The civil unrest in Iran in response to the recent death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while she was waiting at a Tehran police station, although rooted in legitimate grievances, also bears the hallmark of a western-sponsored covert war, covering multiple fronts. Mere days after the protests erupted on 16 September, the Washington Post revealed that the Pentagon had initiated a wide-ranging audit of all its online psyops efforts, after a number of bot and troll accounts operated by its Central Command (CENTCOM) division – which covers all US military actions in West Asia, North Africa and South and Central Asia – were exposed, and subsequently banned by major social networks and online spaces. The accounts were busted in a joint investigation carried out by social media research firm Graphika, and the Stanford Internet Observatory, which evaluated “five years of pro-Western covert influence operations.”
A few days before Meghan Marohn, a 42-year-old English teacher at Shaker High School in Latham, New York, disappeared, she confided to friends that she had gone into hiding to escape from a man who had “brutally harassed and intimidated me because I wouldn’t sleep with him.” She said she was too afraid to stay at home, especially when she saw him drive by her house. She was granted a leave from teaching and camped out at The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. She was last seen on March 27. It was cold, snowy, and windy. Her black Subaru was found at a trailhead on Church Street in South Lee at the 46-acre Janet Longcope Park about two miles from the inn. Her car was unlocked.
In the midwestern city of Columbus, Ohio, 20-year-old Donovan Lewis was shot to death while lying in his bed during the early morning hours of August 30. Police claimed they were serving an arrest warrant on multiple charges although there was no threat from Lewis who was unarmed. The police in Columbus say that Lewis raised his arms and therefore this justified the bullet fired into his body causing him to die at a hospital shortly afterwards. The officer involved in the killing of Lewis, Ricky Anderson, a 30-year veteran of law-enforcement, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal and judicial investigation. This act of blatant police violence represents a continuation of the legacy of law-enforcement brutality and killings across the United States.
This essay was written collaboratively by two Portland protest community members, Susan Anglada Bartley and Lexy Kahn, and is the result of conversations after participating in protests, both as frontline protestors and as writers and journalists. Throughout the article, we switch italicized and non-italicized fonts (Lexy in italics, Susan not) when we swap voices, offering two perspectives. We hope the processing we offer can be a catalyst for our comrades in Portland and worldwide who do the work of sorting out how to heal and walk forward. Throughout the writing of this article, we were both working forty hours-per-week, parenting, and doing our own healing, while also continuing our organizing work.
Philadelphia is awash in guns: More people were shot there in 2022, hundreds fatally, than in larger cities including New York and Los Angeles. In this “country’s poorest big city,” most shootings take place in neighborhoods shattered by multiple forms of racial discrimination and endemic poverty. The market in legal gun sales is also booming in Philadelphia, the culture of fear driving citizens to carry guns for safety. Further complicating solutions is the disagreement between the progressive district attorney and the chief of police over models of crime enforcement in the city On the other side of our country, a miraculous alternative to the seeming nihilism of West and North Philadelphia neighborhoods breeds hope.
On August 29, in a new day of nationwide anti-government demonstrations, thousands of Haitians once again hit the streets in different parts of the country to protest against widespread insecurity, growing scarcity of fuel and the high cost of living. In the town of Petit Goâve, in western Haiti, citizens held a massive demonstration demanding the resignation of Prime Minister and acting President Ariel Henry, arguing that during the past one year of his management, he exacerbated the economic, political and social crisis in the country. According to reports from Rezo Nowdes, at least one demonstrator died after police launched tear gas at protesters in order to disperse them.
American society is the most violent of any nation in the industrialized world. Nothing we do, from administrating the world’s largest prison system to militarizing our police, seems to help. Dr. James Gilligan argues that childhood abuse, and the shame it engenders, is the engine that fuels America’s deadliest epidemic. This abuse and shame, he argues, fosters a dangerous numbness that breeds a deep self-loathing and inchoate rage. It is only by understanding the causes of our national epidemic, and addressing those causes, that we will have any hope of stemming the nihilistic violence that grips American society. Dr. Gilligan grounds his writing not only in case studies of the violent patients he works with, but Greek myths and Shakespeare.
In his dystopian novel Splinterlands, John Feffer looks ahead to life on planet earth in the year 2050. The signs of societal breakdown in the not-so-distant future, if we look, are already apparent in our world today. Feffer follows them to their logical conclusion. The climate is at war with the human species and every other species. The European Union, overrun with climate refugees, has disintegrated. China and Russia have folded in on themselves, as has the United States, where fractious and violent militias and gangs battle over diminishing resources.
There is a national epidemic of missing girls and women. This is the story of a friend who has become one of these grim statistics. A few days before Meghan Marohn, a 42-year-old English teacher at Shaker High School in Latham, New York, disappeared, she confided to friends that she had gone into hiding to escape from a man who had “brutally harassed and intimidated me because I wouldn’t sleep with him.” She said she was too afraid to stay at home, especially when she saw him drive by her house. She was granted a leave from teaching and camped out at The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
A settler colonial state founded on indigenous genocide and African enslavement that is still addicted to the doctrine of racial domination will be violent. How could it be otherwise? This nation has the world’s highest rate of incarceration, 1,000 police killings every year, a defense budget bigger than any other, and the imperialist wars that inevitably follow. No one should be shocked when individuals here carry out violent acts. Yet that is exactly what we get when mass shootings take place, pretend shock and confused outrage. On May 15, 2022 a racist white man killed 10 Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. The response was fairly typical and frankly not very helpful.
On a Tuesday morning three years ago, Julia Ringo discovered her daughter was in terrible pain. Examining her, Ringo looked in shock at a mass of bruises and swelling on her daughter Kiorey's buttocks, a day after the 8-year-old Black girl had been paddled with a wooden board at an elementary school in Grenada, Mississippi. Ringo rushed her daughter to the emergency room and told the attending doctor what had transpired. "As soon as he looked at her behind, it was like he couldn't even look at it," she says, breaking down in tears. "He just took a deep breath, felt on her butt to see was it swollen. She was screaming." Kiorey's injuries were so severe, Ringo said, that she had to stay home the rest of the week.
Now more than ever, in light of the escalating military and political confrontation between Western powers and the Russian Federation and its allies, we must remember what has led to the current crisis. On May 2, 2014, an event happened in Odessa, Ukraine, that has been called one of the worst civil disturbances in Europe since World War II. A right-wing mob led by openly neo-Nazi organizations chased a much smaller group of progressives into the city’s House of Trade Unions and then set the building on fire. At least 42 people died from the flames and smoke inhalation or by being beaten to death as they tried to escape the burning building. To this day, not one of the perpetrators has been punished, even though the attack was documented by scores of people who posted videos of the event online.
In 1983, Poet and philosopher Audrey Lorde published a short essay called “There is no hierarchy of oppression.” In it, she lays out a maxim that is elegant in its simplicity and profound in its meaning. She asserted that people experience various oppressions simultaneously, so we are obligated to fight all oppression wherever it exists. She wrote, “I cannot afford the luxury of fighting one form of oppression only. I cannot afford to believe that freedom from intolerance is the right of only one particular group. And I cannot afford to choose between the fronts upon which I must battle these forces of discrimination, wherever they appear to destroy me. And when they appear to destroy me, it will not be long before they appear to destroy you.”
Health workers in major public hospitals in Haiti have reasserted their intention to continue striking on 28 March, citing lack of action by the Ministry of Health (MoH) on their earlier demands. Nurses, physicians, lab workers and other health professionals at the Haitian State University Hospital and Justinien Hospital among other places, began to strike near the end of February. They intend to continue the action until demands are met. The workers are asking for salary adjustments, improvements to working conditions, and payment of arrears in the form of debit cards, but remain dissatisfied by the approach taken by the Ministry since they first stopped working. While emergency care services have remained operational throughout the duration of the strike, delivery of other forms of care has significantly slowed down, increasing pressure on the MoH.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities, most of which are concentrated in the South, hold contrasting legacies as both safe havens for Black students and frequent targets of violence. Last week, Scalawag hosted a live Twitter conversation with journalists who are both current and former students of HBCUs to discuss the broader contexts they have experienced and written about around student safety. This is a conversation with renewed urgency: As panelist Adam Harris, a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of The State Must Provide, pointed out, there hasn't been a week in February this year without a bomb threat at an HBCU. The latest string of threats began in January at some schools, with at least 14 HBCUs reporting bomb threats on the first day of Black History Month. Two weeks ago, the FBI identified as many as six suspects—all juveniles—but no one has yet been publicly charged in connection with the threats, and no explosives found.