Must-Reads and a Personal Note

Enough of us are ground under. What is revolutionary, for me, is collective care and collective survival.

Must-Reads and a Personal Note
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)
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Your weekly list of must-reads is here. But first, there’s a new episode of Movement Memos that I hope you'll check out.

For this week’s episode, I talked with Premilla Nadasen, author of Care: The Highest Stage of Capitalism, about the role of care work in the U.S. economy, the exploitation of care workers and why the profit-driven dynamics of the care industry must be upended. If you need a transcript or would like to check out the show notes, you can find all of that here.


From stories of survival in Gaza to a potential TikTok ban, the labor impacts of deadly heat, heavy prison sentences for Native people, and providers who have been using AI chatbots to write care plans, here are some important stories you may have missed this week.

Biden’s Use of the Slur “Illegal” Underscores His Rightward Lurch on Immigration by Setareh Ghandehari. “Now, Biden and Democrats at large have legitimized Trump’s dangerous agenda, surrendering the narrative to the right when what we need now more than ever is humane and compassionate leadership to counter the Trump playbook, and a decisive and robust affirmation of the rights of all immigrants.”

Love in the time of genocide by Susan Abulhawa. "[Nina] recognised her husband’s red boxers in the second room and rushed to him, pulling his blindfold off, kissing him, hugging him, promising to die with him if that’s what it took. She alternated between cursing the soldiers and begging them to release her husband. Eventually, they cut the plastic ties and let him go."

Democrats Can’t Keep Ignoring Covid in 2024 by Laura Weiss. “In 2024, there must be more pressure on Democrats to support commonsense public health measures to prevent Covid and the future wave of zoonotic diseases that are likely to be unleashed by climate change.”

Unequal before the law: Native Americans serve astoundingly longer prison sentences—because they are Native by Stephanie Woodard. “Tribal members frequently find themselves in federal court for all sorts of allegations— not just serious crimes, such as murder, but lesser offenses, like burglary … As a result, Native Americans receive significantly longer sentences than non-Natives for similar crimes and many sources have cited a statistic indicating they are 38% more likely to be behind bars than anyone else.”

Warden is ousted as FBI raids California women’s prison known as the ‘rape club’ by Richard Winton. “Legal experts say what has happened at the federal prison is indicative of the worst aspects of institutions with abusers in their midst.”

Warning over use in UK of unregulated AI chatbots to create social care plans by James Tapper. “A pilot study by academics at the University of Oxford found some care providers had been using generative AI chatbots such as ChatGPT and Bard to create care plans for people receiving care.”

As heat becomes a national threat, who will be protected? by Amelia Bates.“When asked why the student bill had succeeded while the worker bill, calling for less strenuous protections, had failed, Perry equivocated, telling Grist that he did not remember the details of the worker bill that he had voted for. But, he said, typically students were in greater need of protection than adults, who were ultimately responsible for their own choices.”

Families Fleeing States Banning Gender-Affirming Care Might Get Aid in MN by Zane McNeill. “Minnesota lawmakers are considering allocating $1 million to aid families who are moving to the state to seek gender-affirming care.”

Analysis: Trump election win could add 4bn tonnes to US emissions by 2030 (multiple authors). “Put another way, the extra 4GtCO2e from a second Trump term would negate – twice over – all of the savings from deploying wind, solar and other clean technologies around the world over the past five years.”

The TikTok ban is all about preserving US power by Paris Marx. “Just as the prospect of antitrust action against the titans of Silicon Valley started gaining traction in Washington, DC, the hysteria around China emerged as a key issue — and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. After finally coming in for some scrutiny, the tech industry had to find a bigger threat if it was going to protect itself. China was the perfect target.”

How broadcast TV networks covered climate change in 2023 by Evlondo Cooper. "2023 was the hottest year on record ... During this pivotal moment, however, corporate broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox Broadcasting Co. — scaled back their climate coverage by 25%, representing a marked decrease in 2023 from the improvements made in 2021 and 2022."

Taking Some Medical Leave

As many of you know, I struggle with chronic health problems. Most of the time, I am able to navigate my pain and other symptoms and get my work done. However, I am going through a particularly rough stretch right now as I sort through a new diagnosis. My doctors are still trying to figure out how to manage the issue, and the pain I am dealing with is just too consuming to work through. So, I need a time-out to get some care and regroup. I won’t get into the details here, but there’s a lot going on with this body, and shoring up my health is going to be a full-time job for the next month or so.

It's hard to take breaks. I tell stories and share ideas that I believe are important, and that sense of urgency can make it tough to put the work down. The protest I wrote about earlier this week is probably the last one I will be able to attend or cover for a while, and that's difficult to accept. In fact, I have a troubled history of failing to accept such limitations. For years, I pushed myself to keep organizing and writing when my body was screaming for rest. The consequences of those actions were extreme, and I have learned from those mistakes. I also learned that I don't want to model that kind of behavior because we are all learning from each other all of the time, and I don't want to reinforce the idea that any of us are disposable – including me. I am grateful to the friends and mentors who helped me come to grips with those tendencies and the realization that we are not meant to destroy ourselves for the work we care about. I want to live for the causes I believe in and for my community. Enough of us are ground under. What is revolutionary, for me, is collective care and collective survival.

I greatly appreciate how patient folks have been over the years when I have needed to take breaks from Movement Memos or other projects in order to navigate my disabilities. I have no doubt my newsletter readers, many of whom are also Movement Memos listeners, would be equally understanding. All the same, I thought it would be nice to use this time as an opportunity to explore some books together. So, while I am away, I will be publishing excerpts from some important radical texts, including Constructing Worlds Otherwise, No Pasarán! Antifascist Dispatches from a World in Crisis, Practicing New Worlds, and Defying Displacement: Urban Recomposition and Social War. When I return, I plan to schedule a Zoom where I can discuss these excerpts with paid subscribers.

I am so grateful to everyone who has reached out to encourage me to take this time. Your support makes my work possible in so many ways. One of the tougher things about being a somewhat visible writer and organizer is that people sometimes forget that you’re a human being. I am grateful to people who care about my well-being and who are supportive of my efforts to sustain my health and honor my capacity. I wish we were all supported in these ways. May we continue to struggle together so that we can build a world where everyone is able to get the care and support they need. 

I look forward to writing for you all again when I am doing better. In the meantime, thanks for reading and for all that you do.

Much love,