An Article a Day…

by Maha Rafi Atal

Starting this week, In The Long Run is introducing a new feature. Every Monday, we’ll highlight the 5 best articles, videos and images about politics and current affairs from across the web. That’s one for each day of your working week! Seen something great we should include? Tweet us at @inthelongrunuk.

1. By far the most thought-provoking read of the last week was Alex Tizon’s long essay in The Atlantic about Eudocia Tomas Pulido, who was an enslaved person in his Filipino-American family for a half-century. Tizon, who died suddenly while the story was in production, describes how his parents brought Pulido to the United States with the promise of money that she could send back to her relatives back home, but never paid her. Instead they abused her cruelly, and allowed her immigration papers to lapse, so that she was both in danger in the home and outside it. This is a common pattern of modern slavery, which especially targets women in domestic work, according to a response piece from Ai-Jen Poo, the director of the National Domestic Workers’ Alliance. Poo’s response is one of several The Atlantic - which originated as an abolitionist magazine in 1857 - has published, tackling the similarities and differences between the contemporary enslavement of migrant domestic workers and the 19th century chattel slavery with which its readers may be more familiar as well as the ethics of allowing Tizon, who benefitted from Pulido’s free labour, to tell her story on his own terms. Also worth reading: Susan Kelleher, who was tasked with writing Pulido’s obituary in 2011, on the way Tizon and his family members portrayed Pulido at the time as a family member, rather than acknowledging her enslavement.

2. The Guardian photojournalist Chris Arnade has become one of the most interesting commentators on poverty in America, and this week tackles one of its darkest aspects: the growing epidemic of opioid abuse, a major contributor to the growing death rate among white Americans. The photoessay is notable not only for its portraits of people struggling with and struggling to escape addiction, but also for Arnade’s internal struggle over whether he can, as a journalist, intervene to help a homeless family of four, and whether it is worth risking the breakup of the family to protect the two small children. “That is the thing about poverty and drugs,” he writes. “There are no good choices, only less awful ones.”

3. The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza has a profile of Sally Yates, the Obama-appointed lawyer who served briefly as acting attorney-general at the start of the Trump Administration. During that time, Ms. Yates played a key role in the unfolding Russia investigation, when she let the White House know that National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was potentially compromised, and had her warnings ignored. Ms. Yates was fired in January after she refused to allow Justice Department lawyers to defend the Trump Administration’s travel ban on visitors from 7 Muslim-majority countries, stating that she found the order unconstitutional. Since then, she has developed a loyal following among Trump opponents who hope she will run for office. While ruling out an upcoming governor’s race in her home state of Georgia, Yates tells the New Yorker, “that she wants to find another role in public life. ‘I recognize that I may have a voice that I didn’t have before, and part of what I want to be able to do is to figure out how I can responsibly use that voice in a way to impact things that I think really matter,” she said. “

4. Jacob Levy, a professor of politics at McGill University in Canada, revisits F.A. Hayek’s classic The Road to Serfdom in light of the recent resurgence of authoritarian leaders in advanced democracies. Levy is concerned that right-leaning scholars and critics who identify with Hayekian principles have misread his warning that socialism leads to fascism, and so find themselves so committed to the rejection and defeat of socialism that they have allied themselves to an ‘alt-right’ that has its own fascist tendencies. Levy argues that Hayek, who wrote primarily about European models of politics and economy , was misunderstood in the United States from the outset. American libertarians had already allied themselves to the political right, and Hayek’s writings arrived in a mid-20th century America where the political right was engaged in defending the Jim Crow system of racial segregation and oppression. ‘Serfdom’ was not a historical road to be avoided, but alive and well. Levy traces an intriguing link between American libertarianism’s complicity in these historical crimes, and its strange place as a political ally of Trumpism today.

5. Helen Lewis reviews Ivanka Trump’s new book for the New Statesman and reflects on the echoes of royalty in the role that Ms. Trump plays in her father’s Administration. She compares her to queens and princesses in history and scripture who have had the role of making intercessions between the king and his subjects, from Esther in the Bible to Catherine of Aragon in Henry VIII’s court. (Lewis is not the first to compare Trump to Esther - a Twitter thread on the Jewish holiday of Purim which commemorates Esther got there first). If nothing else, the piece had me wondering how long it will take until the BBC commissions a Hilary Mantel adaptation of Trumpworld…


About the Author

Maha Rafi Atal

Maha Rafi Atal is a PhD candidate in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge and the Senior Editor of In The Long Run.

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