Mother Jones November/December 2020

Mother Jones is a nonprofit news organization with a bi-monthly magazine that delivers bold and original reporting on the urgent issues of our day, from politics and climate change to education and the food we eat. We investigate stories that are in the public’s interest. From revelatory scoops to deep-dive investigations, Mother Jones journalism is award-winning storytelling that informs and inspires 10 million monthly readers.

United States
Foundation For National Progress
6 Issues

in this issue

1 min

ADAM HOCHSCHILD usually spends his time digging through libraries and archives to write history—his 10 books cover topics as far back as the 18th-century British anti-slavery movement. But any former journalist can’t resist an interesting subject in the present. That led him to football player turned restorative justice activist Eric Butler (“Break It Up”), with whom he spent a week in Alabama. In Mother Jones reporter EDWIN RIOS’ article on the campaign to remove police from Oakland’s public schools (“Cop Out”), he traces the racist origins of how law enforcement officers were deployed in classrooms. His research uncovered too much for one story; for example, a 1980s lawsuit over a kid stealing a watch at a junior high school that became a justification to put more cops in the halls. As SINDUJA…

4 min
the fight of our lives

The first and perhaps only term of America’s 45th president began with alternative facts about inauguration crowds. It comes to a close in a bonfire of deception that literally kills. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost to “it is what it is” neglect. Millions are out of jobs, out of school, at risk of losing their homes. A broad-based racial justice movement has been discounted and demonized. All because of this, the most consistent feature of Donald Trump’s presidency: He lives in a world of alternative facts, and he doesn’t care if the rest of us die in it. We knew this four years ago, when the Trump era began, but now we know it in our bones. As we hunker down amid the pandemic, natural disasters, racist violence,…

7 min
it can happen here

Before there was a United States of America, there was a postal system. Revolutionaries like Samuel Adams and Thomas Jefferson hatched their plans using underground postal networks known as committees of correspondence. In 1775, a year before the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress created the Post Office Department and named Benjamin Franklin the first postmaster general. American democracy expanded with the postal system, one of the only institutions that bound the new nation together and aimed to serve the many rather than the few. The Post Office Act of 1792, signed by George Washington, heavily subsidized the mailing of newspapers, laying the groundwork for an informed citizenry. It also made it a crime for the government to interfere with the mail. When the French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville visited the…

8 min
building a movement

As a girl, Carroll Fife never quite knew what her grandfather James did for a living, but she knew he was a somebody. He was a factory worker, like most everybody else in Muskegon Heights, Michigan, but it was the way people gravitated toward him that suggested he was something more. Once, when Fife was working at Sears as a teen, she saw him walk into the store. She saw how her colleagues, who didn’t know he was her grandfather, clamored around him: “Hey Mr. Fife…Do you need anything?…Wanna use my employee discount?” Same thing happened at the grocery store. What Fife knew with certainty about her grandfather was that he believed in people having homes. He’d built houses for all of his children, and Fife remembers tagging along with him…

6 min
exile on maine street

Eighty-year-old Dennise Whitley was born and raised and still lives in Norway, a 5,000-person town in southwestern Maine where her family has resided for more than 100 years. Her grandfather and father worked in its once-thriving shoe manufacturing industry, in a factory that, like so many across New England, has closed. “And right now I’m making a Maine blueberry pie!” she tells me when we speak over the phone in August. Whitley says that she and her family “are very good Democrats—and always have been,” even though Oxford County, part of the 2nd Congressional District, which covers nearly 80 percent of the state, is “quite Republican.” But, much like baking with the state’s prized blueberry crop, Whitley has long participated in another proud Maine tradition: crossing party lines for “many, many,…

32 min
“our country is full”

You need a story. That’s what they say, anyway. You need sympathetic characters, a villain, some violence, maybe a dramatic escape. That’s what it takes to gain asylum in the United States. You need lots of other things, too—a principled Border Patrol agent, a competent asylum officer, a good lawyer, a fair-minded judge—but before any of that you need a story, something that can be fitted into the rapidly narrowing margin of American benevolence. You need a man, say, draping his arm around your shoulder, telling you, “We are watching you.” That’s where the story of Gaspar Cobo Corio and Francisco Chávez Raymundo might begin. “We are watching you,” the man said out of nowhere. “You didn’t even notice that I have been following you. This was not just today. I…