Link Roundup: October 23

Happy Tuesday! Sorry to have missed last week’s link roundup - I was moving house, then I had to go to Hobart for work, and life got hectic. General life hectic-ness is also the reason behind our recent lack of Floodcasts - but never fear, we have a recording session scheduled and some phresh content will be piped into your ears in the not-so-distant future. For now, onto this week’s links …

Here’s a cool, fun article about how there are four to 12 jobseekers competing for each low-skilled, entry-level job advertised. For those without qualifications or recent experience, it takes an average of five years to find work. But hey, if you can’t find a job you’re just not trying hard enough, right? No? Well, at least Newstart was recently increased by a whole TWO DOLLARS per week! Don’t go spending that all at once, ya hear?

If you’re in Brisbane and interested in/righteously furious about any of the above, may we recommend Anti-Poverty Network Queensland’s inaugural conference, ‘We Deserve a Living’, being held in West End and Fortitude Valley this! coming! weekend! I am also pleased to announce that Flood Media will have (possibly?) exclusive upload rights to several of the recorded panel discussions, so check our Soundcloud next week if you want to catch those.

When my dad was teaching a class at the University of Southern California in the 1980s, a student reported him for using the term ‘political economy’ - suspecting (correctly as it turned out) that it smacked of Marxism. Anyway, I thought of that story while I was reading this essay on political correctness, which points out that the Right were the original ‘thought police’ while the Left championed free speech. The piece (originally published in 1994!) traces the history and political foundations of PC, and levels an original critique on this basis: “[There] is the divide between, on the one hand, those who believe that politics consists of getting “our side” where “their side” used to be, and then exercising power in exactly the same way they did. This binary strategy of governing society by “policing” it will be justified because it is our side which is doing it.”

I feel obliged to inform you at this point that Friend of Flood Media Dave Eden is the wholesale supplier of all our quality Zapatista link roundup content. So you can thank Dave for this piece, which - to use Dave’s own words - is “a good insight into Marx being chatted about in Spain by a Mexican old bloke who recently was made a Zapatista leader”. How can you go past that?

I read this new essay by Caitlin McGregor, on the feminist ethics of care, with interest. On the one hand I certainly agree with her critique of the concept of wage labour as feminist empowerment, and with her suggestion that mothering is equally (or even more) important work, despite being criminally undervalued by society. On the other hand, it seems strange to discuss that undervaluing without at least touching on the material aspect of it - that is, the literal undervaluing of this labour, the fact that caring work is performed by (mostly) women in the home, for free, and yet props up the functioning of capitalism. It isn’t so much that these intimate relationships have been co-opted by ‘capitalist terms’, as McGregor puts it, but that they’ve been co-opted by capitalism itself. Anyway, I would like to hear what others think. Go and read it!

Finally, a little bit of fiction to balance out all the theory: Ngwah-Mbo Nana Nkweti’s short story, ‘It Takes A Village Some Say’ is a darn fine read - especially if you’re interested in Africa, Africans in America, cross-cultural adoption, or good writing.

Until next week!

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash