Link Roundup: December 18

Hello and welcome to my very last link roundup of the year! We’ll be on a brief hiatus over Christmas, and in January, while I’m away traveling, a couple of other Flood comrades will be keeping the link fires burning in my absence. Thanks, as always, for reading these roundups throughout the year. Writing them has been a fun project for me, and an excellent way to waste my employer’s time keep up with interesting news and debates.

Last week we discussed Angela Nagle’s latest trash fire, and I’m pleased to report that the rebuttals are still coming. In Overland, Joshua Mostafa writes of “the paradox in Nagle’s prescriptions: she wants to embrace the legacy of workers organising to secure their rights, and at the same time to insist on the role of the state as guarantor of those same rights. But that has never been the function of the nation-state. Its primary domestic function is to preserve order, which in practice means the continued exploitation of labour by capital.”

Back to my second-favourite story of the year (for my #1 favourite, at least for now, please see the final item in this week’s roundup) - Pamela Anderson, leftist scholar, is interviewed in Jacobin with philosopher Srećko Horvat. Both are very insightful and interesting on the questions of European politics, Corbyn’s Labour party, and the looming threat of climate change created by elites but borne by the poor.

In a similar vein, Jeff Sparrow writes convincingly in New Matilda about the dangerous myth of centrism as the solution to the (inevitably class-based) violence of climate change. When we confuse punitive market mechanisms (e.g. Macron’s famously popular ‘eco-tax’ on fuel) with climate action, we lay the groundwork for further austerity and denigration of ordinary people’s quality of life, while the elites get off scot-free. “The tension between climate activism and the working class,” Sparrow writes, “emerges not from the nature of the problem but from the logic of centrist solutions, which always centre on neoliberal mechanisms such as carbon taxes.”

(Speaking of Macron, Dave Eden’s ‘Perspectives on the Yellow Vests’, published earlier this week on this here website, is a great place to start if you’ve been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of hot takes on the internet.)

Jacobin has been the site of an interesting debate over the past month, which began with Osmond Chiu’s article ‘The Third Way Isn’t Dead Yet’. Chiu argued that the Australian Labor Party (yes, that one) can be “pushed beyond the limits of laborism” and revitalised to become a vehicle for a transformative left agenda. It is not, needless to say, a take I particularly agree with, but there you have it. This was followed, a month or so later, by Ivan Mitchell and Daniel Lopez’s rebuttal, which contains some great owns ('“The typical Labor voter exists on a spectrum ranging from ashamed to mortified”) but displays (in my opinion) some rather rose-coloured glasses re: the Victorian Socialists. If you’re interested, Friend of Flood Jon Piccini has also compiled three points of historical contention regarding Mitchell and Lopez’s article. Both pieces, although certainly debatable, are worth reading and considering and then arguing about on Twitter.

I recently discovered Brihana Joy Gray via an old Chapo Trap House episode that I had somehow neglected to listen to (very unusual as I typically listen to every episode at 2x speed as soon as it drops) and I found her clever and interesting. Her essay, ‘Beware the Race Reductionist’ is probably nothing you haven’t heard before (especially in this post-Mistaken Identity world) but is still a really solid, evidence-based piece of writing that roundly attacks mealy-mouthed liberalism masquerading as anti-racism.

Finally (you knew this was coming) … I pull you close, run my strong hands down your back, softly kiss your neck and whisper "superannuation takes a portion of workers’ wages to give to finance capital and weakens government obligation to provide social wellbeing".

Until next year!

PS - I am very, very pleased to report that ‘Sorry to Bother You’ was even better than I thought it would be. I laughed, I cried, I walked out of the cinema ready to smash up some corporate headquarters. (Or, as it turned out, not pay for my parking.) It is still screening in Brisbane, so if you haven’t seen it, drop everything and go tonight. This week’s image is of Tessa Thompson because I have thought of little else ever since seeing her as Detroit.