There is alive in the land an organized campaign to discredit the American press. This campaign is succeeding. Its roots are long. Nixon seethed about the press in private. Trump seethes in public, a very different act. I think our top journalists are correct that if they become the political opposition to Trump, they will lose. And yet, they have to go to war against a political style in which power gets to write its own story. There is a risk that they will fail to make this distinction.
Covering the campaign for the news site Mediapart, I asked Emmanuel Macron one winter morning in Paris in early 2017 how a former investment banker supported by wealthy entrepreneurs could connect with the working and middle classes, how he could escape Marine Le Pen’s characterization of him as a privileged “globalist.” Calling me “dear friend,” with evident irony, Macron denied being an “oligarch,” and accused me of “disseminating National Front arguments.” But he never really answered the question.
Some seventy years after the first arrivals of immigrants from Jamaica, the “Windrush generation” has returned to the center of attention in Britain—not this time in a spirit of optimism and hope but of hurt and anger. The Caribbean-born children of those who came to England in the 1950s and 1960s are now threatened with dispossession, even deportation. Despite their having lived in the UK for decades, working and paying taxes, many of these black Britons lack the paperwork to prove their immigration status—thanks to a very British bureaucratic anomaly. As a result, many have lost jobs, as well as access to benefits and healthcare; some face losing their residency rights.
By accepting Turkey’s attack on Afrin, the US has become complicit in President Erdoğan’s explicit ethnic cleansing plan to expel the Kurds from a part of Syria where they have lived for centuries, and to eradicate the democratic experiment developing in Rojava. Encouraged by the lack of response from the US, Erdoğan is threatening to take his military campaign deeper into Syria. It is clear that this is already benefiting ISIS. To stop this madness, Turkey must be isolated economically, diplomatically, and militarily until it withdraws its troops and proxy militias from Kurdish Syria.
The Supreme Court has sometimes deferred to the political branches on matters of immigration and national security policy, but never on religious bias. And the constitutional case against the travel ban is overwhelmingly strong. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment not only prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion,” it also forbids the government from singling out for disfavor any particular religion. Yet that is precisely what Trump’s travel ban does.
The Black Trilogy, a recent reissue of Ralph Gibson’s early self-published books, brings together three of his books into one volume. Gibson is credited with reimagining the modern photo book, transforming it from its more illustrative, thematic approach to a deeply personal, artistic form where the sequence is based on free association rather than chronology or narrative. By making available books that had, over the years, become hard to find, the trilogy offers an occasion to reexamine Gibson’s singular itinerary.
What does it mean to raise a family or to grow up under constant surveillance? How does it affect a person’s quality of life? What does it do to the potential of an individual, a family, a neighborhood, and a society? Assia Boundaoui, who grew up in a predominantly Muslim community in Chicago, is now a journalist, and examines the effect of living under constant surveillance in her first documentary, The Feeling of Being Watched, which premiers today at the Tribeca Film Festival.
I grew up with the sense that true-home was always elsewhere. I was born in the United Kingdom to Jamaican immigrants; our family returned to Jamaica when I was six; and I immigrated to the US after high school. My parents told stories of Jamaica—a place where life was tough, but often, or so it seemed to me, speckled with marvels and otherworldliness. Somewhere between their stories was the unspoken sense that they had left behind something noteworthy and important—and, to my ears, fabulist.
Once it lost the Communist Party (PCF) as the mediating force to represent its grievances, the French working class fulfilled Herbert Marcuse’s 1972 warning that “The immediate expression of the opinion and will of the workers, farmers, neighbors—in brief, the people—is not, per se, progressive and a force of social change: it may be the opposite.” The PCF understood this latent conservatism in the working class of 1968. Not so the New Left student movement. In the end, it had only ouvriérisme sans ouvriers.
How the wildly unpredictable Trump administration might handle a proposal to fundamentally alter the geopolitics of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia after sixty-five years is impossible to fathom—especially if it is one that calls for the expulsion of 23,000 American troops to assuage the leader of history’s only Communist dynasty. What seems very likely is that Trump’s particular American brand of conservatism, now bolstered by the appointment of hard-liners—Mike Pompeo as secretary of state and John Bolton as national security adviser—will collide with the liberal ideology of Moon Jae-in and his Korean allies.