London Event February 12 – The Changing Face of Media

PS21 Changing Face of Media event

Wednesday, February 12th, from 06:30 p.m., Room 1.01, Bush House (SE), Strand, London, WC2R 1ES


The emergence of so-called ‘alternative media’ and social media increasingly being relied on as a means to obtain information is subject to much debate in the Western hemisphere. Meanwhile, citizens of authoritarian regimes such as the Philippines and Turkey have to rely on social media and ‘alternative media outlets’, as traditional media outlets are often mouthpieces of propagandist governments.

How does the changing nature of the media affect freedom of speech in the world, and who should citizens turn to for information? What is the responsibility of journalists, media outlets and governments in ensuring both freedom of expression, as well as factuality? How do we fight disinformation in the new media age? And, who has the authority to decide what is real news, and what is fake news?



Jodie Ginsberg – Chief Executive at Index on Censorship.

Kemal Goktas – Journalist at Reuters Institute.

Dr Peter Busch – Senior Lecturer at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London

Meera Selva is the Director of the Journalism Fellowship Programme at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. She has worked as a journalist for the Associated Press, the Independent and Handelsblatt Global.

Deborah Pout will be chairing the event. She is the founder of the Oxford Media Network, in addition to being a Communications Specialist and Middle East Analyst.

Doors open at 6pm, the event will begin at 6:30pm. Please bring photo ID.

Tickets will be available to book on Eventbrite soon.



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Britain’s sorry return to imperial ignorance

By Tim Abington. Tim is currently pursuing an undegraduate degree in International Relations at the University of Birmingham. 

The partition of India is of one of Britain’s most monumental colonial blunders. It is an overwhelming testament to the horror that can be caused by a state’s lack of foresight; lack of knowledge and lack of understanding.

So it is somewhat ironic that in the same year as the atrocities’ 70th anniversary, one of Britain’s greatest assets in tackling ‘imperial ignorance’ is to lose yet another chunk of funding. 

Savings targets in one country, sectarian violence in another

The BBC Monitoring service seeks out, identifies and analyses information from foreign (and often obscure) news outlets across the globe with an aim of providing its beneficiaries (including both the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) with ‘a wider understanding of the world’.

Government funding for the service ended in 2013, a decision that at the time was criticised as woefully short sighted and ill-thought out. This year the service is to lose a further £4 million.

The results of Britain’s past ignorance have already left the globe with social scars and sectarian violence, it appears that there is a determination to add to them in a bid to meet savings targets.

It was on these pages a year ago that Cat Tully argued for long-term thinking in the face of uncertainty. It has been the more subtle signals acquired from a BBC Monitoring analysis of foreign local media, that have provided the knowledge that allowed the FCO to respond.

Despite providing this critical service, the financial pressure that has been piled on under the guise of ‘efficiency savings’ continues into a fifth year.

A steady, slow decline in UK influence abroad

The news that Britain had fallen in its position on the Soft Power index was unfortunately, unsurprising. Two years ago the UK led this particular index, it fell first to the United States and it has now been usurped by the French Republic.

HM Government appears to have an apparent determination to continue this trend of decline.

In 2016 the index publishers, Portland Communications, noted that the FCO had recorded funding losses of 41% in the department’s budget since 2010. The British Council, another vanguard of British influence across the globe recorded similar funding cuts, a loss of a quarter of its budget.

There have been convincing cases (indeed, several have been put forward by PS21 panelists) that have dismissed soft power as a purely academic pursuit. After all, it is machine guns and mortars that win wars, not foreign language television shows.

Yet, the face of conventional warfare has changed. Several years ago a missile fired across the airspace of a key American ally would most likely have justified retaliation beyond a strongly worded condemnation.

Moreover, the world (at the time of writing) has not yet descended into thermonuclear warfare, leaving media outlets and foreign services the main frontmen for a nation’s interests abroad.

Shots across the bows, gun boats and cannonfire are no longer what determines a nation’s influence. Gone are the days where an imperial empire could use a man-of-war to force a treaty upon a minor state.

In June the UK suffered an embarrassing and humiliating defeat at the United Nations.  By a margin of 94 to 15 countries, delegates supported a Mauritian-backed resolution to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legal status of the Chagos Islands. 22 EU member states, including France and Germany, abstained.

Although it was an impressive victory for the tiny nation, the outcome of the United Nations resolution is far from certain, given the UK’s opposition to the involvement of the ICJ. But it must act as a warning. An indication that Britain can no longer assume to be secure in its international standing abroad.

Today, any article touching on UK international relations can not fail to mention Brexit at least once. Prior to the Brexit vote, such a result would have been unprecedented. Mauritius’ total GDP is less than Birmingham, Bradford or even Brighton. The loss of the support of fellow Europeans in the debating chamber will inevitably create more embarrassment for Britain.

Never has it been more necessary to reinforce the image of the UK abroad.

It has been scorned by Europe, belittled by the BRICs and is now becoming irrelevant across much of the globe. Britain must re-envisage the way it operates abroad. As conventional ‘big gun’ warfare begins to decline, different forms of influence are required for the UK to remain at the top table. Soft power offers a way for Britain to continue to operate globally; it must not try and undermine it in the name of austerity.

PS21 is a non-national, non-governmental, non-ideological organisation. All views expressed are the author’s own.


SOLD OUT: London event – the changing face of counterterrorism

Photo 24.11. crowd whitehall

WHEN: Wednesday, August 17, 2016 from 17:30 – 19:00 

WHERE: Whitehall, London, United Kingdom – Exact location to be confirmed to attendees


From Paris to Brussels,, Nice, Orlando and beyond, Western states appear to be facing an almost unprecedented tempo of militant attacks – although they pale in comparison to those in truly front-line nations such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria. With a growing number of such incidents apparently involving single radicalized individuals, often with mental health problems, how can one really define “terrorism”? And with recent attacks in Europe and North America now helping drive domestic politics, what can be done to protect civilians while avoiding further polarizing communities and deepening divisions?

Peter Apps [moderator] – executive director, PS21. Reuters global affairs columnist

Nigel Inkster – former deputy chief, MI6, now head of transnational threats and political risk for international Institute for Strategic Studies

Omar Hamid – former Pakistani police officer, now head of Asia-Pacific risk at IHS

Julia Ebner – policy analyst specializing in European militant threats, Quilliam Foundation

Frederic Ischebeck-Baum – Sir Michael Howard Centre Fellow at King’s College London and PS21 fellow.


You can sign up here.


The PS21 Team.

Imagining 2030: Out of a desert

Imagining 2030 is a series in which PS21 writers describe the world as they see it in 14 years time. 

Jorge Vanstreels writes on the Middle East and Foreign Policy for a variety of publications and is based in Belgium. His regional travels have led him through the West Bank, the Syria-Jordan border, or Tunisia’s deep south. He is currently pursuing his Master of Law at the University of Antwerp. Follow him on Twitter @Jorgevs


In an unknown spot somewhere in the deserts of Arabia far away from any capital stood the tiny village of Ar-Rashid on a plateau surrounded by dunes. It was night and the village was covered in a type of darkness only found in remote places. The sky was vaguely lit up with all possible stars large and small. Seen from space, not even a minuscule light was visible to pinpoint the village in the grand, dark sea the desert formed.


On a plateau, a few houses had been built of cheap bricks and covered with thin metal roofing. Three unpaved roads gave the village some sense of orientation. In the evening, the call to prayer from the administrative town some distance away was heard. Ahmed stood at the entrance of his parent’s house. Indeed, tonight his decision was final. He looked nervously to the dunes at the horizon. Their rolling shapes stood out against the lighter night sky. His father came in and Ahmed asked if he wanted to go out for a walk. Sure, said his father, a tall man in his late 30’s with curly black hair that was starting to turn slightly grey.


“What’s up?” he asked his son. Ahmed just shrugged his shoulders. “Let’s go out,” the father said. They walked to the dunes at the end of the road. Their sharp forms stood out in dark-grey against the brighter night sky. After they had climbed the top of a dune they sat down. There was silence as both looked up at the sky.


“Look”, his father said, pointing to a bright light just above the horizon to their right. It moved slowly higher describing an arc. His father’s arm followed the object’s motion until it was above them.


“When I was young,” he said, “the movement would go so much slower. You could follow that plane through the sky for more than two minutes.” Now it had flown across their vast horizon in less than a minute. Ahmed thought of those inside, looking down into what would surely be nothing.  “The times of progress,” his father smiled, dreaming of a gleaming, supersonic object they knew only from images.


Ahmed looked to his father. He was nervous, unsure as to how he would react. “So, tell me. What is on your mind?” Ahmed stayed silent. He thought of his friends. Of all those hours, those infinite days spent in a spot you could not find on a map. He had the sense the rest of the world had a sure time and place while his had not. He bit tensely on his lip while looking up at the sky. “I am going to leave,” he said, “tomorrow morning.”


There was silence from his father.


“With the bus I will go to the capital; it is decided and I do not want to change my mind,” he said, trying to sound decisive. A multitude of stars large and small was scattered generously around; the combined glow gave the night sky a pale luminosity. In between the top of the dunes shadows formed and valleys could be seen. His father sighed heavily. Although his father knew why his son wanted to leave, he asked him why. Ahmed sensed his father knew very well, but he did not tell him that.


Their country had in the last few years slipped into violence. Although the remote provinces had been spared, all the major cities had witnessed serious riots by thousand youths. They would chant slogans for justice. It was not clear what they meant by that. Aggravating it, or perhaps fueling it, was the scarcity of jobs .The country was bankrupt, as petroleum was globally out of favor.


On the dunes, a breeze swept some sand away into the air. “Father, thirty years ago you left. You risked your life to reach Europe, leaving our grandparents behind, with them trembling for your life each night. Grandmother says it cut her life short ten years. Why did you go?” Ahmed said, almost with exasperation, “What was there to find that even death could not scare you?” There was a shrug of the shoulders.


“Look son, nothing has changed. Not here, nor in those place we dream of. If someone is young like you, there is still nothing you can call a future.” He paused. “Sure, there’s a roof. There’s a bed, there’s a meal. That is it. At my age, one learns to accept that.” His father continued, “When I was as young as you I went to Europe for something better, yes. I felt angry. My parents did not understand, begged me to stay. So I shut up until I left them as a thief in the night.”


A silence. “Why did you come back?”


“I worked two years; hard. Nothing there made me happy. All the money was sent back here; then I was sent out of the country, as I did not have papers. Not that I was bothered, I had grown indifferent. So I said: better poor at home, then work and sadness and no home soil.”


Ahmed grinned.  “Yeah, that makes some sense.”


Then his father asked, “You will go to the city to protest, yes? With the imam and all his followers, right? You want to join him. You want to fight. For justice.” He said the last word with a hint of cynicism. His son nodded, looking to the sand between his feet. “All my friends are there”, he said, “Everybody goes. We have to defend the honor of our future. I can’t explain father, but you should understand. You hated your world too.”


Indeed his father had. With age, the hate had transmuted into a peaceful bitterness. Their country was not the only one. The whole of the Middle East had seen order disappear. Monarchies had fallen, autocrats had gone, borders had been redrawn, countries broken apart, others stitched together. In the days of Ahmed’s father the frustrations of the young had been channeled into religious extremism; now a different kind of extremism had emerged in the region, carried by progressive imams in cities, a new political view that merged Islam with Marxist principles of class struggle. It called for the overthrow of the established order, by blood and force if necessary. Many youngsters had heeded the call of the new Revolution.


Ahmed asked in a sudden outburst of anger, “our country, this vast country full of people is only for those corrupt and maliciously rich. They as Gods and only they decide; high up on their thrones, treating us as cattle, against the very will of Islam. Not as humans. Do you think they care for even one single moment? They couldn’t care less than for a grain of sand.”


”They do not care,” his father said softly.


Ahmed continued, “Nothing has changed, father. You left to find something better, you did not get it. What will we do? Wait until what? Until the sand has run us over and everybody forgets about honor or dignity? No. What does our religion say? We have to fight against the forces of evil. They are fighting in the streets. That’s where history goes, that’s where we have to stand, even if blood flows.”


“Look, father, I understand you do not want me to go. But what is there for me, here? Emptiness,” he gestured impatiently to the horizon.


The state, as in all provinces, had given basic education in the nearest administrative town. In the times of his father, university was free when petroleum was still selling. After that, the crisis had hit hard. Now only the very rich or the connected could afford higher education. Ahmed knew the basics of mathematics, some English, a few centuries of history, too much religion, and that was it. On television, all saw the archetype of the successful Arab man in smart suit, fast car and next to him a beautiful woman. Ahmed said firmly. “They who rule against God have to go. It is not just. I will not stay here doing nothing.”


His father stayed silent, looking to the dark slopes and valleys in front of them. ”I cannot say and I will not say you are right; however I cannot stop you either, my son,” was the only thing he said.


It was uncertain whether the time ahead would bring a better future. Uncertain too was whether the anger of the young would once again transform the region, this time for good. What was sure was that the unknown would be reached through an inevitably violent upheaval.


It was still dark when Ahmed left the house. His father would tell his mother, later. On the road the bus came. The doors closed. The engine creaked. The sun rose, fast.


Interested in contributing a piece to the series? E-mail us at

Project for Study of the 21st Century is a non-national, non-ideological, non-partisan organization. All views expressed are the author’s own.

Exploiting the Electorate: Lessons from Brexit

Caitlin Vito is a research Events Administrator at the International Institute
for Strategic Studies (IISS); Formerly at NATO, Political Affairs and Security Policy Division 


On June 16th British Member of Parliament Jo Cox was shot and killed by one of her own constituents. In the midst of outpourings of grief and cross-party condemnation, her death also allowed a moment of reflection. How had Britain reached this point?

To answer that, one couldn’t help but think of the heated debates on Brexit in the weeks prior to her death, with both the Remain and Leave camps hurling accusations at each other. Both accusing the other of whipping up hatred and fear among the British electorate. Sadiq Khan, the pro-Remain London mayor lambasted his predecessor, pro-Brexiter and former London mayor, Boris Johnson for unleashing ‘Project Hate’, of stirring up xenophobia and fears of immigrants flooding into the UK. In return, the pro-Brexit camp attacked the Remain side for running a ‘Project Fear’ campaign, which they argued exaggerated to the British public the costs of leaving the EU.

These catchy one-liners were quickly sucked up by the media and became the labels with which to hastily dismiss and discredit opposing arguments. ‘Project Fear’ and ‘Project Hate’ have exposed, and in many ways exacerbated, a visible and growing polarization of British politics and society. The referendum debate was framed in black and white, allowing little space for balanced discussion, and further breeding distrust and a corrosive contempt for the other side. Where arguments are boiled down into sound-bites, politics finds itself easily drifting towards the extremes.

Similarly, the Brexit campaign brought far-right anti-immigrant sentiment from the margins into public discourse. A leading Brexiter and head of the anti-immigration political party UKIP, Nigel Farage, even employed a campaign banner that depicted hordes of migrants and refugees crossing the EU border with the slogan of “BREAKING POINT: the EU has failed us all”. Immediately, many pundits pointed out similarities to propaganda used by the Nazis in the 1930’s. Jo Cox’s murderer also had longstanding neo-Nazi leanings. His decision to act at a time when politicians and the media were stoking divisions and polarizing discourse through extreme populist rhetoric was likely not a coincidence.

The trend seen in the UK, towards polarization and division, is shared across the Atlantic in the United States, where demonization has been seen throughout the US presidential election campaign. Donald Trump is a master of populist rhetoric, dividing voters with his early call for a temporary ban on Muslim migration and labeling all Mexicans crossing the US border ‘rapists’. The real life consequences of this are playing out across America, with a number of civil-rights organizations voicing serious concerns about the rise in hate speech and violent acts by far-right groups, many of whom coincidentally also openly support Trump.

The vote for Brexit and the rising popularity of Trump reflects a significant number of people on both sides of the Atlantic who are justifiably angry and frustrated with the status quo. Many of them feel that they have not been included in the economic and social benefits of globalization and closer integration. Instead of focusing efforts towards bringing these people into the fold of prosperity, many politicians and media figures have exploited the electorates’ frustrations for their own short term political and financial gain. The murder of Jo Cox and the rise in hate crimes are markers of the ripple effects these dynamics have as they play out across society. People now need politicians and a media which does not try to take opportunistic advantage in division, but seeks to build longstanding bridges.

Uncertainty lies ahead from the fallout of the British vote. Therefore, it is important that the forces polarizing the debate are now reined in. The inevitable calls for unity, urged by many politicians following the vote, must be followed by real action.



Project for Study of the 21st Century is a non-national, nongovernmental, nonpartisan organization. All views expressed are the author’s own.

The Republican Convention: Smooth sailing for Trump?


Anne Shannon Baxter is an American living in London and a recent graduate from SOAS with an MA in International Studies & Diplomacy. 

For nearly twelve months the world looked on in astonishment as fifteen Republican candidates fought a dirty school-yard scrap to win their party’s nomination. Now the dust has settled leaving just one triumphant winner, real estate mogul Donald Trump. With Kasich and Cruz out of the race, Mr. Trump is the presumed Republican nominee, as there are no candidates running against him in the remaining primaries. The result has crushed the possibility of the Republican Convention being brokered, contested, or even open, leaving many political commentators disappointed.


“Brokered”, “contested”, “open”. All of these terms have been thrown around and used interchangeably when talking about the upcoming Republican Convention set to take place in Cleveland, Ohio on 7th July. But what do each of these terms actually mean, and are they indeed interchangeable? When discussed on news programs these terms alluded to some form of impending mayhem, invoking a sense of dread within the Republican Party. Some sympathetic political commentators and pundits have argued that a contested/open/brokered convention must be avoided at all costs, as it may further divide the party and cause irreversible damage. Yet, others believe an open convention was the Republican Party’s Hail Mary attempt at stopping Donald Trump from receiving the nomination.


The terms “brokered”, “contested” and “open” are all used to refer to a scenario in which no candidate has the “magic number” of 1,237 delegates required to receive the Republican nomination at the outset of the Convention. In such a scenario, the delegates must cast their votes on the floor of the convention in a series of ballots, until one candidate receives 1,237 votes and the nominee is chosen. The term “brokered” refers to a time when powerful political brokers made deals in the backrooms of convention halls and told delegates how to vote. A brokered convention was common practice in the 19th and early 20th centuries, as candidates rarely received the required majority of votes, and multiple rounds of votes took place during the convention itself to choose a nominee. This has changed because delegates are chosen through democratic means and brokers no longer exist in the modern political system. A contested convention is similar to a brokered convention, but without the historical reference to political brokers. The last contested Republican convention was in 1976 when Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford entered the Kansas City convention hall without having secured the nomination. Both candidates then attempted to woo delegates to their side.  After the first ballot, Gerald Ford was announced as the Republican nominee with a majority of delegates. Thus, an open convention broadly refers to both a historically brokered and modern contested convention. If Kasich and Cruz had not dropped out of the race, they could have kept Trump just shy of the 1,237 number and paved the path for an open convention.


That this path was blocked is good news for the Republican Party’s image, as the consequences of an open convention could have been extremely damaging. The primary campaign, so far, has been marred with violence and partisan divisions that would have reached a new high, or low, if faced with an open convention. Despite this, even when Mr. Trump receives his 1,237 delegates, the chances of every Republican at the convention, delegate or otherwise, ‘falling into line’ behind the nominee are slim. There may no longer be brokers on the floor, and the nominee may not be contested, but rest assured, the 2016 Republican Convention starring “The Donald” will go down in history.


Project for Study of the 21st Century is a non-national, non-ideological, non-partisan organization. All views expressed are the author’s own.

State of Emergency in Iraq: Will the next U.S. Administration be prepared?

Asha Castleberry is a U.S. National Security Expert and U.S. Army Veteran.  She is an Adjunct Fellow at the American Security Project (ASP) and a member of the Truman National Security Project Defense Council. She tweets at @ashacastleberry.

Project for Study of the 21st Century is a non-national, nongovernmental, nonpartisan organization. All views expressed are the author’s own.

What is going on in Iraq?  The Iraqi government has declared a state of emergency and political turmoil in Iraq is on the rise, as seen from the recent meltdown in Baghdad. The political deadlock seen in the Iraqi parliament has ignited massive protests within the Green Zone, spearheaded by the Shia opposition groups led by Iraqi Shia Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. He has has launched a de-facto coup, attacking the political legitimacy of the Shia-led Baghdad government. He has done so by demanding Prime Minister Haider to present the new list of technocrat cabinet members.  In addition, the Iraqi government has deployed security forces, in conjunction with Shia militias, to further bolster security in Southern Baghdad.

Political instability in Baghdad poses a direct threat towards the current mission against ISIS and Iraqi national reconstruction.  During Vice President Biden’s recent trip to Baghdad, he underscored that political chaos there would negatively impact current operations in the war against ISIS.  ISIS will then take advantage of this opportunity to exacerbate sectarian tensions by targeting Shia communities, especially during the Shia pilgrimage.  The recent attacks in the Nahrwan area prove this point. ISIS has also claimed attacks against Shia communities in Imam Ali-Husseiniyah in Southern Baghdad. They will also step up more attacks during the commemoration of Imam al-Kadhim, a major Shia holiday.  The timing is just perfect for ISIS, as this has occurred right after another major, violent sectarian incident in Iraq.  The recent clashes between the Peshmerga Forces and al-Hashad al-Turkmani militias in Tuz Khurmatu, Salahuddin Province has shown the country’s inability to successfully prevent such sectarian violence.

Despite political turmoil and ongoing sectarian strife, the Anti-ISIS coalition has made considerable progress during the month of April.  The Iraqi security forces liberated the Hit District in Al-Anbar province and successfully completed clearing operations in key areas in Diyala Province.  According to a recent Institute of Study of the War (ISW) situation report,  the Peshmerga Forces along with Sunni Arab forces liberated key villages in the north of Mosul, with coalition airstrike support. In preparation for the Mosul counteroffensive, the U.S. has authorized an additional 217 troops to be deployed to Iraq and provide additional air assets.  Furthermore, the U.S. has issued a 30 day extension for the U.S. air carrier, USS Harry S. Truman in the Gulf Region to support President Obama’s acceleration of the fight against ISIS. The USS Harry S. Truman provides robust maritime security, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISRs), and counterterrorism capabilities.

Nevertheless, there has been no major economic impact resulting from the political climate in Baghdad.  The Iraqi Minister of Oil has confirmed that the political turmoil in Baghdad did not impact oil exports for the month of April. Indeed, Bloomberg has reported that oil exports reached a record high of 4.3 million barrels a day that month.  However, projections still forecast that it may drop, and the country will continue to struggle to be able to afford this expensive war against ISIS.

The current political instability in Iraq is reminding us just how critical it is for the next U.S. administration to prescribe a viable strategy in such a complex and volatile country.  The U.S. needs competent leadership, similar to the Obama Administration, that knows how to carry out a comprehensive forward plan.  Based on the recent Iraqi political crisis, the American people should be questioning presidential candidates about the U.S.’s future role in Iraq.  Here are some major questions that a U.S. presidential candidate should seriously consider.  First, are Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi’s political reforms promising to achieve an inclusive and decentralized government?  If not, what then, is the next course of action to help build political cohesion in Baghdad?  Second, the next U.S. administration will inherit a commitment of just over 4,000 U.S. servicemembers in Iraq, with the authorization to continue using airpower.  Therefore, will the next U.S. administration maintain the same number of boots on ground? Third, if the Iraqis are fortunate enough to win back Mosul and terminate ISIS presence there before the end of the year, will the next administration then assist with peacebuilding in a post-ISIS war? Fourth, will the next administration support a three-state solution for Iraq, or continue the policy of national reconciliation with our regional partners?

Moving forward, I believe that Secretary Hillary Clinton is the best U.S. presidential candidate to deliver the best policy strategy for our future role in Iraq.  Secretary Clinton could implement a well thought out position that supports a decisive political strategy in Iraq.  She will not be incoherent and inconsistent about her position. Secretary Clinton has already conveyed her strong understanding and knowledge about countering ISIS in Iraq.  A comprehensive strategy of support, by providing more airpower, as well as Training, Advising, and Assist (TAA) for the Iraqi Security Forces, Peshmerga Forces, and Sunni Tribal Groups.

Organizing in the 21st Century

 KM pic
Late last month, author and PS21 global fellow Linda Tirado participated in a panel discussion titled Organizing in the 21st Century at the 2015 Virginia Festival of the Book. Drawing from her own lived experience, she discussed the issues that affect low-income and working-class communities and the intersection of race and class.
“People frequently see trees and not forest. So when we’re talking about what is left to do, we talk about these issuoes separately. We talk about racism, we talk about classism, we talk about sexism. Well, I worked as a bartender. So tell me how to separate my wage from my sexual harassment. I work on poverty issues and we know that the more melanin you have in your skin, the more work you have to do to get to the exact same place that I did. And I was barely surviving. So tell me how we separate race and class.
[…] A lot of my work is just telling people: hey, these things intersect here. And you’re not paying attention to one, and you can’t solve one without a holistic look at all of the others. For me I would say the bulk of my work is reminding people that I don’t care how much your life sucks — you still have it better than somebody else, and you still have it worse than somebody else.
The question isn’t ‘how do we make my life better,’ ‘how do we make your life better.’ The question is: how do we make it better so that nobody has an awful life in this country, the wealthiest country in the world? Why is it that half of our workers don’t know how much money they’re going to make next week? What does that say about us as a society?”
You can watch the full panel discussion here. Linda tweets: @KillerMartinis

Spike in Media Coverage of PS21 Study on Spike in Death Tolls

PS21’s study, published Wednesday, March 18, showed a more than 28% spike in deaths in the most violent conflicts in 2014, and has been making the rounds on various news outlets. Untitled It also ran on,, Newsweek, the LA Times website, the Christian Science Monitor and Al-Arabiya, as well as on Danish, Chinese, Croatian, Hungarian and Brazilian news providers. The Thompson Reuters Foundation ran a blog post in response to the research from PS21 Executive Director Peter Apps. Peter Apps also presented a video segment on the topic for Reuters TV.