November 3, 2021

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The Edge

November Elections: Youngkin’s Virginia Win, Democratic Losses

On Tuesday, November 2, voters across the U.S. cast ballots for off-year governor elections, mayoral candidates, and policing measures. Here are some of the most pressing developments in key states.

Virginia: In a startling defeat for Democrats, Virginian voters elected a new governor. After weeks of polls showing a deadlock between incumbent Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin, the GOP candidate prevailed, despite the state’s Democratic lean in recent decades and Biden’s electoral college win in 2020.

New York: Eric Leroy Adams, a former New York City police captain, was elected on Tuesday as New York’s 110th mayor, and the second Black mayor in the city’s history. Adams will take office on Jan. 1, facing numerous challenges as the city grapples with the consequences of the pandemic, economic recovery, and concerns of crime and quality of life.

Minneapolis: Nearly a year and a half after a white police officer murdered George Floyd, voters in the city decided not to replace their police department with the proposed Department of Public Safety. Voters also reelected Democratic Mayor Jacob Frey, whom progressive organizers have pushed to take more action on policing.

Read the full roundup on The Edge.

The World Needs More Than Empty Promises from COP26

From a superficial perspective, the developments at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow would appear triumphant and encouraging. In a show of change after the Trump administration’s lack of interest in climate talks and positive climate policies, most of Biden’s Cabinet was present in Glasgow.

Over 100 world leaders have pledged to end deforestation by 2030. There was much serious talk about the need for “Net Zero” emissions, and even conservative world leaders, such as Boris Johnson, have given powerful speeches indicating they’ll be taking a serious approach to combatting climate change.

But looking at the COP26 summit through a more critical eye, there is more to be frustrated than encouraged about.

Read the full report on The Edge.

Todd Miller Talks ‘Build Bridges, Not Walls’

On Thursday, October 28, journalist and author Todd Miller spoke to a live and virtual audience of over 60 people about his latest of four books on border issues, “Build Bridges, Not Walls: A Journey to a World Without Borders.”

Miller’s personal tales from the U.S. border and broader insights on global nationhood shed light on borders’ function as intentionally designed deterrents, which rely on violence to keep people away.

He explained, “the border is constructed for a displacement crisis — not a ‘border crisis’ — hundreds, or even thousands, of miles from the border.” Further, border militarization budgets are continuing to rise, even as nations ignore the existential threat of climate change.

Watch Miller’s full talk here.

Defund the Global Climate Wall

 “The world’s wealthiest countries have chosen how they approach global climate action — by militarizing their borders.”

Coinciding with COP26, a report from the Transnational Institute co-authored by Todd Miller finds that these countries, which are historically the most responsible for the climate crisis, “spend more on arming their borders to keep migrants out than on tackling the crisis that forces people from their homes in the first place.”

Read the research on climate-induced migration and profiteering, and Miller’s report on Substack.

More from the Edge

Colonialism and Racism are ‘Etched into Global Conservation’ — Prakash Kashwan

“The entire institutional structure, the systems for promoting global conservation, were meant to exclude local people from national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. We call this the fines, fences, and firearms approach.”

On Tuesday, October 26, Dr. Prakash Kashwan joined Ithaca College professor Dr. Jake Brenner for a discussion on environmental justice, interdisciplinary scholarship, and the legacy of colonialism in conservation.

Dr. Kashwan illustrated possibilities for collaborations across disciplines to create the best possible scholarship, and described how “the effects of colonialism and racism are etched into the dominant philosophy, models, and institutional apparatus of global conservation.”

Read more and watch their full discussion on The Edge.

How the Taliban Beat a Military Superpower

On October 26, Cornell University hosted “Losing the Longest War: Afghanistan, 2001-21,” a public lecture that examined the history of the war in Afghanistan and the larger history of the kind of warfare the United States finds particularly challenging. The event further analyzed what went wrong in the Afghanistan war and why future conflicts of this type are likely to meet similar ends.

The lecture was hosted by David Silbey, the associate director of the Cornell in Washington program and a senior lecturer at Cornell.

Silbey began by asking the question that has been on Americans’ minds since the evacuation of troops from Afghanistan: “How could this happen?” He explained that “The U.S. spends more on military defense budgets than the next seven highest spenders combined,” but the Taliban refused to engage on the U.S. military’s terms.

Read more on the history of U.S. warfare on The Edge.

In Other News

1. Biden says China has made ‘big mistake’ by not attending Cop26: ‘It’s a gigantic issue and they’ve walked away’ (The Independent)

2. The Democratic Unraveling Began With Schools (The Atlantic)

3. At Least 7 Republicans Who Were At The Jan. 6 Rally Just Got Elected To Office (HuffPost)

4. Oil giant Shell says it needs oil output to fund green shift (BBC)

5. Ahmaud Arbery: trial of accused murderers is test for racial justice ‘in the heart of white supremacy’ (The Guardian

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The Indy Brief is edited by Jeremy Lovelett.