Link Roundup: October 1

This link roundup is a day late because I didn’t feel like doing it yesterday, but what I lack in punctuality I make up for in content. (Hopefully.) Here we go!

I’ve linked to plenty of pieces about the Green New Deal (and we also posted audio of a forum held by the UQ Greens on this very topic). In Overland, Philip Winzer discusses the links between colonisation, capitalism, and climate change, and calls for a ‘Blak New Deal’ to fight the climate crisis. “Can you really give free consent to a mining project when your community is in abject poverty and you don’t have the right to say no?” he writes. “Reparations for the land stolen from us, for generations of slavery and for attempted genocide would level the playing field and give our communities economic freedom to determine our own futures.” This piece does an excellent job of spelling out clear, practicable ways in which the struggles for sovereignty and environmentalism are linked.

Yesterday was the five-year anniversary of the death of Xu Lizhi, a Foxconn worker and poet who took his own life in Shenzen. A brief biography of his life, along with translations of many of his poems, is in Libcom. “Beside the assembly line, tens of thousands of workers line up like words on a page/ 'Faster, hurry up!'/ Standing among them, I hear the supervisor bark … Once you’ve entered the workshop/ The only choice is submission.”

In n+1, here’s a thoughtful, beautifully written piece by writer and sex worker Lorelei Lee. Lee makes a strong case against criminalisation of sex work, but also resists the easy trope of ‘empowerment’. Instead, she breaks down the dichotomy between ‘trafficked victim’ and ‘empowered whore’ by writing about sex work as work - that is to say, waged labour - and all that entails. “How do we describe our lives without neglecting the fact that we have experienced both violence and joy at work?” she asks.

How do we talk about those extremes without ignoring the pragmatic day-to-day of it all, the profound boredom of washing and folding sheets between sessions, of listening to wealthy middle-aged men boast, of surreptitiously checking our watches while fucking, of all the tasks that we are paid for that have nothing to do with sex and have so much in common with other forms of service work? How do we talk about our experiences without letting their meaning be stolen?

“If there’s one thing that prompted me to get involved in DSA after a brief stint on the NYC ultraleft, followed by a tactical retreat to my armchair,” writes Jamie Peck in Commune, “it was the sense that they’re out there doing things in the world, in all of the messiness that doing things in a mass organization entails.” Peck’s reportage on the Democratic Socialists of America National Convention (which, okay, was in August, but whatever) remains meticulous and thorough long past the point where most of us would have thrown up our hands at so much intra-left factional infighting and gone home. But it’s not all dry details - there are some interesting overarching points about electoralism, centralisation, and broader strategies for the Left-with-a-capital-L. Peck is relatively critical of the DSA (this is Commune, after all) but the piece is very fair and written in good faith. Recommend for an exhaustive (really) unpacking of where the DSA is currently at.

Today in “news about the ALP that could be a Chaser segment”, Julia Gillard is scheduled to speak at the upcoming British Tory Conference!!!! #yas #queen #feminist #shero. You best believe we’ll be discussing this on our next Floodcast, but for now, here’s Guy Rundle pointing out why no one should be surprised. (If you’re not a Crikey subscriber, you might have to sign up for a free trial to view this one in full.)

Finally, another plug for our very first IRL event, a discussion and Q&A with Elizabeth Humphrys, author of the new(ish) book How Labour Built Neoliberalism. Thursday October 17, 6:30 PM, Morrison Hotel, free entry, no comments-disguised-as-questions will be accepted during the Q&A. See you there!