nothing here but sacrifice zones

issue 053 - 28th June, 2020

CJW: It sure has been a fortnight. We’ve seen comics, genre fiction, gaming, stand-up comedy, and probably other industries I’ve not paid attention to, be rocked by countless allegations against influential and powerful men for sexual misconduct and other harmful and abusive behaviours. If you’re on twitter at all, or involved in any of those industries/fandoms, then you’ve certainly got some idea of what I’m talking about. I’ve written more on it below, as one case in particular is of relevance to us here.

Thanks again to our paid subscribers, who help keep our pets fed and help keep the lights on. The latest bonus was from Marlee, a love letter to the You're Wrong About podcast, and about the mental health strains that she (and many others) are experiencing throughout this pandemic. (Which is still ongoing, despite what our governments are trying to tell us…) To get access to this bonus, future bonuses, and the full archive, just go here to become a supporter.

CJW: Being a caretaker: a response to JK Rowling (by Alison Evans)

Rowling keeps talking about being ‘targeted’, depicting herself as a victim of ‘trans activists’, and again, tying this all back to misogyny and her history of abuse. Well, sometimes there is a reason people are shouting at you. It’s wrong to expect cool heads when you are talking to people who are directly affected by things that are only abstract concepts to you – people who have suffered lifetimes of pain you are so keen to ignore in centring yours. Sometimes it’s not misogyny, or men, or oppression. Sometimes it’s you.

Friend of the newsletter, Alison Evans, wrote this great open letter to JK Rowling after her most recent anti-trans writings. It’s easily the best response I have seen, and the best thing I have read on the subject.

MJW: Alison is not just an amazing writer, they are a fucking wonderful person and friend, and in this article they share a little bit of that with you.

CJW: Shane Carruth Releases 'The Modern Ocean' Script & Music Because "It Might Be Fun"

If there was any sense in Hollywood, the major studios would be fighting over who gets to give Shane Carruth the largest cheque. But he makes smart and intimate sci-fi films with limited commercial appeal, so instead all we get from him are scripts (because I assume the fact that he’s releasing this now means the project is dead in the water [pun not intended]).

If you just want the direct link to the PDF, here you go!

All the money spent on Super8, Stranger Things, and any other Spielberg-infused nostalgia-fests should have instead been given to Carruth for A Topiary. Not only does it have the band of kids and the sense of infinite possibilities inherent in 80s childhood summer holidays crashing against something otherworldly, but it is also so much more than that, and goes so far beyond what we've seen done with those sorts of stories before.

Years ago me and Austin did a tweet thread about the script for A Topiary. Maybe once he and I have had a chance to read this script I’ll get him on board to guest for an issue (or a bonus) so we can talk about The Modern Ocean.


CJW: Dorohedoro (Netflix)

There is so much to like about Dorohedoro - the gorgeous art and animation (the opening credits alone), the unique worldbuilding, the great characters and relationships between characters, the music, the humour, the violence, and writing that’s so good they get away with things that could easily ruin a lesser show.

For instance, if you boiled it right down, it’s the story of a man who’s lost his memories trying to find out who he is. The amnesiac hero has been done so many times it’s a trope at this point. But, with Dorohedoro they get away with it by dropping us into the middle of an on-going fight and an on-going story. This isn’t the story of a man who wakes up and can’t remember who he is - this is the story of a man with a lizard’s head and multiple knives, battling evil sorcerers on a murderous rampage, with his gyoza chef friend for support. Cliched it is not.

The other thing I really enjoy about the show is the split focus between our heroes and their friends, and the family of villains who stand against them. You’re probably going to enjoy watching the exploits of Shin and Noi as much as those of Caiman and Nikaido.

It’s so good that I’m even tempted to read the manga just so I can get more Dorohedoro without having to wait, but the 23 volumes are a little daunting.

DCH: This show is amazing. Pause whatever you’re currently binging and get to it.

CJW: In case you missed it somehow, Warren Ellis has been accused of sexual misconduct. That article is the best summary of the situation that I’ve come across, and Damien Williams’ comments on the topic were (unsurprisingly) well-thought-out and broad in scope. Ganzeer also posted his thoughts, and had plenty of interesting things to say, particularly on the topic of careerist reactions to the situation, and something else that had also struck me - the kindness and generosity of Katie West and Meredith Yayanos in their initial twitter threads. They don’t want to crucify Warren - they want him to do the work, to do better, and they want the systems in place to change so this can’t happen again (more on this below).

There is a lot more I could say, but I could easily end up echoing Damien and Ganzeer above or Sean Kelley McKeever in this piece. Instead, at the moment I’d rather centre the voices of the women coming forward. (Speaking of centring women, this video from Meredith Yayanos is important, and Kelly-Sue DeConnick explored her feelings on the situation on Instagram.)

I believe them, of course. I was actually surprised that everyone feels the need to say that because it seems obvious. But in case it isn’t: I believe them. However you personally feel about the creators and their works (creators plural - here is a rundown on comics creators who have recently been accused of misconduct, and another rundown on genre fiction), or however much those works might mean to you, don’t let yourself get defensive. Don’t lash out against the people who have already suffered, just because you don’t want their allegations to be true. Believe them, and process your own feelings however you need to without further adding to the burden these people (mostly women) are carrying.

But there’s a related topic that I do want to talk about, and that is the “boy’s club” nature of so many areas of our society, and the way that lets predatory, abusive, and/or manipulative men get away with behaving in these awful ways. 

I began thinking about this after I saw this tweet from Stacey King:

Guys: you know that dude who said something creepy about women to you once or twice, but seemed fine after that? That dude was testing you. Pushing your boundaries to see how you'd react, the same way they push the girls they prey on.

Now, here she’s specifically talking about predatory men, so I can’t think of any specific examples of this from memory, but it tracks with so much typical (but toxic) masculine behaviour. Men, when in the company of other men, are allowed to talk shit, to be gross, to be offensive, to demean women and people in minorities, etc, and there’s a social contract that says not only is this not a bad thing, but it’s actively a good thing. It means he’s “one of the guys” - he’s a “top bloke” as we might say in Australia. And because we’ve been socialised for decades to behave like that and to accept that behaviour, it’s incredibly difficult to distance yourself from it.

Eons ago, at the pub a few weeks before lockdown, a friend of mine said something offensive, and while I was offended and disgusted, I didn’t speak up. I didn’t want to ruin the good time we were having by taking him to task for that sort of bullshit. And I still think about that, and still wish I’d done better.

So, men (and cis men in particular), instead of defending your abusive heroes, or trying to justify a continued appreciation of their work, or even instead of starting a bonfire of all their books you used to love – instead of all that, try and recognise that you were raised and socialised in a toxic patriarchy, and that however mild your particular case of toxic masculinity is, it’s the same culture that allows the predators to hunt their prey and remain safe from consequences. Start to pay attention to the way the men around you talk, and the way they act, and be prepared to speak up when that shit gets out of line – and it will, because we were raised to believe that it’s natural, that boys will be boys. You’ve got to think about this, and you’ve got to stand up and speak up to make a change in the groups that you’re involved with. Maybe you can’t single-handedly change comics or genre fiction or Hollywood, but you can do something to ensure that your scene, industry, or culture is safe(r) for those who could be vulnerable. This isn’t about being a white knight, it’s about doing something to limit the influence of those abusers who will only hurt people and damage the communities that you want to see thrive.

In short, I’m suggesting you do the work. Being vocal on twitter (even in a supportive capacity) isn’t doing the work if you aren’t internalising any of these discussions and considering what you need to do, and what you can do to address these issues in your own life and the spaces you frequent.

I know I can do better in speaking out against the shit I see and hear. And I will do better. It won't be easy because anxiety fucking sucks and I've never been good with confrontation, but I'll do it because it's important. If you know you could also do better, now’s the time to start.

And if this recent spate of allegations makes you feel uncomfortable about some of your own behaviour, now is the time to recognise that. Sit with it, no matter how awful it feels, and begin to consider how you can address these failings. Nothing worth doing is easy, and perhaps you’ll need some form of therapy to help process the issues that lead to your harmful behaviour, but you need to do it. The people around you deserve better. The people who look up to you deserve better. None of us are perfect, and all of us have hurt someone, but we can work on ourselves to ensure we do better in the future.

MJW: The Butterfly Effect and The Last Days of August

The fact that when I’m feeling really shitty (which is most of the time now) I turn to relistening to my old favourite podcasts as a kind of a ‘comfort-listen’? But the podcasts I relisten to are always kind of sad and depressing? What the fuck is wrong with me? 

Anyway, My favourite format is a limited series (like I love a long backlist, but my real favourites are really tight and well-made single series podcasts) so I relistened to Jon Ronson’s two podcasts The Butterfly Effect and The Last Days of August in one long day where I was so epicly bonkers that I took two hour-long walks and in between punished my already tortured body with hours of garden work just to escape my head and ease my restlessness. 

ANYWAY, these are two intense and complex stories. The Butterfly Effect takes the singular event: a European dude buys a small porn streaming company and turns it into Pornhub, and tracks the ripple of that through the lives and stories of the people who were affected by it. The Last Days of August is also set in the porn world, and explores the way that a porn star’s suicide made headlines as a tale of an internet pile on, but turned out to be something far more nuanced and complex and...even ordinary? than that. 

I think both were initially Audible Originals, but are now on all the podcast apps, so you search for it, I’m too sad and lazy to link it. 

MJW: This is 100% pure hilarious gold from the NZ government, and such a fucking important message. We’ve got to start having this conversation. 


DCH: God I needed this track right now.

CJW: Arrow by Noveller (via Andrew Macrae)

I listen to quite a bit ambient and/or instrumental music. Being a writer, it’s not uncommon - many of us need some music/noise to help us work, but can find lyrics distracting. That said, there’s something unique about this album by Noveller, the solo project of Sarah Lipstate, that I’ve not come across before. It’s layered, textured, ambient but dynamic, and as synthy as it can sound, the music is largely created with an electric guitar and effects pedals.

I can put my finger on exactly what it is that grabs me about Arrow, but I know it had me from the first listen.

Anyway, ignore me, and just go listen for yourself.


DCH: New Run The Jewels has dropped.

“You so numb you watch the cops choke out a man like me/Until my voice goes from a shriek to whisper—‘I can’t breathe’/And you sit there in the house on couch and watch it on TV,” Killer Mike raps on “walking in the snow,” his voice urgent. The lyric is about Eric Garner. Now it’s about George Floyd, too. That these two unjust killings occurred under tragically, uncannily similar circumstances (out in the open; with other officers standing by; with a man being suffocated to death; on camera) nearly six years apart only underscores the unending flow of racist violence in America.

Listen to Walking in the snow now.

CJW: Another interview all about Repo Virtual:  9 Questions for Corey J. White (REPO VIRTUAL), and a review from the Unofficial Hugo Book Club. Also, Repo Virtual has made Amazon’s Best science fiction and fantasy of 2020 so far

If you’ve read this newsletter for any length of time, you can probably guess how conflicted I am at all the positive attention RV has gotten from Amazon and Goodreads... 


MJW: Other me (Mia Walsch)’s memoir Money for Something got its first review in The Age

Her stand-and-deliver account of life as a masseuse in parlours all over Sydney – and later as a Dominatrix at BDSM club – is frank, gritty, funny, grungy and upbeat. It’s also a revealing self-portrait that documents her drug addiction and serious mood swings, among other things. Intense writing, distinctive voice.

It’s out on July 2 in Australia and I think you can order it internationally here? Maybe? Oh yeah, I’m also having a digital launch, so if you want to see me be awkward on video talking memoir with Yen-Rong Wong, you can do that here.

Oh, and I’ve set up another Patreon. Let’s see how Memoir Patreon does vs Science Fiction Patreon.

CJW: Capitalist Catastrophism (via Ospare)

It is possible to interpret the global response to this sequence of events as a vicious reassertion of capitalist realism. After a brief respite where it seemed that another world was possible, we have been thrown forcefully back into this world, a world where capital reigns supreme, where it is not inconceivable to let people die so that capitalism might live and where we must bail out private companies with public money.

Another piece on the nature of our world vis a vis capitalism, but instead of putting forward the argument we've previously shared that we're in or heading toward neofeudalism, here the author is making the case that it's actually capitalist catastrophism (in response to Fisher's Capitalist Realism) that's coming down the pipe.

[Capitalist Catastrophism] describes a situation in which capitalism can no longer determine what it means to be “realistic,” not because of the force of movements assembled against it but because capital’s self-undermining and ecologically destructive dynamics have outstripped capitalism’s powers to control them.


From this point on the climate struggle is not just about “saving the environment,” as we used to be told, but about how much of it we will lose, how many of us will die, and how those who are left will adapt. Under capitalist catastrophism, in other words, the climate crisis becomes the primary vector of international class struggle.

On the one hand, it’s incredibly depressing to grapple with the climate catastrophes and governmental responses that are leading us to capitalist catastrophism, but on the other hand, the author suggests that it’s only the extreme nature of these catastrophes that might allow us to finally get out from under capitalist realism and imagine then build something better for our future.

I was so impressed with this piece I went right ahead and signed up for the Roar patreon, so definitely give it a read.


DCH: World has six months to avert climate crisis, says energy expert

The world has only six months in which to change the course of the climate crisis and prevent a post-lockdown rebound in greenhouse gas emissions that would overwhelm efforts to stave off climate catastrophe, one of the world’s foremost energy experts has warned.

Thanks rich people. You’re a big help. Truly.


CJW: COVID-19 Broke the Economy. What If We Don’t Fix It?

With the economy at a standstill, we're being challenged by some experts to envision a different kind of economy—one that could help solve the climate crisis, rather than make it worse.


Along with robust other policies around healthcare, housing, and education, degrowth would mean that people can work and earn less without a massive blow to quality of life. It also calls for more progressive rates of taxation, so that wealth is more evenly redistributed.


"Degrowth is not about degrowing the entire economy indiscriminately, but rather growing some sectors that are important and degrowing others that are destructive," Hickel said.

Degrowth for all, and the guillotine for any elites that stand in the way.

In all seriousness though, this is a great summary of degrowth as it could (and should) be implemented as the world moves forward post-pandemic (assuming we ever truly reach a post-pandemic state).


DCH: Covid-19 Flares Up in America's Polluted ‘Sacrifice Zones’

AIR IS POLITICAL. Research indicates race is the biggest predictor of whether a person lives near a heavily polluted area. Covid-19 is especially lethal for patients with respiratory problems.

More evidence the climate crisis disproportionately fucks BIPOC. Wicked problems are intersectional. And require intersectional solutions. 


MJW: Native smokebush plant adapts to allow for ant pollination, researchers find

"With ants, there are a few examples all over the world of ants pollinating flowers, but this is the first time that we have shown that it is the plant that has evolved to facilitate this kind of pollination — it's not the ant that has evolved to the environment... I was really quite excited because it was a new thing, we had never observed that before."

MKY: that is so cool! And a preview of what Australia’s flora and fauna might look like as the extinction crisis also escalates, I guess?

I was also super happy to learn that there’s at least one species that has figured out how to coexist with - dare I say out-wit? - that super predator of Australia’s wildlife, feral cats: meet the long-nosed potoroo.

MJW: Oooooooh


MKY: Scientists Edited Human Embryos in the Lab, and It Was a Disaster

“There’s no sugarcoating this,” says Fyodor Urnov, a gene-editing expert and professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley. “This is a restraining order for all genome editors to stay the living daylights away from embryo editing.”

So this can all stay in the realm of spec fic for now… though, somebody tell Putin cause what are they building in there? [RT link, i know… i know]

CJW: Something something, this is how we get Winter Men? (Which is a fantastic comic, by the way.)


CJW: New Facebook Tool Allows Employers to Suppress “Unionize” in Workplace Chat

I was thinking a few weeks ago that we're mere months away from Facebook offering employers a way to (pay and) find out if their workers are badmouthing them or their company in private. I hate that my tech cynicism and pessimism is so often on the money. (And that I’m not being paid megabucks by Silicon Valley to be a pessimist futurist [as if I’d accept the cash].)

This article in particular, though, is about Facebook trying to build their own version of Slack, because nowadays they don't innovate, they just buy up or rip-off the “innovative” companies.

More FB bullshit: Facebook Moderators Ordered to Spend More Time Viewing Online Child Abuse


DCH: Facebook creates fact-checking exemption for climate deniers

Facebook is "aiding and abetting the spread of climate misinformation,” said Robert Brulle, an environmental sociologist at Drexel University. “They have become the vehicle for climate misinformation, and thus should be held partially responsible for a lack of action on climate change.”

As if we needed another reason to hate Zuckerberg.


CJW: William Barr Turns DOJ Into Donald Trump's Law Firm

In May, after Barr moved to drop the charges against Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser — even after Flynn had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI — Barr defended his actions in the case by saying that “history is written by the winners.” That is the kind of statement that might be expected from an amoral bureaucrat in a police state rather than the chief law enforcement officer of the United States.

I truly hope this writer's tongue is planted firmly in cheek here, otherwise imagine watching the past few weeks of police violence all across America and still failing to realise you live in a violently racist police state.

DCH: Related - ‘State-sanctioned violence’: US police fail to meet basic human rights standards

Researchers in the university’s law school put the lethal use-of-force policies of police in the 20 largest US cities under the microscope. They found not a single police department was operating under guidelines that are compliant with the minimum standards laid out under international human rights laws.

Fuck the police. #acab


DCH: Millions of documents from >200 US police agencies published in “BlueLeaks” trove

Dates on the most recent documents were from earlier this month, suggesting the hack that first exposed the documents happened in the last three weeks. The documents, which were titled “BlueLeaks,” were published on Friday, the date of this year’s Juneteenth holiday celebrating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the Confederacy. BlueLeaks had special significance in the aftermath of a Minneapolis police officer suffocating a handcuffed Black man to death when the officer placed his knee on the man's neck for 8 minutes and 45 seconds.

I’m here for our hacking heroes. #acab


DCH: Seasteading – a vanity project for the rich or the future of humanity?

“Coronavirus is an opportunity to show the world that what we’re building is actually going to be very useful in the future,” says Chad Elwartowski, in a recent video post from his beachside base in Panama. The Michigan-born software engineer turned bitcoin trader is a leading figure in the seasteading movement, a libertarian group dedicated to building independent floating cities on the high seas. Along with the bunker builders and survivalist preppers, their long-held ambitions have been bolstered by the current global pandemic. “No matter if you’re scared of the virus or the reaction to the virus,” he adds, “living out on the ocean will be helpful for these situations.”

Because being out on the water made it super safe for all those people on cruise ships.


DCH: My Little Pony Fans Are Ready to Admit They Have a Nazi Problem

That sounds just as strange no matter how many times you say it. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is a cartoon television show about friendship, compassion, and a group of magical horses with names such as Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy who live in a fantastical land called Equestria. It’s marketed to children. Nevertheless, it has an extremely dedicated adult fandom, which is mostly made up of men, or “bronies,” as they’ve been referred to for nearly a decade. Most of these men are white. Some of these men are vocal white supremacists.

Bronies = Brownies = Brownshirts. It all fucking makes sense. 


Cutting Room Floor:


CJW: Be good. Be kind. Be vicious when you need to be. Thanks for reading.

nothing here but calculated political cruelty

issue 052 - 14th June, 2020

CJW: Welcome to issue 52 of the nothing here newsletter. 52 means we are officially 2 years old. Thanks to everyone who has followed us along this full journey and to those who have joined us more recently.

It’s another bumper issue this fortnight - there has been so much going on I feel like we’ve barely touched on some issues that would normally get featured quite prominently (the first that comes to mind is the tech companies pulling back from developing facial recognition tools and/or providing them to law enforcement).

I wrote our last bonus letter, all about Nick Bostrom’s Simulation paper, reality, free-will, and related topics. I almost feel like I could write a book on the subject, but for now I have too many novel ideas fighting for my time and brain power, so it’ll have to wait. Anyway, to get access to this bonus, future bonuses, and the full archive, just go here to become a supporter.

CJW: Aboriginal deaths in custody: Black Lives Matter protests referred to our count of 432 deaths. It's now 437

Many signs at rallies referred to the 432 deaths that are known to have happened since the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody delivered its final report in 1991. That figure is based on Guardian Australia’s findings from a two-year long project to monitor Aboriginal deaths in custody, Deaths Inside. We updated the database and published new results on Saturday. We found the number had risen to 434. But by Saturday morning even that number was already out of date.

If you need any further evidence to convince you of just how violently racist Australian police are (particularly toward Indigenous people) then consider this: in the middle of global protests about police violence against black people, they still couldn’t help themselves, and murdered another 5 Aboriginal people in police custody in a matter of days.

Related: Australia still turns a blind eye to Aboriginal people dying in police custody

Wave after wave of immigrants can come here and experience Australia’s unique brand of racism yet still manage to be more accepted and higher up the social rungs than Aboriginal people will ever be. It’s too hard to deal with local issues, and therefore pointing at America and saying “but they’re worse” is an easy method of avoidance.

This is a great summary of the Australian context concerning Aboriginal deaths in police custody.


MJW: Australia's Media Has To Share The Blame For Our Racist Culture

I fear for a day when 90% of the media that Australians consume comes from a handful of very large organisations whose main concern is their bottom line. We know that the best way to drive traffic or keep people’s attention is to make them feel a negative emotion. This model is fundamentally broken. It rewards the wrong people — the people who know how to get under your skin and cause a reaction.

I am frequently fucking embarrassed at the state of Australian media. The people who live here deserve better than this.

CJW: There’s so much in this piece - well-worth reading for our Aussie subscribers.

Of course Australians think racism is a thing of the past — we only ever show them a white utopia on our screens.

This piece also serves to highlight the importance of supporting local media organisations, because the big corporates only care about cash flow, not the people who need the news. I’ve seen a few people recommend NITV, but if like me you don’t watch TV, you could pay attention to, and support, organisations like IndigenousX.


MJW: Robodebt was an algorithmic weapon of calculated political cruelty

The government sparked backlash against robodebt when it attacked freelance journalist Andie Fox, who published her personal account of robodebt. The government responded by leaking her case details to the media…
"Robodebt was bureaucratic violence enabled by lack of government accountability. Its prime purpose was the dogmatic pursuit of a campaign of cruelty against the unemployed, disabled people, single parents, care-givers, casual and gig economy workers."

The Australian government runs on fucking cruelty (just take a look at our pandemic and economic response - sensible and saved thousands of lives yes, GOOD JOB!, but their subsequent economic plans included a petty two-tiered welfare system and massive subsidies to industries with the most power to lobby. Their plan seems to be 'let's support the people who least need the support and fuck poor people!' and their justification for that is... poor people are used to being poor?)
Robodebt was a massive exercise in cruelty and punitive punishment, they knew it right from the start, and they did it anyway. PEOPLE FUCKING DIED FROM THIS. I am sick of our leaders pandering to a white mid-to-upper-middle-class ‘Aussie-battler’ voter base that, if the fallout from Coronavirus goes the way it will probably go, is going to disappear. Maybe when large swathes of the population are forced to take government support as jobs disappear forever, the formerly-oblivious middle-class will look at our system of welfare and realise how fucking wrong it is - now that they are being fucked by it.

CJW: In a just society, someone would be in prison for this, or an entire group of someones, but because this is the world we live in, no one even lost their job.


CJW: This Weekend, Police Responded to Protests Against Police Violence With Even More Wantonly Brutal Violence

Make no mistake, the police are the ones rioting. And they’re doing so with impunity.

A detailed breakdown of the first days of the protests in the US that sprung up after the murder of George Floyd. Just in case you, uhh, somehow missed it.


CJW: The George Floyd Killing Exposes Failures of Police Reform

“Now is the time to invest in a safe, liberated future for our city. We can’t afford to keep funding MPD’s attacks on Black lives,” the Minneapolis group Reclaim the Block wrote in a statement calling on the city council to defund the police department.

We need to defund police everywhere, but it seems most pressing in the US where they are literally using military hand-me-downs. If we must have police (and that's a big if) they should be unarmed, with a focus on community outreach.

This article covers a lot of ground on the topic of reforming and/or defunding the police in the wake of George Floyd's murder (and the many, many others of recent years).

Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson ushered in an era of police reform that saw federal and local governments invest heavily in police training, including on racial bias, and in technology like body cameras that officials promised would bring about accountability. Floyd’s death was yet another reminder that those reforms have failed.


CJW: Minneapolis residents commandeered a hotel for homeless

While hotels across the metro area sit mostly empty because of the coronavirus, all the rooms in the four-story former Sheraton are filled. Other areas of the hotel are being converted to sleeping spaces to accommodate still more people, while the waiting list stretches beyond 100.

Actions like this give me real hope for change following this possible-revolution. Just as long as the racists in and out of uniform can keep their fingers off their triggers long enough to recognise the humanity of their fellow citizens.

MKY: This was my favourite thing. And then they took over Capitol Hill in Seattle and took this to the next level… fuckyeah mutual aid. Fuckyeah radical teen vogue readers. Viva la CHAZ man.

DCH: Speaking of the Seattle autonomous zone, this is an amazing read with Nikkita Oliver, the former mayoral candidate leading the efforts.


CJW: The Top U.S. Coronavirus Hot Spots Are All Indian Lands (via Jim McDermott)

If Native American tribes were counted as states, the five most infected states in the country would all be native tribes, with New York dropping to No. 6, according to a compilation by the American Indian Studies Center at U.C.L.A.


My sense is that the Navajo have handled the crisis reasonably well. The tribe canceled events, imposed curfews and tested a far higher rate of the population than the country has as a whole. But the Indian Health Service says that 28 percent of tests have come back positive, an alarmingly high rate.

And while we're talking about racist police violence in the US, here's an article from 2017: Native Americans: The forgotten minority in police shootings. I share this not to take away from BLM at all, but rather to say that police need to be defunded all across the country, not just in Minneapolis, or other cities with similarly high profile killings.


DCH: How to Protest Safely in the Age of Surveillance (Wired)

As I write this (01 Jun 2020) there is a literal arsenal of tech being used in Minneapolis to surveil protestors. And the US Military is monitoring protests in at least 7 other states. The Wired article above gives you some basic tips to protect yourself and your allies. 

CJW: Worth noting that Signal is (apparently) funded by the CIA. I still think it's mostly secure - it just comes down to whether or not they want to break encryption on your communications. I assume for 99% of Americans, that's not the case, but it really depends on how extreme the coming police, military, and intelligence actions/crackdowns are in the wake of the protests. If they decide that left-wing = antifa = terrorist, then a lot of people might find themselves under increased scrutiny (to say the least).


DCH: Anonymous Hackers Threaten To ‘Expose The Many Crimes’ Of Minneapolis Police (Forbes)

We’ll see if they come through on this but fingers crossed they do. I’ve read elsewhere that they’ve already doxxed the entire MN PD.

MKY: From what I saw after that, isn’t wasn’t a fresh drop. Nonetheless, it’s great to see Anon maybe back. HACK THE PLANET!


DCH: Inside the NSA’s Secret Tool for Mapping Your Social Network (Wired)

This is where contact chaining came in. The phrase is used to describe a sophisticated form of analysis that looks for hidden, indirect relationships in very large data sets. Contact chaining began with a target telephone number, such as Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s, and progressively widened the lens to ask whom Tsarnaev’s contacts were talking to, and whom those people were talking to, and so on.

A good read about the evolution of NSA surveillance from Mainway and Stellar Wind to the “contact chaining” social graph they use today.

CJW: We all heard Snowden's revelations, but the true scope of US surveillance has only really become apparent to me recently. They spy on the whole fucking world - they know who you talk to, for how long, and they probably know what you talk about and why (I doubt the claims they're "only" collecting metadata). They know what you spend your money on, and they know what gets you off. But don't worry about it - they're the good guys, so it’s fine…


DCH: Trump Is Doing All of This for Zuckerberg

It’s important to pay attention to what the president is doing, but not because the legal details of this order matter at all. Trump is unlikely to repeal Section 230 or take any real action to curb the power of the major social-media companies. Instead, he wants to keep things just the way they are and make sure that the red-carpet treatment he has received so far, especially at Facebook.

Good read as always from Zeynep Tufecki. Twitter is Trump’s noisey misdirection from his real game which plays out on Facebook. With Zuckerberg’s full and willing backing.


CJW: 'Collapse of civilisation is the most likely outcome': top climate scientists

Australia’s top climate scientist says “we are already deep into the trajectory towards collapse” of civilisation, which may now be inevitable because 9 of the 15 known global climate tipping points that regulate the state of the planet have been activated.

Now we return to our regularly-scheduled apocalypse.

MKY: right? Crises are nesting within each other like Russian dolls rn.

MJW: Cool cool cool cool cool cool cool cool.


CJW: Pentagon War Game Included Scenario of Gen Z Protests

According to the scenario, many members of Gen Z — psychologically scarred in their youth by 9/11 and the Great Recession, crushed by college debt, and disenchanted with their employment options — have given up on their hopes for a good life and believe the system is rigged against them.

The military is already planning ways to put down a Zoomer rebellion, so don't let them down, fellow kids.

MKY: GenXer’s for the ZRebellions!


MJW: Luxury Bag Factory Worker Jailed For A Facebook Post

Unless they are unionized, workers like Soy, who are at one end of the supply chain, rarely know which brands they are making products for. This absence of transparency in the brands’ supply chains, according to labor rights activist Andrew Tillett-Saks, is one of the ways brands escape accountability for how factories treat their workers. “Brands hide behind these corporate structure nuances... It’s important for the public to be reminded who is at either end of the supply chain and the vast gulf of inequality between them.”


CJW: The Politics of Pop: The Rise and Repression of Uyghur Music in China

When he sang of the “homeland” (weten) that night, everyone in the largely Uyghur audience understood exactly what he meant: not China or even Xinjiang but the Uyghur homeland, separate, special, and apart. Undoubtedly, these lyrics only pushed past the censors because of plausible deniability. Surely the singer was prepared to tell anyone who asked that the homeland he sang of was the People’s Republic. But we all understood; we knew the meaning of the hidden transcript.

We shared links last year about the "re-education" camps in China where Uyghur people are being detained, but this is an interesting and broader look at Uyghur music, culture, and history, through the lens of a local The Voice singing competition.


CJW: The Great Film Production Renaissance: Are You Ready? (via Sentiers)

Some interesting speculations here, but I'd take it all with a grain of salt. The author talks with the breathless enthusiasm that is common to tech types, without failing to take into consideration the larger artistic and cultural impacts of this sort of filming, or the ways this digital fidelity encourages vapid spectacle. For instance, you'll never look at an Avengers film again after someone points out how much time they spend arguing with each other in boring corporate office style environments. They do that because it's cheap, but it's also creatively lifeless. If this is the future for blockbusters, that's fine, who cares, they're already mostly CGI anyway, but I don't (or refuse to) see a future where digital backdrops come to replace real, physical locations. Imagine Atlanta without it being filmed in and around Atlanta.


CJW: Mass Extermination of Iowa Pigs Amid Pandemic Revealed

Rather than caring for these animals until pre-pandemic demand returns, or converting them into discounted or donated food for millions of people who have suddenly become unemployed and food insecure by caring for the animals until slaughterhouse capacity can accommodate them, many companies, including Iowa Select, have evidently made decisions driven exclusively by a goal to maximize profits. In sum, they are slaughtering these now “worthless” animals in vast numbers as fast as possible, using extermination methods that cause sustained suffering and agony, to avoid the costs of keeping them alive.

Factory farming is inhumane at every stage. You can't even justify its use by saying it provides cheaper meat than smaller, more humane farming, because as you can see here, they don't give a fuck about food production or feeding people - those are just steps along the way to the real goal of making money. 

Related: Animal Rights Activists Uncover Locations of Factory Farms

MJW: I just… I can’t… I do not understand.


DCH: Pandemics have fueled the rise of mega-corporations—and they’ll do it again

Big businesses have leveraged plagues to augment their power for centuries. And Covid-19 won’t be any different.


ACAB Spring:

Cutting Room Floor:

CJW: We must bear witness to black deaths in our own country

They are not ‘outraged’ because they are not ‘shocked’. There is nothing shocking about racist violence perpetrated by police because it is normalised. It is seen as legitimate violence. It is this legitimate violence that was not only used to steal the country and assert white dominance but also maintain it through the oppression of Aboriginal people.

A powerful piece from Amy McQuire. In so many ways, Australia has been culturally colonised by the US, which is why it’s sad but not surprising that it took the huge BLM protests in America to make people in Australia stand up and take notice of the issues we have here and even then, plenty of people have been trying to deny our own history of slavery. It may not have been on the same industrial scale as the Transatlantic Slave Trade, but it was no less real, and it was still slavery.

MKY: Damnation (2017) [Netflix]

Wanna watch a Marxist preach the Revolution to the people during the Depression? Wanna watch a small scale insurrection play out against Bankers and their Pinkerton agents? Only problem is it’s a one-season wonder, that was only greenlight to begin with on the success of Mr Robot, at the time. This is definitely a show to watch rn.


MKY: Penny Dreadful: City of Angels

Also rather timely. And basically a Natalie Dormer showcase. So far she’s punched a cop and started a race riot, and is helping the Nazis create the infrastructure for a future land invasion - and making LA pay for it! I just pray its ending isn’t as Dreadful as the orig series.

MJW: I would watch Natalie Dormer do anything. Sweep the floor, read a book in silence, lay in a hammock eating an apple… Oh wait.

CJW: We’re about five minutes away from launching a Natalie Dormer gif newsletter, aren’t we?

CJW: Or: How to name a disaster - Elvia Wilk (via Andrew Dana Hudson)

[...] while the future may resemble the past, there will be no reversal of the pandemic, nor a reversion to the worldview that came before. Loss changes those who live through it. “It,” says Lessing, “was, above all, a consciousness of something ending.” Something is ending, but many things are continuing and others are beginning, and this offers the opportunity for new choices. What will end are certainly not the structures of power that got us here: Those will likely hold, and try to hold tighter. We should and will try to dismantle power.

Interesting piece about experiencing and naming a slow apocalypse (or just massive, catastrophic shift), using Doris Lessing’s Memoirs of a Survivor as a lens. I’ve not read it, and indeed I’m torn on the two Lessing books I have read (The Golden Notebook and Shikasta, which were brilliant and heart-breaking in parts, but meandering and dull in others), but now I want to check it out.


CJW: I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream: The Duty of the Black Writer During Times of American Unrest

This is a brilliant personal essay by Tochi Onyebuchi. I’ve not yet read his book Riot Baby, but I’ve heard nothing but great things about it, and after reading this I’m even more excited to check it out.


MJW: Indigital - Australia's First Indigenous Tech Education Company

Indigital is Australia’s first Indigenous Edu-tech company, specialising in technology development and digital skills training in augmented and mixed realities, artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things and geospatial technologies. Our mission is to close the digital divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, by providing a meaningful pathway for Indigenous people into the digital economy and the creation of future technologies. Together, we can use digital technologies to express 80,000 years of human knowledge for generations to come.


DCH: The Tragedy of the Common Black Square

A brilliant read from my friend Rina Atienza about blackout tuesday and the intersection of art history, media theory, protest, and even faith. Holy hand grenades, indeed.

DCH: The Machine Never Blinks: A Graphic History of Spying and Surveillance (Fantagraphics)

We used to call it the Information Age, an era of technological innovation that made our lives more convenient. But since the idealistic early days of the Internet, we’ve learned that seemingly benign technology, from debit cards to social media, is being used to spy on us — so now let’s call it what it is: the Surveillance Society.

Good read by Joseph Canlas, Ivan Greenberg, Everett Patterson. Worth your time. 


DCH: BOWIE Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams by Laura Allred, Michael Allred, Steve Horton (Insight Editions)

No one working in comics today is better suited to tell Bowie’s story than the Allreds. This sets a new bar for their work too. Scoop it up while you can.

DCH: Will covid-19 reverse globalisation?

From that pinko rag, The Economist


Emory Douglas was one of the greatest designers of the 20th century.

MJW: I posted a piece on Medium back in April (what is time, even?) about how I work and how I hope that our new world order changes the way we work forever: Please let us revolutionise work.


MJW: If you’ve made it to the end of our newsletter of horrors we salute you. Remember: as you destroy this fucking cruel system, dismantle racist institutions, and egg every bigot you see, be kind to yourself. Have you eaten lunch? Did you bring a sweater?

nothing here but systems that can’t reform themselves

issue 051 - 31st May, 2020

CJW: It seems like looting mostly occurs as a side effect of civil unrest – when protests get big enough, and people are angry enough, looting is possible. But I’m slowly starting to think that looting should actually be embraced as a part of the protests.

Capitalism is king. Money is the only thing these people understand (“these people” being governments, authorities, and corporations). They care far more about money than they do about the lives and needs of their citizens. They currently have no incentive to deal with systemic racism within the police because the police are an important part of the system of white supremacy that helps to prop up America’s economy. But what if every time the police murdered another person of colour, the local community went out in force, committing mass acts of destruction against police and corporate property, including looting? I’m talking millions of dollars of damage every single time it happens. They won’t be swayed by ethics, morals, or community outrage - only once they see an economic impact to their racist murder force will they begin the process of addressing the deep, systemic issues of racism and white supremacy in policing.

As I write this I realise that with a nation and police force as heavily militarised as America, this would lead to state violence on a scale that it might as well be called a pogrom. Because they won’t take the boot off your neck. This entire system of oligarchic capitalism relies on you being downtrodden by the police, by your boss, by your landlord. They would rather kill you than change.

I still think looting is a valid strategy - but when they value corporate product more than the lives of BIPOC, expect them to respond with lethal violence.

(Shared by Ospare down in the comments. Please watch it.)

All of this to say that if you’re in any way concerned about property damage while police are regularly killing POC and facing zero consequences, you need to take a long hard look at your racist self. (And I don’t claim to be not-racist - it’s the system/society we were raised under - but I am trying to do better and be better.)

Remember a few weeks ago when it seemed like the pandemic might have been a big enough system shock to actually lead to broad, positive change? Well, this week, with the violent response to peaceful protests about another murdered black man in America, and the contempt for the rest of society shown by the corrupt UK elite, (not to mention the Australian government already planning on coming down hard on people who dared to… receive the welfare payments they offered) we see what is really coming: yet more inequality in terms of both wealth and justice. There won’t be any sort of “new normal” just the same old shit reinforced with more violence and more surveillance, with more wealth going to the top 1% while the rest of us struggle just to live. This is their world, and they think you should thank them for letting you live in it.

Also, I missed this in March, but I kept waiting for a news article that would summarise what I’d seen on twitter so I could share it here: Six men tied to Ferguson protests have died, and activists think it might not be a coincidence. Just keep that in mind before filming, or sharing images of, protestors who could be identified by their faces or tattoos. Because there are literal lynch mobs out there, likely made up (at least partially) of police, being protected by the police - and they’re getting away with it. Otherwise you would have heard about it before now.

Of course, the above is in response to the situation in Minneapolis, with locals protesting the murder of George Floyd (GoFundMe link). I assume you’re already familiar, but perhaps you manage to stay off social media entirely. Here’s a link to the Minnesota Freedom Fund which will help arrested protesters make bail.

DCH: The Boogaloo Movement Is Not What You Think

In a United States made even more unstable by a contentious presidential election season, and the social and epidemiological effects of COVID-19, every protest or street battle and its aftermath will carry the potential for serious acts of violence. As protests over the death of George Floyd heated up in Minneapolis on May 26th, members of Boogaloo groups across Facebook considered it a call to arms. Memes were churned up that day, adding George to the movement’s list of martyrs.

Robert Evans and Jason Wilson continue to do amazing work investigating the bastards in the far-right. If you’re familiar with the Boogaloo Bois then it’s likely because they were prominently on display during the “re-open protests.” This week? They’ve been trying to co-opt the George Floyd protests. So much so that there’s already an investigation underway.  


DCH: Customs and Border Protection flew a Predator B drone over Minneapolis as protests rocked the city

Jason Paladino, an investigative reporter at The Project on Government Oversight, tweeted Friday that CBP unmanned aerial vehicle CBP-104 out of Grand Forks Air Force Base is "circling over Minneapolis" at 20,000 feet.

They’re launching drones now. They’re arresting and shooting journalists now. All of this in full-view of the public. All of this is the inevitable outcome of Trump’s racism and his bullshit war on the media.


MJW: Amy Cooper Knew Exactly What She Was Doing

The clip of Cooper sneering “I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life” highlights this truth about race in America: White people are far more aware of the structure of the thing than they care to admit.

CJW: This was attempted murder. Homicide by cop. She says in her shitty apology “I’ve come to realize especially today that I think of [the police] as a protection agency,” but she fails to mention the other side - that the police are also a weapon to be used against POC. The numerous recent examples of police murdering African Americans and facing zero consequences has proved this, and white America is quickly internalising this fact.

Related: The Bird Watcher, That Incident and His Conflicted Feelings on Her Fate

And he is aware that the image he cuts — as a man often shuffling the undergrowth after a rare bird, with a metal object, the binoculars, in his hand — can read differently for a black person than for a white person.

It doesn’t stop him.

“We should be out here. The birds belong to all of us,” he said. “The birds don’t care what color you are.” 


CJW: 'This is the end of Hong Kong': China pushes controversial security laws

First the pandemic killed the protests, now China is going to use it to kill the idea of an independent Hong Kong. Not surprising in the slightest.



The neoliberal era is ending. What comes next?

That’s not how change works. All of these people have roles to play. Both the professor and the anarchist. The networker and the agitator. The provocateur and the peacemaker. The people who write in academic jargon and those who translate it for a wider audience. The people who lobby behind the scenes and those who are dragged away by the riot police.

One thing is certain. There comes a point when pushing on the edges of the Overton Window is no longer enough. There comes a point when it’s time to march through the institutions and bring the ideas that were once so radical to the centres of power.

I think that time is now.

A High-Tech Coronavirus Dystopia (via Sentiers)

It’s a future in which our homes are never again exclusively personal spaces but are also, via high-speed digital connectivity, our schools, our doctor’s offices, our gyms, and, if determined by the state, our jails. Of course, for many of us, those same homes were already turning into our never-off workplaces and our primary entertainment venues before the pandemic, and surveillance incarceration “in the community” was already booming. But in the future under hasty construction, all of these trends are poised for a warp-speed acceleration.

If you want to get angry, be sure to read this piece by Naomi Klein on the technocratic for a post-COVID America. While progressive economists (like those in the above piece) are offering more balanced solutions to a post-neoliberal world, the elite will be pushing for a tech-powered neofeudalism. And our governments (traitors and collaborators) will let them do it unless we push back.

MKY: srsly. What we might as well call the COVID-19 era now has made clear as fuck is that what Klein has previously termed the Climate Barbarians are quite happy to rule over a dead Earth. So long as they rule. Like, 100K dead humans in the US, 37K in the UK etc etc etc… if they’re happy to take that hit - die! die for Darkseid and the ECONOMY - we don’t have a hope in Hell of changing the course of Earth System, charging towards runaway climate change, UNLESS :clap: WE :clap: FIGHT :clap: BACK.

CJW:Neofeudalism: The End of Capitalism? (via Max Anton Brewer)

[...] the conservative geographer Joel Kotkin envisions the US future as mass serfdom. A property-less underclass will survive by servicing the needs of high earners as personal assistants, trainers, child-minders, cooks, cleaners, et cetera. [...] Unlike the specter of serfdom haunting Friedrich Hayek’s attack on socialism, Kotkin locates the adversary within capitalism. High tech, finance, and globalization are creating “a new social order that in some ways more closely resembles feudal structure — with its often unassailable barriers to mobility — than the chaotic emergence of industrial capitalism.”

And here is a very detailed and somewhat dense look at neofeudalism and our current condition by Jodi Dean. I could have grabbed a dozen pull-quotes easily - definitely read this one when you’ve got the time to really soak it all in.

Competitiveness has replaced competition and growth as a state goal, leading states to prioritize not a level playing field and the dismantling of monopolies but “to aid specific economic actors — those who are best positioned to perform well in the global competition for profit.” [...] States don’t intervene to break up monopolies. They engender and award them.


DCH: With Storage Space Evaporating, the Oil and Gas Industry Will Get to Put Its Products Back Underground

Remember how we were talking about oil prices going negative recently? Yeah. Well, that’s led to a storage problem. So big oil is pumping it BACK underground. Regulators in Texas even voted unanimously to rollback protections that were in place to prevent groundwater contamination in the process. This was all done behind closed doors with no public hearing or discussion with environmental groups. 

CJW: It's worth noting that they haven't stopped extracting oil, nor have they even put a cap on oil production to try and mitigate the oil storage situation. We're going to make this planet uninhabitable for ourselves and many other animals and plants just because it's easier and cheaper to keep doing what we're doing.

MKY: these motherfuckers…


DCH: What a Week’s Disasters Tell Us About Climate and the Pandemic

Oh, I’m sorry. Did you think the climate catastrophe was going to go on holiday just because of the pandemic?

The hits came this week in rapid succession: A cyclone slammed into the Indian megacity of Kolkata, pounding rains breached two dams in the Midwestern United States, and on Thursday came warning that the Atlantic hurricane season could be severe.

It all served as a reminder that the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed 325,000 people so far, is colliding with another global menace: a fast-heating planet that acutely threatens millions of people, especially the world’s poor.

CJW: Quite a sobering note this piece ends on, but one which echoes what we've been saying recently about all the talk of "returning to normal."


DCH: FEMA Tells States to Hand Public Health Data Over to Palantir

“If they’re accessing these rich data sets directly from our public health infrastructure, will they exploit that to add economic value to their core data sets? If their AI learns how to infer and predict the patterns of the disease from our public data, then that becomes a hugely lucrative advantage for a private company, especially now when everyone, in every business sector, wants to know where COVID is going and how hard it’s going to hit,” said Shoshana Zuboff, the author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism and a professor emerita at Harvard Business School.

There’s no if there. Palantir is using their Gotham software package to run this project. That’s the same product they use for law enforcement clients. 

P.S. The Veteran’s Administration is being used as a guinea pig for all of this…


MJW: The Prophecies of Q
During my insomnia thrashing and writhing, I read this article and by the end of it I was confused, unsure what I was reading or if I was dreaming, and then quite scared.

You understand this sounds crazy, but you don’t care. You know that a small group of manipulators, operating in the shadows, pull the planet’s strings. You know that they are powerful enough to abuse children without fear of retribution. You know that the mainstream media are their handmaidens, in partnership with Hillary Clinton and the secretive denizens of the deep state. You know that only Donald Trump stands between you and a damned and ravaged world. You see plague and pestilence sweeping the planet, and understand that they are part of the plan. You know that a clash between good and evil cannot be avoided, and you yearn for the Great Awakening that is coming. And so you must be on guard at all times. You must shield your ears from the scorn of the ignorant. You must find those who are like you. And you must be prepared to fight.


CJW: The Umami Theory of Value (via Ospare)

The essential mechanics are simple: it’s stating there’s a there-there when there isn’t one. And directing attention to a new “there” before anyone notices they were staring at a void. It’s the logic of gentrification, not only of the city, but also the self, culture and civilization itself.

One for the zeitgeist scholars: On cultural umami and the rise (and now death) of the experience economy. Really fascinating stuff from Nemesis (Emily Segal & Martti Kalliala), an alternative consultancy firm.


MJW: Doordash and Pizza Arbitrage

For over a decade, he resisted adding delivery as an option for his restaurants. He felt it would detract from focusing on the dine-in experience and result in trying to compete with Domino's. But he had suddenly started getting customers calling in with complaints about their deliveries.

Customers called in saying their pizza was delivered cold. Or the wrong pizza was delivered and they wanted a new pizza. Again, none of his restaurants delivered.

CJW: This piece is great - a pizza restaurant owner who deliberately didn’t offer delivery finds DoorDash adding delivery options to his Google search results without any input or consultation from him. But... he and the author of this piece realise DoorDash scraped the wrong price off his website, and they can profit from DD’s VC money with some fake orders:

Was this a bit shady? Maybe, but fuck Doordash. Note: I did confirm with my friend [the restauranteur] that he was okay with me writing this, and we both agreed, fuck Doordash.

DCH: This is the root of the gig economy. Use VC cash to subsidize consumer purchase power to take over an entire industry and then once people are locked in, jack the prices up. I wrote about this in the context of Uber over at 20 Minutes into the Future awhile back. In the near-term it’s great. Fuck the man. In the long-term its the man fucking us all over. 


CJW: NYT Critique of Ronan Farrow Describes Pathology of “Resistance Journalism” (by Glenn Greenwald)

The English language is insufficient to convey the madness required to believe that the Kremlin wanted to kill Marcy Wheeler because her blogging was getting Too Close to The Truth, but in the fevered swamps of resistance journalism, literally no claim was too unhinged to be embraced provided that it fed the social media #Resistance masses.

It can be pretty hard to keep up with the many and varied right-wing grifts, but be sure that russiagate and the hashtag-resistance were little more than liberal grifts.


CJW: The Wife Glitch | Jennifer Schaffer (via Helen Lewis)

And through the Wages for Housework movement led by Silvia Federici, women even asked that that value of their work be recognized in capital’s primary currency: a wage. This demand was more radical provocation than concrete policy proposal, one which attempted to speak the language of capitalism in order to undermine it. To pay wages for housework would require a wholesale transformation of the economy, revealing at the core of capitalism a fundamental reliance on the unpaid labor of women.

Interesting read on sexism, misogyny, the value of labour (especially unpaid/women’s labour), and the way Silicon Valley automation is designed to collect the value from that work in order to make rich men even richer.

There is no room at the negotiation table; any unpaid work will remain unpaid until, in due course, we will pay to have that work done for us by automation. And like that, the mainstays of human life become premium services we pay for. Like that, the value only flows up.


CJW: Indycar's Virtual Race Crashes Sparked Real-World Controversy Among Drivers (via Dan Hill)

Ferrucci is a driver who infamously did hit a teammate he was angry at following a race. With all the disregard for the work of his team’s mechanics and equipment, and the safety of his fellow drivers that implies. That fact is that while Ferrucci’s behavior online doesn’t have any of the same risks and consequences, he’s also the driver from whom that behavior is most concerning. He is already a driver that the sport has tried mightily to rehabilitate; to see him demolish a rival at the [virtual] finish line for laughs raises old questions about his overall fitness to race with other drivers.

This is a really interesting look at some of the drama coming out of a virtual lockdown Formula 1 series being raced by real, professional drivers.

I for one would be happy to see an end to car racing and all the petrol it needlessly burns, which makes the suggestion of linking virtual events to drivers' real careers rather interesting, mirrors REPO VIRTUAL in oblique ways, and could perhaps signal the approach of our increasingly online future.


DCH: First Things First 2020

We, the undersigned, are designers who have been raised in a world in which we put profit over people and the planet in an attempt to keep the gears of capitalism greased and well maintained. Our time and energy are increasingly used to manufacture demand, to exploit populations, to extract resources, to fill landfills, to pollute the air, to promote colonization, and to propel our planet’s sixth mass extinction. We have helped to create comfortable, happy lives for some of our species and allowed harm to others; our designs, at times, serve to exclude, eliminate, and discriminate.

Co-signed. Burn the whole fucking system down and start over. I love to read a good manifesto. And write them too. The more manifestos the merrier. 


Cutting Room Floor:

CJW: Free eBooks on Policing from Haymarket and Verso

Haymarket Books is giving away the Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? eBook for free.


And Verso is giving away The End of Policing.

CJW: Memory I (via Ospare)

For centuries, many people of color and many at risk have been speaking against governments that are structurally disinterested in allowing parts of the population to live. Existing in denial of risk, it is the societal inability to hear, accept, and truly internalize this possibility that continues to make excuses, in the face of great grief, for the calculated incompetence of governments that are little more than violent, financialized bureaucracies of empire.

A lot of interesting thoughts in this essay, about memory, potential, myth, and more.


DCH: ESO Telescope Sees Signs of Planet Birth

The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope has glimpsed what they believe is evidence of a planet forming:

The new images feature a stunning spiral of dust and gas around AB Aurigae, located 520 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Auriga (The Charioteer). Spirals of this type signal the presence of baby planets, which ‘kick’ the gas, creating “disturbances in the disc in the form of a wave, somewhat like the wake of a boat on a lake,” explains Emmanuel Di Folco of the Astrophysics Laboratory of Bordeaux (LAB), France, who also participated in the study. As the planet rotates around the central star, this wave gets shaped into a spiral arm. The very bright yellow ‘twist’ region close to the centre of the new AB Aurigae image, which lies at about the same distance from the star as Neptune from the Sun, is one of these disturbance sites where the team believe a planet is being made.

MKY: mmmm…. Lying in the gutters of quar life, watching new planets form.

DCH: This Isn’t My Fantasy Apocalypse

Another great one by Nate Powell.

MJW: You’re Wrong About

Sarah Marshall and Michael Hobbes are the hosts of You’re Wrong About, and I swear I could listen to them do a deep dive into ANYTHING and be just completely riveted throughout. ‘But, Marlee,’ you might say. ‘I don’t think a two-part episode of a podcast about Kato Kaelin (a bit-part player in the OJ Simpson case) would be that interesting,’ but you’re wrong about that.

Marshall and Hobbes are sharp, insightful, and journalists of the highest order: complete research nerds. I found this podcast a couple of days before isolation began and have made my way through the entire back catalogue, soothed from my mania with stories of the shit I remember from the 80’s and 90’s that we were all just so wrong about. Highlight episodes include Tonya Harding, their 4-part DC Snipers ep, and one on the obesity epidemic that hit me hard in the feels.



This one could have gone under Self-Promotion, because Episode 2 features *this guy* but I share it here because Gareth has already posted interviews with some other great authors, Elizabeth Bear, and Rym Kechacha. Gareth actually told me about Kechacha’s book while we were doing my interview, and it sounded so good and relevant to my interests that I bought it right away. Expect me to drop a review in the newsletter when I’ve had a chance to read it.

DCH: Cornell West “The system cannot reform itself.”


DCH: Killer Mike “We don’t want to see Target’s burning. We want to see the system that sets up for systemic racism burnt to the ground.”

If those videos don’t make you cry and rage then you’re just fucking broken. End of.

CJW: Mrs Piss - Self-Surgery

As I was listening to the first track I thought “this sounds like Chelsea Wolfe mixed with…” and then I realised Mrs Piss was in fact a new project from Chelsea Wolfe and Jess Gowrie. It’s definitely more punk-leaning than Wolfe’s other work - short, fast-paced tracks, with a lot of energy and anger.

CJW: Some more press and such in relation to Repo Virtual


CJW: And that’s it for now. I could say more, but I won’t keep you any longer. Stay safe, and stay mad.

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