Sowing divisions

A unionized auto worker  on the assembly line in 1979.

     Why the Right Loves Privilege Politics    

The Right deploys privilege politics to avoid class politics, obscuring where the real power lies in our society.


Connor Kilpatrick

Last month, I wrote a
short post about how some people — particularly wealthy liberals — are trying to rob “the 99 vs. 1 percent” framing of its inherent class politics in order to turn it into a new form of privilege-checking.

My argument was that the so-called “one percent” was better understood as a class than either an accumulation of arbitrary privileges or even a specific payscale — though that’s certainly a much better start than whether you’ve smoked meth. Furthermore, I argued that by diverting attention away from this ruling class at the top, we were instead turning inwards and letting the real power players in our society get off scot-free.Sections of the working class are without a doubt more oppressed than others, but I wrote the piece because right now Americans are inundated with a variety of liberal politics that try to turn what should be political reckonings against the truly powerful into an epidemic of guilt and complicity in which a huge portion — or, sometimes, nearly all of us — are to blame.

That’s not only not true — it’s also politically ineffective if our aim is social emancipation.But there’s another problem with the politics of privilege: the ease with which it’s used by conservatives.Unlike many leftists from “blue states,” I grew up with Rush Limbaugh. Rush, Mark Davis, Hugh Hewitt — I listened to them all as my parents drove me around to Little League practices and summer vacations. As soon as I’d hear the thumping bass line to Limbaugh’s intro (“The City Was Gone” by the Pretenders), I’d get a knot in my stomach thinking about all the pompous bluster that was about to be unleashed.

Whatever it was, I didn’t like its effect on my parents. It wasn’t so much that it was hateful as it was sarcastic, chortling, and aggrieved.At the time, having no knowledge of the outside world whatsoever, I thought these radio right-wingers were obnoxious and probably wrong. But at the same time, I picked up on the cadence of their arguments.Liberals like to believe that these hucksters are all dumb, and that they’ve managed to gain an audience simply because “there are a lot of racists out there” — and of course there’s definitely a big market for that in the USA.

But there’s more to it.There’s a reason so many millions have kept tuning in all these decades. With conservative politics, there’s a consistent logic. And a huge part of it is an attack on what they see as a series of unjust and unfair “privileges” being protected by a liberal state.

For decades, the conservative movement has taken advantage of the malaise of the labor movement in order to turn wage earners against unionized workers. With their hard-won benefits and higher wages, unionized workers are, after all, “privileged” members of the working class.How many hours has Limbaugh & Co. done on the lazy United Automobile Workers thug who gets paid $70 an hour to screw a light bulb into a Chevy? Or the “rubber rooms” full of tenured public school teachers who can’t be fired ’cause of their damn union?

Just look at how handily Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was able to turn the bulk of his state — including the working class — against “privileged” public sector employees.When the social-democratic parties of the Western world chose neoliberal policy solutions over the material interests of the working class, it was the Right who stepped in there too — arguing that immigrant families were “privileged” beneficiaries of social programs that workers fought for throughout the twentieth century.

We have our own version of that in the United States: is a desperately poor person on Medicaid more “privileged” than a working-class person who’s forced to pay exorbitant health insurance premiums out of pocket? The Right would say yes.

And yet notice how confident conservatives are that framing issues in terms of “privilege” will always go their way — the diminishment of Medicaid, the defunding of the welfare state — and never towards a solidaristic politics of single-payer. Funny how that works.

Sometimes, the Right will even go across the globe to turn the immiserated American poor into just another privileged class. Whenever they want to dismiss shocking new stats on American poverty, how do they do it? They quickly juxtapose the American poor against the impoverished in less developed countries.“The US poor are privileged!” they say. After all, they have cable television, cell phones, refrigerators. These are all things that the poor elsewhere lack — so, really, is capitalism and wealth inequality that much of a problem?

Ask yourself: is this not, essentially, the same argument as the “first world problems” meme so beloved by progressives? During Occupy, remember the conservative line? Those kids all had iPods! They bought coffee at Starbucks! They, those fools, were all complicit — privileged. Don’t listen to those hipsters!

And of course, on the rare occasion that a progressive celebrity goes a couple notches left of acceptable — as Matt Damon did in his brutal takedown of the education reform movement — we’re reminded that these people are, after all, the privileged. Even if they’re arguing for the abolition of said privileges.

Each of these conservative lines ignores the ruling class at the top and, instead, drives our attention elsewhere. Never once does the conservative’s search for “privilege” blow back in his face and land on the capitalist class in general.The Right deploys privilege politics to avoid class politics, obscuring just where the real wealth, power, and, yes, privilege lies in our society. Clearly, there’s something about this tactic that’s conducive to the conservative mission. They’ve been using it for decades now. Obviously they have reason to believe it’s working in their interests.

So why exactly do we think it’s working in ours?


8 reasons why working at Facebook is better than working at Google

Business Insider recently released its 2015 list of The 50 Best Companies To Work For In America, based on exclusive data from PayScale.

This year, Facebook tops the list, ranking as the best place to work in America. The social networking site just beats out Google, which comes in at No. 2. 

Clearly, both tech giants are great employers, but why is Facebook a better place to work than Google?

To answer that question, we compared the two companies head to head with the help of data from PayScale and Glassdoor.

1. Facebookers are happier.

Employees from both tech companies are pretty stoked to be there, but Facebook has the edge over Google with a satisfaction rating of 93% compared to Google’s rating of 84%, according to employees who completed PayScale’s survey.

“Every morning when I go in, I feel like the luckiest guy on earth for ever landing a job here,” writes a Facebook data scientist in Menlo Park, California, on Glassdoor.

2. They get more freedom.

There are a lot of contributing factors to this high level of happiness, but one important reason stands out — Facebook trusts its people.

Don Faul, a former Facebook exec, recently told The Wall Street Journal that compared to Google, which he says is more structured and places more importance on “manager” titles, Facebook employees are often placed in roles that cater to their strengths and are encouraged to question and criticize their managers. And this kind of freedom is perhaps one of the best drivers for employee engagement.

“You get zero credit for your title,” he said. “It’s all about the quality of the work, the power of your conviction, and the ability to influence people.”

3. They make more money.

We know money isn’t everything when it comes to job satisfaction — but it certainly helps. In fact, while a higher salary won’t necessarily boost your happiness, researchers from the University of British Columbia and Michigan State University found that people with higher incomes reported feeling less sad, something Facebook employees surely know well.

On average an experienced employee at Facebook makes $135,000 compared to $133,000 at Google. And the social media company typically pays 17% above market rates for its employees, while Google pays 10% above market.

Taking a closer look, according to data gathered by Glassdoor, an intern at Facebook makes almost $7,400 a month on average, while a Google intern makes closer to $7,200 a month.

4. They’re less stressed.

If you’re in the market for a stress-free job, you’d be better off avoiding the tech industry altogether. But while it’s unlikely for many techies to consider their jobs relaxing, more Facebook employees report low job stress levels than any other tech company, including Google.

Despite stressors like product launches and “oncall duty,” a two-week period a few times a year when engineers are responsible for keeping Facebook’s service up-and-running around the clock, 11% of Facebook employees consider their jobs low-stress. Meanwhile, 9% of Google employees feel the same way.

5. They consider their work more meaningful.

“Does your work make the world a better place?” That’s what PayScale asked Facebook and Google employees, and 81% of Facebook employees answered with a resounding yes. At Google, on the other hand, 67% of employees feel their work gives them meaning.

A former Googler cited one possible explanation on Quora: too many overqualified people.

It can be tough to feel a sense of accomplishment about what you do, and that sense is actually quite important to the type of people who are ambitious enough to get over the Google hiring bar.”

6. The hiring process is less difficult.

Hiring at Google takes an average of six weeks, and job candidates consistently rate Google’s interview process as more difficult than Facebook’s on Glassdoor.

While it may seem counterintuitive that more competitive hiring practices could work against Google, the ex-employee explained that the tech giant has its pick of the best and brightest candidates and often hires them for lower-level jobs. 

“There are students from top 10 colleges who are providing tech support for Google’s ad products, or manually taking down flagged content from YouTube, or writing basic code to A|B test the color of a button on a site,” the ex-employee said.

7. A smaller team means more room for growth.

Another former Google employee wrote on Quora that Google is too big for most of the company’s 53,000 employees to have a real impact. Facebook, however, employs a much smaller team of about 10,000.

“Unless you are an amazingly talented engineer who gets to create something new, chances are you’re simply a guy/girl with an oil can greasing the cogs of that machine,” the former Google employee wrote.

And when it comes to moving up the ladder, Facebook employees report to Glassdoor they have greater opportunities for growth. Compared to Googlers who feel satisfied in their ability to move up, Facebookers report they are very satisfied with the career opportunities at Facebook.

8. They love the generous benefits, especially those for parents.

Facebook and Google both have great perks — free food, a vibrant office environment, easy transportation to and from work — but Facebook trumps Google in the parenthood department.

Facebook is one of the first companies to offer coverage of up to $20,000 for egg-freezing, and its employees love that they can enjoy parenthood on their terms, giving the tech company’s maternity and paternity leave policies an almost perfect score on Glassdoor.

Current employees are particularly excited to report Facebook makes its four-months-paid-leave policy available to both women and men, whereas Google offers 18 weeks of paid maternity leave but just 12 weeks of paternity leave.

And overall, Facebookers report on Glassdoor being happier with their benefits than Googlers.

“There is literally nothing bad about it — the perks and benefits are incredibly generous, and only get more so over time,” writes a current employee in Menlo Park, California.

SEE ALSO: The 50 best companies to work for in America

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8 reasons why working at Facebook is better than working at Google

8 reasons why working at Facebook is better than working at Google

Business Insider recently released its 2015 list of The 50 Best Companies To Work For In America, based on exclusive data from PayScale.

This year, Facebook tops the list, ranking as the best place to work in America. The social networking site just beats out Google, which comes in at No. 2. 

Clearly, both tech giants are great employers, but why is Facebook a better place to work than Google?


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The 10 things in advertising you need to know today

Good morning. Here’s everything you need to know in the world of advertising today.

1. This is what it’s like to attend one of “King of Instagram” Dan Bilzerian’s legendary house parties. The VP of creative and innovation at mobile marketing and technology company Somo was lucky enough to get an invite.

2. Tim Cook said during his company’s earnings call on Monday that we are on the verge of major changes to media. And Apple wants to be a part of that, he added. Streaming, perhaps?

3. Apple is working with Box and a bunch of other companies to get iPads into businesses. The iPad was one of the only disappointing areas in Apple’s quarterly results.

4. Here’s a full list of the best companies to work for in America, according to employer information website PayScale. Google and Facebook are the top-ranking companies.

5. Facebook has added video calling to its Messenger app. It even works with Android, unlike Apple’s FaceTime.

6. ESPN is suing Verizon over its “Custom TV” pricing plans. ESPN alleges that Verizon violated its contract by placing it in a sports tier, according to documents filed Monday in New York Supreme Court.

7. The number of people actively using Twitter may actually be in decline. The amount of people tweeting or creating new accounts peaked in August 2014, but has since tumbled, a source with access to Twitter’s user data tells Business Insider.

8. Chipotle says it will stop using genetically modified ingredients in its food. The brand has started advertising the GMO elimination in its restaurants.

9. The Wall Street Journal’s CMO Today takes a look at seven questions hovering over digital media companies’ version of the television upfronts. The New Fronts are taking place over this week and early next week.

10. London’s transport authority TfL has told Marketing Week it wants to open more tube stations up for sponsorship. Canada Water was recently temporarily re-named “Buxton Water” during the London Marathon.

Join the conversation about this story »

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from Business Insider
Java Developer Salary

The average salary for a Java Developer is $69,585 per year. Most people move on to other jobs if they have more than 20 years’ experience in this career. Pay for this job rises steadily for more experienced workers, but goes down noticeably for employees with more than 20 years’ experience.

I mean, Java was first released in 1995, saying that Java Developers with more than 20 years experience get paid noticeably less in 2015 doesn’t exactly mean anything.

The Good and Bad Jobs for Grad Students in 2015

The Good and Bad Jobs for Grad Students in 2015

It’s that time of year when college graduates ponder their future plans, and those heading for more higher learning put down deposits for grad school tuition. In a knowledge economy, the pay gap is the widest it’s been in a generation, between those with more education, versus those with less. Which degrees are the best investment?  (more…)

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When you compare salaries for men and women who are similarly qualified and working the same job, no major gender wage gap exists

Find Out Exactly What YOU Should Be Paid Do Men Really Earn More Than Women? [infographic] See the methodology for the infographic below. Embed this graphic. Click to select: Methodology Difference in Annual Pay: To compare male and female pay on a…


Personal development research blog

The job role I am aiming for is level designer and one day working for Blizzard entertainment. There are other companies which I would like to work for some day, Double Fine, Platinum games and Atlus games to name a few. Some of these goals would be more difficult to attain for different reasons.

According to the average salary for designers world wide is £27,479 with junior designers earning an average of £18,982 and lead designers earning £40,279. (Chapple, 2014). I also found on  that the average salary in the US is $57,103. The resources I found don’t have individual breakdowns for different types of designers. I also looked into the sorts of locations within the UK that games industry jobs can be found. 3 websites were used for this website,, and, and the majority of the jobs were in the south east of the country, mostly around London.

A level designer requires a strong skill set in different areas both creative and technical. A level designer needs to be able to plan out a level. This seems like a simple skill but poor planning skills can cause serious problems during development. I have some issues in this area of development. I have habits of not planning out before I begin working on something. This is an area that I aim to improve over time.

Another skill that is important for a level designer is the ability to sketch. Being able to sketch out a level is useful when planning out and visualizing levels. Being able to create visuals for the level during planning can also help explain the level to other people. Sketching is another area that I have problems with. My skills as an artist aren’t as strong as I would like them to be. I would like to improve these skills but a skill like this only really comes from practise and experience.

Skills in 3D can also be helpful for a level designer. Being able to build the layout of a level in 3D can help give a sense of scale to the environment as well as being able to find problems that aren’t that aren’t immediately obvious on paper. Another benefit to being able to create 3D is the level can have a basic playthrough. Even in just a white box version of a level, the flow of the level can be examined and adjusted. 3D is an area I have some confidence in, I feel I am somewhat skilled in 3D modelling. These skills can still be much improved with more experience using programs like Autodesk Maya.

Scripting is an area that is very useful for a level designer to know. Scripting events within an environment is an important stage in development for a level. The scripting can be spawn points, breakable objects or story event triggers. Without these the difficulty curve for the level would be wrong or story beats would be missed. Scripting is an area I have difficulty with. I have problems learning text based scripting languages but this is an area I have been working at.

There are some developers that have similar roles to that which I am aiming for that I would consider key designers:

Hideki Kamiya is currently the director of Plantinum games and has been in the industry for just over 20 years. Kamiya started in the industry as a planner on the original Resident Evil in 1994. Planners in Japanese video game development are essentially game designers but as the director is the primary designer in Japanese game development planners tend to plan and manage rather than design. Kamiya moved on becoming a director for many well known titles such as Resident Evil 2, Devil May Cry, Viewtiful Joe, Bayonetta and the upcoming Scalebound.

Kamiya has had a huge impact on the industry, Devil May Cry alone create a new genre of character action game. 

Robert Briscoe is an environment artist and 3D modeller of over 10 years experience. Briscoe is the creator of Dear Esther and before that worked on Mirror’s Edge. Briscoe is a good example of how working on mods can be a gateway into the industry. Briscoe was working on a Half Life 2 mod called Nuclear Dawn when he was first able to become a junior environment artist at Dice working on Mirror’s Edge. 

“it was through my ex-modding friends and the work I had built up in my portfolio with Nuclear Dawn, that I eventually landed a job as a junior Environment Artist on Mirror’s Edge in early 2007.“(Briscoe, 2012)

After working on Mirror’s edge and a little after Briscoe moved on from Dice to start working on what would later become Dear Esther. He then worked for 3 years on Dear Esther with it releasing in Febuary 2012.

Dear Esther was the first of the so called “Walking Simulators“ in which the primary form of gameplay is moving through the environment. In these sorts of games level design is extremely important because the environment needs to both be interesting enough that the player wants to keep playing and the environment needs to be able to tell a story. 

Colin Volrath is a level designer of over 5 years experience currently working at Blizzard Entertainment. Volrath had extensive freelance work before working at Blizzard as both a level designer and a graphic designer. Volrath is an example of how a designer can work within the games industry. Working freelance is a way of gaining experience within the industry with a variety of different positions but it has some problems with the lack of security.

One of, if not the most important things for a designer is a good portfolio. A portfolio shows what work you as a designer are capable of creating and what they can expect if you are hired by them. Part of this is presenting work in a professional way, presentation also tells a potential employer about you as a person.

After looking at online portfolios from level designers there are some important aspects that should be taken into account.

A website is useful. Having a website will give you a place online that you can send people to show them work. It also allows you to control the the design and layout of the portfolio.

For a level designer it is important to show people environments and maps you have created before. It can be helpful for a general portfolio online to have different genres of work e.g. sci-fi themed environments, fantasy themed environments and so on. This is good for a general work portfolio but if the portfolio is for a specific employer it is important to specialize it. If I was for example appling for work at Blizzard, I would specialize the work to fantasy for World of Warcraft or sci-fi themed for Overwatch.

Before showing an employer a portfolio you need to meet people within the industry so you know when jobs are available and to do this networking is needed. Networking is meeting people in socially to build up a professional contacts within an industry, in my case the video games industry. Building up these contacts is incredibility important when trying to enter an industry. The people that have been met are able to give advice on a portfolio as well as, if the work is impressive they can give information about when jobs become available, potentially gaining you access to the industry.

When networking it is important to know when and where it is a good time to speak to people. Places like conventions, developer meet ups, game jams are are all places where it is possible to meet other developers.

A game that I would consider key for level design I Mirror’s Edge. Mirror’s Edge came out in 2008 and focuses almost entirely around movement and the parkour system within the game. As so much of the game is about movement the level design is paramount and I believe the game was successful in creating levels that are enjoyable to just move through. Part of this strong design is the simplistic colour and art design. The games colours are limited to just red, blue, green and orange on white. Almost all the buildings in the game are white with the 4 colours used to guide the play. In the game there is a mechanic called runner vision that highlights elements in the environment to guide the player. After Mirror’s Edge was released the ability to highlight important environmental elements became more common, games like Tomb Raider and Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Another game that is important in terms of level design is World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft was released in 2004 and is still being played by millions today. As World of Warcraft is an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game) it has a huge expansive game world filled with an assortment of different looking and themed environments, from jungles to deserts to cities and it all feels like the same world. With the release of the Cataclyse expansion for World of warcraft in 2010 the environments were changed in a huge way with many areas being damaged, with all these changes the game world still feels cohesive and unified and many of the areas are able to tell stories just through the environments. World of Warcraft has had a huge effect on the industry to the extent that many MMORPGs that have been released over the last 10 years have been called “WOW killers”. This title shows the strangle hold on the MMO genre that World of Warcraft has had over the years. The environment design is no small part of this success.

A more recent example of a game with exemplary level design is Bloodborne. Bloodborne was release in march 2015. Bloodborne is a spiritual successor to the souls series also created by From Software. The souls games are great examples of environmental storytelling as most of the story and lore of the games is not told directly to the player rather it is implied through item descriptions, NPC dialogue and the world. In Bloodborne specifically there is very little story given through dialogue but there is details that can be picked up through architecture. As well as environmental storytelling, Bloodborne has very good level design in general, there is good use of verticality and the environments flow naturally into one another.

My goals for the immediate future are to try and enter the industry through either a junior design position or by working in QA testing. To reach these goals I need to work on my portfolio of work, increasing the size and quality of work. I  would also like to improve my skills using programs like Autodesk Maya and Adobe Photoshop and game engines. I would like to gain more experience Unreal 4 and Unity.


Chapple, C. (2014, January 30th). Revealed: Average game developer salary falls to £32,500. [Weblog]. Retrieved 5 May, 2015, from

Briscoe, R. (2012, November 6th). A Retrospective/Post-mortem on Dear Esther. [Weblog]. Retrieved 6 May, 2015, from

Pro Services Best Practice - Partner with Sales

Having had the chance to lead Professional Services teams around the globe, let me tell you the “secret” to make a successful career out of it: partner with all the sales teams your work with!

Far too often, I partnered with or coached Professional Services associates who would not find this approach easy or even natural. If you find it hard to partner with your sales team, please give me five minutes of your time, so I can elaborate why it makes sense. If partnering with sales does not sound natural to you after reading this article, please share your point of view and let me know where the rationale failed!

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The 26 happiest companies in America

Feeling like “the luckiest guy on earth for ever landing a job here” is pretty high praise from an employee.

But it’s just that level of enthusiasm and excitement that earned Facebook a top spot as one of the happiest companies in America. The tech giant tied with two other companies for the highest level of job satisfaction.

All three companies received a job satisfaction score of 93% on our third annual list of the 50 best companies to work for in America.

The list is based on exclusive data from employer-information website PayScale, which surveyed employees in the US who work at companies that appeared on the 2014 Fortune 500 list. PayScale calculated scores for each company using six criteria: high job satisfaction, low job stress, ability to telecommute, high job meaning, experienced median pay/total cash compensation, and salary delta. We double-weighted pay to emphasize the importance of companies that pay their employees well.

When it came to happiness, PayScale asked employees at these companies, “How satisfied are you in your job?” Respondents could select “extremely satisfied” or “fairly satisfied." The higher the percentage of extremely satisfied workers, the higher the score that company received. (You can find the full methodology here.)

Check out our infographic for a full list of the happiest workers in America:

SEE ALSO: The 50 best companies to work for in America

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