Social Change

From solidarity activists in Palestine to local communities organizing against systemic poverty in the United States, movements for social change always deserve more attention than they get. This section of the Weave spotlights the efforts of and challenges faced by those who are struggling to transform dominant social structures and make the world a better place.

Interweaving: Ilana Feldman on the AAA's Israel Boycott Resolution

877 At its recent meeting in Denver, members of the American Anthropological Association voted overwhelmingly in support of a resolution calling on the AAA to boycott Israeli academic institutions. Following the historic vote I reached out to Ilana Feldman, a member of the group that spearheaded the effort to bring the resolution forward. Feldman is Associate Professor of Anthropology, History, and International Affairs at George Washington University and author of the recently-released monograph Police Encounters: Security and Surveillance in Gaza Under Egyptian Rule (Stanford University Press) and numerous other publications. Below is a transcript of our conversation, presented here as part of my occasional “Interweaving” series of conversations on contemporary global issues.

EU: Migrants, Refugees, and Redistribution

Somewhere between departing from and returning to Europe from North America, this July and August, I have noticed a tremendous shift of rhetoric in the European media. Before my departure I heard about asylum seekers from inter alia Syria seeking their refuge in Europe and often dying on the Mediterranean Sea. Once, I returned, I keep hearing about "migrants" who still keep dying on the boats or while smuggled. Why this shift in rhetoric matters so much and why it is a bit disgusting?

Kids who die... by Langston Hughes

The Color of Change has released a powerful video that is definitely world spreading! Check it out:



Dangerous Solidarities at Northeastern and Beyond

Upon hearing the news that student activists at Northeastern University (“a leader in global experiential learning”) were being targeted for punishment by the university administration in response to their work in solidarity with Palestinians, I was immediately reminded of an episode from my own career as an activist.  I was also reminded of how dangerous the impulse of human solidarity can be, at least in the eyes of those who desperately seek to police it and blunt its impact. 

Meanwhile in Bosnia…

When most of mainstream media attention in the last couple of days was concerned about the fall due to an overdose of some Hollywood star, and another young celebrity that may go that way very soon. When our commentators were so concerned “why the fifth circle of the Olympic symbol did not work at the opening ceremony in Sochi…" meanwhile in Bosnia and Herzegovina people on the streets were rising, burning presidential and governmental offices, in their disagreement to the neoliberal creed of those in power.


Not another brick in the wall. Latin America through the streets

Latin America has a very dynamic and contrasting culture. It is full of life and colors, yet the social, environmental and economic situation is still hard and unfair in many places. The political environment is gearing towards more populist governments, which shows us the struggle of the people, and the need for change. On the other hand, the growing economic status of the countries emphasizes the gap between the rich and the poor. Young people all over the region are manifesting their concerns about society and their future.

The link from my Ukrainian Friend...

Couple of days ago, I found in my inbox... a link from my Ukrainian friend sharing the anonymous blog from Maidan Nezalezhnosti - the Independence Square in Kiev. For the last three weeks, I am observing what is happening over there, as well as efforts of those who try to build some 'solidarity avenues' with the people who despite frost-bites and violence from the para-military militia - are standing there for true democracy and freedom. They already did so on the turn of 2004 and 2005, when the Orange Revolution took its place, and they won! But what the people organized by solidarity achieved, was lost to corrupted politics and oligarchy that values only the monetary profit over any values that should rule our societies. Yet having in mind this great failure, the people of Ukraine did not lost their hopes. They are standing there again! One more time believing that solidarity will help them and will bring the change they wish to see. I am sure also many of us are asking: "what I can do to support them?" Blog, write, monitor - the current government in Ukraine and the new elites to come, have to be held accountable... they cannot break promises won on Maidan anymore. Because if they do it again, there might be no more people to stand there in the future... because once the hope for solidarity is lost, the democracy is lost too. Today, Maidan shows to all of us "what democracy looks like!" And It is not only about what the Ukrainian politicians are going to do with that, but also all of us!

585 Maidan Nezalezhnosti, 2013 (AFP,


In an ideal theoretical framework of globalizing the humanity, where global equals local and vice versa, this blended positionality of global and local becomes more central to one’s identity; becomes an identity of a new global citizenship. Very often we talk about the “centers” and the “peripheries”[1] within the world, yet more than at any time before in history, this might be the case that there are not anymore such dichotomist spaces. Now, here is everywhere and everywhere is here... That is why even while speaking about one continent, we cannot totally be disconnected from other six continents and there are many examples to that, like jobs lost to the global economy on one side and the sweatshops taking them over on the other side. It is not anymore about “thinking globally and acting locally,” but thinking globally and locally as well as acting within these two - or choosing to remain passive.

Just a little sneak peek!

Throughout my Thanksgiving break, I went to a local public school in Chicago to do some teaching hours for my minor and to also meet some eighth graders. I decided to observe the teaching skills of my old music teacher. He works with first, second, and third graders. Although each class is different, they all had similar problems. For example, the teacher did not have enough supplies for the students. The reason why is because after closing down so many schools it led to the receiving schools to be over-crowded.

The Ugly Truth

“The individuals could be divided into 'knowns' and 'unknowns.' 'Knowns' took up between 70 and 85 percent of all domestic news. They belonged primarily to five categories: incumbent presidents; presidential candidates; leading federal officials; state and local officials; and 'alleged or actual violators' of the laws and mores. Overexposing some people and underexposing others often had important implications, Gans showed.” (Japp Van Ginneken, 27). The ugly truth is that the media decides who gets to speak. They use popularity in order to deem what topic is more important than the other.