Molly Crabapple is the author of Drawing Blood and, with Marwan Hisham, of Brothers of the Gun. Her artwork is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. (May 2019)

IN THE REVIEW

It’s Not About Sex

Protesters at a rally for the decriminalization of sex work, New York City, February 2019; drawing by Molly Crabapple

Revolting Prostitutes: The Fight for Sex Workers’ Rights

by Molly Smith and Juno Mac

Blowin’ Up

a documentary film directed by Stephanie Wang-Breal
Every year, on December 17, sex workers from Bombay to Zagreb gather to demand that the world stop killing their colleagues. The International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers started in 2003, to commemorate the dozens of women murdered by the Green River Killer in Washington State in the 1980s and 1990s, and has since grown into a collective cry of mourning, solidarity, and sex workers’ refusal to be ashamed. American sex workers are today more organized, and more oppressed, than they have been in years.

Where Else Can They Go?

A detail from a page of Olivier Kugler’s Escaping Wars and Waves: Encounters with Syrian Refugees, showing a Syrian refugee in the Calais Jungle camp in France

Escaping Wars and Waves: Encounters with Syrian Refugees

by Olivier Kugler

The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees

by Don Brown
In 2016, the year Macedonia completely closed its borders to Syrian refugees, I met a young Palestinian man named Walid in a squalid army-run camp on the Greek island of Samos. I was writing a magazine story on the conditions in such camps following the deal that March between the …

NYR DAILY

The Fight Against Trump’s Other Family Separation Policy

Maribel Hernández Rivera and her husband, Giddel Contreras, a TPS holder from Honduras, Queens, New York, July 20, 2019

This week, on August 14, a federal appeals court will hear oral argument from attorneys for the Department of Homeland Security, on one hand, and Temporary Protected Status holders, on the other, as to whether the terminations should occur as originally scheduled. For Maribel Hernández Rivera, the litigation is personal: her husband, Giddel Contreras, is a TPS holder. A native of Honduras, Contreras has been in the United States for nearly twenty-five years, but was undocumented until he got TPS. His thirteen-year-old daughter, Madison, Hernández Rivera’s stepdaughter, is a US citizen. “We’re going to fight,” Hernández Rivera told me. “We’re going to do everything we need to do.”

‘A People’s Cry of Indignation’: A Dispatch from Puerto Rico

Noel blowing his shofar at the demonstrations celebrating Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation, San Juan, August 2, 2019

Puerto Rico is a colony, and as such, its government has only those powers the US Congress grants it. Puerto Rican legislators might protest the closing of their schools, the cutting of their pensions, or the gutting of the great university that has produced so many of the island’s most subversive and iconic leaders, but ultimately, the Fiscal Control Board appointed by Congress overrule them. When I asked about what it would take to get rid of this junta, as activists call it, they offered me two options. First, the 5 million-strong Puerto Rican diaspora now living in the US could make Puerto Rico a political issue, advocating for their families on the island, who, as colonial subjects, are not allowed to vote in federal elections. Second, Puerto Ricans can make the island ungovernable. 

‘Whores But Organized’: Sex Workers Rally for Reform

A protester at the Decrim NY rally, New York City, February 25, 2019

“I have seen sex workers all of my life,” Jessica Ramos declared. “I have seen them denigrated by neighbors. The answer is always, call the police to fix this. Police do not fix anything.” She was speaking at a February 25 rally in Foley Square, New York, in front of 150 sex workers and supporters. This might seem like a small event, one of perhaps thousands of protests that take place every year in this city of ten million people, but it represented a radical break with the past. For Ramos is a state senator, and this spring, along with her colleague, Senator Julia Salazar, she promised to introduce a bill to decriminalize the sex trade in New York.  

Waiting with Immigrants

To be an immigrant in America is to wait. This goes double for the millions of immigrants who have found themselves at the sour end of the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bureaucracy—and triple in the age of Trump. If you are an immigrant in the process of deportation proceedings, you must wait for your Master Calendar, on which a bureaucrat will assign you to a check-in date several months into the future. At this check-in, you may win several more months of anxious waiting—or disappear into a detention center, where you will wait for a one-way plane ride to a country you may no longer know.

India’s Farmers on the March

Skulls

Agriculture in India relies heavily on rain and temperature in the growing season; farmers here are highly sensitive to climate. They have already felt the beginning of the apocalypse in the form of dried-up wells, declining yields, and mass migrations of people. So the farmers had brought their bodies—ravaged by work, unaccustomed to television cameras after years of neglect, and weary from walking miles—to the seat of power. As thousands chanted “Marenge nahin, ladenge!”—we will not die, we will fight!—the farmers redefined themselves as the protagonists, not the fatalities, of the climate change story.

My Great-Grandfather the Bundist

Though the Bund was largely obliterated by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, the group’s opposition to Zionism better explains its absence from current consciousness. The Bund celebrated Jews as a nation, but they irreconcilably opposed the establishment of Israel as a separate Jewish homeland in Palestine. The diaspora was home, the Bund argued. Jews could never escape their problems by the dispossession of others. Instead, Bundists adhered to the doctrine of do’ikayt or “Hereness.” Jews had the right to live in freedom and dignity wherever it was they stood.