February 2021Spectacle

Good Links from January

January’s over — what felt like a year was only a month. What happened again? Here are a selection of articles we rounded up to cover what went down...

The Capitol Coup

What actually went down on January 6th? CrimeThinc. provides a strong recounting of the events as they unfolded, and warns that what went down may have created an opening for both a new (right-leaning) political center and a new channel for fascism to grow.

An article in The Intercept observes how law enforcement openly ignored the (massive) red flags which led up to the event, and ProPublica reports how Black cops who worked in the Capitol were ignored for years about the growing threat of white supremacy and fascist allegiance from within the police force.

And if you’d rather listen from the ground here are three: one account from a DC street reporter in The Collision; two comedians are interviewed for their eye-witness exposure to the event in the alt-comedy weekly Abe Lincoln’s Top Hat; and local program On the Ground provides a roundup of the day, interviewing some of the Trump supporters who were engaged in the demonstration prior to the start of the riot.

Mind-rot Redux

Twitter finally decided to cut off the fascist brain sludge from the source — Trump’s Twitter account — after he incited a coup of the US' legislative branch. But the move caused some controversy within the left. Two reactions: the first, published in MintPress News, warns that this may be a dark turning point in the online battle for free speech; the second from Jacobin, lays out the stakes of a government over-response by way of expanded domestic terrorism statutes.

A significant segment of the followers were devotees of the online cult/extended forum gag “QAnon,” which alleged Donald Trump to be a strategic mastermind. What drives someone to believe something like this? A comrade from Colorado provides a great account that is informed by their own engagement in culty subcultures of how fake-news thought loops prey on and exploit unchecked fear, paranoia and mental illness. An entry in New Left Review [MM1] explores how “fake news” became a heuristic for both lying politicians and deliberate propaganda, ultimately arguing that social media monopoly’s allowed widespread dissemination of inaccurate information in the first place. And the case for socializing big tech — a common, if controversial refrain from some on the left — was laid out again in Tribune.


Party Intrigue

The return of the Democrats to Washington means that socialists will begin battling corporatists and neoliberals for control of the legislative agenda. Waleed Shahid of Justice Democrats asks in The Nation what kind of room progressives and socialists can find to move our agenda forward in Biden World. An article in Common Dreams argues that some of Biden’s secretary picks warn of Democratic “moderate rot.” A review of Biden’s Promise Me, Dad memoir in The Guardian puts Joe Biden’s frame of reference in context of the larger collapse of America’s old order.

Three additional pieces try to provide more specific strategy to socialists and organizers. From Organizing Work, some of the issues in organizing tech worker unions are laid bare. An entry in Jezebel, suggests that leader of the flight attendants union might represent a new kind of a new kind of union power.  And an article in DSA’s The Organizer warns against falling too heavily on leftist sloganeering.

Wall Street Revolt

What’s all this about a video game store and the collapse of the stock market? Things are still developing, but here are some good ways to make sense of it: when the populist revolt started (from Polygon), how the engagement evolved (from Kotaku), and a tacit response to it all from the inside (from The Economist). If you're confused about what it means to "short sell," here's a decent explanation pulled from Youtube. (But if none of this is adding up to you, go look for The Big Short, an entertaining and informative foray into how Wall Street schemes really operate (and The Wolf of Wall Street if you're looking for a more scandalous dramatization of capitalist excess which some of the Gamestop shortsellers are attempting to transparently emulate).


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