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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Tuesday, January 05, 2010
The Road to Healthcare is Paved with Bad Intentions
A few months ago I inquired, rhetorically, " does anyone in the healthcare debate really care about health ?" Obviously the answer was and is a resounding NO, as the discussion has wholly devolved upon insurance coverage to the exclusion of substantive aspects of health like nutrition and preventive care. Yet not only is the focus of the deliberations far removed from any talk of improving health -- now it has explicitly gone to the next level in which it is simply about who will pay and who will profit.
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Sunday, December 13, 2009
Keep Your Eyes on the Peace Prize
We have to give Team Obama credit for a truly historic and thoroughly incredible Nobel acceptance speech. Whereas the teachings and legacies of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mohandas Gandhi were recalled as admirable yet not "practical or possible in every circumstance," we were reminded that Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon were pragmatic peacemakers, and furthermore that America consistently strives to work both with and through the United Nations "to govern the waging of war, ...
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Monday, September 21, 2009
Does Anyone in the Healthcare Debate Really Care About Health?
In all of the invectives thrown around during the healthcare dialogue, amidst the shouting of the neo-Brown Shirts and among the talking heads speaking out of both sides of their mouths, something fundamental to the entire issue has somehow been omitted. Lurking just beneath the subterranean rhetorical level of Death Panels and in the myopic fine print of congressional bills, there's an unquestioned assumption at the core that takes healthcare as we practice it here in the U.S. as a good thing, something of which we need more and for more people.
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Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Disorder on the Border: Trashing the Law in the Name of Immigration Deterrence
In two recent criminal cases in the United States, defendants received similar sentences for very different sorts of actions. In the first, a young man was convicted of negligent homicide for texting while driving and killing two scientists in the process. The New York Times reported on the case and the sentence meted out to the young man:
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Friday, June 26, 2009
Saving Ourselves: Consuming Within Recharge Rates
In bygone days, the environmental movement would often cast its lot with a "Save the [blank]" ideology that generally included non-human components such as "world" or "whales" or "spotted owls" in its formulation. Unsurprisingly, many people scoffed at the suggestion that human opportunities and progress should be foregone in the name of saving other entities.
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Thursday, June 04, 2009
The Times They Aren't A-Changin' ... Yet
C'mon, admit it. No matter how cynical or radical you might fancy yourself to be, you expected things to change in a tangible way with Bush moving on out and Obama taking the reins. Yet now as reality sets in, it has become clear that it'll take a lot more than changing captains to evade that massive (albeit melting) iceberg looming dead ahead.
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Friday, March 20, 2009
What to Do When Peace Breaks Out
With the economic crisis worsening and anxiety growing, people are beginning to speculate about what things might look like in the event of societal collapse. Previously, this line of inquiry was more the domain of science fiction, and indeed there are critical lessons to be gleaned from these genre works that oftentimes display some truly amazing predictive capacities. But now, with the twin challenges of climate change and financial instability taking center stage, reality seems to be catching up with speculation.
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Peace is the New War
What is war good for? Absolutely nothing -- unless you're a military profiteer, torture fetishist, media mogul, or fearmongering politician. I'm tempted to add Peace Studies professors to this list, since war seemingly provides a raison d'etre to our work, but that only captures half the field -- namely the basic abolition of war that we call "negative peace" -- and misses the more interesting and challenging aspect of what "positive peace" actually looks like in practice. People across the political spectrum are war-weary by now and ready for that positive new option.
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Friday, November 14, 2008
Hobbes Is Dead (or at least on life support) . . . and I Feel Fine
It has been said that the election of Barack Obama as the next President may serve to redress the four-century-old stain of racism in America. While the symbolic poignancy of his ascent no doubt will dispel some demons and open new vistas of opportunity for many, there is another deep-seated ideology of nearly the same historical age that Obama's election may confront, one that perhaps even underlies the overt machinations of race and caste: to wit, fear itself.
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