Link Roundup: 24 June

Good morning, Floodly ones. I come to you this morning with the exciting news that on Saturday evening we recorded a brand new Floodcast episode! This one analyses the election result in regional Queensland and talks through local progressive campaigns in the regions (Change the Rules as well as everyone’s favourite convoy) and how they played out. As we’re all latte-sipping inner city elites, we dialed in a special Regional Correspondent from Rockhampton to serve us up these spicy takes. I’m going to edit it this evening and hope to pipe it into your ears around the middle of this week. Now, onto the links …

I luv it when serious left-wing electoral projects (such as, just to pull one out of thin air, the UK Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn) start talking about the actual business of forming government. It’s so exciting and makes me feel like a proud mother-to-be whose baby is about to be born after 300 years of pregnancy. Or something. Anyway, there is an interview in Jacobin with Christine Berry (author of the confidently-titled new book People Get Ready! Preparing for a Corbyn Government) about how to actually make the Corbyn project a success beyond an electoral victory. The interview is very rich and detailed and goes beyond abstract concepts and slogans to talk seriously and usefully about the business of making. shit. happen. Recommend.

I really enjoyed this essay from Lauren Carroll Harris about ‘Chernobyl’ (which I, full disclosure, have not watched) and its multiple and dangerous failures of imagination. It’s not just about pointing out that a TV series about Chernobyl distracts us from the much bigger climate catastrophe currently on our doorstep (that is a valid, although not particularly original or radical point), but also about the two-dimensional rendering of communism and communists, and the show’s snug delimitation of “the traumas of the 20th century”. As Carroll Harris writes, “when the West dreams, as a culture, it seems to dream of nothing at all. We certainly don’t dream of being on the edge of a great adventure, or even of being alive. We dream of more, past, distant apocalypses as TV candy.”

As some of you may know, there’s nothing I love more than a truly brutal book review, and Ian Angus’ review of Aaron Bastani’s Fully Automated Luxury Communism definitely did not disappoint. While many of us here at Flood Media are generally fans of the FALC philosophy, such as it is, I think Angus’ review raises some very important points about the depth and rigour of Bastani’s work in particular. I probably wouldn’t go so far as to dismiss the entire thing out of hand, and I am still planning to read the book at some point, but I’ll read it with this critique in mind.

‘The Black and White of It’, a story from the ever-brilliant blog ‘Hard Crackers: Chronicles of Everyday Life’ is beautiful and moving and thought-provoking, examining the give-and-take relationships of care and dependence (and hostility and prejudice) between working-class black people and racist “Southern redneck” whites. Author Curtis Price writes:

These whites unconsciously fight their own unresolved inner civil war, between their socialization and their humanity. Sometimes one side wins, sometime the other. There’s no final victory yet. No survey purporting to uncover alleged “white supremacist” attitudes will ever capture the complexity of this consciousness and the fluid conflict between people’s consciousness and how their actions contradict their beliefs.

Some personal news: in three weeks I’m off to Europe for a nice five-week trip through Italy, Austria, Spain, and Portugal. (Don’t be too jealous, I’ve also quit my job and will be living off instant noodles when I get back.) Anyway, as preparation I’ve started reading up on the history and politics of Portugal. You occasionally hear Portugal’s government denoted as ‘socialist’, but what does that meeaaaan? I found this article to be a good explainer. As Catarina Príncipe puts it, “the contradiction is that while Portugal is known for having a left-wing government, it is not meaningfully an “anti-austerity” administration. A rhetoric of limiting poverty has come to replace any call to resist the austerity policies being imposed at the European level.” On a less disappointing note, last year I linked to a Guardian longread about Portugal’s radical harm-reduction drugs policy, and it remains a fascinating read.

Until next week!

Photo by Siyan Ren on Unsplash