FRESH TAKES ON BIG CHALLENGES: OUR BLOGS & ARTICLES

Hope Hides in the Cracks of Our Faltering Democracy

Originally published on Common Dreams, May 9th, 2018 All is not well, but that does not mean that all is lost Photo credit: (Scout Tufankjian / Polaris) American democracy faces huge problems, most of us agree. Still, as recently as last summer, Pew Research found that 85 percent of us embraced the idea that America “stands above all other countries” or that it’s “one of the greatest, along with some others.” Understandably, it’s tough for many to give up the notion that America is exceptional—exceptionally good. But as citizens it’s our duty to come clean—to know where we do stand, not just relative to our ideals but to other societies as well. On that firmer ground, we can better imagine

Growing Resistance: The Rise and Fall of Another Mozambique Land Grab

The rice fields of Xai-Xai, three hours up the coast from Maputo, are vast, coming into view as we descended onto the alluvial plain from the villages that dot the hills above. They stretch across the plains toward the Indian Ocean as far as the naked eye can see, in the flat green monochrome of a rice plantation. Mozambique was one of the leading targets of large-scale agricultural investment projects, widely denounced as “land-grabs” by critics. Community resistance had prevented most such projects in Mozambique, including ProSAVANA, the controversial Brazil-Japan initiative, which was slated to be the largest land grab in Africa. As I’d seen in the field, it seemed to grow not crops but o

America Is Less Polarized Than You Think

Originally published on The Nation, April 26th, 2018 Our collective focus on ‘political polarization’ is obscuring large areas of agreement. Photo credit: (Reuters / Carlos Barria) Sometimes it seems the only thing Americans agree on is that we’re too polarized to agree. The term is thrown about by folks of all political stripes. Glenn Beck recently lamented, for example, that even faced with the now-documented Russian intelligence operation, “we’re far too polarized” to galvanize a response. In 2016, Pew Research reported that more than 40 percent of both Democrats and Republicans view members of the opposing party as more closed-minded and dishonest than other Americans. Sure sounds polar

Making Rural Mexico Great Again: Leading candidate endorses farmers' reform program

Originally published on Food Tank, April 30th, 2018 On April 10, leading Mexican presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in front of 5,000 cheering farm movement leaders, endorsed their proposal for the radical regeneration of rural Mexico. With a lead of 20 points over his nearest rival in the July 1 election, the endorsement signals a dramatic challenge to trade and agricultural policies in Mexico and in the United States. Speaking in Jerez, Zacatecas, López Obrador was clear that his goal as president would be to restore Mexico’s lost food sovereignty. “We will no longer buy overseas what we consume. We will produce in Mexico what we eat,” he told supporters. López Obrador is

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the Institute of writers, speakers, & activists Frances Moore Lappé and Anna Lappé

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