Must-Read Roundup and God Damn It, Now We're Bombing Yemen

From Gaza to Elon Musk’s war on labor laws, Louisiana’s hard right turn, and how the WIC program is failing hungry children, here are some important stories you may have missed this week.

Children must forgo fruit, milk as fewer stores participate in US government food program (AP). “In states where the number of WIC stores has drastically decreased, officials say the impact is most pronounced in rural areas. Louisiana has lost 68 WIC vendors since 2019, and is working on a recruitment plan for stores.”

Right-Wing Christians Are Making Climate Apocalypse a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy by JP Sottile. “As climate-stoked disasters and record-breaking heat waves piled up after 2014, the sense of urgency among white evangelicals actually declined.”

Budget Deal Ensures Bombs Will Keep Dropping While Fewer Human Needs Are Met by Lindsay Koshgarian. “The losers in this deal are clear: anyone unlucky enough to live in a war zone, anyone unlucky enough to need help in the U.S. economy, and anyone unlucky enough to be directly affected by the climate emergency (in other words, all of us).”

Inside Israel’s torture camp for Gaza detainees by Yuval Abraham. “According to these testimonies, Israeli soldiers subjected Palestinian detainees to electric shocks, burned their skin with lighters, spat in their mouths, and deprived them of sleep, food, and access to bathrooms until they defecated on themselves. Many were tied to a fence for hours, handcuffed, and blindfolded for most of the day. Some testified to having been beaten all over their bodies and having cigarettes extinguished on their necks or backs. Several people are known to have died as a result of being held in these conditions.”

Surveillance capitalism has taken over immigration enforcement—stifling dissent and sowing fear for profit by Maurizio Guerrero. “‘One of the horrible consequences of the system of surveillance is that the more people engage in the basic social structures that we have in this country, the more legible they become … and thus [they] create more data points that can be used to identify, profile, find, and target them,’ said Alli Finn, the senior organizer and researcher at Surveillance Resistance Lab.”

Emissions from Israel’s war in Gaza have ‘immense’ effect on climate catastrophe by Nina Lakhani. “The planet-warming emissions generated during the first two months of the war in Gaza were greater than the annual carbon footprint of more than 20 of the world’s most climate-vulnerable nations, new research reveals.”

Louisiana Organizers Brace for Landry by Piper French. “Landry has signaled that he will be a very different sort of leader—a return to Louisiana’s harsh status quo on criminal justice, but with a heightened level of bombast. A Trump ally and product of the Tea Party, he embodies the new Republican party’s commitment to the culture war and antipathy toward compromise.”

215 bodies found buried behind Jackson, Mississippi jail by Chinta Strausberg. “Some relatives of those found buried behind the jail simply thought they were missing.”

No rescue: Palestine, representation, and global capitalism by William C. Anderson. “The ruling classes of the world rely on the watering down of our movements as a means of controlling dispersed communities and subjugating oppressed people. The compulsion to create emissaries to fulfill a mandate undermines us at every turn. It leaves us projecting our dreams for a better world onto people, places, and things we shouldn’t.”

Why Is The United States Bombing Yemen?

I don't have any great reading recommendations on yesterday's attacks on Yemen yet, so I'm going to do my best to break down what's happening.

On Thursday, the the United States and the United Kingdom launched airstrikes against Houthi targets in Yemen. In a statement, President Biden said that the attacks had been carried out at his direction "against a number of targets in Yemen used by Houthi rebels to endanger freedom of navigation in one of the world's most vital waterways."

According to Middle East Eye:

Explosions were reported in several cities across the war-ravaged country, including the capital Sanaa, the western port city of Hodeidah, the Houthi stronghold of Saada and the south-western city of Dhamar.

So, you might be asking, "What does it mean to 'endanger freedom of navigation?'"

In this case, it means the disruption of commercial shipping routes for political purposes. Over the last two months, the Houthis have launched over two dozen attacks in the Red Sea. The attacks began November 14, with the hijacking of a cargo ship affiliated with an Israeli businessman. The hijacking followed a statement from a Houthi spokesperson threatening to sink Israeli ships, due to Israel's ongoing assaults on Gaza. In December, the Houthis broadened the scope of their attack, pledging to target any trade ships traveling to Israel in the Red Sea. As Elisabeth Kendall has reported, the effort ultimately widened to include ships with no apparent connection to Israel. As Kendall writes, "To date, well over 100 drones and missiles have been launched at international shipping with links to over 50 countries."

According to Biden, "More than 2,000 ships have been forced to divert thousands of miles to avoid the Red Sea — which can cause weeks of delays in product shipping times."

Basically, the Houthis have created a trade crisis in order to generate global pressure to stop the genocide in Gaza. Biden could have viewed this as yet another good reason to leverage his considerable power to halt Israel's ongoing massacres. Instead, he has teamed up with the U.K. to commit an act of war against Yemen, without congressional consent, risking a larger regional conflict.

Houthi officials have called the attacks as “an aggression” and warned that the “aggressors will pay the price for what they have done.”

Anti-war protesters gathered in Times Square on Thursday night, after the Palestinian Youth Movement, the People’s Forum, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and the ANSWER Coalition called an emergency rally to condemn the airstrikes launched by the U.S. and the U.K.

Mustapha, an organizer with the Palestinian Youth Movement, said in a statement, “We vehemently condemn this illegal attack by the United States and the U.K. against our brothers and sisters in Yemen." Mustapha defended Houthi efforts to disrupt trade, saying "The people of Yemen have shown the world what it means to resolutely and concretely stand in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle, and for this they have been met with the aggression of the empire." Mustapha demanded an end to U.S. and U.K. hostilities against Yemen and "to the U.S.-Israeli genocide against Gaza."

Manolo De Los Santos, Executive Director of the People’s Forum stated that, "The illegal bombing of Yemen by the U.S. and U.K. is a dangerous escalation." De Los Santos said that Yemen was being targeted due to "its firm solidarity with the people of Palestine," and emphasized that "the people of the U.S. do not want another imperialist war in the Middle East."

Brian Becker, Executive Director of the ANSWER Coalition also condemned the attacks, saying, “We demand an immediate end to this bombing campaign and all U.S. war threats." Becker decried the expansion of hostilities stemming from Israel's ongoing attacks on Gaza, saying, "On the very same day that the world heard devastating testimony at the International Court of Justice proving that Israel is committing genocide, their main sponsors have committed this outrageous act of war." Becker also warned that these assaults were pulling the U.S. into a larger regional conflict. "We need a ceasefire now to end the genocide in Gaza, not an escalation to a regional war,” he said.

On Twitter, Border & Rule author Harsha Walia pointed out that these attacks were part of a long and tragic legacy. "[The] US has [a] long history of bombing Yemen," Walia wrote. "The Saudi-UAE led [and] US-backed war on Yemen left the country in one of the world's most severe humanitarian crises," Walia said. "Now, Yemenis [are] being punished for trying to end genocide in Gaza, with imperialists creating more death [and] devastation."

We will no doubt see more protests against these escalations and Israel's continued assault on Gaza in the coming days. If you plan to join those efforts, I'll see you in the streets.

Thank You for Joining Me on Ghost/Nazi Bloggers Fuck Off

I want to thank everyone who's been supportive of my decision to move Organizing My Thoughts from Substack to Ghost. As some of you know, Substack announced this week that it would suspend five Nazi publications. The five blogs in question had no paid subscribers and about 100 active readers between them. Given the scope of Substack's moderation issues, calling these removals a drop in the bucket would be overly generous. I foresee no meaningful changes in Substack's policies and have no plans to return.

Upcoming Zoom Conversation With Shane Burley

As promised, I will be hosting periodic Zoom conversations with some of my brilliant friends that my paid subscribers will be invited to attend. The first of those Zooms will take place on January 25 at 6 p.m. CT. I will be chatting with my friend Shane Burley, who is the author of Why We Fight: Essays on Fascism, Resistance, and Surviving the ApocalypseFascism Today: What It Is and How to End Itand the upcoming book Safety Through Solidarity: A Radical Guide to Fighting Antisemitism.

If you are a paid subscriber, you can find more information about how to sign up for that event here.

Coming Next Week: The Return of Movement Memos

Some of you may have noticed that my podcast Movement Memos did not return as scheduled this week. Unfortunately, we ran into some last-minute production issues, and publishing on time would have required a marathon work session that I simply wasn’t up for. (As some of you know, I’ve been struggling a bit.) I appreciate your patience, and I look forward to sharing my conversation with Nadine Naber with you all next week. We will be talking about Palestine, the history of Palestinian and Arab organizing in the U.S., and why recent attacks on the concept of settler colonialism are absolute bullshit.

As a disabled person, and as a person coping with depression and grief, I feel very lucky to be supported by my colleagues, listeners and readers when I need to slow down. So, thanks for your understanding, and for your kind words.

What The Hell Should We Do With Ourselves?

If you are feeling overwhelmed, or run down, my advice is to take at least one action, however small, in opposition to U.S.-war-making and Israeli genocide this weekend. Whether that means attending a protest, or signing this petition to demand that your state legislators join a call for a permanent ceasefire, please raise your voice, and make your values known. U.S. leaders are counting on us to get tired and distracted. They are hoping that, after months of an ongoing genocide, we will feel defeated, and demoralized, and accept Israel's violence as inevitable. They are hoping that we can be placated by talk of Biden's "quiet efforts" to deescalate Israel's violence, or by a supposedly "less intense" stage of war-making. We cannot accept their lies or escalations.

We must refuse to submit to the normalization of genocide. If we stop disrupting, the devastation in Palestine will become mere background noise in the U.S. media. We cannot allow that to happen. We cannot allow ourselves to, as Ilya Kaminsky wrote, live happily during the war. We must reject the dehumanization and mass murder of Palestinians, and in so doing, defend our own humanity.

If you are tired, pace yourself, but do not give up.

Take an action in defense of Palestine this weekend, and if you engage with social media, post about it. Remind others that we are connected through our acts of care, rebellion, and refusal, and take comfort in that connection.

If you are looking for ideas about how to take action, this digital action toolkit from the Palestinian Feminist Collective is a great resource.

I know these times are exhausting and that many of us feel ill-equipped. The horrors of empire are relentless, and our hearts are continuously breaking. But, in times such as these, we must decide who we are in relation to evil, and in relation to one another. When the worst feels inevitable, we must ask ourselves who is served by our surrender, and who is abandoned by it. Rather than passively consenting to atrocity, we must exist in opposition to it. Because we are always each other's best hope.

We can refuse the will of the death-makers. We can refuse to abandon one another. We can choose life-giving politics and relationships, and we can find meaning amid the chaos and catastrophe of these times. We can do that, every day, if we choose to fight for ourselves and one another.

So, take deep breaths. Ground yourself. Drink plenty of water, and be kind to yourself. Hold someone who loves you, and remind them not to give up. Then, make some noise for Palestine.

Much love,