The Fight Over Ilhan Omar: Phase 1

David Finkel

March 13, 2019

“THE VICIOUS, DIRTY — and bipartisan — smear campaign against the first two Muslim women in the U.S. Congress, Ilhan Omar (MN) and Rashida Tlaib (MI), is just beginning.” That’s the opening of a statement by the Steering Committee of Solidarity, posted February 14, 2019.

That’s still true, following the big fight over a House of Representatives resolution that was first intended to isolate and humiliate Ilhan Omar, and potentially to lead to stripping her House Committee on Foreign Affairs assignment.

While the Democratic Congressional leadership might initially have been prepared to throw her under the bus over malicious and false charges of antisemitism, the attempt blew up in their faces when a huge outpouring of support for Ilhan Omar came from a wide swath of progressive Black, Arab-American, Muslim, Jewish and civil liberties sectors outraged that a newly elected Muslim woman, who came to the United States as a refugee from war-devastated Somalia, was being singled out.

Instead of the original draft resolution, a new text was hastily constructed that calls out all kinds of bigotry and the way white supremacist forces have “weaponized hate for political gain, targeting traditionally persecuted peoples, including African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other people of color, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, and others with verbal attacks, incitement and violence.”

Pretty strong stuff, and clearly not the kind of thing that Donald Trump had in mind with his presidential tweets demanding that Ilhan Omar be condemned and forced to resign. (In fact, Trump’s antics may have...

Byron Clark, Daphne Lawless, Tyler West, and Ani White
March 22, 2019

You’ve heard the news: on March 15th, 2019, Aotearoa/New Zealand experienced its largest mass shooting since the colonial massacres, a coordinated terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch. Throughout the day the death toll climbed; first 6, then 27, then 40, and finally 49 (with more passing away in hospital beds in the ensuing days). Victims included resettled Syrian children, fleeing terrorism in one place only to encounter it in another.

In the aftermath, many said “This is...

Robert Bartlett
March 21, 2019

LAST DECEMBER 4th educators at the Acero charter chain in Chicago became the first charter teachers in the country to go on strike. This was both stunning to the charter industry, which was created in part to avoid the inconvenience of unionized educators, and revelatory to educators across the country.

After picketing four days, the unity and enthusiasm of the charter teachers, along with widespread sympathy and solidarity among parents, forced the Acero leadership to capitulate. This led to a major...

Julia Kassem
March 19, 2019

Just hours before the Christchurch shooter live-streamed his murders, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) live-tweeted its audience on its latest Gaza bombing campaign. “We have just started striking terror sites in Gaza,” the Tweet read. “Details to follow.” The dehumanization of the victims was evident in both communications.

Xenophobic rhetoric is a staple of far-right terror attacks in Western countries. In Norway in 2011 Anders Behring Breivik detonated a van bomb, killing eight, before...

Ravi Malhotra
March 18, 2019

Michael Oliver (3 February 1945 to 2 March 2019) was a British academic, author, and disability rights activist. He was Emeritus Professor of Disability Studies at the University of Greenwich. His research focused on the social model of disability, and his activism centred on overcoming the systemic barriers disabled people confront in their daily lives. We present below a memoir of his contribution to building Disability...

Eric Toussaint
March 15, 2019

From 27 February 1953 West Germany benefited from the cancellation of most of its debt. After this cancellation, which made it possible for German economy to recover its position as economic leader on the European continent, no other country has benefited from such favorable treatment. It is essential to understand why and how this cancellation occurred. In a nutshell: West...

The Editors
March 12, 2019

“SECURITY” BECOMES THE catchword of the moment. Donald Trump’s “big, beautiful wall” will, or won’t, enhance border protections from drugs, trafficking, and all manner of brown people with or without prayer rugs. The threat of repeated government shutdowns might end when the two houses of Congress figured out a deal for “securing the border” that Rush Limbaugh would give Trump permission to sign. Or not.

Meanwhile, there are millions of people without...

Johanna Brenner
March 4, 2019

CONSIDERING HIS WORK as a whole, Marx had little to say directly about women’s oppression or the relationship between patriarchy and capitalism.(1) And some of what he had to say was, well, misguided. Yet Marxist feminists have drawn on his thought to create a distinctive approach to understanding these issues.(2)


Eric Blanc
February 28, 2019

Yesterday was a very good day for educators and working people. Only a few hours after Bernie Sanders announced his presidential candidacy, striking West Virginia educators forced their Republican legislature to “indefinitely postpone” a reactionary omnibus bill legalizing education privatization. Though...

James Parisot
February 26, 2019

In the midst of the U.S. Civil War (1861 – 1865), as somewhere between half a million to three quarters of a million bodies lay dead from bullets and disease, Emanuel Leutze completed a painting titled Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way for the U.S. Capitol. The painting celebrated empire as central to American history. Included in the final draft of the painting was a free black man, subordinate to the leadership of the white men forging the path of empire across the continent; supposedly...

Clément Petitjean
February 21, 2019

Clément Petitjean: In Golden Gulag, you analyze the build-up of California's prison system, which you call “the biggest in the history of the world." Between 1980 and 2007, you explain that the number of people behind bars increased more than 450%. What were the various factors that combined to cause the expansion of that system? What were the various...

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