Michael Hirsch's blog
|Michael Hirsch April 3, 2015|
Hilton Obinzenger is a poet and a long-time informed critic of Zionism and Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. His new poem, Treyf Pesach (Dirty Passover), is a blunt speaking and not unhumorous effort to ask fellow Jews how they can celebrate the slave insurrrection in Egypt millennia ago and yet be struck dumb by the Israeli government's dissembling and bloody practices toward "the stranger in our midst" today. You can read Obinzenger's smart, snappy work here, and visit his website here.
|Michael Hirsch September 2, 2014|
This is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class and Education
By José Luis Vilson
Haymarket Books, 2014
Badass Teachers Unite: Reflections on Education, History and Youth Activism
By Mark Naison
Haymarket Books, 2014
|Michael Hirsch August 21, 2014|
Review of Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty
By Daniel Schulman
Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group, 2014
|Michael Hirsch June 23, 2014|
We don’t think of philanthropists as ragged: louche, maybe even a tad shabby, as with
trust-fund hipsters or Palo Alto billionaires, but never ragged. In writing his early-twentieth-century British classic, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell (the pen name of Robert Noonan) wanted to drive home his point. The biggest benefactors of the rich are workers. His is a portrait of hard-pressed working people and their counterintuitive respect and political and economic support for their rulers.
|Michael Hirsch April 14, 2014|
Review of Savage Portrayals: Race, Media and the Central Park Jogger Story
By Natalie Byfield
Temple University Press, 2014
|Michael Hirsch November 19, 2013|
Growing Income Disparities ‘Danger to System,’ says Former Clinton Labor Secretary
(A mixed review of Robert Reich’s documentary ‘Inequality for All’)
|Michael Hirsch November 1, 2013|
Review of The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013
This American life is a mess, argues George Packer in The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America. It’s a nation fraying, with core institutions from government and finance to housing, jobs and education dysfunctional or “unwound.”
|Michael Hirsch September 13, 2013|
|Michael Hirsch July 26, 2013|
[The following review of mine appears as Hardhats for Peace in the July 18 issue of The Indypendent, which calls itself with considerable justification "A Free Paper for Free People." An expanded version surveying a number of recent (and quite good) critiques of U.S. misadventures in East Asia from the Philippines to today, will appear in the forthcoming New Politics.]
|Michael Hirsch June 29, 2013|
The execrable Maggie Thatcher, erstwhile British prime minister, passed on April 8 with much rending of clothing by her nation’s Right but with something approaching joy by much of the nation’s rest. The following sendoff appears in the Summer 2013 Democratic Left, minus its last graf slapping the endlessly slappable Slavoj Zizek for writing that the Left could learn from her.
|Michael Hirsch March 11, 2013|
Logos, the online, on point and highly readable journal of modern society & culture features in its most recent issue a symposium on the future of US unions. In addition to a piece by me ["So Why Don't We Have Better Unions?"] are contributions from Melvin Dubofsky, Bill Fletcher Jr., and Steve Early and Rand Wilson. All worth reading. Enjoy.
|Michael Hirsch March 1, 2012|
Here is an extraordinary piece about Digger Murdoch's New York Post harassing a teacher who was rated poorly on the city's bogus teacher evaluation. When the Los Angeles Times printed the same slanderous tripe a year ago, based on the same crap methodology, the Los Angeles United School District teacher involved committed suicide. It was a big story then. This one is no different, except that no one's taken their own life, yet. Wish I'd written it.
|Michael Hirsch February 10, 2012|
A sign on a lower Broadway storefront window just one block south of Wall Street reads "I can't afford a lobbyist, so I organize." The sign, one of many put up by Occupy Wall Street activists, sits inside a cavernous street floor space the United Federation of Teachers lent gratis to OWS for storage and coordination. The UFT, like other city unions, can afford lobbyists—subsidized by its own members through voluntary contributions.
|Michael Hirsch January 17, 2012|
In his appreciation of the late Lucio Magri, the Italian Marxist and founder of the exemplary Il Manifesto newspaper, Perry Anderson tells the story in the most recent New Left Review of the trashing a young Magri took from Italian Communist Party elder Enrico Berlinguer for a speech Magri wrote that bordered on the substantive.
“Magri,” Berlinguer said, “you have yet to learn that in politics one needs the courage of banality.”
|Michael Hirsch September 24, 2011|
[The following appeared as a contribution to a symposium on electoral politics in the September 2011 issue of Yankee Radical, DSA's Boston-area socialist monthly. While the piece makes reference in places to the perspectives of a particular organization, its analysis is meant to apply to a broad swath of the US left as well.]