Link Roundup: September 24

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.

First up, some audio content: if you enjoyed our Flood Media dossier on the universalism debate - comprising recent back-and-forths between American leftists on the nature of and relationship between class and race in a universalist framework - then might I recommend Amber A’Lee Frost’s interview with Jacobin editor Bhaskar Sunkara. Their conversation draws on the recent class/race/universalist debates to orient a discussion about the role of organised labour in overcoming racism and sexism, incorporating everything from corporate diversity training to Racecraft to the (oft-misunderstood) history of Social Security. Good stuff!

For indigenous Australia it’s been a terribly sad few weeks, with the deaths of two teenage boys who jumped into the Swan River as they were being chased by police (for jumping! fucking! fences! Jesus Christ); the decision that there will be no new trial for the murders of three Aboriginal children in Bowraville in the early 1990s (although the NSW Government is now appealing this to the high court); and the beginning of an inquest into Wiradjuri woman Naomi Williams’ 2016 death from sepsis. Oh god, this country, hey? I am not really sure if there’s an appropriate link here, but it’s worth reading through these (and other) cases and learning about the horrific treatment endured by many Aboriginal people at the hands of the state. Another good, if tragic, resource is the Guardian’s database of indigenous deaths in custody.

Okay, let’s talk about the environment for a minute. Look, I’m certainly not immune to compulsive sorting of recycling/purchasing of reusable receptacles/bringing of cloth shopping bags in a futile attempt to stave off planetary apocalypse. In fact I’ve noticed myself becoming more anxious about these things recently, what with everything in the news about plastic and how we’ve suddenly figured out how bad it is. BUT! As George Monbiot helpfully reminds us, individual changes to consumerist behaviour are not the answer. “The problems we face are structural: a political system captured by commercial interests, and an economic system that seeks endless growth. Of course we should try to minimise our own impacts, but we cannot confront these forces merely by “taking responsibility” for what we consume.” In other words: Goldman Sachs doesn’t care if you get a Keep Cup.

In The Baffler, Miya Tokumitsu also writes about “the location of all social problems onto individuals”, this time through the lens of self-care (which I think we all know by now is neoliberal garbage) (go on, @ me). Tokumitsu traces the emergence of individualist ‘self-help’ and ‘self-care’ strategies as threads we desperately grasp at to counter our overwhelming sense of atomisation and alienation as neoliberal subjects. Neoliberalism, she argues, has seen these ideas take the place of more relevant, useful, and socially-oriented concepts of care - such as comradeship, solidarity, and mass struggle.

The Angry Workers of the World (based in the UK) report back from a visit to the US, where they attended Chicago’s Labor Notes conference and later traveled around the country. Their eyewitness reporting gives a good, genuine sense of the struggles that are taking place on the ground in the US - including organising at Amazon, strikes at WalMart, joining the DSA, Fight for $15, and more. If you missed it, earlier this year Flood Media also published a firsthand account of the Labor Notes conference by Brisbane-based teacher and unionist Adrian Skerritt.

Finally, a question I have often asked myself, interrogated in depth by Liam McLoughlin at New Matilda. “For too long there hasn’t been much of a choice for Labor voters. They could vote for the party whose leader promised to stop the boatsadvocated boat turnbackskilled the momentum of #LetThemStayhobnobbed at exclusive, expensive fundraisers for business leadersaccepted political donations from fossil fuel companiessupported new coal mines and backed rafts of legislation transforming Australia into a police state, or they could vote for the Liberals.”

And now for something completely different: I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this article since I saw it two weeks ago. Imagine maneuvering a shopping trolley through a parking lot and then suddenly the cops are there SHOOTING A FUCKING MAGPIE OUT OF A TREE. This quote from the District Inspector is just the cherry on top: “We don’t just rock up and think ‘there’s a swooping bird, we’ll shoot it.” Oh no, absolutely not! Cops, trigger-happy? Never.

Anyway, happy Monday, ACAB, defend magpies. Until next week!

Photo by Katia Rolon on Unsplash