Must-Reads and the Failed State of Journalism

From medical colonialism to the Uncommitted campaign, Super Tuesday, and the UK’s GPS tagging of migrants, here are some important stories you might have missed this week.

Must-Reads and the Failed State of Journalism
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Your weekly curated list of must-reads is here. But first, there’s a new episode of Movement Memos I want to put on your radar. 

This week, I talked with author and journalist Sarah Kendzior about the collapsing state of journalism in the U.S. and how we can resist the erosion of our shared history, our values, and our shared reality. 

“I can’t believe that I have nostalgia for these previous eras of crises,” Sarah told me.

That sentence is a fucking vibe.


From medical colonialism to the Uncommitted campaign, Super Tuesday, and the UK’s GPS tagging of migrants, here are some important stories you might have missed this week. 

European nations must end repression of peaceful climate protest, says UN expert by Sandra Laville. “Several countries are adopting measures for peaceful demonstrators that are also used against organised criminals. These include early morning raids by counter-terrorism units and the use of undercover police to infiltrate groups.”

In Line at St. Brigid the city’s campaign to push migrants out has turned their lives into an interminable loop by Jay Bulger and Paula Aceves Portfolio by Philip-Daniel Ducasse. “In September, I heard my dad was sick. And I have two children and a grandson. I feel cheated, and I feel bad because of all of the things I’m experiencing now. I want them to deport me to Venezuela. But they won’t because I don’t have a passport. I need to go to the Mexican Embassy to see if they can solve my passport problem and get me deported.”

Memories of Aaron Bushnell: As Recounted by His Friends. “From Aaron’s will: ‘I am sorry to my brother and my friends for leaving you like this. Of course, if I was truly sorry, I wouldn’t be doing it. But the machine demands blood. None of this is fair.’”

The UK’s GPS Tagging of Migrants Has Been Ruled Illegal by Morgan Meaker. “The way the UK government has been tagging migrants with GPS trackers is illegal, the country’s privacy regulator ruled on Friday, in a rebuke to officials who have been experimenting with migrant-surveillance tech in both the UK and the US.”

“Uncommitted” Campaign Spreads With Endorsement From Washington’s Largest Union by Sharon Zhang. “The largest union in Washington has endorsed voting “uncommitted” over President Joe Biden in the state’s upcoming Democratic primary as the movement spreads to states across the nation after Michigan voters’ powerful rebuke of the Zionist Democrat this week.”

Palestine Action activists hit with felony charges over New Hampshire Elbit protest by Michael Arria. “[State Attorney General John] Formella openly claimed that the targeting of Elbit was antisemitic.”

‘Medical colonialism’: midwives sue Hawaii over law regulating Native birth workers by Ava Sasani. “Kaho‘ohanohano is one of the few living midwives with the ‘ike, or extensive knowledge, of Native Hawaiian birthing practices. She fears that, without the legal right to teach and practice Native Hawaiian midwifery, the ‘ike that she inherited from her elders will die with her.”

This Black History Month, Let’s Recognize the Vitality of Black Feminist Thought by George Yancy. “Jeanine Weekes Schroer: There is a gritty ingenuity and a contumacious friction that is crucial to Black feminist philosophical thought. My experience of Black feminist philosophy has been the necessity of mapping that territory as you go”

Your Guide to What’s on the Ballot on Super Tuesday by Daniel Nichanian. “To help you, Bolts has identified more than 50 items to watch on Super Tuesday, and why they matter, including key races for supreme courts, governors, DAs, mayors, and lawmakers, plus referendums.”

Voter Suppression Is the Anti-Abortion Movement’s Secret Sauce by Ana Marie Cox. “The disconnect between what the people want and what policies Republicans insist on rolling out will only get more vast as they dream up new ways to subvert democracy; if we don’t close the gap, we will fall right in.”

It's Been So Long Since I've Seen The Ocean

I am so tired, friends. My troubled spine and other problems are flaring up, and while I am accustomed to painful news cycles, beginning the week with the fiery death of Aaron Bushnell and ending it with "the flour massacre" has left my heart aching. I wrote about Aaron Bushnell earlier this week, and I am still trying to wrap my mind around the horror of the IDF killing 104 starving Palestinians with tanks and drones as they gathered to receive aid.

I have no hard-hitting analysis of the news to offer today. Instead, I am thinking about what sustains us in dark times and what grounds us in this world. I am thinking about what it means to honor Aaron Bushnell's sacrifice while also believing the words of his friend who said, "He was someone we really needed here."

I am thinking about what helps us stay here.

I believe purpose can preempt despair, but sometimes, it is not enough. Sometimes, our bodies, minds, and hearts need more. Some days, I'm not even sure what's missing. I just know that I am breaking down like an old car.

I am in Santa Cruz, California, as I write this. My body hates air travel, and it has been rebelling as usual. When I agreed to this work trip, I thought, At least I’ll be going somewhere pretty. Then, I checked out the weather forecast for Santa Cruz this week. Heavy wind and rain. Figures, I thought.

However, on the ride from the airport to my hotel, I was heartened by the sight of the Santa Cruz Mountains. I had not seen trees that tall since before the pandemic. As the achingly beautiful, foggy landscape blurred by, I thought about how alienated I am, as a city dweller in the midwest, from so many natural wonders, like groves of redwood trees. In Chicago, we have Lake Michigan, which I visit most days. I suppose having the lake helps us remember our connection to the water – something that flows through us and animates all life.

I think urban gardeners have the right idea. Focusing on what grows, and on how you can nurture it, probably helps restore a connection that is easily lost. A relationship to the land requires care and attention, just like any relationship, or it weakens.

When I got to Santa Cruz, I asked the desk attendant at my hotel if there were any sea lions in the area. She pointed me toward a nearby wharf. She said they may or may not be there. The wind was intense and there was a storm coming in, but seeing those trees had stirred something inside of me. Even in passing, I had felt a connection to something – like seeing a long lost friend. I wanted more of that feeling. So, I put on my rain jacket and headed to the wharf. 

As soon as I set eyes on the beach, I knew I had made the right decision. It's been so long since I've smelled salt in the air. The wind was high and the sky was turning gray, but the ocean was beautiful, and it was welcoming me. Another old friend who I had not seen in ages, who was ready to embrace me.

The pacific ocean in Santa Cruz, California.
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)

I walked for a while without seeing any sea lions. I almost gave up my search, and then I heard them howling. Sea lions make the strangest sounds. Even the intense wind couldn’t drown them out. I looked over the edge of the wharf and saw a large group of them lounging. A young pup was bobbing about in the water, twirling in circles, as though he was enjoying the heavy waves. He seemed to beckon the others to come play, but they were uninterested. They were laying, nestled together, whining and howling occasionally, just taking up space, majestically. 

Sea lions lay on planks of wood beside a wharf. A sea lion pup swims in the water.
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)

I sometimes ask people what nourishes them and whether they’re getting enough of it. I found some nourishment today. I am not sharing this as a lead-in to any particular political insight. I just wanted to mention that amid a terrible week, on a trip I am not well enough to have taken, as we navigate heartbreaking news and try to figure out what to do next, I found some nourishment.

It's important to remember, amid so many tragedies and terrors, that there is still beauty in the world. We have relationships to cherish and nurture, including our relationship with the earth, the water, and with the creatures with whom we share this planet. Being alienated from the people we love, and from the land, the water, or the animals we cherish, makes us weaker, and it makes the world less bearable.

After this trip, it will probably be a long time before I see the ocean again. I mostly travel for work, and seaside gigs don't come along every day. But I will hold the ocean in my heart, and when I return to the lake that I know and love, I will feel a connection to the sea.

Looking at the redwoods and the sea lions, I also think about how both are under threat. The natural world is in great peril, which means we are all in danger – since the imagined separation between us and the natural world is an egotistical fantasy.

Everything I love exists in a state of precarity. So, I fight for what I love, and for what my heart tells me is possible. I have seen faith-breaking human horrors in my time on Earth, but I have also seen human potential and decency win. I have seen people defy the death-makers in defense of trees, in defense of ideas, and in defense of each other. I have seen redwood groves and sea lions and been better for it, and that will be enough for today. 

Sea lions lay on planks of wood beside a wharf.
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)

Whatever nourishes you, I urge you to get your fill. And when the world feels too ugly to inhabit, remember that there are always wonders out there awaiting our return. 

Much love,


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