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On The Issues Magazine The Progressive Woman's Magazine Fall 2011: ACTIVISM! by the Editors
Activism issue of On The Issues Magazine; Fall 2011
Speaking out, raising banners, uploading ideas - new & old activists are stepping up. On The Issues Magazine Fall 2011 explores progressive & feminist inspiration.

by the Editors


In this edition of On The Issues Magazine, we take a look at the state of feminist and progressive Activism.

With bold new start-up efforts, feminist and progressive activism has seemingly heated up. But it also has been there all along, working away, creating ideas, keeping the fires burning, making change. On The Issues Magazine has frequently covered activist topics, whether the tactical emergence of Trust Black Women last year to push back against racist anti-abortion billboards (described brilliantly by Loretta Ross in our Winter 2010 edition) or in-depth conversations on anti-war, anti-rape, pro-choice and pro-economic equality actions. A breathtaking array of stories of activism are in our archives with several summarized and linked in Related Stories.

In this edition, we decided to put Activism itself front and center with writers and thinkers who share their ideas and inspiration.

In overview pieces Unfurling the Progressive Banner: Where We Are longtime progressive activist Leslie Cagan offers five essential keys for forward progress, while Stephanie Gilmore looks at the pros and cons of the Slutwalk phenomenon in Marcha de las Putas: SlutWalking Crosses Global Divides. Amanda Marcotte explains in Getting Over the (#stale) Online v. Offline Debate why the synergy of technology-based and in-person organizing will define the future.

Two writers share their ideas for creating strong collaborations in the future. In Sexual Rights: Advocating for Vibrant Reframing, Juhu Thukral calls for adopting a model of sexual rights that can draw together concerns about gender violence, GLBT, reproductive freedom, sex worker safety and more. Margaret Morganroth Gullette asserts in Taking A Stand Against Ageism At All Ages: A Powerful Coalition that generational prejudice must be conquered in order to secure social justice.

Several writers look at specific areas of activism. In Patient Power - The Reluctant Revolution, Merle Hoffman describes how the emergence of Patient Power altered the doctor-patient relationship forever. Carol Downer recalls, in No Stopping: From Pom-Poms to Saving Women's Bodies, her journey from cheerleader to an outspoken advocate for reproductive rights worldwide. In Challenging People to Think: Activism for Atheism Sunsara Taylor explains why she wants to cut through religious mythology in her drive for revolutionary change.

Strategies for expressing activist ideas are shared by several writers. Ileana Jiminéz shows how the concepts of women’s studies can be used in high schools to engage students in social justice activism in Teaching Feminism in High School: Moving from Theory to Action. Thaler Pekar writes in Stories Matter: How to Power Up Your Activism about the importance of using real-world experiences in enriching advocacy and outreach, while Anne Galisky in Filming Against Odds: Undocumented Youth "Come Out" With Their Dreams describes her experiences in making a film about immigrant youth as a Dream Act tool for activism. Clips from her film, “The Papers," are also in our Video Gallery. Short story writer Michael angel Johnson takes us back in history through a grandmother’s vivid tale of household employees who listen-and-tell when klansmen gather in Fiction: A Basket of Biscuits.

In Food for the Soul: Poetry that Pierces Injustice, Sarah Browning describes how poetry keeps the mind limber for creative advocacy, while five poets selected by Poetry Co-Editor Judith Arcana – E. F. Schraeder, Lynnel Jones, Sondra Zeidenstein, Toi Derricotte and Ursula K. Le Guin – sing of inspiring path breakers and guides in the The Poet’s Eye.

Artists also engage with advocacy. In Heather Ault: Visualizing 4000 Years of Choice, Eleanor Bader profiles a visual artist who places reproductive justice at the core of her creative endeavors. Graphic journalist Susie Cagle, in What Every Woman Should Know, uses her visual and writing talents to portray the sly operations of anti-abortion Crisis Pregnancy Centers in the Bay area -- new proposed legislation there seeks to rein in their deceptive practices. In “The Art Perpsective," curated by Art Editor Linda Stein, The Guerrilla Girls relate in slides, video and audio clips their decades of art poking fun at gender inequities. As always, the work of visual artists is represented throughout the edition.

Other writers share their visions. Seasoned activist Laura Whitehorn writes in Letter to a Young Activist: Left to Learn from the '60s about the hope that activists will embrace incarcerated political prisoners, particularly Black Panthers, whose voices were silenced by government targeting. Lindsey Hennawi, in Our Little Light: Letter From A Young Activist, describes how her activist tendencies were fostered by her mother’s insistence on speaking out against injustice. Gabrielle Korn, in Speak Out: Sharing Passions, Tips, Techniques, gathers a crop of impressive activists to reveal their motivations, goals and insights, including Jennifer Baumgardner, Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Jaclyn Friedman, Sarah Elspeth Patterson, Catherine Sameh and Sarah Morison.

In Book Corner: Feminist Press Picks Five Top Activist Reads, Elizabeth Koke and Glynnis King of The Feminist Press pick top nonfiction, too, citing works by Mattilda Bernstein; Ching-In Chen, Jai Dulani, Leah Lakshmi and Peipzna-Samarasinha; Joanne Smith, Meghan Huppuch and Mandy Van Deven; Josh McPhee, and Amy Richards and Jennifer Baumgardner.

In our new feature, Student Think Tank, we offer writings from “the academy" in response to On The Issues Magazine. The first entries come from the women’s studies seminar at Hobart and William Smith College, where students studied our edition on The Conning of the Feminists. The section also features an article by Prof. Betty Bayer on using our theme-based articles in the classroom.

We invite your participation, too -- with our comment feature at the end of every story, submissions to our unique Café section, which carries frequent updates and additional perspectives (, and by sharing this fertile collection of thinkers and writers via Facebook, Twitter and StumbleUpon. We’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness, and we think your friends will, too.

The Editors

Also see: Related Stories in this edition of On The Issues Magazine.

Also see: Patient Power - The Reluctant Revolution by Merle Hoffman in this edition of On The Issues Magazine.

Read the Cafe for new and updated stories.

Alim posted: 2013-01-02 20:32:42

Personally, I do not think I would protest this new retilay style show primarily, because I know what its like to be on the bad end of the stick; in terms of not receiving child support for my children. I think that if this show can not only raise awareness on the realities that many custodial parents face daily, concerning these male or female "deadbeat parents", as well as a possibly nabbing a few of them, then so be it! I think the important thing to think about here, is children have rights too; i.e., the right to be supported equally by both parents. Sadly, it may take a show of this caliber to make that happen for some of us.

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