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The Nation

The Nation October 5-12, 2020

The Nation is America's oldest weekly magazine and is independently published. The Nation speaks to an engaged audience as a champion of civil liberties, human rights, and economic justice. The Nation breaks down critical issues with lively editorials, in-depth investigative reporting and analysis, as well as award-winning arts coverage. Publisher and Editor: Katrina vanden Heuvel.

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United States
The Nation, LP
$4.06(Incl. tax)
$43.46(Incl. tax)
36 Issues

in this issue

5 min.
not just a new look

AS YOU CAN SEE, THE NATION HAS MADE SOME CHANGES. WHEN E.L. GODKIN AND his fellow editors put Volume 1, Number 1, of The Nation to bed in July 1865, they noted, “It has been a week singularly barren of exciting events.” That is not a claim any of us would make today. Change has been a constant in the magazine’s history—and one of the keys to our longevity. In 1865, Godkin sent John Richard Dennett on horseback to report on “The South as It Is,” a searing account of defeat and devastation that also conveys, forcefully enough to still shock readers today, the recalcitrance, resentment, and deeply rooted racism that persisted after the close of the Civil War. Nowadays Nation correspondents seldom travel on horseback. But in the past year alone…

4 min.
vote as if the climate depends on it

To understand the planetary importance of this autumn’s presidential election, check the calendar. Voting ends on November 3—and by a fluke of timing, on the morning of November 4 the United States is scheduled to pull out of the Paris Agreement. President Trump announced that we would abrogate our Paris commitments during a Rose Garden speech in 2017. But under the terms of the accords, it takes three years to formalize the withdrawal. So on Election Day it won’t be just Americans watching: The people of the world will see whether the country that has poured more carbon into the atmosphere than any other over the course of history will become the only country that refuses to cooperate in the one international effort to do something about the climate crisis. Trump’s withdrawal…

2 min.
david graeber (1961–2020)

I MET DAVID GRAEBER ON AUGUST 2, 2011, AT the first general assembly of Occupy Wall Street. It was chaotic, with socialists using a microphone to try to wrangle us anarchists. We wanted something a little less hierarchical, so a handful of us sat in a circle at the other side of the small Wall Street park. Graeber saw us and came over. “Hi, I’m David. Can I sit with you?” I didn’t connect the middle-aged man in a baseball cap with his newly released masterwork, Debt: The First 5,000 Years. And he didn’t help: He didn’t grandstand or lecture or say a pointed word about debt or do anything I would expect from an admired intellectual at a political meeting. Mostly, he listened. Afterward, I heard the whispers: That was…

5 min.
the real election has already begun

I CAN’T KEEP UP WITH ALL THE DIFFERENT ways Donald Trump is trying to steal the upcoming presidential election. And I can’t keep track of all the ways he is trying to undermine faith in the election so that he can declare himself the winner even if he loses. As of this writing, Trump’s proposed election-rigging schemes have ranged from delaying the election because of Covid-19 (which he can’t do) to declaring a winner by the end of election night, even if votes remain to be counted (which he also can’t do). He has insisted that mail-in voting increases the likelihood of fraud (which it does not), and he, along with his partner in corruption Bill Barr, have told Trump voters to vote twice (which is fraud). Meanwhile, Postmaster General Louis…

1 min.
a revolution on tv

Readers who came of age during the current television multiverse may find themselves struggling to grasp the cultural dominance once enjoyed by The Tonight Show on NBC. One of the many pleasures of The Sit-In, a new documentary inspired by Joan Walsh’s reporting in The Nation and available on NBC’s Peacock streaming service, is the film’s account of how, during a week in February 1968, Americans came to have a national conversation on race, injustice, and the Vietnam War—organized and orchestrated by Harry Belafonte. A chart-topping recording artist, acclaimed actor, and committed activist, he initially turned down an offer to fill in for host Johnny Carson, changing his mind only after being promised control over his guest list. The result was history making: Belafonte’s interview with his dear friend Martin Luther…

5 min.
marrying money

I USED TO FEEL SORRY FOR MELANIA TRUMP. ALL SHE wanted, I imagined, was to be one of those rich private-school moms who spend their life getting spa treatments and lunching with their girlfriends at chic little Upper East Side restaurants. Instead, she ended up trapped with a sociopath in a tower full of gold toilets. People put too much stock in the concept of agency, I would say. Sometimes you make a mistake and you can’t get out of it. And because she’s a woman, she gets double the blame, like Marie Antoinette. These days, she gets more grief than her husband, Louis XVI, the king of France. I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. Every time a photo appeared of Melania frowning next to her husband or…