Author Archives: Richard Esbenshade

About Richard Esbenshade

12-year resident of Urbana, taught history for several years at UIUC, specializing in Eastern Europe; contract not renewed due to budget cuts, currently self-employed; longtime activist in peace/green/social justice/solidarity movements; father of two, including Public i alumna Shara.

Anti-Semitism: Still the “Socialism of Fools”?

Scandals over alleged anti-Semitism have recently ensnared leftist British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn; the populist Yellow Vest movement, which leans both Left and Right (and neither, rejecting both); and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), critic of Israel and supporter of … Continue reading

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What Can We Learn from the Yellow Vests?

The last Saturday in March marked “Act XX” for the the Gilets Jaunes or Yellow Vests protests, the 20th consecutive weekend citizens have marched in the tens of thousands and occupied traffic roundabouts across France. Since hundreds of thousands mobilized … Continue reading

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Brexit, Regrexit, Lexit: Is Socialism in One (European) Country Possible?

On November 25, Great Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May returned from Brussels with approval from the other 27 European Union (EU) member states for a deal on Brexit, the British commitment to exit the EU pursuant to the results of … Continue reading

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Good-Bye, and Hello, to the “Pocket Prairie”: Interview with Dave Monk—Edited (Print) Version

  Dave Monk established the “Pocket Prairie,” across the street from the WEFT 90.1 FM studios on Market Street in downtown Champaign, in the 1980s; due to development of the space, it has been relocated to the Second Street Detention … Continue reading

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Good-Bye, and Hello, to the “Pocket Prairie”: Interview with Dave Monk—Long Version

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Poland: Following in Hungary’s Footsteps

Second of two parts. On December 20, the European Commission—the executive arm of the European Union (EU), consisting of one representative from each of the 28 member countries—launched the “nuclear option” of EU politics against Poland: a proposed formal warning … Continue reading

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Understanding the Rise of the Right in Poland

First of two parts On November 11, Poland’s Independence Day, some 60,000 people converged in a Warsaw demonstration organized by Polish extreme-right nationalist groups; large banners proclaimed slogans including “Pure Blood” and “White Europe.” The Interior Minister of the ruling … Continue reading

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“Anti-Refugeeism without Refugees” in Eastern Europe

Analysts of post-World War II, post-Holocaust Eastern Europe coined the term “Anti-Semitism without Jews” to characterize the uncanny persistence of prejudice in countries mostly cleansed of any actual Jewish presence. The category of “Jew” took on a symbolic character, incorporating … Continue reading

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The Beheading of a Saint: Junipero Serra and the California Monument Wars

During his visit to Mexico in February, Pope Francis apologized for the “systematic and organized” exclusion of indigenous Americans over the centuries. This took place in San Cristobal de las Casas, the epicenter of the indigenous-identified Zapatista uprising in 1994, … Continue reading

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Students Rally for Coal Divestment

On April 4, the student group UIUC Beyond Coal rallied on the Quad to push the Academic Senate to pass a resolution urging the University divest $5.1 million held in the coal industry through stock index funds, in order to slow … Continue reading

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