Thursday, July 19, 2018

Stupid Things About Holocaust Denial On Facebook

So Mark Zuckerberg stepped in it, this time seeming to insist that Holocaust denial not be removed from Facebook despite how personally detestable it is to him. For Zuckerberg, what matters is intent to denigrate rather than merely spreading misinformation. However, Holocaust denial is part of a long-term strategy to recruit people to national socialism.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

A comment on the Raworth-Milanovic debate

A friendly critique of Kate Raworth's book Doughtnut Economics by Branko Milanovic on the Brave New Europe blog has locked the two in a heated debate. One point of contention, has the two in a war of art references, Giotto's "St. Francis" versus Rodin's "Gates of Hell." This rhetorical sticking point appears to be a debate over nature versus nurture. While Raworth appears to regard such a debate sufficient to prove her point, Milanovic appears to take a more structural view. However, in his rejoinder to Raworth's reply, Milanovic plays to Raworth's critique on the question of human nature rather than reasserting his own.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Who Will Disrupt the Disruptors? A Review of Live Work Work Work Die

The final words of Corey Pein's Live Work Work Work Die are, "Off with their heads." In an engaging, hilarious, and gutwrenching first person account of the netherworld of Silicon Valley startup culture, Pein implores the reader to consider seriously the titans of tech are leading us into. By his account, it is a highly stratified society in which the toiling masses take turns pretending that they are among the tech elite.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

13 Reasons Why You're Probably Annoying Your Suicidal Friend

As someone who has been suicidal as long as they remember having emotions, I'm plenty familiar with the sorts of things wanting-to-live people think are helpful for suicidal people to hear. Turns out those things are actually just helpful for life-lovers to hear themselves say. Here's a list of 13 such pre-mortem faux pas and how to avoid them.

Monday, June 11, 2018

PE of Fash Week VI: Fake News and Mutual Aid (Reading List)

This last class in the political economy of fascism minicourse is meant to emulate the periodic "debriefs" I have programmed into the full-semester version of the course. I believe it is extremely important that, after rendering the coherence of fascism on its own terms, one take the time to debunk its central claims. Although I do this throughout the course during the lecture/discussion, designating an entire week's readings to such an exercise is, in my view, crucial in distinguishing this course from one of simple fascist indoctrination.

As I repeatedly say, fascism is disturbingly compelling. When one takes the time to piece it together into its coherent esoteric ideology, one is engaged in the exact game that draws people into fascism -- a game driven by curiosity and the self-satisfaction of figuring it out. In addition, fascism does point out valid contradictions about the way society operates (largely borrowing from leftist rhetoric). These critiques are then used to leverage a political race to the bottom, justifying underhandedness on the basis of a perceived supernatural enemy's underhandedness.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

UBI vs. JG: Communist Revolution Editiion

I like to talk a lot of shit. I've been talking a lot of shit lately on the Job Guarantee (JG) proposals relative to Universal Basic Income (UBI) in tweets and comments here and there. Since I generally grow bored of conversations on the internet fairly quickly, relatively few people have actually heard anything resembling my full argument in favor of UBI over a JG. So here I am, finding new ways to procrastinate my dissertation work.

The discussion here, I hope, will equip supporters of UBI and the JG with a more holistic understanding of both from the perspective of long-term revolutionary goals. As an anarcho-communist, I view both proposals (technically three proposals, more on that later) through the lens of which can best situate the working class to seize the means of production to establish a decentralized communist production and distribution network.

Monday, June 4, 2018

PE of Fash Week V: Free Speech and the Fascist Creep (Reading List)

The "required" readings in this week's class provided three levels of analysis of the phenomenon of fascist recruitment. The Simi and Futrell piece provides the most intimate portrait with a focus on white power activists, mostly neo-nazi skinheads, navigating normal society. The Berbrier piece provides an analysis of white power activist's public rhetoric since the transformation of the movement one based on militias to one based on conferences. The Perry piece provides the most zoomed-out picture, giving an overall account of the transformation of the white power movement in the post-Civil Rights era.

All three authors note the untenability of their subjects' core beliefs in public. Whereas Berbrier investigates how white power activists reframe their rhetoric for a post-WWII audience, Simi and Futrell explore the justification of individual white power activists in selectively hiding their leanings altogether. Perry provides a general overview of the development of the former phenomenon.