Mother Jones May/June 2021

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

In reporting on Black families’ attitudes about kids resuming in-person learning (“School’s Out”), MELINDA D. ANDERSON interviewed moms who felt unheard. “Listening to the transcripts was like a Black church—preaching and testifying,” she says. “The only thing missing were the Black lady church hats.” Anderson’s first book, Becoming a Teacher, was published in September. Longtime Mother Jones senior editor MICHAEL MECHANIC was nearly done with Jackpot, his new book about super-wealth and its consequences (April 13, Simon & Schuster), when the pandemic hit. Far from altering the book’s premise, the coronavirus laid bare an economy rigged to favor those with the lightest skin and fattest wallets (“Asset Bubble”). His final chapter’s new title: “Perfect Storm.” RICHARD A. CHANCE illustrated this issue’s cover highlighting our package on Black farmers—from the legacy of lost…

4 min
the good fight

If a journalist's life is measured in how many malefactors they pissed off, Jim Ridgeway’s time on earth was successful beyond words. In a career—really, a commitment—that spanned six decades of what we used to call the alternative press, Jim was a fierce, cantankerous, unstoppable embodiment of the reporter’s mandate to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. We were fortunate to call him a colleague for five years here at Mother Jones, and when he died in February, it felt like yet another weight on the pile of loss accumulated this past year. But eventually we found ourselves coming back to the words of this magazine’s namesake, Mary Harris Jones: “Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living.” Except Jim probably would have said, “Never mind…

9 min
school’s out

In the Spring of 2020, with Maryland’s stay-at-home order lifted, a new ritual was born on a cul-de-sac in North Baltimore’s affluent Homeland neighborhood. A group of moms gathered on Friday evenings to commiserate about the sudden pivot to remote learning. Seated in physically distanced chairs under a maple tree, Annette Anderson and her friends talked about the stresses of managing their own jobs while overseeing their children’s schoolwork. As summer arrived, the weekly conversations turned to speculation over the Baltimore City Public Schools plan for reopening in the fall. Other moms were clearly ready to turn their children back over to full-time teachers. But Anderson was a firm no. The Black mother of three had watched her children blossom during the spring semester. Freed from transporting three teens—a sophomore, an…

7 min
total recall

Randy Economy feels “blessed.” The conservative radio broadcaster and ex-Trump campaign volunteer says he’s spending up to 17 hours per day on what he calls his life’s greatest work: the drive to kick California Gov. Gavin Newsom out of office. From his home in Southern California’s Coachella Valley, Economy’s one-man media machine—he’s the spokesperson and senior adviser for the RecallGavin2020 campaign—has turned what was once a fringe cause pushed mainly by conspiracy theorists and right-wing radicals into a rallying cry for GOP heavyweights and a handful of Silicon Valley multimillionaires. Everyone in California is mad. Economy just has to sell them on the solution: Blame Newsom. The year-old recall campaign claims it’s collected more than 2 million signatures, well over the million-and-a-half needed to trigger a special election. If California’s counties…

3 min
asset bubble

Deadly viruses don’t care what’s in your wallet, but socioeconomic privilege and access to wealth do wonders when it comes to not simply surviving a plague but cashing in on it. Having spent more than a year prior to the pandemic doing research for a new book about American wealth in the Second Gilded Age (April 13, Simon & Schuster), I wasn’t sure how this plague might affect the story. But perhaps unsurprisingly, over the past year, the superrich have remained safely ensconced on their side of an economic chasm that has only grown wider as more and more Americans struggled to stay afloat. I put together these stats to demonstrate just how much the coffers of the 1 percent have benefitted, often at the expense of everyday Americans. Who’s on…

19 min
black land matters

In the decades before the Civil War, one of the South’s largest slave enterprises held sway on the northern outskirts of Durham, North Carolina. At its peak, about 900 enslaved people were compelled to grow tobacco, corn, and other crops on the Stagville Plantation, 30,000 acres of rolling piedmont that had been taken from the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation. Today, the area has a transitional feel: Old farmhouses, open fields, and pine forests cede ground to subdivisions, as one of America’s hottest real estate markets sprawls outward. On a sunny winter afternoon, farmer and food-justice activist Tahz Walker greets me on a 48-acre patch of former Stagville property called the Earthseed Land Collective. Walker and a few friends pooled their resources and bought this parcel, he says, to experiment…