My Politics Right Now (and My Shallow Thoughts on Anarcho-Communism)

So… quick note. I consider my politics to be incredibly shallow right now. I am very ignorant about a lot of aspects of social, political, and economic issues, having only a surface-level understanding. I am working to change that… I’m studying. This post is the result of only one level of my studying. So I will admit up front that this post does not have a lot behind it… and most of what it does have behind it is ignorance. I’m hoping to have a discussion about this, because I think it’s interesting and I want to learn more. So please don’t expect an expert dissertation, here. Expect an ignorant lefty’s rambling thoughts about politics, instead.

The only thing I’ll say here is that there is roughly zero chance of me ever moving to the Right. The only path for me is to the Left.

I’m constantly researching my politics, trying to both strengthen and challenge my worldview. These days, I call myself a Democratic Socialist. And yet, the more I learn about Communism and even Anarchism, the more I think I could glide even further Left.

It’s so interesting reading political and economic theories from the Left. I’ve been watching a lot of Professor Richard Wolff these days, over at Democracy at Work. His series Economic Update is so fascinating. He, for those who don’t know, if a self-described “Socialist Economist”. I like what he has to say on economics, and specifically his talks on worker co-ops and Workplace Democracy, and how important they are to our future.

But I’ve also been learning more and more about the Anti-Work movement. It’s another fascinating political philosophy that says that no one should be forced into laboring in ways they don’t want to. It’s not saying that people shouldn’t work, but instead that people should have the freedom (both monetarily and in time) to pursue their interests. So yes, people should absolutely work together towards common goals and such, but no one should be conscripted into a job as defined under Capitalism and under the State. Basically, no more wage-labor, and no more Capitalism.

I’m also, of course, learning more and more about Anarchism…

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It’s Time for the Atlanta Braves to Change

Hi! I’ve been sitting on this post for a bit. To be honest, I mostly finished writing it way back on October 14, 2019. This was not long after Game 5 of the 2019 NLDS division title game that the Braves lost to the Cardinals 13 to 1… and the Cardinals got 10 of those points at the top of the first fucking inning! 

Holy shit I’m still mad about that.

Huh.

Anyways… you may be wondering if I’m writing anything about the Pandemic. The answer is no, I’m not. I don’t know what to write about. I’m still not interested in writing about the Lying Cheeto Muffin, ranting about conspiracy theorists and ignorant assholes seems counter-productive and a waste of time, and all the rest of it is just me shouting UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE NOW! RIGHT NOW! THIS FUCKING SECOND! $1200 ONCE IS NOT ENOUGH FUCKING MONEY! IT SHOULD BE $2400 A FUCKING MONTH FOR… EVER. UNIVERSAL HOUSING! WATER SHOULD BE FREE! DOWN WITH CAPITALISM! SEIZE THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION! UNIONIZE! RESIST!

SOCIALISM FOREVER!

So yeah… that’s really all I have to say about COVID-19.

And yes, I know it’s April 1st. “April Fool’s Day” is a thing that needs to die. I refuse to participate and I’d appreciate it if y’all left me out of it.

I don’t have that much interest in sports. Gridiron (US-American “Football”… in which feet are not used except in one instance), Basketball, Hockey, Golf, etc just hold no interest for me. I get them… I can follow them… I’m just bored by them, and don’t like playing them, either. There is one exception, however, and that’s Baseball. But even there, that exception is quite limited.

I grew up in Atlanta, GA. My family has always been a Baseball family, and the Atlanta Braves (along with the New York Yankees, but to a slightly lesser extent) has always been the family team. I even have a Braves batting jersey (I won it). I have always been a fan. And of course, as a fan, this past decade has been immensely infuriating. We couldn’t give Bobby Cox, Chipper Jones, or even, most recently, Brian McCann, a goddamn Pennant… let alone a World Series win. Our most recent loss to the Cardinals (13 to 1… and the Cardinals got 10 of those runs in the top of the first fucking inning) was so absolutely devastating that I didn’t even watch the post-season. I stopped caring.

I did care just enough to rant about the game in a Facebook group I belong to, though, and someone made a comment basically saying that as long as the team and its fans continue to be racist against Native Americans, they (the person who wrote the comment) will continue to gloat over the Braves’ losses anywhere and everywhere it’s even barely appropriate.

As much as I love the Atlanta Braves… that person is entirely correct. It’s time to end the Atlanta Braves as we know them.

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In Which Another Fictional Woman is Stuffed Into the Fridge and I Rant About It

Content note: this post talks about the abuse and murder of women. I have no intention of going into deep specifics about anything, but the links and quotes I use will. Just keep that in mind as you read this…

Also, I’ll be spoiling a couple specific story-lines of the first season of Mr. Robot… if you care about that.

You know… it takes a lot to make me not like a writer. I even enjoyed reading Dan Brown back when I did that (it’s been years), and a lot of people agree that he’s a crappy writer (even I do).

One thing I do enjoy is stumbling onto a show with excellent writing. It’s rare, honestly.

If you’re now officially questioning why I love Doctor Who, I should remind you that Doctor Who is not a series written by one person. Usually, the showrunner only writes three or four episodes of a season, while other writers write the other episodes. Sometimes there are amazing episodes, sometimes there are terrible episodes, and usually there are episodes that were written well enough to keep my attention and be enjoyable to me.

A while back, my brother and I started watching the first season of Mr. Robot. I found the writing to be quite good, so it kept my attention… sort of. We weren’t binging it, and I had zero desire to. I just didn’t care about seeing the next episode right away… I could wait until my brother wanted to see it. And yet, I was enjoying it.

But I was very worried about one particular character… specifically, Shayla Nico

The main character, Elliot Alderson, is a very good hacker and a morphine-addict. Shayla served as his drug dealer and eventually became his girlfriend. We got to meet the man, Fernando Vera, who supplied her with the morphine she sold to Elliot…

And my guess is that y’all already know where this is going, don’t you? You don’t even have to see the show to know exactly where this is going…

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A Rant About the UK Election (They DID Vote In Their Interests)

So I call this a rant and it kind of is. It’s about a consistent narrative that I’ve always been sick of, and why I think the UK election proves that I’m right to be sick of it. It’s a narrative pushed by liberals, neo-liberals, and class reductionists. It’s a narrative that assumes that only oppression in existence is class; that most people only care about class. It’s a narrative that assumes that bigotry is an abstract concept as opposed to a real thing that directly affects real people.

The narrative, of course, is the constant questioning of why people vote for the far right. Why did people vote for Trump and the Republicans? Why did people vote for Boris Johnson and the Tories? Why do people keep voting against their own interests?

Well… the answer to that question, as far as I’m concerned, is that they aren’t voting against their own interests; we just keep getting our hypotheses about their interests wrong, and their voting behavior proves it.

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More Controversy and An Apology… Also, I Say Trans Rights

That title feels way more dismissive than I intend it to be, but I can’t think of anything else. And this is going to be a short one.

First… to Essence of Thought and everyone in the Trans community who was hurt by the actions of Rachel Oates and her followers… I apologize for not saying anything about it here or anywhere else. The honest truth is that I didn’t know it was happening.

I was subscribed to Essence of Thought before Stephen Woodford’s transphobia, so I knew about that, but most of the Rachel Oates drama happened on Twitter.

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The Revolution Will Be Intersectional Or It Will Be Bullshit

Okay look. I get it. It’s really easy to look at class and see that as the only “real” oppression in the world. When you’re a straight, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied man, it’s quite literally the only oppression you can possibly face. And it’s absolutely true that the only privileges we can truly see as individuals are the privileges we don’t have, which are, as a result, magnified in our minds.

To get selfish for a moment… I obviously know that white privilege is a thing, but I don’t see it because I’m white. I obviously know that male privilege is a thing, but I don’t see it because I’m a man. Same for cis privilege, and straight privilege. Technically I don’t suffer from class oppression because my family is middle class and I get to take advantage of that. But then again, I work in retail and make maybe $200 a week. So I can see class privilege to a point because my only protection from class oppression is my parents… I’m not going to say that I know exactly what said oppression looks like, because I’ve never been homeless, but I also have a roof over my head because my parents give me one without charging me a rent I can’t afford; which is why I try to give when I can to the homeless and fight so hard for a Universal Basic Income and Universal Housing… no one should have no money, and no one should be homeless. And it’s a lot easier to make that happen at the federal level than people think… you just have to get rid of the greedy capitalists in power, first…

So… maybe not so easy…

But I digress…

The point is that I get it. I get only fighting for class.

The thing is, though…

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MAGA Hats, White Hoods, and Swastikas: One Big Happy Family

How many of you have ever heard of J. Kenji Lopez Alt? Personally, I’m a pretty big fan. His Food Lab column at Serious Eats, and his Food Lab book (I promise that’s not an affiliate link… I make $0.00 USD if you click that and order the book; I do highly recommend it, however), have been hugely influential on me as a cook. He’s the Jimmy Page of food, as far as I’m concerned (and if you know how much I love Led Zeppelin, then you know how much of a compliment that is from me). He’s opened up his own restaurant in the Bay Area, as well.

Called Wursthall, it’s definitely a restaurant I desperately want to check out. Having made many of Kenji’s recipes in my own home, I already know the food is good. It’s just a matter of getting out there to try it… and I don’t have the money to do that.

Another reason I’m a big fan of Kenji is that when his politics creep into his food, it’s absolutely awesome. Just look at his Twitter bio

Full-time Dad. Author: The Food Lab (I don’t control @TheFoodLab). Chef. Feminist. Atheist.

Yeah I know… we don’t love men who proclaim themselves to be feminists. I don’t call myself a feminist, not because I don’t wholeheartedly support feminism (I very much do), but because of how many “feminist” men have shown themselves to be anything but… causing, obviously, a distinct lack of trust in men who make that proclamation. That said, having followed Kenji for years, he’s shown that he doesn’t just talk the talk… he walks the walk, as well.

Nathan. What does any of this have to do with MAGA hats, white hoods, and swastikas?

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I Am NOT Satisfied by Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Response

Okay so… Neil deGrasse Tyson was probably my favorite living scientist and science-popularizer. He has carried on the scientific legacy of Carl Sagan in a way I can only admire. I absolutely adored his take on Cosmos, and I loved Startalk (until he decided to have Michael Shermer on as a guest… recap on that for those who’ve forgotten). I was a huge fan of his, to the point where I was defending his “ruining” of movies. I loved when he pointed out the scientific failings of films, regardless of what film it was or if science was at all relevant to the film. He was like CinemaSins, only with science (and yes, I like CinemaSins… get over it).

So, by all accounts, I’m the exact right person to defend his statement about these allegations.

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Banning Plastic Straws is Ableist

Since I just wrote a series on ableism, I guess that makes me an expert now, even though I’m not disabled… right?

Obviously not. That’d be absurd. The experts are all the people who’s articles I linked to and quoted from. And I wish to do that again, because there’s a new movement going around that has some very ableist consequences that a lot of people just straight up aren’t considering or don’t seem to care about. That movement is the one to ban plastic straws.

First let’s start off with the fact that I’m an environmentalist. I’m not perfect… I’m still an omnivore, and I drive a 2008 Scion rather than a hybrid or fully electric car (because I can’t afford either of the latter ones, even though I want one)… but I try to reduce my carbon footprint where I can by driving less, following the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle), and so on. So you’d think I’d be the first one to support a ban on plastic straws.

There is a serious issue, here, however. Plastic straws (and, indeed, a lot of plastic stuff) are extremely useful to the disabled community. Plastic straws are more flexible and more sanitary (from a use perspective) than any of the reusable options. They are also sturdier than paper straws, which are not all that waterproof and can dissolve and thus break in liquid. People with mobility issues, or muscle control issues, need those plastic straws.

Now let’s talk about why…

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Turns Out Pixar’s Toxic

Note: Trigger Warning for discussions of sexual harassment and assault, especially for Cassandra Smolcic’s article linked below, which I am going to quote from. I will quote the less triggering stuff, but even still, the warning applies. And if you do choose to read Cassandra’s entire article, this Trigger Warning applies even more, as she discusses what happened to her before she got to Pixar, and it’s…. disturbing. That said, I do recommend reading Cassandra’s article; just keep this Trigger Warning in mind if you do.

Earlier this month, John Lasseter left Pixar and Disney amid “vague” accusations of sexual misconduct (note: I don’t think they’re so “vague”, personally… and I believe them).

John Lasseter, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios’ chief creative officer, will leave both companies by the end of 2018, following revelations last year that he sexually harassed employees, according to The New York Times. Lasseter has been on a leave of absence from the studio since November, when he first acknowledged what he worded as “missteps” that left his employees feeling “disrespected and uncomfortable.” In the months since, media organizations and entertainment industry critics widely speculated on whether he could return to Pixar, or whether Disney would force him to resign.

“I’ve recently had a number of difficult conversations that have been very painful for me. It’s never easy to face your missteps, but it’s the only way to learn from them,” Lasseter wrote employees in a memo in November, when he started his six-month leave of absence. Not coincidentally, the memo and Lasseter’s decision coincided with the publication of numerous misconduct allegations by The Hollywood Reporter, which published its story on Lasseter as part of dozens of others accounts of harassment and assault that came to light during the beginning of the #MeToo movement last fall.

Cassandra Smolcic, a former Pixar employee, published a tell-all in Medium’s Be Yourself on June 27, highlighting the frankly disturbing reality of what it was really like working there as a woman…

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