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The Political Power of Protests

How does direct action shape policy?

Illustration by Lisa Larson-Walker

After three weeks of protests against police violence, the energy of the demonstrations remains undiminished. Episode 10 of The Politics of Everything explores what is motivating the actions, the political effects they’ve already had, and what’s to come.

Hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk to Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, the founder of the African American Policy Forum and a regular contributor to The New Republic, about the connection between police killings and Covid-19’s disproportionate toll on black Americans. Osita Nwanevu, a staff writer at the magazine, explores how protest shapes policy. And Patrick Blanchfield, the author of Gunpower: The Structure of American Violence, explains “coptalk”—the euphemism and officialese police use to paper over the harms they commit.