Link Roundup: September 23

Welcome to another link roundup! Three weeks in a row, I’m really getting my groove back now. Some excellent treats for you this week, so let’s get into it …

Along with hundreds of thousands of others around the world, I went to the global Climate Strike action on Friday. It was YUGE! Maybe the biggest rally I’ve attended in Brisbane … ever? (I didn’t live here during the anti-war marches, don’t @ me.) One thing I found encouraging (and different to the many, many, many other protests I’ve attended over the years) was the sense that ‘everyone’ was attending - my bus into the city was full, I’d say at least half the passengers were heading to the climate strike, and there was a sense of camaraderie about that. Friend of Flood Dave Eden has written eight short, sweet, and straightforward reflections on the climate strike, which are worth reading to get a sense of the movement’s strengths, weaknesses, and potential ways forward. For me, ten-year-old Parker’s speech and slam poetry was a highlight, and I would like to suggest that all future rallies feature a majority-child speaking lineup.

In Viewpoint, Malak al-Shehri and Nasir M. have a wonderful piece on feminism in Saudi Arabia. It is easy, they write, “to fall into the casual racist and Orientalist depictions of women and their movements, in the Global South in general, and in Saudi Arabia in particular.” As such, they present a really in-depth excavation of both the feminist movement in Saudi Arabia and the framework in which it exists and is understood. Lots of great historical analysis too, and there’s this gem:

It is ... not just a mistake to describe [Saudi women’s] conditions as “medieval” as is often done; the severity of these oppressive relations, which will be described below, is a strictly modern capitalist condition. The nation-wide elaborate policing and regulation of millions of women’s lives and the severe restriction of their autonomy would have been unimaginable under any previous mode of production.

I like to read pieces about recent or current internet culture because it provokes in me the strange realisation that our present moment is also a kind of history, and will one day be viewed as past, through the telescope of the future. Similar to when a friend of mine threw a dress-up party themed ‘Early 2000s’ and I realised my own adolescence was long enough ago to be a dress-up party theme. (No pictures survive of my Avril Lavigne costume, sorry.) Anyway, this piece by Cher Tan in Kill Your Darlings is a classic of the internet-culture genre, and provokes some excellent questions about authenticity, advertising, and aesthetics.

The protest movement in Hong Kong is something I haven’t been keeping abreast of much, partially because it seems incredibly complex, and it’s difficult to discern the ideological or political beliefs of each side. This piece, by an anarchist collective in Hong Kong, understands my confusion! It’s a really helpful resource in understanding the timeline of events and the motivations behind the struggle.

The events in Hong Kong show how a movement can actively reject the legitimacy of one government and its laws and police while still retaining a naïve faith in other governments, other laws, other police. As long as this faith remains in some form, the cycle is bound to repeat. Yet the past months of insurrection in Hong Kong can help us to imagine what a worldwide struggle against all forms of capitalism, nationalism, and the state might look like—and help us identify the obstacles that still remain to the emergence of such a struggle.

And last but definitely not least, UK Labour Conference is happening now, and there’s lots going on. I am really quite disappointed by Corbyn’s last-minute pardoning of Tom Watson. For a full explanation of the internal machinations of the Labour Party and why Corbyn needs to do more executions, see our latest Floodcast, and I also recommend Aaron Bastani’s Twitter thread on the matter. But policy-wise, there are some absolute bangers, including abolishing private schools and redistributing their wealth to the state sector. (PS - I wonder what Labor MP for Griffith Terri Butler, who has recently censored me from engaging in free speech on her Facebook page, thinks about this issue?)

Until next week!