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Weekly Roundup: May 13, 2022


At the blog

We hosted a mini-series on the different power-building and organizing strategies of the Black Panthers, the Young Lords, and the Grey Panthers. As discussed in our panel on the subject earlier this year, the three groups all campaigned around health issues, and in different ways explored how health organizing might be a vehicle to build power. 

On Monday, Lucie White explained how the Black Panthers, by running their own free health centers, employed a strategy of prefiguration. These centers provided here-and-now services while enabling participants to envision and pragmatically move toward new political horizons.

On Tuesday, Maya Sandler turned our attention to the Gray Panthers, who empowered elderly people to see themselves as experts capable of disentangling and reshaping convoluted bureaucracies. As she writes, “Though formal bureaucracy was seen as stodgy at best, and a reactionary impediment to progress at worst, the Gray Panthers knew how to make complex systems work for them. This strategy led to meaningful victories that improved institutional services, increased transparency, and galvanized elderly activists in their continued efforts to build power and achieve broader societal changes.”

And on Thursday, Johanna Fernández took us back to December 1969, when the Young Lords barricaded themselves inside the The First Spanish United Methodist Church in East Harlem. Rechristening it the People’s Church, they transformed the church into a staging ground for their vision of a just society by providing free breakfast meals, a free medical clinic, and nightly cultural events. As Fernández argues, direct action works: “the Young Lords’ combination of urban guerrilla protest with sharp political messaging pressured politicians to respond. On the same night that the Young Lords abandoned the church, Republican governor Nelson Rockefeller proposed during his State of the State address to launch a breakfast program for 35,000 poor children in the city.”

In LPE Land

Over at Time to Say Goodbye, LPE’s Kate Redburn discusses the decades of organizing and legal scheming by Christian conservatives that led to the imminent overturning of Roe v. Wade, as well as some of the broader ramifications of the decision.

A new CFP for LPE Scholars, focused on the Law and Political Economy of Business and Human Rights. Submissions due Friday 17 June 2022.

In the NYT, Lindsay Owens argues that, since increased profit margins are responsible for more than half of price increases since the start of the pandemic, lawmakers should pursue a federal price-gouging statute to give regulators the authority to stop companies from exploiting crises. (ICYMI: Luke Herrine has been beating that same drum).

And in case you needed another reason to love unions: they provide one of our bests hopes for fighting the continued erosion of democracy.