It’s that time of year again: the dog turns into an aisle at the local CVS, only to see a large, stuffed, red-coated white man holding a suspicious sack. Who knows what could be in that sack? Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky? She refuses to go further without being tugged, forcibly into the aisle filled with brightly colored paper and bows, electric menorahs and family-size bags of candy. “It is not Rudy Giuliani!” I scold the dog: nevertheless, she growls menacingly at the black plush boots and fluffy beard of the Fictional Seasonal Character who, as I write this, is said by NORAD to be heading to Bucharest, Romania, having delivered almost 3 billion equally fictional gifts in the Pacific, Asia, Russia, and Scandinavia – among other places.
But here’s a real gift for you, from real people: this week’s issue of Public Seminar which, according to our tradition, is just as secular – and just as free — as it is the rest of the year.
This week we begin with a recap of impeachment doings by senior editor Jeffrey Isaac who hazards an answer to the question: what is Nancy Pelosi doing, and why is she holding on to the articles of impeachment passed last week? And how can she prevent Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from holding what would be, in essence, a mock trial, dictated by Donald Trump? She can threaten to reopen the House investigations, that’s what. Next, Shiv D. Sharma reports on the massive protests against India’s anti-Muslim Citizen Amendment Act, a law that threatens to undermine India’s democracy. Finally, Dorothy Potter Snyder asks: How can Elizabeth Warren – or any Democrat — win in North Carolina?
In Mobilities, we wrap up a series of essays, edited by our friends at The Zolberg Center on Migration and Mobility, that we began last week. David Scott Fitzgerald looks at how states regulate migration by screening them at points of embarkation; Jane McAdam explored the millions of people who are displaced by climate change; Ann McNevin shows that the cruel conditions of Australian offshore refugee detention originate in that country’s displacement and incarceration of indigenous people; and Liam Healy asks us to look again – and again – at the Jungle camp in Calais, home to over 10,000 refugees before it was forcibly closed in October 2016.
Finally, we close out the Public Seminar year with two of the many questions about Social Equality that we will carry over into 2020. Jen Manion applauds Merriam-Webster choice of “they,” the pronoun many (although not all) transgender and gender non-binary folks choose. But what kind of victory is the elevation of a pronoun, in the absence of a real anti-violence andante-discrimination agenda? And Abigail Kramer asks why New York State is cutting funds for children’s mental health, even as increasing numbers of young people are harming themselves.
And that’s all for this week, and for the year: thanks to all of our readers, of all faiths and non-faiths, and wherever you are reading from. We will see you again in 2020.
Claire Potter is co-executive editor of Public Seminar and Professor of History at The New School for Social Research. You can tweet with her @TenuredRadical.