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Robert Jensen


"There Are Marxists in India?" Prabhat Patnaik on the Global Crisis

[Prabhat Patnaik speaking at the CESP farwell party in JNU, New Delhi, 2006. Image by SubinDennis, via Wikimedia Commons.]

After an engaging half-hour interview with India’s pre-eminent Marxist economist during a conference at New York University, I told a friend about my one-on-one time with Prabhat Patnaik. “There are Marxists in India?” came the bemused response. “I thought India was the heart of the new capitalism.” Indeed, we hear about India mostly as a rising economic power that is challenging the United States. While there certainly are no shortages of capitalists, there are still lots ...

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Prophetic Politics: Charting a Healthy Role for Religion in Public Life

[Cover of Walter Brueggemann,

Walter Brueggemann, The Practice of Prophetic Imagination: Preaching an Emancipatory Word. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012. Does God take sides in the elections? Is there a voters’ guide hiding in our holy books? Should we pray for electoral inspiration? Secular people tend to answer an emphatic “NO” to those questions, as do most progressive religious folk. Because religious fundamentalists so often present an easy-to-caricature version of faith-based politics—even to ...

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The Fire Next Time Is Now: An Interview with Angus Wright

[Angus Wright. Image from unknown archive.]

Angus Wright has a way of saying things we may not want to hear in a way that is hard to ignore. An example: During a meeting of environmentalists about shaping the public conversation on our most pressing ecological crises, folks were wrestling with how to present an honest analysis in accessible language—how to talk about the bad news and the need for radical responses without turning people off. During the discussion about the effects of climate change, Wright offered a ...

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Occupy Demands: Let's Radicalize Our Analysis of Empire, Economics, Ecology

[Image from Occupy Austin, Austin, Texas. Photo by Ralph Barrera/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

There is one question that pundits and politicians keep posing to the Occupy gatherings around the country: What are your demands? I have a suggestion for a response: We demand that you stop demanding a list of demands. The demand for demands is an attempt to shoehorn the Occupy gatherings into conventional politics, to force the energy of these gatherings into a form that people in power recognize, so that they can roll out strategies to divert, co-opt, buy off, or—if ...

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9/11 Lessons: Combating Ignorance, Avoiding Arrogance

[New York City, February 15, 2003. Photo by Ezio Petersen.]

Ten years ago, we were right, but it didn’t matter. Ten years ago, within hours after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, it was clear that the architects of US foreign policy were going to use the events to justify war in Central Asia and the Middle East. And within hours, those of us critical of those policies began to articulate principled and practical arguments against the mad rush to war. We were right then, but it did not matter. Neither the general ...

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The Anguish in the American Dream


As we cope with downturns in American power in the world and the American economy at home, there is much talk about reviving, renewing, rescuing, or redefining the American Dream. We would be better off facing the anguish inherent in the American Dream. Once we recognize that the dream has always been dependent on domination, we can see more clearly our options for a just and sustainable future. Whether celebrated or condemned, the American Dream endures, though always ...

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Robert Jensen


Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center in Austin, one of the partners in the community center “5604 Manor.” He is the author of All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice (Soft Skull Press, 2009); Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity (South End Press, 2007); The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege (City Lights, 2005); Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity (City Lights, 2004); and Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream (Peter Lang, 2002). Jensen is also co-producer of the documentary film Abe Osheroff: One Foot in the Grave, the Other Still Dancing, which chronicles the life and philosophy of the longtime radical activist. Information about the film, distributed by the Media Education Foundation, and an extended interview Jensen conducted with Osheroff can be found here.

Jensen can be reached at and his articles can be found here.