Gravity's Rainbow

botany, shoes, books, and justice

October 6, 2018
by sarcozona

Do you really want to impeach Trump?

Impeaching Trump or backing out of Brexit won’t solve our problems.

In both scenarios – impeachment or a second referendum – the suspicion of elites would become even greater, and the political alienation and economic marginalisation that contributed to it would still exist. That’s not a reason not to support them. It is a reason to be wary. In isolation, both actions seek to press pause on the post-crash period, and the stagnant wages, class calcification, escalating inequality and growing uncertainty that came with it, rather than pressing stop and changing the tune. [Source: Think we can rewind to the heady days before Trump and Brexit? Think again | Gary Younge | Opinion | The Guardian]

I have mixed feelings about the whole “resist” movement in the US because it’s so focused on stopping Trump instead of building something better and it’s hurting our ability to build something better by constant references to some imagined pre-Trump good time.

It wasn’t a good time and it’s not possible to go back.

Many progressives want a return to something like the Obama era, despite its massive harms with regards to war, civil liberties, and deepening economic inequality and its ineffectual movement on issues like healthcare and climate change.

We should push back hard against bad things the current administration is doing, but it isn’t going to matter if we don’t also push hard for different ideas.

I want to see less sputtering outrage, less looking at the last 25 years of Democratic neoliberalism with rose-coloured glasses, and more pushing for and building something new and awesome.

The movements and ideas are there, they just aren’t getting the kind of support the latest #outrage is. Being constantly on the defensive means the best we can hope for is what we’ve got now. And that’s not good enough.

I know people are mad about Trump. And with good reason. But it’s exhausting to use all that anger resisting because there doesn’t seem to be a way out, a way to something better.

Go on the offensive and build something worth fighting for. Join the DSA, push to get the People’s Platform implemented, work on the Poor People’s Campaign, and get Campaign Zero implemented. If that feels too radical for you, fight for Elizabeth Warren’s sensible legislation.


May 15, 2018
by sarcozona

Just because our desires aren’t wrong doesn’t mean we should reproduce them


Sex is no longer morally problematic or unproblematic: it is instead merely wanted or unwanted. In this sense, the norms of sex are like the norms of capitalist free exchange. What matters is not what conditions give rise to the dynamics of supply and demand – why some people need to sell their labour while others buy it – but only that both buyer and seller have agreed to the transfer….

Yet it would be disingenuous to make nothing of the convergence, however unintentional, between sex positivity and liberalism in their shared reluctance to interrogate the formation of our desires.

Why do we choose what we choose? What would we choose if we had a real choice?”

via Amia Srinivasan · Does anyone have the right to sex? · LRB 22 March 2018

May 14, 2018
by sarcozona

He’s a good man

Men see an uprising against sexual violence and ask, first, who they are supposed to be — rather than what they might have done. So many of the knee-jerk defenses of men who have done violent things, celebrities and ordinary guys alike, start on the premise that they are “not that sort of person.”

But being a good guy isn’t about who you are, it’s about what you do. And everyone is that sort of person — everyone who grew up in patriarchy and learned that sex was both a terrible thing that women might one day suffer you to do to them and something that was vital to their identity as a man.

Laurie Penny – The Great Stink

April 17, 2018
by sarcozona

There are no edges; the border is everywhere

The practice of centers taking control over their peripheries is as old as states, but it is not innocuous. When the federal government takes control of its periphery, it imposes a kind of alien rule, even on the familiar terrain of the homeland. What we miss, when we focus only on the outward face of the border—the wall we build to defend against the barbarians outside—is the function that state projections of power have internally. What is the point of ostentatious displays of power at the state’s edge—not just the wall, but flags, uniforms, songs and other performances of national identity that have, in the United States, become evermore dramatic after 9/11? Of course they are there to warn off potential transgressors. But they are also there to guarantee the loyalty of the border community itself—to remind the people inside the border who they really are. It is a kind of domestication: a domesticating of what has the potential to become foreign.

In this sense, we might think about the border as a kind of local colonial project. Border policies and ceremonies are as much designed to remind locals of who they are as it is to tell outsiders who they are not. The border fences in as much as it fences out. Peripheral peoples are not trusted and so they are disciplined. They have a double role: they are on the one hand most at risk from outside threats, as well as at risk of becoming a threat. Peripheral peoples are at once the subject of security, and its object.

via The Border Is Not a Wall | Boston Review

April 13, 2018
by sarcozona

Workers are at an extreme wage disadvantage, especially outside of cities.

The basic idea of monopsony is that if employers don’t have to compete with one another for workers, they can pay less, and workers will be stuck without the outside job offers that would enable them to claim higher wages. The monopsony story is consistent with a wide range of observed labor market phenomena: wage stagnation, declining geographic and job-to-job mobility, deterioration of the job ladder, especially for low-wage and young workers, and declines in entrepreneurship and “business dynamism.”

via How Widespread Is Labor Monopsony? Some New Results Suggest It’s Pervasive. – Roosevelt Institute