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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Political Power Struggle Overshadows South Africa's Broken Promise

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

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

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.

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

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.

To Stop Corruption, Fight the Power, Not the People

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

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

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.

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

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.

House GOP Revives Global War on Women's Health With "Gag Rule"

Even as the debt ceiling debate dominated Washington’s agenda, House Republicans began a steady push on bills that would revive Bush and Reagan era constraints on global funding for sexual health.

Who's Grabbing Africa's Land? U.S. Speculators, Including Universities

The financial industry has identified rich soil in poor countries. But watchdogs warn that turning Africa’s land over to the global financial marketplace will deepen an already growing food crisis.

Muslim "Terrorists," White "Lone Wolves," and the Lessons of Oslo

The key lesson from Oslo is that fear blinds, not just those who act on violent impulses but also those who bear witness to it. Americans should finally examine the ripple effects of political ideas with which they’ve grown dangerously comfortable.

Thousands of Migrant Kids Trapped Inside the World's Border Politics

Displaced war and poverty, fleeing abuse and violence, or just trying to find their parents, youth who get ensnared at U.S. and European border crossings often face bleak conditions, say human rights monitors.

Violence Against Migrant Women Won't End After DSK Case

From Indonesia to the Congo–and back to the U.S.–migrant laboring women are attacked systematically and with impunity.

The Globe's Not Only Getting Hotter. It's More Unjust and Unstable, Too

Climate change is wreaking havoc on more than the environment. All over the Global South, it’s creating refugees, sparking conflict over resources and justifying repression.

Conservatives' Seductive, Twisted Logic on the World's "Missing" Girls

Rightwing columnists say sex-selection trends prove feminism kills. The reality, of course, is that patriarchy kills women at all stages of life.

A Snapshot of Global LGBT Rights, From New York to the United Nations

New York’s not the only place where equality is spreading–but being gay is punishable by imprisonment in dozens of nations.

Reviving Resistance in Palestine

“We want to be free. We want to be able to live a normal life. We want peace. Is that too much to ask?” It depends on who you ask.

Palestinian Youth Channel an Old Struggle Through New Media

Global Justice columnist Michelle Chen explores the future of resistance, on and offline, with her students in the occupied territories.