Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2018

If You Love Your People, Set It Free (or How an Identitarian Came To Prefer Universal Policy Over Identity Politics)

This post is late because I was in LA last week, where I made a point of walking as much as possible to enjoy my audiobook. Although I still have 20/20 vision I have been slow to accept that aging has made it more difficult to read, making it feel increasingly like a chore. In fully embracing this I've finally started looking for audiobooks I might find engaging enough to not be constantly distracted. For my trip I chose Mehrsa Baradaran's The Color of Money , which looks at the persistence of the racial wealth gap in the US.  It was incredibly striking and depressing listening to  The Color of Money while accidentally walking through encampments of the unhoused, watching new encampments sprout up in the short time that I was there. This is who we've always been. If you have any doubt, the history recounted in  The Color of Money  makes it clear that capitalism has always been about extracting wealth from Black people and keeping poor people poor. On checking into Twitter

Anti-racism - Class = Status Quo: The Neoliberal Argument Against Coalition

I was approached a few months ago around the idea of collaborating to make the progressive case for reparations. I've said before that while the idea of reparations is morally appealing I don't believe in them as an immediate political project. It's not clear to me that it's possible to build a coalition around a reparative justice focused on just 13% of the population. Encouraged by a recent Twitter conversation that included economists Sandy Darrity and Darrick Hamilton where they suggested that saying reparations will never happen is cynical I've begun trying to think of them as an eventuality and lay out the steps to reaching them. Doing this has made clear that our understanding of reparations as a form of compensation to the descendants of the enslaved is not the reparative justice that we think it to be. If we were living with the kind of understanding of justice that made reparations possible we would not be a nation where war, healthcare, education, and cr

Enough Compromising to Lose

There are numerous iterations of a social media meme of how people present on different social media platforms. This, in a nutshell: I was reminded of how true this is after a response to my last post. A friend on Facebook questioned my description of Hillary's 2008 campaign as unapologetically white supremacist, which is understandable because that's not commonly how her campaign is depicted especially after her invocation of intersectionality and overt mention of institutional racism in her 2016 campaign. It can also come off as needlessly incendiary and definitely combative, which is where the meme comes in: this is probably a bit more accurate. I have spent a fair amount of time discussing electoral politics with centrists I encounter on Twitter. I initially said her campaign had racist undertones, matching the description of Ryan Cooper in The Week , (which I shared with my friend along with this Michelle Alexander piece ) that changed over time, admittedly

These Democrats Will Be the Death of Us

Another article , based on another study of the election has prompted people to declare once again that now there's definitive proof that Trump is president because of racism. The study looks at people who switched party voting affiliation, the article focuses specifically on Obama to Trump voters, or ~6% of voters, to draw its conclusions. I'm less interested in exploring the study and article, others have done that. I'm interested in the function they serve in the political discourse to essentially give cover to political elites. Matt Stoller points to this in his review of the article: Liberals love hearing that Trump won solely because of racism, which is an immutable unlearnable object of sin. This absolves them of any need to be introspective about the catastrophic failure of Democratic policy or the need to consider how America is part of global trends. — Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) October 21, 2018 @eshalegal looked at the methodology of the study and f

Capitalism vs Socialism

Recently Daniel Mitchell, former Cato Institute fellow, and Nathan Robinson, editor in chief of Current Affairs  came together to debate the merits of capitalism and socialism. Considering the recent UN report on climate change  one position seems pretty indefensible. Read about it   or watch it below. pt 1 pt 2 pt 3

What It's like Living With A Millennial Part 2 (Short Attention Span Theater Edition)

Sometimes media consumption consists of series of YouTube video challenges: Fail Videos and important cultural touchstones

Racists Gonna Racist, Not a Surprise

I'm fascinated by the constant attempts to revise recent history by stripping context while speaking of events in discrete, simplistic, almost dichotomous terms. The autopsies of Trump's election are a great example of this. There has been a back and forth over whether his win is the result of racism or economic anxiety as if either limited answer is sufficient to contain the full context-- the history of the candidates, voting trends, insecurity of our electoral system, voter disenfranchisement, voter apathy, etc. One could look solely at the people who voted for Trump, their racial attitudes, their economic situations, ask each individually why they voted for him and still not have a sufficient explanation for his win. It doesn't speak to why people didn't vote for HRC or why so many eligible voters didn't vote at all. Not to put too fine a point on it but before declaring Trump's win the result of racism one must first recognize that both candidates empl

Your Identity Politics Are Anti-Anti-*ism

Over the last few weeks I have been reading and listening to a lot of Adoph Reed Jr. and listening to episodes of the podcast The Dig with Daniel Denvir , specifically his interviews with Barbara and Karen Fields , Nancy Fraser , Asad Haider , and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor . As a result of this immersion I'm recognizing a clarification of my own thinking around identity, intersectionality, and what for now I'll call restorative justice. I'm using restorative justice in recognition of the structures that serve capital in the US and as a catch-all recognition of the need to address the effects of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and threat to any "identity" not mentioned. If it's not apparent, even as my thinking clarifies my ability to voice that clarity remains somewhat fractured. That discontinuity is the result of the sometimes purposefully obscuring ways in which we discuss these issues. In a recent episode of Dead Pundits Society Reed said: what&

Moral Arguments Against Forward Progress

Let's start from the shared assumption that the United States was born from the genocide of indigenous and African people; the indigenous people killed for the land and its resources, the Africans for the labor to harvest those resources, driving down the value of labor for low wage free workers. The nation has yet to collectively reconcile that history or commit to any form of restorative justice for it. It would be fair to say of the nation that created a system of chattel slavery while still referring to itself as the Land of the Free with no sense of irony or shame that finding institutions, policies, or programs without racist origins, exceptions, or execution would be as rare as a total solar eclipse. It's helpful to start there because it's reflective of the actual reality of our nation. It's also helpful to start there because there's a strange social media narrative that people promoting universal programs to deliver medical services to everyone and provi