Stories of Triumph and Defeat

Portrait of a woman sitting in a garden with a rosebush behind her
Welcome to Lux Issue 7

By Sarah Leonard

Nothing was ever so thrilling as watching the rise of the Women’s Army. A guerrilla group of queer radicals and trade unionists, they fought against a milquetoast progressive government that still forced men into shitty jobs and Black women out of them, while women in general continued to do all the care work. The army ultimately hijacked a truck in order to take over a radio station that was spewing propaganda and blow up its radio antenna with dynamite. 

That action is the culmination of Born in Flames, Lizzie Borden’s 1983 cult film masterpiece. I’ve longed for a successor. How to Blow Up a Pipeline is a worthy one. The film, co-written by and featuring our cover star Ariela Barer, shows a motley crew of people, each devastated by the effects of climate change, serving revenge and inspiring resistance to the fossil fuel industry. In a world of heist movies and adapted-for-screen video games, “Why can’t we go to a movie and be riled up about climate action?” asks Barer. The film is not a standard action thriller, with tough guys doing tough things. The imagery is warm and tactile, and the film frames industrial sabotage as almost an act of care. 

We are all in a pitched battle for survival, which feels like trying to care for one another with one hand while holding off destruction with the other. In this issue, Cop City organizers express their love for the people of Atlanta, and for the forest that abuts the city, by camping out among the trees to prevent the construction of a massive police training center. We also report on nurses navigating new abortion restrictions while tending to patients. 

Struggle over care is vital for the next generation — in this issue, we look at the ongoing attack on trans kids’ right to gender-affirming care. The right has made these attacks their new wedge issue, taking health care from kids in order to win elections. 

What kinds of stories will we offer to and about these kids, these nurses, these forest defenders, ourselves? Stories about organizing and triumph, or stories about defeat? 

Asked about Born in Flames in this issue, Lizzie Borden says, “It’s really about trying to think about how something could inspire a revolt against an unfair system, against capitalism, against systems that need to be changed.” At Lux, we share that mission.

Sarah Leonard is the editor-in-chief of Lux.
Photo of Lizzie Borden by Simone Niamani Thomas.