Neither Capitalism Nor Socialism: A Third Alternative

Neither Capitalism Nor Socialism: A Third Alternative

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In the lead up to Earth Day this year, I wrote a 21-part series of posts offering practical suggestions for how to honor the Earth beyond the standard ideas of planting a tree and picking up litter (both of which are good, but insufficient).  (You can see the list here.)

Number 6 was “Fight Capitalism.”  I wrote:

“Our capitalist economic system is fundamentally incompatible with a healthy…

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My Little Paper Girl

She comes every morning about 5 AM, driven by her mother, who sits in the car smoking a cigarette. She is about 9 or 10. Blonde. Thin. She runs everywhere.

Often I am up, being a morning person. Out in the yard with the dogs.

“Thank you!” I say as she tosses my paper into my yard.

“You’re welcome!” she says as she heads down the street at a hundred miles an hour.

This little girl, I have decided, is the future of America. Hopefully, she gets to keep the majority of the money. Hopefully, the in-the-car-cigarette-smoking mom isn’t stealing everything. If she is, it’s just child slavery. It’s like the government and “taxes”…….You work, I’ll confiscate the money…..

Today, I stopped her. “Hey, come here!”

She was reluctant. Probably the only time I ever seen her walk. I understand, for I am a hairy old guy in a flannel robe.

“Here,” I said, and gave her a twenty.

You should’ve seen her smile.

The Ableist, Racist, Classist Underpinnings Of 'Laziness' - The Establishment
The people who get called 'lazy' are working harder than any of us.
By Lindsey Weedston

Hello, I’m a lazy Millennial.

In other words, I’m from a generation that has worked more hours for less money than any generation before me, but occasionally I eat a granola bar for breakfast instead of pouring myself a bowl of cereal.  According to some, including many writers of online thinkpieces, that’s enough to make me “lazy.”

But the problem isn’t me, or young people in general, or any group that’s historically been decried for its idleness.  Like Millennials, groups that are called “lazy” are often the hardest-working people around.  They’re just subject to ableism, racism, classism, and other bigotry that codes exploitation or exhaustion as “unwillingness to work.”

I myself have had a very confusing relationship with “laziness” from a young age, often being called “lazy” for enjoying reading and video games by the same parents who praised me for always getting my homework done on time.

Needless to say, I became rather confused about the quality of my work ethic.  Was I lazy or not?  In my teens, I developed an anxiety disorder and a perfectionism that made academic shirking impossible, but the constant state of worry disrupted my sleep and left me so exhausted that I would often come home from school and go straight to bed for a nap.  Sometimes, all I could do was lay in bed, awake, ruminating on everything I could possibly worry about.

But because I was in bed, this was called “laziness.”

I worked so little at that office job, I couldn’t believe it.  I could spend multiple hours each day scrolling through Tumblr or playing on social media.  My “work” time involved reading articles vaguely related to my work — mostly because there wasn’t much work for me to do.  Compared to being on my feet all day, being expected to work every moment on the clock, it was nothing.

I worked three times as hard at my food and customer service jobs as I did at any of my digital marketing positions.  And yet contemptuous thinkpiecers keep on describing people who work in those industries as “lazy.”  Why don’t you get a REAL job?  Like reading Tumblr while sitting at a desk, instead of busting your ass at McDonald’s.

According to Dr. Alison Munoff, a licensed clinical psychologist, “laziness” is nothing more than a value judgement.

“‘Laziness’ is not a personality trait, it is simply a matter of a lack of proper motivation and reinforcement, as it is a behavioral pattern rather than a part of who we are,” says Dr. Munoff.   “The ability to actively approach a task in a time-effective manner changes depending on the task and its value in our lives. For example, in a situation of obtaining limited resources, people find themselves quite motivated and resourceful, meaning that this task is simply a priority based on its value and necessity, and has little to do with someone’s personality.  Unfortunately I find that when asked about the first time people were told they were being ‘lazy,’ it was from a parent or caregiver who was unsuccessfully attempting to motivate the child without a good understanding of the way this idea would be carried forward.”

In nature, animals spend a lot of their time being idle.   Most of the footage shot of big cats like lions are of them lazing around.  Part of this is because many of them are nocturnal, but it’s also because animals will hunt, forage, and eat until they’re full, and then most of the rest of their time is spent conserving energy.  Laying around doing pretty much nothing is completely natural.  It’s adaptive.  Yet laziness has this negative connotation in many human societies.  And that negative connotation is often deployed in ableist, racist, and classist ways.

Today, we can all enjoy reasonably priced produce thanks to the many exploited Latin undocumented immigrant workers picking our fruit and vegetables — labor that is so intensive that we “non-lazy” white people simply can’t handle it.  And let’s not forget that all of this land was stolen from the Indigenous tribes that were here before we floated over and laid claim to it all.  Isn’t stealing other people’s hard work supposed to be lazy?

Or is it just that it’s easier to call people lazy than admit that you exploited them?

Even if you’re not racist, you’ve probably used the idea of laziness in a way that hurts a lot of people.  I still struggle with an anxiety disorder and go through bouts of depression, and a lot of what’s involved in these mental illnesses looks like what people call “laziness.”  Depression saps your energy and makes everything seem pointless.  Anxiety is paralyzing, making even some of the simplest tasks (like calling people on the phone) seem daunting, so I avoid them.

Combine the two and you’ve got me huddled into a ball on the bed, unable to do anything but listen to Netflix playing in the background.  It looks like laziness, but I’m actually engaged in an exhausting war in my own head.  Anxiety is like pushing a giant boulder in front of you wherever you go, and depression is like dragging a giant boulder attached to your legs by chains.

People with physical illness and disability are also prone to being accused of laziness, especially if that illness or disability is not visible to others.  There are people who are nearly constantly in pain or constantly fatigued, but you would never know by looking at them.  These individuals work much harder than able-bodied and “healthy” people.  Not only do they often have to work to survive because disability payments (if they can get them) are not nearly enough, they have to navigate a world that caters to able-bodied people, and they have to navigate that world while their bodies work against them.  But article after article decries the “laziness” of people who use motorized carts or take elevators up one floor instead of using the stairs, not for a second thinking that there are people who wouldn’t be able to shop or go up floors at all without these “conveniences.”

It’s easier to think of someone as “lazy” than to face the fact that school costs too much, that better jobs are inaccessible, that childcare is unaffordable, that people are forced to work so hard for so little that there’s no way they could have enough energy to attempt schooling or finding better work, and that what we give to people who can’t work is insufficient to the point of being shameful.  I could say that calling people lazy is, in itself, lazy, but it’s not just an intellectual shortcut.  It’s a defense mechanism.

Everyone has a finite amount of energy.  Some of us have greater drains on our pool of energy than others, whether it comes from the stress of racial microaggressions, the stress of poverty, or mental or physical illness.  Needing more time to recover isn’t laziness.  Having less time or energy to make breakfast than the previous generation isn’t laziness.  When you take a second to look into the reasons behind the behavior, you’ll never end up finding laziness.  Because laziness isn’t real.

^^^ THIS

i just fucking hate this culture we’ve created where its a bad thing to help people

like why stress “a hand-up not a hand-out!” whats wrong with a hand-out? whats wrong with sharing and giving and loving? 

we are a social species, we thrive when we work together and help each other, this fucking capitalist hellscape we live in is not natural or good or the only way

“[I]t is actually more expensive to be poor than not poor. If you can’t afford the first month’s rent and security deposit you need in order to rent an apartment, you may get stuck in an overpriced residential motel. If you don’t have a kitchen or even a refrigerator and microwave, you will find yourself falling back on convenience store food, which—in addition to its nutritional deficits—is also alarmingly overpriced. If you need a loan, as most poor people eventually do, you will end up paying an interest rate many times more than what a more affluent borrower would be charged. To be poor—especially with children to support and care for—is a perpetual high-wire act.”

It Is Expensive to Be Poor | The Atlantic

anonymous asked:

hi. i have bpd, mdd, gad, an eating disorder, a tic disorder and probably lots more. in my past 3 jobs i have attempted suicide while at work bc of panic attacks. i'm applying for disability in canada. i also use med. marijuana, bc psych meds have never helped me and cbd really does. bc of what people say about drug users on welfare, i feel really guilty for applying, but i wont be able to afford rent or food and i cant work. please tell me the truth, do u think im entitled to gov assistance?

i honestly don’t understand why you would think you wouldn’t be entitled to it? You’re clearly not able to work without severe harm to yourself like? That means you can’t work lmao. If you think you need it then you need it. I can’t tell you that, I don’t think someone would go through the trouble of getting petty change from the government if they weren’t actually sick.

The self-expression promoted in Pride parades has been increasingly facilitated by corporate sponsors. Anyone who has attended a major Pride event in recent years has felt the heavy presence of big businesses: Wells Fargo, TD Bank, Walmart, and Diet Coke, to name a few. According to Project Queer, more than half of the 253 participants in the 2015 Chicago Pride Parade were corporations, businesses, and banks. In comparison, LGBTQ groups represented less than 10% of the participants.

Not only is it irresponsible to corporatize Pride, many of the sponsorships promote products or lifestyles that are inaccessible or insensitive to the LGBTQ community across the United States. In New York, the Pride Parade runs down 5th Avenue in Manhattan, passing mainly high-profile shops and neighborhoods fitting of high-figure salaries. The Guardian notes that many of San Francisco Pride’s biggest sponsors, like Facebook and Google, contribute to the growing income inequality in Silicon Valley, while members of the LGBTQ community struggle with homelessness in skyrocketing numbers.

And The Chicagoist points out that alcohol companies frequently sponsor Pride events—yet over 30% of the LGBTQ community is projected to struggle with drug and alcohol addiction, a rate three times higher than the general population.

Others feel unsafe by support from big businesses. Members of the LGBTQ community have rallied against Wells Fargo’s sponsorship in particular, criticizing the bank’s history of investing in private prisons that incarcerate LGBTQ persons, especially queer and trans people of color, at disproportionate rates.

—  The Capitalist Appropriation Of Gay Pride | Annie Utterback for The Establishment