Vol 1, Issue 11 November, 2019

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The Fellows Program is accepting applications as we seek to hire a new paid Communications Intern. Interested candidates should apply here:
Spring 2020 New America Fellows Program Internship 

Thank you for sharing this opportunity with qualified students. 

Three questions with...
2020 Fellow Molly Crabapple

Your Fellows Project is a book about the history of the Jewish Labor Bund. Can you share the genesis of this project?

I grew up surrounded by the work of my great grandfather, a post-impressionist painter named Sameul Rothbort. One day, leafing through watercolors he had painted of his long-murdered schtetl in Belarus, I saw an image that struck me. A young woman with Gibson Girl hair and a corseted waist was hurling rocks through windows. Her boyfriend stood next to her, holding a bag filled with more rocks. “Itka the Bundist”, read the title. Bundist? I wondered. What was that? This question led me to discover a forgotten history of Jewish resistance that is still powerfully relevant today. When I wrote an essay about the Bund for the New York Review of Books, it spread farther and faster than I would ever have imagined, which led me to decide to explore the group further in a book.

The short film you illustrated, "A Message From the Future," was co-written and narrated by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. What drew you to this project and was its political nature, an imagined future where the Green New Deal is in place, part of that appeal?

Naomi Klein and I met at a protest commemorating the one year anniversary of Hurricane Maria.  My father is Puerto Rican and I spent a lot of time there after the hurricane, both reporting and trying to support the work my friends were doing creating a mutual aid center in a rural mountain barrio—Naomi reported on the same center.  We got along, and when she decided to try to mobilize artists for the Green New Deal, she asked me what I wanted to create.  I had the idea of creating an animation, similar to what I had done with Jay Z about the war on drugs, where Alexandria Ocasio Cortez could explain the Green New Deal as she envisioned it. Naomi, Avi Lewis and AOC wrote the script together, then Kim Boekbinder and Jim Batt (the co-directors) and I went back and forth making storyboards that jived with their vision. 

In both the news and in popular culture, we have so many visions of dystopia—but what we lack are ideas for how a better world might be. I wanted to show a future that was humane, human and beautiful—something worth fighting for.    

Like the film your last book, Brothers of the Gun, was a collaboration with writer Marwan Hisham. What about collaboration appeals to you and what does your collaborative process look like?

Marwan is one of my best friends, and one of the most brilliant, brave and fiercely individual people I’ve ever been blessed to know. To give you an idea of what I mean, he did surreptitious journalism under ISIS, after the group invaded his hometown, then became the first person to break the story of American airstrikes on Raqqa. Because of this, Brothers of the Gun was a collaboration like none I’ve ever done before, and one which I’ll probably never repeat. We wrote the book together, sometimes drafting sentences five or six times each, rewriting each other's chapters, arguing to make sure each word was right. He art directed the 82 drawings I did, never allowing me to get away with inaccuracy or cliché. I wanted them to look as if I had seen Raqqa through his eyes. We were attempting to mix Homage to Catalonia and Goya’s Disasters of War, and together we created something better than anything either of us could have created alone.

Two Cents

Fellows share how they stay informed on their subject while also working on projects.

1: I often assign my students research articles that I need to read, that way prepping for class does double-duty. — Sarah J. Jackson, Class of 2019

2: I usually set aside links and papers and articles in Evernote every day so I can read them later. I also rely on Google Alerts to some extent to catch newspaper articles on various subjects. — Suzy Hansen, Class of 2020

3: My go-to tool has been to create a very carefully curated Twitter list and check it out a couple times a day. If something big happens, I'll definitely hear about it from there. — Chase Purdy, Class of 2019

Two Cents

Azadeh Moaveni's book Guest House for Young Widows was shortlisted for the Ballie Gifford Prize and was listed as one of the ten best books of 2019 by Publisher's Weekly.

George Packer's book Our Man was named one of Publisher's Weekly best nonfiction books of the year.

Thomas Chatterton Williams' Self-Portrait in Black and White was reviewed on the cover of the New York Times Sunday book review. The book was also reviewed in the Washington Post.

Trevor Aaronson wrote in the Intercept about FBI investigations of right-wing extremists.

Reginald Dwayne Betts' book of poetry, Felon, was reviewed by the New Yorker and the New York Times. He was also interviewed on WBUR's Radio Boston.

Molly Crabapple was announced as a Bard 2020 Fellow at the Brooklyn public library.


Two Cents
Go To This

Upcoming New America event we recommend you check out. Now.



What Now for Britain?

Join the International Security and Political Reform Programs to analyze and reflect on the latest Brexit chapter. Learn more


Scandalous: The Untold Story of the National Enquirer

Join New America NYC at Betaworks Studios for a special preview screening of Scandalous: The Untold Story of the National Enquirer. Learn more


Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America

Join Christopher Leonard, Class of 2014, for a conversation with Franklin Foer, Class of 2016, about Kochland, his new book on the political influence and economic domination of Koch Industries. Learn more

Reading this month

A captivating autobiography about a black family in Portland, Oregon, grappling with our nation's racism and economic inequality.  
— Trevor Aaronson, Class of 2020

Learn more

An illuminating history of the United States’ colonial possessions and the breadth of its empire.
— Patricia Evangelista, Class of 2020

Learn more

Whitehead upends a story we think we already know. The book is great creative inspiration for nonfiction writers striving for a fresh take on their subjects.
— Lisa Hamilton, Class of 2019

Learn more

Free Swag

Fill out this tiny form for a chance to win a copy of Self-Portrait in Black and White by Thomas Chatterton Williams, Class of 2019! Read the New York Times review of the book here.

(Please submit by COB Monday, November 11th to be considered.)

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