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To the disappointment of me and generations of listeners, Paul Simon’s 1975 single “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover” only offers five options for exiting bad relationships — all chosen for their rhymes, not their utility (i.e. “Hop on the bus, Gus,” “Just drop off the key, Lee”).
But despite the goofiness, the gist of the song rings true: If you feel stuck in a bad situation, look for ways to say no. Or as nonviolent practitioners might say: Withdraw your consent, thwarting the enemy with your “noncooperation.”
This week we bring you stories of people saying no: Taser-equipped drones? Slip out the back, Jack. Activism that depends on “deeply hurt teenagers” reliving their trauma? Make a new plan, Stan. Religious ideologies that deny individuals’ agency? A nation where we dismiss accountability as partisan politics? A world where we leave Ukrainians alone in their suffering? No, no, and no. So read up and get yourself free.
1. What It Took To Change My Mind on Abortion
For years I was able to avoid talking about abortion because the people I knew who had abortion stories were close, but not too close. By Brian Parys via sojo.net.
2. The Theft of the Commons
Across centuries, land that was collectively worked by the landless was claimed by the landed, and the age of private property was born. By Eula Biss via newyorker.com
3. Why Christians Need To Watch the Jan. 6 Hearings
Followers of Jesus must resist the temptation to dismiss the hearings as purely partisan politics; our nation needs to know the truth. By Adam Russell Taylor via sojo.net.
4. The First January 6 Hearing Served Up Surprising Revelations — That All Point to Trump
The first hearing of the Jan. 6 select committee lived up to the ample hype surrounding it. By Ben Jacobs via Vox.
5. How to Better Understand Abortion Polls (And Others Too)
“Polling is one of the few institutionalized ways people can have their voice heard outside of voting,” said Natalie Jackson, director of research at PRRI. By Melissa Cedillo via sojo.net.
6. Axon Halts Plans for Taser Drone as 9 on Ethics Board Resign
Axon, the company best known for developing the Taser, said Monday it was halting plans to develop a Taser-equipped drone after a majority of its ethics board resigned over the controversial project. By Michael Balsamo via Associated Press.
7. Florence + the Machine Calls Us to Rage — And Dance
To listen to Dance Fever is to witness Florence Welch wrestling with God. By Olivia Bardo via sojo.net.
8. Inventing Solitary
In 1790, Philadelphia opened the first American penitentiary, with the nation’s first solitary cells. Black people were disproportionately punished from the start. By Samantha Melamed via inquirer.com.
9. Why I Prayed in Kyiv When I Could Have Prayed at Home
“I can’t believe you are here,” one Ukrainian woman told our peace delegation. “You are actually here. You came in person.” By Rose Marie Berger via sojo.net.
10. The Life Cycle Of A Youth Activist
What actually happens when traumatized teenagers are thrust into the national spotlight? By Delaney Tarr via The Pavlovic Today.