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The Nation

The Nation February 22/March 01, 2021

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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
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36 Issues

in this issue

4 min.
end the coward’s filibuster

THE US SENATE WAS A MISTAKE. IT’S A FUNDAMENTALLY ANTIDEMOCRATIC INSTITUTION that gives political power to land instead of people, and it was structured that way at the request of slavers who worried about losing their “right” to hold people in bondage. Abolishing it should have been part of the conditions of surrender at Appomattox. As it is, nothing can be done to change the Senate’s antidemocratic structure. (Article V of the Constitution literally mandates that equal representation of the states must be preserved in the chamber.) But something can be done about the Senate’s anti-majoritarian nature. Ending the filibuster is one way to make the Senate less beholden to a ruthless minority and more responsive to the majority of its members. It’s also the only practical way for Democrats to…

4 min.
“just eight days…”

I COME TO YOU HAVING WITNESSED SIX EXECUTIONS and engaged in 35 years of dialogue about the death penalty. I’m on fire to abolish government killing because I’ve seen it far too close-up, and I have a pretty good idea by now how it works—or doesn’t. I wasn’t at all surprised to see Donald Trump order 13 federal executions carried out before he left office: He had the discretionary power, and he used it. He was operating within the hopelessly flawed guidelines for government killing that the Supreme Court set forth in 1976 in Gregg v. Georgia, when it reinstituted the death penalty. After a national hiatus on executions from 1972 to 1976, Gregg renewed our capricious, racist, broken death penalty system, which has caused and is perpetuating unspeakable suffering. I…

3 min.
sheldon adelson (1933–2021)

BY DYING, THE CASINO MAGNATE SHELDON ADELson did Benjamin Netanyahu one last favor. Adelson had been scheduled to testify as a prosecution witness in the Israeli prime minister’s corruption trial. Netanyahu allegedly used Adelson to secure more friendly coverage from a major Israeli newspaper. The complications of the case are too arcane to explain in this limited space, but take it from me: Wherever Adelson went, corruption—be it moral, legal, political, or cultural—was never far behind. In 2013, when he paid $47 million to the US government to avoid criminal charges for his role in a money-laundering and drug-trafficking operation, it amounted to just around 0.1 percent of his wealth. Adelson used to brag that he was the “richest Jew in the world.” While not precisely true, it wasn’t far off:…

5 min.
46 and done

ON JANUARY 6, 250 YEARS OF AMERICAN POLITICAL history seemed like it might come crashing down as men cosplaying patriots, armed with zip ties and semi-automatic weapons, laid siege to the Capitol. Watching the terrifying absurdity of traitors filming themselves as they dangled from the building’s facade was a reminder of what the framers knew from the start: Factionalism is endemic to democracy—and to its undoing. “The friend of popular governments never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate, as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice,” James Madison wrote in The Federalist Papers (No. 10). Going on to assure the reader that a minority faction can be controlled by “the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote,” Madison…

5 min.
the unity trap

“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”—Antonio Gramsci, Prison Notebooks (1930) DELIVERING HIS INAUGURAL ADDRESS IN A GARRISONED city where more than 20,000 troops from the National Guard were stationed only two weeks after Donald Trump egged on thousands of his followers to attack Congress in order to overturn the election, Joe Biden naturally organized his speech and the day’s festivities around the theme of “unity.” Not that he needed to be nudged in that direction: Biden’s campaign had often harped on how he would be a national healer and unifier who would end his predecessor’s fomenting of divisions. Trump’s aborted putsch—a sinister event, no matter how clownishly executed—made these pleas…

3 min.

Sarah Leonard and Marian Jones met at the Democratic Socialists of America’s socialist-feminist reading group (held in The Nation’s conference room!) in 2017, after Donald Trump’s election prompted a surge in membership in the 40-year-old organization. Now, along with several other editors and an art director, they are members of the Lux collective, named for the revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg. The first issue of its print magazine hits mailboxes this month. I spoke with Leonard and Jones about the future of left feminism, solidarity versus sisterhood, and why Lux is a glossy. —Emily Douglas ED: Is Lux trying to elevate women’s class consciousness? MJ: There were periods within the feminist movement when people would try to adopt the slogan “Sisterhood is powerful” and [the idea that] we’re all in this together, but Black women…