Randall Amster

Randall Amster

Randall Amster, JD, PhD, is Director of the Program on Justice and Peace at Georgetown University. His books include Peace Ecology (Routledge, 2015), Anarchism Today (Praeger, 2012), Lost in Space: The Criminalization, Globalization, and Urban Ecology of Homelessness (LFB, 2008); and the co-edited volume Exploring the Power of Nonviolence: Peace, Politics, and Practice (Syracuse University Press, 2013).

Articles by this author

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Thursday, July 22, 2010
Arizona's Moment of Truth
As we rush headlong toward the July 29 th implementation date for Arizona's immigration law, SB 1070, all signs are pointing toward a truly epic clash in the offing. Positions have been staked out, legal challenges have been joined, legislative claims have been debunked, and activists are massing in the wings. This is a moment of historical import -- our generation's Selma and Montgomery -- and what transpires in the desert over the coming weeks will add a crucial chapter to the story of who we are as a people.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Hello, America? This is Your Wakeup Call
There are cracks in the earth and holes in our hearts. The gusher in the Gulf has dramatized in gut-wrenching fashion a set of values and outcomes that comprise the underlying foundation of our lives. This is no “reality TV” episode, even though the already-diluted news coverage increasingly makes everything appear that way. No, this is “real reality” -- an edgy, in-your-face, unexpurgated reminder of what we have relentlessly wrought on the planet and ourselves.
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Saturday, July 10, 2010
Can We All Get Along?
The cauldron of hatred and anguish bubbles over like oil slowly seeping into fragile marshlands. The ravages of perpetual warfare rend the fabric of society and sow the seeds of mass insanity. Racism forms a patina over our relations as four centuries of unspeakable atrocities are elided from our master narrative. Politicians prattle, pundits pander, and plutocrats prosper while families grieve and rifts widen. The clock ticks mercilessly and no one seems the wiser.
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Saturday, June 05, 2010
Erasing Arizona: Dark-skinned Mural Faces Ordered “Lightened” to Appease Bigotry
It is difficult to fully explain the impacts of Arizona's burgeoning and overt anti-immigrant climate these days. To outsiders it must seem like either the inmates have finally taken over the asylum, or alternatively that someone is finally standing up to an inept federal government. To those of us living here, it further appears as either a formalized decree of misguided policies that have long been in place below the radar, or a chance to finally push a brewing agenda to its logical and necessary extreme on a statewide scale.
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Take a Hike: Misconceptions and Machinations Keep Activists Incarcerated in Iran
You've probably heard about the three hikers being held in Iran since last summer. Their case has become a political football, highlighting the inherent tensions and absurd machinations of the U.S.-Iran relationship. If you've followed the story even casually, you also likely have an impression of the hikers as either being dumb and naive or spoiled kids deserving of their fate. These perceptions are actually well off the mark, and in some ways have served to perpetuate their plight.
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Sunday, May 23, 2010
Welcome to Arizona: “It’s a Dry Hate...”
First it was legally-sanctioned racial profiling, with a touch of totalitarian "show me your papers" thrown in for good measure (SB 1070). Next we were delivered a new law banning Ethnic Studies programs or any teaching that promotes "ethnic solidarity" (HB 2281). Then the state's school superintendent announced a policy whereby teachers with "heavy accents" would be prevented from being in classrooms in which instruction was being given in English.
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Ode to Arizona
The desert stretched for miles in every direction before yielding to grasslands and juniper forests. Behind me lay the vast, unchanging terrain of isolation and despair; ahead the close comfort and dynamic transience of the boomtown. The impossible openness was perfectly balanced by the burgeoning cul-de-sac, and in that moment came the rustling of an abandoned thought: I am home. Fifteen years later and everything has changed, except for that essential harmony of contrasts.
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Health Reform Passes, But I Still Don't Feel So Good
Hurray! I mean, Boo! Or is it, What? Perhaps we should just go with Whatever. No matter how you slice it, something has happened that is either historically fabulous, monumentally stupid, perplexingly intricate, or ordinarily mundane. I suspect, in the end, it will wind up being all of this and more. Welcome to the brave new world of health insurance reform, with a little something for everyone and a lot for some.
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Saturday, March 20, 2010
Silent Spring Has Sprung
Seasons change, yet some things remain the same. Nearly half a century ago, Rachel Carson debuted the first serial installment of what would eventually become one of the landmark works of the 20th century, Silent Spring. In that book, Carson famously argued that the pesticide DDT was responsible for negative impacts on the environment, animals, and humans alike, despite disinformation spread by industry and government officials about its purported safety and utility in agribusiness.
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Sunday, January 17, 2010
Does It Take a Disaster for Us to Care?
The images coming out of Haiti are unimaginably grim, and as the clock continues to tick while rescue efforts become mired in bureaucracy, the death toll is sure to rise. Still, as is often the case in times of epic tragedy, Americans express their grief and demonstrate their largesse in myriad meaningful ways. The sincerity of these gestures is obvious, but the question persists: Why does it take a high-magnitude disaster for us to really care?
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