Link Roundup: October 8

Welcome to Flood Media’s link roundup! Each week, we bring you fresh Flood-approved content from around the web, covering current events, debates, and hot takes.

In an excerpt from The Socialist Challenge Today - which appeared in Flood Media editors’ book picks of 2018 - Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin write about the task of transforming the state from within. In particular, they take a shrewd look at the UK Labour Party - which represents arguably the most exciting project for socialists in the Western world today - and its chances, lessons, and opportunities for transitioning Britain to socialism via a state transformation project.

Full disclosure: I have not yet listened to the Jacobin Radio episode on #MeToo, but a wonderful friend of mine (hi Rosie) recommended it and so I have no doubt that it will be top quality. I’m saving it for later this week when I have to pack approximately 1,000 boxes in preparation to move house. Anyway! If you have ever wondered (as I certainly have) about MeToo and the infiltration of contract law principles into sexual relationships, this might be for you.

It’s most certainly too little and too late, but it still warmed my heart to see last week that white Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was convicted (!!!) of second-degree murder (???) for shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald in the back sixteen times (???!!). Look, I don’t have no fancy law degree or nothing but how tf is unloading your gun SIXTEEN TIMES INTO SOMEONE’S BACK not considered first-degree murder? In any case, Van Dyke faces a minimum of six years in prison, where I am sure he will receive a warm welcome.

Speaking of prisons - today in ‘sentences I never thought I would type’, here’s an interesting article from The Australian on justice reform and alternatives to incarceration. The remote town of Bourke, NSW, now practices ‘justice reinvestment’ - spending some of the money that would otherwise be used to lock people up on addressing some of the root causes of crime. While not a silver bullet, it’s hardly surprising that assaults and drug offences have dropped significantly. (A reminder: if you’re interested in joining the fight against a new private prison in Queensland, No Gatton Women’s Prison is where it’s at.)

‘Toxic’ is one of my favourite (read: least favourite) deployable-at-will, means-whatever-I-say-it means words. So I read with interest Lauren Oyler’s piece in the New York Times on the etymology and cultural relevance of toxicity. “The image conjured,” she writes, “is one of a passive population, helpless to defend ourselves against the invisible but deadly ideological forces that surround us, corrupting our purity and then turning us into agents of our own destruction. But rather than clarifying the cause of a murky issue, “toxic” often does the opposite. The epithet concentrates structural criticism in the symptom, not the cause, suggesting a little cleanup will suffice.”

Finally, some important news. Only a few days after the last link roundup, wherein I bemoaned Sorry to Bother You not getting an Australian release, this happened. I credit my tireless activism* for this wonderful victory.

Until next week!

*sporadic complaining

Photo by Paulo Silva on Unsplash