Why I Got Arrested Today

As the leader of a movement magazine, I couldn’t stand apart as Congress ponders contributing billions of dollars to help slaughter children in Gaza.

Alex Han

I was arrested in Washington, D.C., today alongside dozens of other leaders of movement organizations across the country as we engaged in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience in the Capitol Rotunda to demand an immediate and permanent cease-fire in Gaza.

I flew to D.C. to join the action because I refuse to stay silent as more than 19,000 Palestinians — including more than 7,700 children — have been killed in Gaza, more than 50,000 others are wounded, and more than 85% of Gaza’s population (some 1.9 million people) have been displaced. Meanwhile, we have already seen the deaths of 1,200 Israelis and some 240 who were taken hostage, many of whom remain in danger.

On Tuesday, we also demanded an end to the weaponization of American’s taxpayer dollars, which the Biden administration and Congress are using to fund the bombs and other weapons responsible for so much death and destruction in Gaza. And we recommitted ourselves to protecting the rights of immigrants and asylees, who have come under attack in the jingoistic, prejudiced atmosphere that has followed October 7.

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Since joining In These Times as executive director about a year ago, I frequently come back to this famous quote from our founder, James Weinstein:

No political movement can be healthy unless it has its own press to inform it, educate it, and orient it.” 

The implications of that quote, for our publication, are profound. We believe that journalism, and storytelling, are a crucial part of movements that are organizing for change, organizing for a better world. And that means we cannot stand in isolation from those movements. We cannot pretend we do not care about those political futures; we cannot pretend that we are not in community with others, that we do not share humanity with the rest of the world.

We lock arms to demand a world where one where we could never see the deaths of 7,700 children, shrug our shoulders, and send more weapons.

Our magazine is, in many ways, a reflection of our values and our political project — values that are fundamentally about shared humanity and collective liberation — and Tuesday’s direct action is a logical and critical manifestation of those values in action.

And that’s why I couldn’t be prouder, as the leader of a 47-year-old media publication with a stellar reputation and that adheres to the highest journalistic standards and ethics, to lock arms with changemakers and leaders of progressive organizations from across the country in the unified demand for a cease-fire.

We lock arms, we put our bodies on the line, to demand better of our politicians, to demand better of our leaders, to demand that there be a better world for us all — one where change comes through solidarity and not isolation, and one where we could never see the deaths of 7,700 children, shrug our shoulders, and send more weapons.

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Alex Han is Executive Director of In These Times. He has organized with unions, in the community, and in progressive politics for two decades. In addition to serving as Midwest Political Director for Bernie 2020, he’s worked to amplify the power of community and labor organizations at Bargaining for the Common Good, served as a Vice President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana for over a decade, and helped to found United Working Families, an independent political organization in Illinois that has elected dozens of working-class leaders to city, state and federal office. Most recently he was executive editor of Convergence Magazine.

Illustrated cover of Gaza issue. Illustration shows an illustrated representation of Gaza, sohwing crowded buildings surrounded by a wall on three sides. Above the buildings is the sun, with light shining down. Above the sun is a white bird. Text below the city says: All Eyes on Gaza
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