Wednesday Links


Here are some items I’ve been meaning to post:

(1) ASSA Protests:  My last post mentioned the planned protests at the ASSA;  there was a bit of a buzz about the protests at the conference, and there was pretty impressive coverage in the Washington Post:  The protesters who are trying to upend the ‘fantasy world’ of economics, with the subtitle: At a gathering of America’s top economists, a small group of students is battling for the soul of economics.  The protesters, mostly grad students in economics, did projections like the one in the image above, and did aim to “disrupt” some of the sessions, including some involving Greg Mankiw, Larry Summers, and Carmen Reinhart. (It’s pretty hilarious to read Reinhart claiming that her session was heterodox in the Post article.) Mankiw’s blog had an odd post titled “An Odd Question,” in which he spoke of hecklers, one of whom apparently asked a question about Mankiw being funded by the Koch brothers. But one of the organizers of the protests, Keith Harrington, said that the hecklers weren’t from the protesters. Mankiw’s blog doesn’t take comments, so Keith emailed him this:

Thank you for sharing the Washington Post article about our initiative on your blog. Since there is no place to leave comments on any of your posts, I just wanted to send this quick note pointing out that the heckler that you mentioned was not a part of our group. We made a point to only challenge you and your colleagues on the substance of your work and viewpoints, and to avoid any purely provocative, conspiratorial commentary such as the Koch Brothers remark.
Keith Harrington

Mankiw’s response:

Thank you for your note.


Polite, but not so self-reflective.  Reminds me of the response I got when I emailed James Poterba about a weird remark he made at an American Academy of Arts & Sciences event in 2010 (recounted here).

(2) Let Us Now Praise Corporate Personsby Kent Greenfield in the Washington Monthly. ARthur MacEwan raised some of the same issues on corporate personhood in an “Ask Dr. Dollar” column a couple of years ago: How Important Is Citizens United?.

(3) Political Cartooning Is Almost Worth Dying For, by the wonderful Ted Rall in the LA TImes, about the horrific Charlie Hebdo attack.  (Hats off to all the Twitter folks who have been pushing mainstream outlets to cover the #NAACBombing.)

(4) Piketty Responds to Criticisms from the Left, an interview by Potemkin Review.

(5) Several Items on #BlackLivesMatter and the NYPD that I’d meant to mention here but hadn’t had time: Andy Cush at Gawker, The NYPD Is an Embarrassment to the City of New York; Ari Paul at Jacobin, Smash the Lynch Mob;  Corey Robin at his blog, A Weimar-y Vibe (about the NYPD and PBA/Patrick Lynch after the shooting of two NYPD officers); Max Blumenthal at Alternet (nice redesign!), Emails and Racist Chats Show How Cops and GOP Are Teaming Up to Undermine de Blasio; and flawed, but worth reading, Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone, The NYPD’s Work Stoppage Is Surreal (<–this one from Taibbi was itself kind of surreal, for his saying he “understood” (i.e., sympathized with?) why the cops are mad at de Balsio, and that de Blasio’s reference to his son Dante was “clumsy”–which led to an unfortunate Twitter fight between Taibbi and Blumenthal). And two segments from Doug Henwood’s wonderful Behind the News have been great on the Ferguson/#BlackLivesMatter protests:  the interview with Alex Vitale (second half of the December 4 show), and the interview with Kevin Alexander Gray (first half of the October 30 show).

That’s it for now.

Thursday Links: Boots, Salaita, Kalamazoo, etc.

(1) Boots Riley talks communism on Fox:  See what happens when someone criticizes capitalism on an Ohio Fox affiliate.  The story at the Plain Dealer website is great; the comment section is hilarious. See also the original story at the Lakewood Citizen website.

(2) Holding Bankers Accountable, New York Times Room for DebateLisa Gilbert and Bartlett Naylor of Public Citizen have a piece in this forum, as does Lynn Stout.

(3) NYT endorses Tim Wu for NYS lt. gov., a day after failing to endorse Wu’s running mate, Zephyr Teachout, for governor, which many commenters at the NYT website found strange. Better than no endorsement for either of them, I guess, and Cuomo’s pick for his running mate sounds like a piece of work.

(4) Phan Nguyen on the firing of Steven Salaita:  At Mondoweiss, an excellent twopart take-down of Cary Nelson, the U. of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign English professor and former president of the AAUP, who has defended the university’s firing (which is what it is when you withdraw a job offer that has been accepted, and the candidate and his spouse have resigned their positions to move to the new job) of Steven Salaita, a Palestinian-American scholar for tweets critical of Israel’s assault on Gaza. It appears that there was a coordinated campaign of right-wing bloggers to target Salaita. I’m proud my philosopher friends Jason Stanley (of Yale) and Ralph Wedgwood (of USC) have written strong letters in support of Salaita and publicized his firing on Facebook. Here’s what Ralph said, with characteristic flair, on FB when the UIUC trustees upheld Salaita’s firing: “In view of the statements that have been released today by the administration of the University of Illinois, I’m perfectly happy to boycott their university until such time as either (a) they convince me that they have ceased to be the enemies of academic freedom, or (b) I draw my dying breath (whichever is sooner).”  Also check out political theorist Bonnie Honig’s letter to UIUC chancellor Phyllis Wise, posted at the website of political scientist Corey Robin, who has been publicizing the Salaita affair; and finally, see an analysis of the legal issues by Michael C. Dorf at’s Verdict site.

(5) With/Out-Borders Conference in Kalamazoo:  Hat-tip to HIllary Rettig, who sent this:

Kalamazoo Conference Features International Activists, Artists, and Scholars

Next month, we’re having an amazing activist/arts/scholarship conference right here in Kalamazoo! The With/Out-Borders conference will include timely events on racism and urban unrest, the Israel-BDS (boycott, divest, sanction) movement, the prison-industrial complex, youth immigration/undocumented youth, and much more. Here are some of the presenters:

  • Angela Y. Davis, Civil Rights Icon
  • Nikky Finney, National Book Award Winner
  • Willie Kgositsile, South African Poet Laureate
  • Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Performance Artist and MacArthur Fellow
  • Gloria Rolando, Filmmaker
  • Radmilla Cody, NAMMY winner and former Miss Navaho

It’s literally a unique opportunity to see international leaders in many activist fields all gathered in one place and talking intersections.

September 25-28 at the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College
Please check out the full program here:

 That’s it for now.

–Chris Sturr