It’s Monday. I’m moderately hungover, it’s 28 degrees at 9:30 AM, and I am at work. Let’s onward to the links.
First of all, in case you missed it, our new Floodcast is out! Wherein we cover the world of paid employment (and lack thereof, i.e. the welfare system) and why it is all so terrible. We talk about the worst jobs we’ve ever had; why so many people have to keep working at objectively pointless tasks (i.e. bullshit jobs); and what might be some possible pathways to a better system. (PS - I know I promised you more ragging on the Labor Party, but the episode ended up being pretty long, so we cut the newsy chitchat feat. Labor Party ragging and will upload it as a separate mini-episode either this week or next.)
Speaking of the new Floodcast, on the show we touched briefly on the issue of prison labour (i.e. slave labour) and how SO MANY COMPANIES use it. (Super A-Mart! Looking at you.) If you’re interested in reading more about this, here is an essay that explores it through the lens of the recent US prison strike. It is from a few months ago but is still very important reading. “Prison labour has been an important source of very cheap labour and a means of suppressing wages. Prisoners are not only cheap labour, they are also easier to control … In principle use of prison labour is not very different from Stalin’s gulags.” (Coincidentally, just this weekend I started reading ‘The Heart Goes Last’, a dystopian novel about a future which has taken the prison industrial complex to its rational endpoint. Recommend!)
Amber A’Lee Frost recently visited England for the 134th Durham Miners’ Gala - “still the largest trade union event of its kind, with around a hundred thousand attendees, all there to celebrate the power of the labor movement and the men of a once-massive industrial labor union that essentially no longer exists.” Her essay covering the event - and its strange mixture of solidarity, hopefulness, and nostalgia for a battle lost long ago - is very funny and beautiful, and ends on this barnstorming note: “Contrast … the proud collective power of the Miners’ Strike—a bloody, sometimes deadly fight for a muscular workers’ state led by one of the biggest and strongest unions—with the fetishes for marginality, narrative, suffering, and individualism, all of which are essential to liberal shibboleths like privilege theory, standpoint theory, and identity politics. Socialists don’t want mercy; they want to be big and strong and powerful, and they don’t apologize for that.”
If anyone would like to pitch an essay to Flood on why #KidsOffNauru is a well-meaning but ultimately shortsighted campaign with a dismal lack of strategic thinking behind it, please do! In the meantime, read this Twitter thread that lays it all out. Then, if you are feeling mentally strong, read this long diary-style essay by a doctor who worked on Nauru - which is terribly bleak and horrifying but really spells out the importance of getting absolutely everyone, not just kids, out of detention and into Australia once and for all.
The first episode (sorry, ‘trip’) of Novara’s new show, Acid Corbynism FM, dropped a couple of days ago. Exploring the relationship between counterculture and the left, Acid Corbynism is the theoretical brainchild of Jeremy Gilbert (with respect to Mark Fisher and Acid Communism), who has collated a useful series of links relevant to the project. If you just want a quick rundown - I never thought I would link to an article in the Conversation, but these are strange times we live in - here is Gilbert on the need for ‘experimental politics’ to combat neoliberal thinking. I am, to be totally honest, not quite sure what I think of the whole thing yet, so any input is welcomed!
Until next week!
Photograph of a 1984 London rally in support of the miners’ strike, via Wikimedia Commons