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Field Notes

France: A Political Strike

At the end of November, 2019, the French government announced a “reform” of the pension system. A strike movement erupted. This movement, which has become the longest and strongest strike since the mass strike of May-June 1968, started on December 5, 2019, with the shutdown of the national railway company SNCF and the Paris public transportation system, which includes the subway, trams, buses, and suburban trains.

All Jails Fit to Build

“Borough-based” jails are nothing new in New York City. The original incarnation of Lower Manhattan’s notorious Tombs facility, opened in 1838, replaced the British colonial jail built before the Revolution.

Letter from Federal Prison

In late 2019 I was moved from Texas state custody to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. I believe that many people thought that this transition would bring me improved conditions. On the contrary, conditions have actually worsened. During the Christmas season of 2019 I was transferred from United States Penitentiary Beaumont, located in Texas, to United States Penitentiary Pollock, in Louisiana.

Save the Bay View!

Every month, the unrelenting commitment of the staff of one plus a few volunteers at the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper manages to eke out just one more issue of this crucially important publication, to elevate and champion the voices and campaigns of those folks most ignored, repressed, and criminalized.

Berlin Wall: An Afterlife

November 9th, 2019 marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Berlin officials planned a week-long celebration in which the entire city became “the largest concert stage in the world.” However, amidst nationalist uprisings, racial and religious violence, from Halle to Ras al-Ain, and border tensions from Londonderry to Tapachula, it felt less like a celebration and more like a vigil for the death of the borderless-world dream promised 30 years ago.

"Here Be Dragons"

The US publishing industry has recently thrown its weight behind a novel about migrants in Mexico: American Dirt (2020) by Jeanine Cummins. American Dirt is a gross misrepresentation of this nation, its culture, and, most importantly, its migrants. The fact that it has been selected by US publishers and publicists to represent the migrant’s story—to the exclusion of hundreds of other books—is deeply revealing.

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The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2020

All Issues