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The Best of The Indy From a Tumultuous Decade: A Final Look Back at Our Coverage From the 2010s

The Editors Jan 3

It’s been a decade of dueling populisms: the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter and the conservative reaction that propelled Donald Trump to the presidency in a desperate effort by a dwindling white majority to preserve its privilege. A corporate-friendly elite remains entrenched in power in both of America’s main political parties while grassroots movements led by the likes of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the left and by white nationalist Trumpians on the right seek to uproot them. 

The social movements we’ve seen in the past decade should offer us hope as we look to the future

Motivating the push from below is the failure of capitalism, now three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, to resolve its systemic contradictions, which have only grown more extreme. Its promise of opportunity is smothered by a prevailing racism. The internet is a data harvesting operation for corporations and shadowy surveillance agencies. America’s wars abroad only seem more pointless the longer they go on. With no end in sight, the body count grows. The accumulation of vast amounts of wealth by those on top of the social pyramid is coupled with widespread privation for those at the bottom. As Sanders recently put it, “If you are working 40 hours a week in America, you should not be living in poverty.” And yet many are. 

Looming in the background of all our social conflicts this past decade and sure to make its presence felt ever more in the next is climate change. 

Here at The Indy’s office at 388 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn we have a little poem pinned up to the wall by our front door, W.B. Yeats’ “Second Coming.” “Things fall apart,” he writes, “the centre cannot hold.” Published a century ago in the wake of World War I and on the eve of the bloody War of Independence in Yeats’ native Ireland, the poet’s words have never rung truer. 

Listening to leading Democrats complain that Medicare for All is unrealistic or propose watered-down solutions to the climate crisis, who cannot help but suspect that “the best lack all conviction?” Meanwhile, chants of “U.SA., U.S.A” at any given Trump rally confirm that “the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

Certain that “some revelation is at hand,” Yeats asks, “what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?” That beast, its “gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,” is arriving in the form of wildfires, droughts, mega-storms like Sandy and Maria and mass extinctions. 

(Illustration by Jaclyn Sinquett)

From The Indy’s 2011 OWS special edition.

But the social movements we have seen in the past decade from those taking on the beast and the racist, fossil-fuel economy powering it should offer us hope as we look to the future. From the global youth climate strikes to the tenants movement right here in New York that, in 2019, won the most progressive housing law reforms since Fiorello La Guardia presided over the Big Apple — these inclusive, multi-racial movements provide not only a vision of social equality, peace and ecological sustainability but a path to achieving it in our lifetime. As Antonio Gramsci cautioned, pessimism of the mind, optimism of the will. 

Below are some highlights from our best coverage of the tumultuous ‘teens. Month after month, amid a collapsing journalism industry, we did our job and we did it well. With your support, we can do more great work in 2020 and beyond.

2010

Obamacare: Now that Congress has acted, the struggle for universal, affordable, high-quality healthcare can finally begin
By Eric Laursen

Gaza On My Mind: A Middle-Aged Mom’s Unlikely Journey from Apathy to Action
By Alex Kane

Insecure Communities: Feds Target NYC immigrants for More Deportations
By Renée Feltz

Bringing Back the Disappeared
By Joseph Huff-Hannon

Why Are Schools Are Broken — And How To Fix Them (Special Issue)
By John Tarleton, Arthur Goldstein, David Enders, Lois Weiner, Stanley Aronowitz, Amanda Vender 

Inside the Mind of the Tea Party
By Peter Bratis, Arun Gupta, Abby Scher  

2011

How Egypt’s Progressives Won
By Paul Amar

The Unbearable Whiteness Of Being
By Linda Martín Alcoff

New Yorkers Unite to Fight the Rich But Can They Win?
By John Tarleton

Legalize it! How to Really End the Drug War
By Steven Wishnia

The Invention Of Debt: An Interview With David Graeber
By Irina Ivanova

Occupy Wall Street Special Issue
By Indy staff, editors and volunteers

The-Indypendent-Issue-175-web-cover.jpg2012

Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution
By Jano Charbel, David Enders, Ursula Lindsey, Dina Sadek

Radical Women Rising (Special Issue)
By Rosie Goldensohn, Jane LaTour, Nicholas Powers, Ann Schneider, Ichi Vazquez

The Day After Hurricane Sandy
By Nicholas Powers

Battle for the Rockaways: Hope Emerges Amid the Ruins
By Laura Gottesdiener

Photo Essay: Ten New Yorkers Share Their Experiences of Being Stop-and-Frisked
By Sophie Forbes

Jim Crow America
By Nicholas Powers

2013

One Thing Before I’m Fired
By Bill McKibben

Putting It All On The (Pipe)line
By Emily Masters

Occupy’s Legacy: A Massive Burbling Of Possibilities
By Ethan Earle

Queens In The Crosshairs
By Marty Kirchner

Searching for the Real Bill de Blasio
By Steven Wishnia

Rethinking the Luxury City
By Tom Angotti

2014

The Brecht Forum, 1975-2014
By John Tarleton

A Combat Medic’s Story
By Jenny Pacanowski

After The Climate March, What’s Next?
By Kim Frazcek, Sandy Nurse, Zak Soloman, Pennie Opal Plant, Blake Sugarman & Mark Haim

Immigrants on ICE: Obama Plan Still Leaves Many Worried
By Alina Mogilyanskaya

Elderly Evictions: Assisted Living Residents Refuse to Make Way for Luxury Condos
By Alex Ellefson

Black Lives Matter A New Movement for Racial Justice Begins
By Nicholas Powers

2015

Born to Be a Crony Capitalist: Here’s How Donald Trump Really Got Rich
By Peter Rugh

What’s a Feminist to Do?: Clinton’s Run Surfaces Issues of Race, Gender and Class
By Linda Martín Alcoff

Fleeing War, Syrian Refugees Trek Across a Wary Continent
By Shawn Carrié

Biting The Hands That Feed: New York’s Immigrant Farmworkers Face Appalling Treatment
By Leanne Tory-Murphy

Venezuela at an Impasse
By Z.C. Dutka

In the War on Terror, Nothing Succeeds Like Failure
By Matt Shuham

IndyCover.png2016

Why I Love Being Black
By Jamara Wakefield, Jamila Reddy, Vernon Andrews, Brittany Williams & Gabriel Lawrence

Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom: Sanders’ Supporters Look to Build a Long-Term Movement
By John Tarleton

Water Is Life: Photographic Dispatches from Sacred Stone Camp in North Dakota
By Joe Brusky

Drifting to Donald: Trump’s Best Chance of an Upset Victory Lies with Working Class Communities Like This One
By Peter Rugh

The Mourning After: Waking Up in Trump’s America
By Nicholas Powers

Movement Building in a New Political Moment
By Harmony Goldberg

2017

Why We March
By Afef Nasher, Elizabeth Press, Quon, Ann Schneider

‘Walk With Me’
By Renée Feltz

Finally Heard
By Linda Martín Alcoff

Working-Class Women Say ‘#MeToo’
By Camila Quarta

A Storm More Severe: Disaster Capitalists Descend on Debt-ravaged Puerto Rico
By Joel Cintrón Arbasetti

Solidarity in Action: Puerto Rico Relief Efforts Underway in New York
By Lenina Nadal  

2018

Alexandria vs. Goliath
By John Tarleton & Lydia McMullen-Laird

Gearing Up for a Green New Deal: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Plan to Change Everything
By Peter Rugh

We Will Be Heard: #MeToo After Kavanaugh
By Linda Martín Alcoff

The Long Game: What The Left Can Learn From The GOP’s Rise To Power
By John Tarleton

Rojava, a Socialist-Feminist Bastion in Syria, is Under Siege
By Meredith Tax

Dawn of the Yellow Vests
By Richard Greeman

2019

How New Yorkers Banded Together And Cracked The Landlord Lobby
By Steven Wishnia

The Intersectional Bernie Sanders
By Linda Martín Alcoff

Trapped In Malta: The Mediterranean Island Is Putting Refugees Between A Rock And A Hard Place
By Jaclynn Ashly

Interview: Naomi Klein Is On Fire For A Green New Deal
By John Tarleton & Nancy Romer

Inside The Amazon: Why The World’s Largest Rainforest Continues To Burn
By Brian Mier

The Future Is Meatless
By Peter Rugh

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