uspol / "violent extremists"
Biden's new declaration about anarchists being "domestic violent extremists" is to be expected. If the state didn't think we were a threat, then what's the point.
Continuing past administrations stuff on race identity extremists. Which is how they falsely equate White supremacists and Black liberation activists. It's a continuation of the "Black Identity Extremists" BS. I'm far more upset about that.
uspol / housing
AOC is proposing repealing the Faircloth amendment (which makes it illegal to make new public housing in the US without destroying existing public housing), and is pushing for a socdem view of "green new deal public housing".
My calls for change are:
* Repeal Faircloth
* Abolish the housing market
* Land Back
* Put housing insurance, upkeep, and new development powers in the hands of tenant unions organized by neighborhood and identity
I've detected a certain incongruity in thought cycles that seem to take the form of: 1) "we live in an entrenched system with evils built into it and nothing is going to disrupt it", combined with 2) "serious disruption always favors consolidation of power."
There's a certain "we can't win, we can't break even, and we can't get out of the game" fatalism to all this that I find profoundly frustrating.
@dynamic To beat a dead horse, the pandemic has also put the minimum wage raise back in the forefront. Hourly jobs are competing for workers right now, and laying waste to many of their "I can't afford to pay more" arguments.
@dynamic Another aspect the pandemic brought (in the USA) was the extended unemployment. This has opened the UBI and health care conversation more. Eliminating health insurance would produce a huge economic change to individuals and businesses in the USA.
Anyway, we don't really want pandemic driven change, but change seems to require disruption to reach the average person. Disruption captures attention and provides an opportunity for education.
@dynamic Employer surveillance of remote employees was happening before the pandemic. The pandemic didn't give time for employers not already using it to adopt it.
Zoom is often a choice by those who just don't care about fighting corporate power. It's not like Windows that was forced upon users, but even the latter is met with apathy.
There are a lot of hourly jobs that moved to remote. e.g., call centers
On the other hand, remote working as currently implemented is only available to workers who are higher up on the ladder of wealth and various other privileges, and is only made possible through the existence of a the miitary-industrial infrastructure of the internet. Remote labor has been tightly tied to increased digital surveillance by employers, and in the meantime we've seen the monopolistic explosion of one single private platform for remote communications: Zoom.
@dynamic Our economic system is built upon the idea that there is a need for vertical power structures. This allows the wealthy to maintain control of the working class. It's very medieval. Remote working (where possible) gives workers a bit more freedom, which can lead to the pursuit of more freedom. It's just a small crack in the power hierarchy.
A lot of radicals are dismissive of the idea of policy reform as watered-down and/or married to an intrinsically oppressive system. I get that, but, I also want to explore the possibility that certain kinds of reforms could help to support radical movements, not by restructuring existing society to meet human needs, but by reducing the barriers to people working outside of existing structures.
What would that look like?
I guess where I'm going with all of this is that I think it would be good if it were easy to experiment with new ways to structure society. And I'm wondering about what that would look like, in concrete terms, in both urban and less-urban areas.
Meanwhile, so many aspects of cities government and law enforcement were intentionally designed to prevent labor unrest.
For a long time I thought it was just kind of sad and unfortunate that property taxes and similar create massive barriers to subsistence living. What I'm starting to learn is that a lot of the policies that make it harder to create alternative societies were intentionally designed to dismantle the alternative societies that existed in North America before Europeans arrived with their own ideas about land ownership, labor, and virtue.
Looking back, I realize that my simplified idea of being able to walk away from a society you don't agree with is problematic, because it is tangled up with the neoliberal concept of individual choice. It also ignores the fact that you need somewhere to walk *to*: people aren't built to strike out on our own. We are a social species.
But also, in my eutopian dreams, I imagined buying up land (neoliberalism again) on which to pursue alternative ways of doing things.
What I only very recently (like, within the past 10 years) realized is that our own society is not at all set up to enable people to walk away. Property taxes force participation in our society's moneyed economy. Ordinances prevent people from living off of municipal grids. Even in the (apparent) libertarian's paradise of New Hampshire, it is illegal to set up long term residence in a tent, even on your own land.
I've been attracted for a long time to the idea that people should have the option of walking away from societies that don't serve their needs, or even that they (we?) just disagree with.
From my early teens, I imagined eutopian communities, built on different rules from our current society, but that (I imagined) would not be coercive because people would always have the freedom to walk away.
Occupy put an experiment in alternative ways to live directly into urban centers. This defied expectations. The classic commune, ecovillage, or intentional community exists in a rural area, on private land. Urban experiments in collectivism do also exist, at a range of scales, but tend not to be highly visible, and generally on private land as well.
Occupy was a highly visible collective experiment on public land.
In a lot of ways, cities are a good location for experimenting with alternative society structures. Society is made of people, and cities contain a lot of people in a small area. If you want to try living in an ecovillage, you need to be able to find out that ecovillages exist, learn where ecovillages are, to apply to live there, and to have the means to get out there at all. Ecovillages are also pretty easy to ignore for people who aren't interested in them.
Occupy camps were something you could find out about just by walking by, and were not so easy to ignore.
One of the things I've started to think more about in the aftermath of Occupy has been the role of public space in cities.
Public space is for people. It is a valuable resource, one that many (if not most) cities do not have enough of. But not everyone has the same answer to the question of what public spaces are and should be.
I *hate* the efforts that are made to make public spaces uncomfortable for people who don't have houses to live in. But it's also not particularly unreasonable for people who do have houses to live in to have open spaces available to them to sit down for a picnic and allow their children to run around, and then go home in the evening. A lot of people with good intentions would argue that a natural role for government is to strike a balance between these kinds of competing needs. It's especially easy to think this way if you live a life of safety and don't pay close attention to what goes on outside your own bubble.
Whether or not the state's claims about potential harm, public safety, etc. are well-founded (I take it as given that in at least some cases the real motivation is to avoid making rich people feel uncomfortable), there's something that feels... disappointing?... about the idea that something that started as a radical reimagining could end up as a fairly mainstream charity embedded within state structures.
Brissette and host Sasha Lilley talk some about the idea that in mainstream society, provision of basic services outside of domain of the state is seen as a private activity (think charity), not a public one, and that movements like Occupy challenge this perspective.
I feel like there's a kind of tension between radical movements that propose variations on the theme of "the state doesn't provide ____, so we will do that for ourselves" and the mainstream response of "that's great, here's how you set up a tax-deductible charity to do exactly those things, and now that we've got you on board, here are all of the permits you need to apply for to do the things you want to do, and there will of course be government oversight to ensure that you don't do anything that might be harmful / unsafe / etc."
The idea I'm turning over in my mind is that despite the immediate focus on people's immediate needs, which as Brissette notes is *itself* political (in the same sense that the personal is always political), perhaps there's a conventionally political (as in state policy) piece to this too.
Is part of the message of Occupy (and Food not Bombs, as well as similar activities The Black Panther Party and others) that the state should allow spaces for exploring alternative ways of allocating resources and providing care?