Can We Stop Arguing and Organize?
Anarchists in San Francisco, LGBTQ+ activists in Venezuela, and more
May 19, 2022
In this week’s issue of Public Seminar . . .
Russia’s Spiral of Silence
“Why do people have such an obsession with protests? Earlier there was an illusion: if one million people protested in Moscow, something would change. If something like this were to happen in Rome or Washington, one might expect the government would listen to the protesters. However, in Hong Kong during the Umbrella Movement, officials cracked down. Why would anyone expect the Putin regime to listen to protesters?” Russian sociologist Maria Matskevich talks to Anastasia Shteinert about what Russians citizens really think about the “military operation” in Ukraine and how the West gets it wrong. (May 13, 2022)
In an intensely polarized political climate, Venezuela’s feminist and LGBTQ+ rights movements are successfully organizing across party lines. Activists Richelle Briceño and Yendri Velásquez join Daniel Fermín in a conversation about breaking down ideological barriers in the fight against discrimination. As Briceño explains, “I have a priority: what I want is for Venezuela to make progress on human rights issues.” (May 16, 2022)
Jo Freeman shares a photo essay of the recent Bans Off Our Bodies protest in Washington, DC, in which 20,000 people marched in support of abortion access.(May 16, 2022)
“Antisemitism and homophobia are on the rise in Lublin and are often combined with other dangerous prejudices against the stranger, in particular anti-refugee hostility.” Tomasz Kitlinski examines the tension between hospitality and hate in his hometown in eastern Poland. (May 17, 2022)
Anarchist San Francisco
In 1916, San Francisco shook with clashes between radical workers and forces of authority, culminating in the bombing of the 1916 Preparedness Day parade. In an interview with Evangeline Riddiford Graham, author Joseph Matthews talks about fictionalizing the struggle in his new novel, The Blast, and the failure of anarchist groups to present an enduring opposition. “They were so fractured—among themselves and between themselves and trade unions, with the Wobblies somewhere in between—that they constantly shot themselves in the foot or, maybe more appropriately, blew off bombs on their own feet.” (May 18, 2022)
Enjoying our newsletter? Pass it on!
The Museum on Fire
Historian Samuel J. Redman chats to Claire Potter about his new book, The Museum: A History of Crisis and Resilience, and how our historic institutions evolve. “A lot of early nineteenth-century museum building was essentially about urban and national boosterism, not preservation. Americans had seen or known about older institutions in Europe or even the United States, and they wanted to duplicate them.” (May 17, 2022)