molly crabapple


i see her all over…

started taking her in here: Artist/Writer – XOXO Festival (2013)

poverty stifles art…

13 min – a decade of practice honed my talent, but cash let me express it, to pretend otherwise is to spit in the face of every single broke genius.. it’s to say – hey i just got here because i’m better than you

artists cannot live on clicks, likes and reblogs

radical econ ness.. a nother way.. revolution of everyday life


2014 – media evolution opening keynote

my roots are scribbling.. to see the world or to see myself

2011 – occupy wall street happened outside my window – the media had a narrative they wanted to push – ie: these people are violent disengaged losers… but i saw with my own eyes that this wasn’t true… since then i’ve drawn countless protests… refugee/labor camps… prisons riots.. i’ve tried to capture people’s humanity

refugee camps

last summer i drew guantánamo bay – the most american place in the world – which is what makes it so shameful.. it’s like kafka in the caribbean.. 153 men indefinitely detained.. there for no reason, outside the barbed wired you have a mcdonald’s and a gift shop

voices of guantánomo  – kafka

8 min – oppositional defiant disorder – inability to listen to rules

dis order ness, bureaucracy ness

drawing gave me permission to look

women are looked at.. art gave me the permission to look back

12 min – i always wanted to use my art to distill the true line from the twitpics

drawing is essentially disruptive.. you’re producing when you’re expected to consume

13 min – for all i love drawing i often ask myself – what on earth is the point

choice ness

we’re often told we’re living in a panopticon – but that’s not always true.. the state watches us .. but we also watch the state and each other… a panopticon with a 1000 points of view… when an event is in the news.. all of twitter is a giant eyeball.. a multi eye panopticon

16 min – ferguson… the network enabled the people of ferguson to speak to the world

19 min – images, even the finest ones.. can be torn from their context/meaning.. and even if the meaning of the image is true.. the sheer glut of imagery and words that we have can drown it out in noise and data and screaming..

20 min – i sometimes wonder if humans are meant to see all this suffering everywhere and be totally unable to help

twitter/facebook – live on our engagement

being distracted and superficial and vaguely traumatized.. is actually great business for platforms.. that are using us as commodities.. but it’s not a great plan for human beings..

network is corrective to so many things… marginalized voices… we can actually hear them (people) not just the voices of pr flacks that are hired to represent the head bashers..

network has given so many people ability to see so much and shout back and be heard..

i love the internet.. we were not better people before the internet.. online life is not inherently false.. the real world, the meet space, is not inherently true

we should never regret that it’s there… no more than we should wish that writing should go away.. before literacy – memory (was supreme) – once you can write things down not so important

we are nodes of the network .. but not its essence.. burn out is real… we will always lose if we attempt to match the internets pace..

we need all of it.. but we also need the singular and the one..

when you create something slow… by drawing carefully.. you can get out of your head

24 min – art disciplined me.. it made me stop circling in my brain.. it took me out of myself.. when i drew i wasn’t myself

online life is real life.. meet space is real as well.. we need tools that tear us from the compulsive addiction of the screen.. there is no undo key for physical life

33 min – (in the age of photos everywhere) – art makes it slow.. saying .. this is important

thinking of the keri bubble font – for words that matter

35 min – the state locks people in cages.. to say remember – even though the american govt wants you to forget – the net is not all seeing… a sketchpad can go places that cameras cannot look

in guantánamo prisoners are non-people – we wouldn’t know of if it weren’t for chelsea

38 min – art is the discipline of seeing.. to draw is to discard visual stereotypes.. before you even worry about the marks you make – you train yourself in observation… when you draw – look hard..


broken windows:


Borders never look so ridiculous, or so cruel, as when you can see one from above. People living or dying according to a line in the dirt

Original Tweet:

nationality: human


Molly (at 3 min) in turkey with karam foundation:

Zeitouna Summer 2014, Reyhanli, Turkey

– – –

she is now in turkey (april 2015) with karma foundation:

ZEITOUNA is a creative therapy and physical wellness program designed to inspire and heal the youngest victims of the Syrian humanitarian crisis: the children.

With over 3 million refugees and 8 million internally displaced, Syria is the largest humanitarian crisis of our lifetime. While the brutal living conditions of displacement severely affect all Syrians, the youth bear the most trauma of war: lost homes, security, communities, educations. These factors threaten to culminate in lost futures of an entire generation.

Karam Foundation’s Innovative Education programs counters these traumatic factors by instilling a love of creativity and athletic sports, caring for the youths’ physical and mental wellbeing, restoring confidence by building trusting bonds between mentor and child, exposing youth to advanced technology, and developing leadership skills for the future.

 Zeitouna is based on three simple concepts:

  • every child deserves to play
  • every child deserves a mentor
  • every child deserves to be inspired.


Zeitouna will support our host school, the Jeel School, by providing long-term investment items for the school that will extend our mission long after we leave.

let kids know they have not been forgotten.. every child deserves to play


june 2015 –

Locking up immigrants for profit



july 2015


My website is banned in Saudi Arabia

Original Tweet:


“From the rubble we will rise again”- life in Aleppo, written by Marwan Hisham, art by me…

Childhood has become an irrelevant stage that young locals skip over.


Buildings at firing range are still inhabited by civilians.


The Syrian air force has a habit of following their first barrel bomb with a second. People say this is to kill first responders. (The government still denies that it uses barrel bombs.)


According to Amnesty International, barrel bombs killed more than 3,000 civilians in Aleppo governorate last year. Local activists recorded at least 70 to 75 barrel-bomb attacks in Aleppo city this spring alone. But not everyone thinks this is a bad thing.


“From under the rubble, we are going to rise again.”


Bryan on Molly’s drawing blood:

. @eji_org founder and Just Mercy author Bryan Stevenson with kind words on Drawing Blood

Original Tweet:

[recommended to library]


find/follow Molly:

link twitter

wikipedia small

The BBC reported that artists were using Crabapple’s apartment as an “impromptu salon” for the Occupy movement. “I started doing protest posters,” Crabapple recalled. “And in doing these, I found my voice.” Author Matt Taibbi called Crabapple “Occupy’s greatest artist”, noting the use of the “vampire squid” theme in her Occupy artwork. Crabapple, a fan of Taibbi’s writing, had read his 2009 Rolling Stone article, “The Great American Bubble Machine”. In the article, Taibbi referred to Goldman Sachs as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” When Crabapple used Taibbi’s metaphor as a stencil depicting a vampire squid and released it for anyone to use, it went viral throughout the Occupy movement.

Matt Taibbi

occupy ness


oct 2015 – on solitary et al by Molly:

According to James E. Robertson, a professor of corrections at Minnesota State University, “Retaliation is deeply engrained in the correctional office subculture; it may well be in the normative response when an inmate files a grievance.” The inmates and their lawyers said guards punished those who filed grievances by slapping them with misconduct charges. In Pennsylvania, a prison has 15 business days to respond to a grievance, but a misconduct charge against an inmate nets an immediate punishment—often a stay in the hole.


His lawsuit also named state corrections secretary Jeffrey Beard, deputy secretary Michael Klopotoski, and the district attorney herself, Jackie Musto Carroll. All of them had failed to protect him from abuse, he said, despite his countless letters and grievances. In fact, calling attention to the abuse had been taken as an invitation for more of it.


The men, who called themselves the Dallas Six, would try to remain committed to bringing their prison’s abusive conditions to light, even in the face of being confined there longer.


My method has been to draw on any source that would help me grow, because what grows continuously can never die,” Jacobs wrote to me. “This principle can be applied to prison, relationships, oneself, or nature. They can pour poison on my rose petals or cut my stem. But my roots are hidden in a place just for me.”

imprisoned since 15 – self taught to read.. became lawyer


According to Keys, the cell extraction on April 29, 2010, was not even the worst one he’d endured. Cell extractions were part of the routine in most RHUs, seen by some as a way of beating prisoners under the guise of standard operating procedure.


Our trial is important because it expresses a dark side of America that the general public thinks only happens in military detainee camps,” he wrote in The Price Men Pay.



nov 2015

fiction of borders

Citizenship is our most loaded form of fiction.

Our nationalities are invented, nothing but marks on a page, but they can determine who is free and who is not. Or who dies and who gets to live.


Refugees are often described as fleeing IS. Many Syrians are, but the many others have more complicated reasons. They are fleeing from all sides of the war, from airstrikes, barrel bombs, arrests, conscription into Assad’s army, religious persecution, kidnapping, or “just” poverty, homelessness, and despair. Welcoming these people to countries where they can build lives should not be a debate, it should be regarded as a basic form or humanity.


The West cannot stop refugees from seeking safety. It cannot stop migrants from trying for a decent life. This is impossible because borders are lies—words travel across them effortlessly, but people can cross them too, and will, even if they know they might not live to see the other side. Even if we could turn borders into actual walls, the way some ridiculous politicians want, it would not have stopped the European citizens from committing murder in Paris.

In the aftermath of a mass murder, it’s natural to want to do “something.” That something could be lying to ourselves that Syrians are carriers of a terrorism virus, not humans like us, forced by war to risk their lives for safety. It could mean more security, more closed minds and borders. It could mean shrinking our world down, putting up barriers for some false sense of security. It could mean giving IS exactly what they want.


drawing blood release (wish i had it in my hands):

Hey guys it’s my NY Times book review for Drawing Blood. In print this Sunday

Original Tweet:


huffpost live dec 3

tapping into this stream of muses of existence…

the class of 2011 – journalism from occupy

on blm – thinking – my god we can learn so much from you

a horrifying discourse that is happening in public in america

we don’t hear syrians talking about the syrian war

when the world is this noisy/distracting it’s more important than ever to hear your voice and to make it sharp…



dec 2015-book review by the daily beast


on her new memoir, beauty in art and why childhood sucks:


npr audio interview:

oh no Molly.. not survive.. and then free..

let’s do this firstfree art-ists.

for (blank)’s sake

a nother way


Best thing ever? I sent an incarcerated friend the Drawing Blood manuscript. He bound it into a hardcover, and it’s getting passed around

Drawing Blood circulating as a hand bound samizdat in a federal prison basically makes my life

samizdat: the clandestine copying and distribution of literature banned by the state, especially formerly in the communist countries of eastern Europe.


jan 2016

I love this piece by @lukashermsmeier about my book and the community that came out of occupy

Original Tweet:


jan 2016 – msnbc interview:–drawing-blood–598521411924

no one is just the object and no one is just the subject

every one should have to do the parts that seem silent/voiceless

art bypasses a lot of defenses that people have… i think because you can see people’s hand in it..

i also think art has the capacity to woo/seduce.. i think you want this..

and visuals can break down grim/complicated things so people can understand easily


art people


d r a w i n g    blood


learning that art can’t save you from pain, but the discipline of hard work can drag you through it. my pen became my life preserver.


i had a child’s monomania and for artists that’s the most important thing


mi padre – … tell me how the worker added value with his labor, and the capitalist made money only by paying the worker less than the value he added. he taught me to see each object as the culmination of a whole chain of such anonymous, exploited efforts.


on loathing childhood: it wasn’t just my childhood i hated. it was the concept of childhood itself. being a child meant having no control over my life. i bristled every time i had to ask permission to go to the bathroom during class – or to take and aspirin during school when i had cramps.


what the guidance counselor didn’t want to remember is that childhood is helplessness. schools have a kind of power over their students that most american adults will never experience until they enter a hospital, an old age home, an institutions, or a prison.


drawing is always a disruptive act. you produce when you’re expected to consume. when you draw, you are performing quietly, inviting strangers to engage you. i often used my sketchbook as a *talisman.

*an object, typically an inscribed ring or stone, that is thought to have magic powers and to bring good luck.


george like to call it ‘ a little socialist utopia disguised as a bookshop.’ yet, unlike most utopian experiments, it has survived.


this new place focused my eyes as never before. existing as a pure observer this way, i realized dimly, was yet another thing setting me apart from those who lived here – raw0nerved perceptiveness is unattainable in everyday life – but i loved it. far from home, i never wanted to leave.


told – we tend to focus on commissioning intelligent art…. so to ny library.. oscar wilde…borrowed book.. kept renewing it for months, until its theses had stained my brain……the book showed me another way. art and action could infuse each other. a painting didn’t have to hang in a gallery, dead as a pinned butterfly. it could exist in spaces where people cared, as a mural, a state set, a protest placard. art could be gorgeous, engaged and political, working defiant magic on the world.


i worked with mute discipline, with stubbornness rather than pleasure. i wouldn’t be happy, but work made may brain stop.


america still believes that if you work hard enough  you’ll achieve your dreams. go to college. get a job. put in the hours. the invisible hand will reward you with a home and enough money to take your kids to disneyland. it’s a soothing lie. …….


but for my friends and me fighting our way to moderate financial success, money came from transgressing society’s norms. it might have involved fucking rich dudes you met on seeking arrangements. it might have involved selling hallucinogen-laced chocolates, or shucking your clothes for gwcs.


artists are not supposed to care about commerce. the lies told to artists mirror the lies told to women: be good enough, be pretty enough, and ….. but make the first move, seize your destiny, and you’re a whore.

naked-girl money was my escape hatch. w/o it, i’d never have been able to do the work that got me noticed. i’d never have had the materials, the space, or the time…

luxury ness.. imagine that for 7 bill of us..

we can.

let’s do this firstfree art-ists.

for (blank)’s sake

a nother way

can’t find it now.. but somewhere she said something like – i’d rather sell my body than my art


talent is essential, but cash buys the opportunity for that talent to be discovered. to pretend otherwise is to spit in the face of every broke genius. i am good, but it was never just about just being good. it was about getting noticed.

maybe there’s a nother way (short).. via eudaimoniative surplus.. that the world craves..

not spitting in any faces.. suggesting.. a legit nother way..


the internet removes all context. we were all the same content soup.


i drew lines on top of lines. they looked like scribbles, but behind them i could see a world emerge…. i found that the pen had become an extension of my hand. drawing was as addictive as drugs, as natural as breath.


despite our ambition, we had almost no entree to the ny art scene. there, art was a hobby for trust fund kids… in ny, money was the silent grist for the creation of art. to talk about such things was to cheapen oneself as an artist. but the system was there, subtle and undeniable as a wall.


(when obama’s win announced)  – we dance in ny because we believed we’d shucked the nightmare costume that americans had been forced to wear for the last eight years. the wars, the secret prisons the torture, the spying, the hurricane that destroyed new orleans – even the constant, humiliating public idiocy of us leaders. we’d proved those were anomalies. beneath it all, we were good. …. of course , redemption doesn’t come from politicians. but not all of us knew that yet.


class obsessed us both – as did the worlds of art and sex, where class could be transgressed.


these parties, in her greenwich village townhouse, were legend…. she considered the events her form of art, ……in reality they were the work of a huge staff of cleaners, costumers, caterers, art directors, and performers. my friends who planned the party were gods of nightlife….having performed for everyone from madonna to simon cowell, yet they were not allowed to take a whit of credit for the event; in the heiress’s world, they were merely the help.


the govt bailed out wall street, but money stayed pooled at the top. rather than an elusive ideal, eternal prosperity turned out to be a lie and the houses people thought would secure their futures became instead chains around their necks. those who wrecked the economy rewarded themselves with bonuses.


the style i’d honed at the box became popular, but all i did was reproduce my old work. the box had cut me till i became razor sharp. i was not swaddled in the cotton wool of my own success. my hands moved w confidence, creating book covers and ads. they were well done. they were fine. they were nothing news.. the money was good. i told myself i didn’t care.


we were caught in a vicious circle, never having enough cash to do the major work that would prove that we deserved to get the cash to do major work…


artists are the fanciest of the fancy. we’re presumed to exist in a rarified space requiring silence and deep thought. because of this, the world often ignores the physical reality of what we do in favor of the ideas that animate it. the work of artists often involves skilled and demanding manual labor. yet we’re often treated more like sophisticated pets than like true workers.

this has its privileges. unlike the builders working alongside us, melissa and i were allowed to smoke and drink. we came in whenever we wanted. we needed no foreman, no management, and no discipline.


but art is labor, and labor is art, and both have a claim on the sublime. the construction workers and melissa and i were all skilled craftspeople. they build the walls. then, as they watched, i scrubbed pigment into their walls until pictures emerged. we all had dirty nails and aching backs. as an artist, i got credit for my work, – even the starts melissa actually gilded. the construction workers got nothing but pay. the  were a team, unnamed, lost to history. but we all built that rich kids’ paradise together. …… artist’s signature, ,by people whose talent is seldom acknowledged….. i draw sharpie portraits of the construction guys…. i lacquered them into the tile… those construction worker would never get past the doormen once the club opened. but in my  pictures they partied forever. they were the room’s first vips.


i was working on a grand scale, but what did the work mean? when i was seventeen and drawing a t shakespeare and co, art felt closer than my skin. i’d cared about things beyond professional advancement. i used to think my pen could fight me into a new world.

but for the past few years, i’d let that part of me die. what had started as a scramble to scrape together enough resources to i could afford to draw had become an obsession with the resources themselves. i was twenty seven, three years older than laurie, i’d spent years – wasted years? – doing work for cash instead of desire. after ignoring the deepest parts of myself for so long, i wondered if i could even find them.

a nother way. for all of us.

we can.

we can’t not.


how many times can i put this mask on before i have no face left?


from tahrir to madison, prtestors were watching each other, finding common cause.


the protest encampments spreading across the world were preceded by, and sometimes inspired by, massive leaks of secret govt documents.

2010 – …collateral murder.. footage… soldiers from a country that believes its military consists exclusively of heroes….. assange.. fled to london.. manning..locked in an outdoor cage in the kuwaiti desert.

back in ny i  kept drawing my foofy burlesque girls for t shirts, books, and magazines. but on the internet i kept following the worldwide political upheaval.

i love my artist friends, but the life we led no longer seemed relevant


i hated myself. i wanted to do violence to y cliches..

week in hell, my first real art project, was born of this discontent. the idea was simple: i’d lock myself in a hotel room, cover it with paper, and draw until i broke. it wasn’t about hell – except perhaps the hell inside my head. it was about being left alone, with nothing to do but draw, nothing to look at but the lines that poured from my fingers.

some people thought crowdfunding was begging, but i considered it a way for disobedient artists like me to compete with those who had galleries, grant money, and trust funds. … in 2 weeks.. 25 000


the hotel room – it was a cloister of expensive silence..


because she was in porn, she was used to the world underestimating her intellect.


i’d beaten a treacherous system, but the system was still broken, and my hold was precarious at best.

i also drew a poster of a vampire squid – the journalist matt taibbi‘s metaphor for rapacious banks – that was bold enough to work as a protest sign, and put it online. it was downloaded all over the country…because i wasn’t close to the organizers, occupy seemed to me a miracle of decentralized protest – something enabled both by the internet and the occupier’s constant presence in an outdoor public space…


the media was cruel enough to label her the voice of her generation. her generation didn’t think any one person should be its voice.

redefine decision making.. disengage from consensus.. et al


quinn and eleanor to her flat


on the police brutality to protestors/journalists..  we were not traditional or objective journalists. at marches, we participated as much as we covered. after beatings and arrests, after long nights, waiting outside police plaza or our friends to get out of jail, we had little faith in any authority. but occupy gave us an urgency to see clearly and write sharply. the group of writers that came together at zucotti is still friends today.


i wanted to draw it all. i wanted to show myself there was still a reason to draw. we live in the most image-saturated age in history, and a thousand cell phone pics mark the occasion whenever a cop cracks a protester’s skull, but i wanted to prove that artists had a reason to leave the studio – to show that illustration had something to say…….


an artist can engage with politics as a documentarian or propagandist, but at that moment, i was just a searching human, trying to figure out where i stood.


during 2008 election..volunteered.. obama won, but the ideals we ascribed to him had lost all the same… matter what fine sentiments a politician expressed, the machine remained the same.

occupy rejected the idea of leaders. this was in some ways a response to the way obama had failed us. any leader could become co-opted, we thought, int o a smiling symbol of what we despised. so occupy chucked the whole notion of rallying around an individual; all we could count on was that we had each other’s backs.


even…. jon steward.. when its reporters came to zuccotti the focused on the same white guys in dreads and tie-dye. we were beyond the pantomime of party politics, so we were lost to them.

tried suits… but respectability politics doesn’t work. suits or not suits, the cops kept beating the protesters. when the game is rigged, you can’t win by following the rules..


ows taught some middle-class white people what poor people and people of color already know: the law is a hostile and arbitrary thing. speak too loudly, stand i the wrong place, and you can end up on the wrong side of it.

oh my to the stuff on guantánamo. .. he no longer drew.


during shell game – fred and i worked all day, but we bracketed those days with each other…


the more difficult the place i traveled to, the more i could put my own mind on hold. i loved seeing geopolitics up close, the human maneuvers that lay behind the pious lies of those in charge.

if the world were just, he would have been writing my article instead of me. but i was born in ny and he in rural pakistan. globalism has less leeway for a poor country’s brilliant sons..

oh my. Molly.

grazie mio caro



I wrote about our lurid, sadomasochistic depressing and terrible election…

Trump’s formula is old and simple: economic help for members of the in-group; violence (metaphorical or actual) for those outside


When people are afraid, they cling to authority, and Trump is only too happy to provide.


Maybe the leaks just show dirty politics as usual, but we’re living at a moment when huge sections of society want to throw a molotov at the status quo. They don’t want the same lesser-of-two-evils bargain.


While this makes her a victim of sexism, I care more about the victims of her policies, such as Berta Cáceres, the Honduran environmental activist murdered in March, most likely by the military dictatorship that Clinton supported.


Real politics belong in the streets.



Today we released our new video exploring America’s brutal history of lynching and racial terror. Watch it here:…

narrated by Bryan; art by Molly..




Two years ago, I confronted Trump in Dubai about his exploitation of labor. Never could have imagined…

At this type of party, I always tell myself I won’t eat the food. Journalists are either shills or situational sociopaths. When you cover the powerful, they serve great canapés. The powerful can seem so nice. Your lizard brain tells you to be nice back. But to be nice is to sell out those workers sweating it out for $200 a month.

I swipe a flute of orange juice.


The floor opens to questions.

I stand up.

“Mr. Trump,” I ask, “the workers who build your villas make less than $200 a month. Are you satisfied?”

The room gasps, then goes silent. The security tenses towards me. In two hours I am scheduled to interview Ahmed Mansoor, who spent eight months in jail for signing a pro-democracy petition. I think about Nick McGeehan, a researcher from Human Rights Watch who was deported a few months ago for investigating the same migrant issues I am.

I think about the web of professional coercion that keeps journalists in the US from asking real questions at press conferences. I wonder if the rules in Dubai are the same.

Trump says nothing.

“That’s not an appropriate question,” the publicist barks.

When the next journalist says, “Dubai is synonymous with the big, bold, and beautiful,” the room un-tenses.  “Is that where your affinity comes from?” the journalist asks.

“I think Dubai has a tremendous future,” Trump replies.


It thrills the soul to confront powerful bastards, but does that alone change anything?

a nother way

we can’t wait.. and we can’t not


A waitress offers macaroons. You shouldn’t eat these treats any more than you should eat fairy food. If you eat them, you might get your loyalties so mixed up that one day you’re sitting at a press conference asking Donald Trump about “the highest levels of luxury” like you believe it.

If you get too comfy in rich-people land, in New York or Dubai, you might stay here and belong to them.


razia iqbal (@raziaiqbal) tweeted at 3:25 AM – 26 Dec 2016 :

1/2 look at images #syria @mollycrabapple based on photos taken @marwanhishampen they both spoke @BBCNewshour more pix to come + link. (


Molly Crabapple (@mollycrabapple) tweeted at 6:45 AM – 26 Dec 2016 :

I’m going to be spending the next month in South India, with talks at Chennai Literary Festival and maybe in Bangalore. (


In love with @mollycrabapple’s designs at the @PENamerican #WritersResist rally

Original Tweet:


Murtaza Hussain (@MazMHussain) tweeted at 6:35 AM – 20 Jan 2017 :

Trump’s here. We have four years to write a better story by @mollycrabapple

In 2016’s hall of corpses, the most loudly mourned might be that of the Liberal Political Consensus.

perhaps to our benefit
public consensus always oppresses someone
a nother way

this election is a verdict on the status quo

aka.. huge wake up call… huge opp for a do over..sans politics as we know/practice it

*politicians must offer more radical dreams.

if by *politicians.. you mean all of us…ok
if not.., then replace w … 7 bn plus must offer radical dreams… ie: indigenous us.. listen to daily whimsical/wild hearts

the man couldn’t do it without the infrastructure bequeathed to him by past administrations

you want real resistance, look to the people who fought, and are still fighting, this infrastructure

in a chaotic world, many people want two things – identity and Daddy.

rather.. a and a
so let’s model that.. let’s just see..

On the page, and in the streets, we must *write a better story.

**We have four years.

*be a better story

**we have now

for (blank)’s sake


refugee camps

no borders – Greece’s Anarchists Are Taking Better Care of Refugees Than the Government

ypopto_mousi (@ypopto_mousi) tweeted at 2:22 AM – 10 Mar 2017 :

Great piece by @mollycrabapple (

The hotspots were never meant to be places where people lived. …

The refugees kept coming, but now, they couldn’t leave. The camp’s population spiraled dangerously upward, and the new restrictions created a market for smugglers. It’s between $800 and $1,200 for a fake ID that lets you board a ferry. Getting onto a plane requires even more—about $7,500, part of a smuggling “package” that includes a passport and accommodations once the plane has landed.


Refugees spoke about the lines, the bureaucracy, the endless waits to speak to asylum services that kept telling them to come back


th the Greek government and major international NGOs have received hundreds of millions of dollars to deal with a crisis due in no small part to the EU’s border closures. But a great deal of this money isn’t reaching those for whom it’s supposedly meant; much of it hasn’t even been spent. In January, the German newspaper DW found that mismanagement, indifference, and lack of coordination kept refugees in snow-covered tents, while the Greek government, the EU, and NGOs traded blame for the failures


With their living conditions entirely determined by others, the refugees’ helplessness is exacerbated by the long, uncertain wait to learn their fate.


Frustration turned people against one another. On May 13, Samos’s hotspot broke into a vicious ethnic riot. Pakistanis blamed the aggression of some Algerians. Arabs blamed the drunkenness of some Pakistanis. But the clear culprit was the camp itself.

hari rat park law


Despite the EU planning on relocating up to 160,000 refugees from Greece and Italy over the course of two years, in the past year only 8,162 refugees were relocated, 6,212 of whom were from Greece. In November, Perrin told me, “There is no plan from the government to accommodate people and to increase reception capacity in the mainland in order to take them more quickly.” At this rate, it will take about a decade for the remaining refugees to legally leave Greece.


Most refugees who’ve managed to get off the islands come to Athens. Of those, a fair number pass through Exarcheia, where leftists have established a network of squats to house them, which provide a standard of living and autonomy far beyond that available in government camps


Imagine a neighborhood run by anarchists. It radiates from Exarcheia Square, an intersection of three streets, where trees hang the banner: until every animal cage is empty. until every prison cell has been destroyed. K-VOX, an anarchist bar, keeps watch from one corner. The neighborhood boasts an old, rich network of squats, leftist social centers, communal gardens, and solidarity kitchens—and K-VOX is one of these pillars. 


Walk past the cigarette stall that sells Greek translations of Angela Davis, onto the winding, graffiti convulsed streets. They are fractal in their complexity.


“Welcome to the Greece of Crisis, the Greece of Poverty, and the Greece of Solidarity,” reads one headline in Bidoun Watan ( Without Nation), an anarchist, Arabic-language newspaper I picked up at a refugee squat. This sums up the situation well.

Greece is a desperately poor country, wracked by unemployment, and Greek citizens have treated refugees with an extraordinary kindness.


“The policy of the Greek government is to hide people, to make them invisible,” Lomani said. As an alternative, the initiative opened 12 squats in Athens in early 2016, housing 1,900 refugees. Since refugees were trapped in Greece, they ought to live someplace they could “have the opportunity to restart their lives.”


Their feelings toward the promises of EU bureaucrats could be summed up in the tattoo on one resident’s foot: people’s words are equal to my old slipper.


the smuggler gave him an ID and took him to the airport. There, people’s chances come down to the whiteness of their skin, the niceness of their clothes, and their confidence with the demeaning rituals of modern air travel.


While this vision is true, it is also selective, and it imposes its own cruelties. It segments people into categories: “good” refugees (generally Syrian) and “bad” economic migrants (everyone else). Following this logic, refugees have the right to governmental support in the wealthy countries of Northern Europe, while economic migrants are left in detention centers until they are deported back to Turkey. This distinction seems clear when you’re in an office in Brussels, but stand a bit closer, and the neat lines blur.


These complexities disappear once you slot people into a hierarchy that pits citizens from one country against those of another.


In the months after I visited Khrayba, Germany would announce that it would stop accepting refugees who had arrived from Greece, and the EU would announce that it intended to speed up the process of deportations to Turkey, an attempt to save the EU-Turkey deal, which Turkey was constantly threatening to dissolve. Greece would announce its intention to remove as many people as possible from the camps across the nation and place them instead in upgraded facilities, though as this article went to press, there were still thousands of refugees confined to the island camps. Brutalized by the winter cold, and their indefinite waits, refugees would once again hunger-strike in Samos.

on hold

a nother way


Molly Crabapple (@mollycrabapple) tweeted at 5:45 AM – 6 Jun 2017 :

“Hidden Fighters: Remembering America’s Black Antifascist Vanguard” my latest for @thebafflermag (

If black Americans recognized the dangers of Fascism abroad early, it was because they knew it all too well in its American guise.


on puerto rico

Molly Crabapple (@mollycrabapple) tweeted at 10:13 PM on Sat, Sep 23, 2017:
No electricity for 3.5 million people in Puerto Rico for four to six months. Climate change disaster exarbated by colonialist bullshit


on puerto rico

Rafael Shimunov (@rafaelshimunov) tweeted at 6:08 AM – 23 Oct 2017 :

#PuertoRicoRelief story is both failure of nation & resilience of people. That’s why artists find it @mollycrabapple (

Days now revolved around the maintenance of life. Wake up with the sunrise, the insect bites, the stultifying heat. Fetch and purify buckets of water. Make coffee, if you have coffee, on a sterno. Wash clothing in a bucket, shower in a bucket, scrub dishes in a bucket. Clean out your hurricane-wrecked house. Clear the downed trees with a machete. Cook on a fire. Sleep at nine, because there is no light. Don’t get sick — the hospitals are hazardous because there are too many bodies rotting in the morgue. Don’t tell yourself it will get better anytime soon.

Against these difficulties, Luis and Christine began to carry out their plans for a comedor social.

Like many activists, Luis and Christine saw in Maria the potential for change. “Hurricane Maria is an opportunity to see the power is in ourselves and not America,” Christine told me. “This is a great educational experience for us, to prove to ourselves we’re actually capable of rebuilding. That’s in complete dichotomy of generations on generations believing we needed another country to survive.”

It came from the community itself

For a long time, we told ourselves we were lazy, because that’s the story we’ve been told,” she said. “That we’re not capable of building or managing the country. If you tell yourself that, you’ll start like it acting it is true. This moment when, literally, the lights go off, is a great opportunity for us to ask ourselves what stories we are telling ourselves, and what stories we want to tell.

2 convos .. as the day..


Molly Crabapple (@mollycrabapple) tweeted at 6:01 AM – 18 Nov 2017 :

Puerto Ricans are invoking their rebel history as they rebuild their country (

Puerto Rico is also a captive market for US products. The island has more Walmart stores per square mile than any place on earth; its concrete suburbs are packed with fast food outlets and strip malls. Pharmaceuticals and hedge fund debt have replaced coffee, tobacco, and cane.

Natural disasters have a way of clarifying things. They sweep away once-sturdy delusions, to reveal old treasures and scars.

Many Puerto Ricans told me that they believe the poor response from the federal government and the slow pace of the recovery are deliberate, part of a strategy to depopulate the island, so that it can be remade as a luxury hotel-filled playground for the rich. More than 139,000 Puerto Ricans have arrived in Florida since Maria—so many that Orange County is considering making a displaced persons’ camp near the airport to house them. And many of the people I spoke to while in Puerto Rico had plans to leave.

While San Juan and a few other cities are starting to recover, the countryside is not. It is now estimated that as many as nine hundred people may have died as a result of the hurricane. The federal government is offering Puerto Rico an aid package that contains over $4 billion of loans, while local officials of both major parties demonstrate egregious corruption, incompetence, and sloth. A viral video showed alleged FEMA officials partying at a hotel bar, while a much-shared post by an aid worker accused Unidos—the charity run by Puerto Rico’s first lady, which received millions of dollars from celebrities—of hoarding donations in the convention center and then distributing them to municipalities they hoped would support the incumbent governor in the next election.


Molly Crabapple (@mollycrabapple) tweeted at 11:13 PM on Wed, Dec 06, 2017:
I’m a Jew and a small woman and I walked all around East Jerusalem (not to mention Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus and Gaza) alone and unbothered. What a lying coward you are Ben


puerto rico

“We stand atop his house, carefully avoiding the nails and beams that are the remnants of what had once been his rooftop shed. He tells me that, nearly two months after Maria, the taps in Paloma Abajo are still dry.” #PuertoRico

Original Tweet:

In 1921, he graduated valedictorian of his class at Harvard. In the years that came after, he advocated for armed insurrection against U.S. colonialism and spent twenty-six years in prison, where the U.S. (allegedly) experimented on him with radiation. They only let him out to die of the cancer this radiation caused.

He points to ruined houses, the tarps thrown over missing roofs, and tells me about the people who climb the many steps into the mountains to get water from a well each day because, nearly two months after Maria, the taps in Paloma Abajo are still dry. But, he tells me, the people in the barrio are helping each other live.