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Information is power. Our mission at Portside is to seek out and to provide information that empowers you -- that empowers the left. Every day we search hundreds of sources to connect you with the most interesting, striking and useful material. Just once a year we appeal to you to contribute to make it possible to continue this work. Please help.



For posts before June 2012, please follow these links to our archives.

Our Universities: The Outrageous Reality

Andrew Delbanco New York Review of Books - July 9, 2015 Issue
In higher education, whether as affordable land-grant state colleges, tuition-free municipal universities, grants to children of the poor or need-blind admissions, access to learning was at least prized as a right, not a privilege. As tuition and administration costs soar, the number of low-paid adjuncts explodes and financial aid collapses, college funding shifts from the public purse to student debt. Wither democracy or plutocracy?

Historians Crowdsource Key Reads About Racial Violence in America

Marta Bausells The Guardian
As part of the deep and broad reaction to the killings in Charleston, historian Chad Williams and his colleagues have put together a deeply informative and useful bibliography of essential readings on African American life and history, and on the struggle against racism. We have provided a link to the project, below, followed by a short article on it, published in The Guardian, by Marta Bausells. More links and information are available at the Guardian site.

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival Explores Social Justice

Stephen Holden New York Times
The films that opened and closed the Human Rights Watch Film Festival - Marc Silver’s 3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets, and Stanley Nelson’s The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution - tell interlocking stories. Although more than four decades separate the events they trace, there is a connection between what happened in the 1960s, when cities exploded in the wake of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther Kiing and discord today.

Skin of Dust

James P. Lenfestey EARTH IN ANGER
Minnesota poet James P. Lenfestey's "Skin of Dust" offers an aerial view of our environmental holocaust, the Earth as a living body endangered.

`Rise of the Robots' and `Shadow Work'

Barbara Ehrenreich New York Times Book Review
Even the most expensively educated - Lawyers, radiologists and software designers, among others - have seen their work evaporate to India or China. Tasks that would seem to require a distinctively human capacity for nuance are increasingly assigned to algorithms, like the ones currently being introduced to grade essays on college exams.

My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family's Nazi Past

Charles S. Weinblatt New York Journal of Books
In these days of heightened discussion about "race" and racism, it is useful to keep reminding ourselves about the contingency of racial categories. Jennifer Teege is a German author who is the daughter of a Nigerian father and German mother. In her search for origins, she found that her grandfather was an officer in the SS who ran a World War II concentration camp. Charles S. Weinblatt reviews this harrowing tale of cross-racial family discovery.

'The Trials Of Spring' Documentary Project Amplifies Voices Of Women In The Arab Spring

Nick Robbins-Early Huffington Post
Six short films profile nine women across Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen, with each detailing their journey through uprisings and crackdowns. While each story is unique, they often share an arc similar to the larger political developments of the post-revolution countries in the region, where an initial hope for change is quashed by increasing repression and conflict.

Why Are You a Picky Eater?

Brian Handwerk
The complicated science behind picky eating is giving experts plenty of food for thought.