• The Takeaway

    One Nation ... Under Parliament?

    The Zócalo and Los Angeles Times Event ‘Would Parliamentary America Have More Fun?’ Considers a U.S. Governed by Multi-Party Coalitions

    by Jackie Mansky

    “Convince me,” Los Angeles Times columnist Erika D. Smith told Maxwell L. Stearns, the author of the …

  • Essay

    What Is 21st-Century Truth?

    Propaganda Has Trapped Us in Plato’s Cave—the Shadows Aren’t Real but the Sun Is Blinding

    by Jennifer Mercieca

    You’re a prisoner, held in a dark cave. Your hands are tied behind you and you can only look straight ahead …


What Is a Fun Palace?

How a Once-Defunct Idea for Community-Driven Joy Springs to Life Every Year

by Amie Taylor

For one weekend in 2014, my local community and I came together and took over Brockwell Lido, an outdoor swimming pool in South London. We put on an entirely free weekend of arts, culture, and science events for our community. There were kayaks in the swimming pool, shadow puppetry, cheerleading, scientists talking about the effects of cold water on the body, mermaids, paddle boards, a local choir, guided nature walks in the park nearby, and a magician. People came in the hundreds—the visitor count exceeded 1,000—including those who lived nearby but had never visited the lido and came through its gates for the first time.
  It was our first Fun Palace, a huge and vital celebration of the brilliance of our community …


How Samoans Resisted Coconut Colonialism

In the Early 20th Century, the Fruit’s Farmers Sowed the Seeds of Today’s Global Labor Struggle

by Holger Droessler

Coconuts are everywhere. If you walk into a grocery store pretty much anywhere in the United States, you’ll find a cornucopia of coconut products: coconut water, coconut oil, coconut macaroons, and, of course, husked coconuts themselves.
  Most consumers spend little time thinking about where the coconuts in this “coco craze” come from. But according to a Samoan proverb, “The coconut is sweet, but it was husked with the teeth.”
  For the Samoan farmers and workers of the early coconut industry, these sweet treats were a site of struggle. against colonial rule and exploitative plantations. By launching cooperatives …

  • The Foundation for a Shared Tomorrow Is Built on Hard Truths

    Panelists for ‘How Does Confronting Our History Build a Better Future?’ Help Us Imagine How to Pave a Hospitable Path Forward

    by Talib Jabbar

    Confronting America’s history is like fixing or maintaining an old home: acknowledging the parts that are in disrepair, and those that are rotten to the core. This is the metaphor historian William Sturkey opened the fourth and final program in the Zócalo/Mellon Foundation series “How Should Societies Remember Their Sins?,” …