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Letters

Comment A Victory for the 99 Percent

On the Line

Poem Mary Oliver

Everyday Subversion Rebecca Solnit
Quotidian acts of kindness transcend the market system.

Giving and Receiving Edwidge Danticat
A lesson my uncle taught me.

Relearning the Beautiful Game Josh Healey
Playing soccer not to win but to tie.

Resurrect Peace Sonia Sanchez
Let us disarm the death makers.

Finding Sanity and Kindness Kathy Kelly
In prison and in Kabul, compassion arises.

Making a Move Jimmy Santiago Baca
I was sinking into a rut, and so I built a cabin.

Poem Martín Espada

Don’t Pay the Price of Respectability Bill Fletcher Jr.
Why I was no longer welcome at the AFL-CIO.

In the Presence of a Swan Terry Tempest Williams
Communing with the sacred and the mysterious.

Interview

Jan Gehl Violet Law
“We need shared spaces where we meet our fellow citizens,” says the visionary urban planner.

Overcoming Powerlessness Ralph Nader
It will gnaw at you until you help create a small community with a serious purpose.

Spirits of the Stories Joy Harjo
Thank you to all the culture bearers.

Sometimes You Have to Be There Bill McKibben
I fly a lot, and I know I shouldn’t.

Poem Lauren Schmidt

Savor the Little Victories Medea Benjamin
Giving up is a luxury we can’t afford.

Envisioning a Healed World Mark Gonzales
We need to dream and imagine again.

Seeing Results Maude Barlow
The campaign for clean water scores victories.

A Threaded Life Luis J. Rodríguez
How activism and art pull me through.

Language Versus Lies Scott Russell Sanders
We must strive to speak and write clearly and accurately.

Stories to Steer By Julia Alvarez
These are my nightwatchmen.

Poem Marge Piercy

Dave Zirin celebrates the courage of an Olympic boxer.
Kate Clinton is amused by the contretemps about Jesus’s wife.

Our Favorite Books of 2012
Jim Hightower salutes heroic voters.
Index Ina Lukas

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Malala Yousafzai meets with the Obamas. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

When Yousafzai left the White House, she was whisked away to speak at the exclusive private school that the...

Mauldin cartoon from the Chicago Sun-Times depicts Fidel Castro musing to a portrait of Karl Marx, "I'll bet you never had to deal with Cubans."

From our 1963 archive, this piece explores the tension between the United States and Cuba after the Bay of Pigs...

Chris Christie excoriates a teacher in front of a crowd.

It’s become difficult for Christie to continue to blame his failures on teachers and their unions; and yet, like a...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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