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May 22: The Great Society

President Lyndon Baines Johnson unveiled his plans for “The Great Society” in a speech at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor on this date in 1964. (To hear his speech, click here.) The phrase was coined by speechwriter Richard N. Goodwin,  who had been secretary-general of the Peace Corps and an advisor on Latin America […]

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April 24: Benny Rothman and the “Mass Trespass”

Bernard (Benny) Rothman, a Romanian-born political activist in the United Kingdom, led a “mass trespass” of some five hundred “ramblers” (countryside walkers, mostly unemployed workers) on this date in 1932, to protest the lack of public access to broad swaths of public land in England and Wales. The protesters, mostly from Manchester, sang “The Internationale” […]

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March 31: César Chávez Day

The founder of the United Farm Workers, César Chávez, was born on this date in 1927. Chávez, a disciple of Saul Alinsky, became a master of non-violent resistance who sparked the modern Hispanic civil rights movement by organizing the most exploited workers of the Spanish-speaking community. He strongly influenced several important Jewish activists, including Harvard […]

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Food Stamps and Racism

by Marc Jampole Newt Gingrich has persisted in calling President Obama the “food stamp” president, despite the fact that more people went on food stamps during Bush II’s presidency than during the Obama presidency. What I find interesting is how many people, both conservative and progressive, assume that the statement is inherently racist. And behind […]

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The Israeli Spring in Kiryat Shemona

120 Protest Camps throughout the Land by Rabbi Amy Klein When I arrive at the protest camp in Kiryat Shemona, fifteen minutes down the road from Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan, my home since a year ago, something is awkwardly wrong. I am too old. I don’t smoke. My clothes aren’t torn in the right places. Each […]

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A Declaration of the 99%

by Dan Brook The current wave of non-violent protests across the U.S. and around the world is growing everyday in numbers, locations, and passion. Inspired by the massive protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Wisconsin, Spain, Greece, Israel, India, and elsewhere in 2011, and the shout-out by Adbusters over the summer, Occupy Wall Street started on September […]

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November 3: The Greensboro Massacre

Dr. Paul Bermanzohn, the son of Holocaust survivors, was among 15 members of the Communist Workers Party who were wounded or killed on this date in 1979 in an attack by the Ku Klux Klan  in Greensboro, North Carolina. Dr. Michael Nathan, the chief of pediatrics at the Lincoln Community Health Center in Durham, a […]

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January 27: Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States and a lifelong radical historian and activist, died on this date in 2010 at age 87. His anti-war politics were informed by his experiences as a bombardier during World War II: “the history of bombing— and no one has bombed more than this nation,” […]

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January 15: Dr. King’s Advisor

Among the key advisors and closest friends to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (who was born on this date in 1929) was Stanley David Levison, a businessman and attorney whose Communist activities in the 1950s provided J. Edgar Hoover with ample excuse to wiretap and harass Dr. King. Levison, writes Samuel Freedman, served as King’s […]

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