Adele M. Stan

Adele M. Stan is a columnist at The American Prospect, and editor of Clarion, the newspaper of Professional Staff Congress-CUNY, a New York City labor union. The views expressed here are her own.

Recent Articles

The Education of Geraldine Ferraro

As the first female vice-presidential candidate for a major party, Ferraro -- the daughter of working-class, Italian Catholic immigrants -- quickly learned that it was her gender that counted most.

(AP Photo)
In the summer of 1984, the hot, scruffy offices that Ms. magazine occupied in New York City's garment district were abuzz with excitement. Word was that Walter Mondale, the Democratic candidate for president, would choose a woman for his running mate. For years, feminists had called for just such a turn of events, with Gloria Steinem at the vanguard. We were about to have our big political moment. I was a junior staffer at Ms. -- just a year out of college -- and I often stumbled through my days in a cloud of awe and confusion, unversed as I was in feminist theory and literature. Just days before the election, when things were looking bleak for the Mondale-Ferraro ticket, I stood at a packed rally on Seventh Avenue with my colleagues, craning my neck for a glimpse of Ferraro at the podium. The venue was symbolic: In a bid for the votes of labor, the rally took place in the garment district, playing on Ferraro's background as the daughter of a unionized garment worker. The campaign...

Benedict v. Islam

Was the pontiff's visit to Ground Zero a gambit in the Catholic Church's contest with Islam for the soul of the developing world?

It was a moving scene; a solitary, elderly, white-robed figure, kneeling in prayer on a brilliant yellow carpet amid the remains of what were once two of the world's tallest buildings. With that hole in the New York City skyline still an aching wound in the American psyche, we might be forgiven for thinking that the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Ground Zero was all about us. As firefighters, cops and families of the fallen exchanged words with the pontiff, many kissing his ring, it was tempting to believe that his visit was intended only to soothe the grieving. Although the pope's Ground Zero vigil played well to a grateful American public, his intended audience was likely far beyond America's shores. Indeed, in much of the developing world -- especially in Africa -- Christianity is locked in a fierce battle with Islam for the souls of converts. (Africa is home to 150 million of the world's 1.1 billion Catholics.) Meanwhile, the churches of Europe stand empty , and this pope has shown...


New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has, at long last, endorsed one of the Democratic contenders for the party's presidential nomination, and that choice is Barack Obama . As a former political appointee of Bill Clinton (served as energy secretary and, later, U.N. ambassador), it's interesting that Richardson chose to endorse Obama before the convention. According to Richardson's e-mailed endorsement statement (received via the Bilerico Project ), he did so partly because of the speech Obama delivered about race earlier this week: Earlier this week, Senator Barack Obama gave an historic speech. that addressed the issue of race with the eloquence, sincerity, and optimism we have come to expect of him... As a Hispanic, I was particularly touched by his words. I have been troubled by the demonization of immigrants--specifically Hispanics--by too many in this country. Hate crimes against Hispanics are rising as a direct result and now, in tough economic times, people look for scapegoats and I...


This year's Take Back America (TBA) conference, which concluded yesterday, had a distinctly different feel to it than in years past. Last year, of course, there was the thrill of having each of the major Democratic presidential contenders come to woo the conference-goers. The timing of this year's confab was presumably based on the notion that a nominee would have been apparent by now, and held to account by TBA's progressive attendees. Best-laid plans notwithstanding, another difference this time -- one quite heartening, if not exactly bracing -- was the emphasis on structural dynamics and governance. (Aren't you excited?) At a panel on the 2008 electoral map, Matt Stoller of spoke of the use of primary challenges to Democratic incumbents, such as that recently won by Maryland's Donna Edwards against incumbent U.S. Rep. Al Wynn , in order to take the existing structure and turn it more progressive. (When I told Stoller that he's the progressives' Richard Viguerie , he...


I know a lady, a close relative, shall we say, who has a few things in common with Geraldine Ferraro -- generation, ethnic experience, outer-borough accent. After Barack Obama , in his grand national debut, addressed the Democratic National Convention in 2004, she sent me an indignant e-mail, asking why everybody talked about him as this black star of the Democratic Party, when he was just as much white as he was black. In other words, she wanted to claim him, too (and perhaps claim his intellectual gifts as his mother's legacy). Watching Obama (on TV) deliver today what I believe to be the most important address on race since Martin Luther King 's "I Have a Dream" speech, my sense of the uniqueness of Obama's candidacy was further distilled. The resentment of my kin notwithstanding, she had a point: Obama is as much white as he is black, and that matters in ways she may not have contemplated. For instance, his cross-cultural experience gave him a window on the ways in which white...