks, to anonymize themselves, and usually move as a group or set […]

“You’re here”: A story for the age of Trump

Here is a story about coalitions and working together that seems appropriate for our time.

In May of 2012, after a winter and spring of Occupy infighting about ideology and tactics, I was pretty insecure about how other activists saw me. Back then people weren’t saying “left” and “liberal”, they were saying “radical” and “liberal”, […]

Indigent defense funding: A major and underappreciated issue

Terminology note for this post: When I talk about public defense, I mean the defense, in a criminal case, of someone who can’t afford a lawyer, by a lawyer whose job it is to defend indigent clients. When I talk about indigent defense, I mean both the public defense system, and the common system, used […]

Who do you protect? Illustrative RNC stories

I already told you all some stories about the RNC. Here’s a few more. You may notice a theme emerge.

During the flag-burning protest arrests, my medic buddy at the time, N (a tiny trans man, maybe 5’3″ or 5’4″ with a slight build) and I were caught in a crush. After it became slightly […]

Hitting people is not “soft”: Reporting and police tactics

I became infuriated, during the RNC, when someone showed me this NPR piece referring to what the police were doing there, particularly the tactic of hitting people with bikes, as “soft force tactics.” The first time the police did this, I was nearly knocked to the ground, as the person in front of me was […]