Debates About Activism: Tikkun’s Fall 2013 Issue

In my last blog post, I wrote about Tikkun’s Summer 2013 issue, which focused on immigration, and now it’s time to talk about the second issue I have worked on!

The Fall 2013 issue’s special section is titled: Identity Politics, Class Politics, Spiritual Politics: How Do We Build World-Transforming Coalitions? I have a love/hate relationship with this issue, because it gave me my first chance to do big-picture editing for content rather than sentence structure, grammar, and typos, but I also spent three full days creating shortened teaser versions of each article and reformatting them for the magazine’s webpage… really tedious work. Nonetheless, it is truly a great issue.

It has also had the effect of giving me new insights into my future (possible) career in journalism. Throughout, it gives detailed consideration to the best politics and strategies behind activism. It asks questions such as: Should activists use identity politics (an appeal to personal identities, such as race, gender, sexuality, etc.) to build support? How can this be done without creating divisions between groups, and really, can this be done? Or are all issues better addressed through the lens of class and a broader critique of global capitalism? And how can spiritual-based appeals to our common humanity create allies for activist movements and encourage personal responsibility for those who want to see a better world?

The issue as a whole doesn’t take a strong stance, besides suggesting that issues surrounding identity, class, and spirituality intertwine. Instead, it basically provides a forum for debate among various activists. They discuss their views on identity politics and its relationship to class, as well as their methods for building support through personal or humanistic (as Tikkun would say, spiritual) appeals.

Recently, I have started to consider what my possible “beat” as a journalist might be, after receiving this suggestion from my supervisor. Since I am an American Studies major, the obvious answer would be American society, particularly with regard to social justice issues. And now that I have heard all of these philosophies behind the strategies and politics of activism, I am definitely able to think about social justice movements in a more intelligent and analytical way. Further, I have learned about strategies for encouraging real debate in the media- debate that goes beyond the buzzword-filled, politically polarized discourse of forums such as NBC’s roundtable.

The best thing about this internship by far is the way it seamlessly gives me practical experience in magazine journalism and makes me deeply consider social issues in a way that informs my career planning and my personal thinking.

Thanks for reading! 

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