Michelle Chen

Columnist, Global Justice
New York, NY

Michelle Chen is Colorlines' Global Justice columnist. She is a regular contributor on labor issues at In These Times, as well as a member of the magazine's Board of Editors. Michelle's reporting has appeared in Ms. Magazine, AirAmerica, Alternet, Newsday, the Progressive Media Project, and her old zine, cain. Prior to joining Colorlines, she wrote for the independent news collective The NewStandard. A native New Yorker, she has also conducted ethnographic research as a Fulbright fellow in Shanghai and checked coats at a West Village jazz club. She is currently pursuing doctoral studies at the City University of New York and co-producing the community radio program Asia Pacific Forum on P

Follow Michelle at @meeshellchen.

The Politics of Immigrant Scapegoating: Not Just an American Pastime

by Michelle Chen on Jan 23, 2012 9:13AM

No savvy politician would highlight the widening gulf between poor people on one side and the elites seeking their votes on the other. Instead, from South Carolina to France, they focus on the traditional dividing line between Us and Them: the border.

Topics: Global Affairs, Immigration

It's NAFTA x3 as Free Trade Deals Sweep Through Congress

by Michelle Chen on Oct 17, 2011 9:33AM

For years, fair trade advocates stalled three trade deals that they say harm workers and the environment in both the U.S. and abroad. But President Obama and congressional Republicans passed the deals last week. Now what? Michelle Chen reports.

Topics: Global Affairs

Africa and the International Criminal Court: Is Global Justice Blind?

by Michelle Chen on Oct 3, 2011 11:10AM

Applying a global standard of justice seems near impossible for crimes that stem from vast inequalities in wealth and power, particularly when judgement shades into race and gender. But the ICC has tipped the scales, slightly, toward a collective moral gravity.

Topics: Global Justice, Global Affairs

As U.N. Debates Palestinian Statehood, Palestinian People Still Ignored

by Michelle Chen on Sep 23, 2011 9:02AM

The Palestinian Authority has set in motion a diplomatic frenzy over its citizens' right to self-determination. But something obvious remains lost in the maneuvering between the White House, Abbas and Israel: The Palestinian people.

Topics: Global Justice, Global Affairs

Political Power Struggle Overshadows South Africa's Broken Promise

by Michelle Chen on Sep 16, 2011 9:19AM

The African National Congress' political inheritance is all but spent. Now, a new generation of activists must forge their own struggle.

Topics: Global Justice, Global Affairs

In a Precarious Revolution, Libya's Endgame Is Only Beginning

by Michelle Chen on Sep 13, 2011 9:52AM

The Libyan freedom struggle has been ruptured by infighting and pressure from foreign forces that have their own designs. Yet viewed from a wide angle, the revolution has cracked open a window for a new political vision.

Topics: Global Justice, Global Affairs

Labor Day Showdown: Can Advocates Stop 'NAFTA of the Pacific'?

by Michelle Chen on Sep 2, 2011 10:01AM

Business and political leaders are meeting in Chicago for closed-door negotiations on yet another so-called free trade deal--a pact to coddle corporations interested in sweatshop labor, high-priced pharmaceuticals and destructive agribusiness.

Topics: Global Justice

To Stop Corruption, Fight the Power, Not the People

by Michelle Chen on Aug 26, 2011 9:09AM

The global discussion of corruption too often confuses the behavioral symptoms with the structural cause: too much power concentrated in one place.

Topics: Global Justice, Global Affairs

After the Riots, "Broken" Britain Grows Still More Fractured

by Michelle Chen on Aug 18, 2011 10:44AM

Lost amid all the racialized, anti-youth invective is the story of youth on the margins, whose voices go ignored until they explode in collective rebellion. Michelle Chen explores what happens next for London's fractured neighborhoods.

Topics: London Riots, Global Affairs, Global Justice

Famine Devastates Somalia in the Shadow of U.S. Domination

by Michelle Chen on Aug 10, 2011 9:45AM

The now-famished nation has long lived with well-fed wars and an overbearing U.S. presence that has eroded the institutional foundations it purports to rescue.

Topics: Global Justice, Global Affairs