Never particularly attentive to the lives of ordinary people — or developments outside the major hubs of government, capital, and entertainment — the American news media becomes especially myopic and trivial during the presidential election season, which seems to grow longer and more encompassing every four years.
In an effort to better understand some of the stories being left behind by the horse race, we asked writers and activists from across the United States for brief reports on political developments and campaigns, both electoral and otherwise, that have been significant in their respective regions over the past year. Below are responses from Jim Vrabel in Boston, Madison Van Oort in Iowa, Kali Akuno in Mississippi, Darwin BondGraham in the San Francisco Bay Area, Marisela B. Gomez in Baltimore, and Charles Tonderai Mudede in Seattle.
While these six reports represent too small and arbitrary a sample to allow for any broad conclusions, it is striking that struggles over housing and land use are at the center of nearly every one of them.
A protest in Baltimore opposing public financing for Port Covington. via Popular Resistance.
Jim Vrabel: Housing and Income Inquality in Boston
“Everybody complains about the weather,” the old saying used to be (before global warming) “but nobody does anything about it.” Nowadays, everybody complains about housing prices and income inequality. In Boston and Massachusetts, some people are doing something about it.
Prisoners on strike in Huntsville, Alabama, May 2016
On September 9, Prisoners Across the US Will Strike for Their Lives
We’ve been told by social theorists that we are living in the time of riots and uprisings. But on September 9, the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison rebellion, prisoners across the country hope to employ a different tactic, calling instead for a strike.
This strike is slated to be the largest in prison history, with actions planned in at least 20 states, and has been a long time in the making, preceded by work stoppages in Georgia in 2010 and Alabama in 2014 and earlier this year.