political outcomes


I’m surprised that so many of these “Punch a Nazi”/AntiFa activists don’t even see their own parallels to the actions of the Sturmabteilung. Create chaos in the streets in attempt to strike fear of those that would dare ‘step out of line’, disrupt meetings & gatherings of groups they oppose, use of intimidation in order to sway political outcome, and even the design of propaganda that misrepresents events in attempt to gain sympathy. No one else sees the connections to the Tax Day rally in Berkley, with the AntiFa woman picturing herself as some Native American warrior stereotype that’s going to bring back “100 Nazi scalps” only to be punched in the face when she attacks, and the following? 

“In the Nazi campaigns, propaganda and terror were closely linked. In Berlin, Nazi Party leader Joseph Goebbels intentionally provoked Communist and Social Democratic actions by marching SA [Brownshirt] storm troopers into working-class neighborhoods where those parties had strongholds. Then he invoked the heroism of the Nazi "martyrs” who were injured or killed in these battles to garner greater public attention. Nazi newspapers, photographs, films, and later paintings dramatized the exploits of these fighters. The “Horst Wessel Song,” bearing the name of the twenty-three-year-old storm trooper and protege of Goebbels who was killed in 1930, became the Nazi hymn. The well-publicized image of the SA-man with a bandaged head, a stirring reminder of his combat against the “Marxists” (along with other portrayals of muscular, oversized storm troopers), became standard in party propaganda. In the first eight months of 1932, the Nazis claimed that seventy “martyrs” had fallen in battle against the enemy. Such heroic depictions – set against the grim realities of chronic unemployment and underemployment for young people during the Weimar period – no doubt helped increase membership in the SA units, which expanded in Berlin from 450 men in 1926 to some 32,000 by January 1933.“

From State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda, by Steven Luckert and Susan Bachrach, pp. 48-50:

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GRAPEFRUIT & EARL GREY BREAD (+ CAKE TOAST!).

The past week felt like a month: So many meetings, so many jaw-dropping, face-palm-inducing news headlines, so much sadness and confusion and anxiety jostling about inside this little human apparatus. Of course, it hans’t just been this week. In truth, i’ve spent a good deal of time this entire year paying attention to the many things that caused me to feel afraid, the many situations I described as “scary”. There have been a not insignificant number of them: uncomfortable conversations with family; unexpected political outcomes; uncertain romantic situations.

As someone who long ago decided to do whatever I could to surprise myself on the regular, noticing fear has become an invitation to step outside the bounds of my proverbial (emotional/intellectual) comfort zone. And this past week was a whole lot of that, with innumerable mugs of herbal tea (and my very first Facebook live chia pudding demo) interspersed throughout.

Read more and get the recipe here.

Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?

The same thing we do every night, Pinky: make a great show of our ostensibly principled refusal to participate in a political process whose outcome won’t substantively affect our lives anyway!

Maedhros and Maglor: The Saving Angels of the Earendilion?

This was originally a response to a similar post of belegg’s (I basically expounded upon hers with my own view), but then I decided that I wanted to make it into an essay of its own. So it has been adapted and edited to make it into a proper essay.

Disclaimer: First off, I’d just like to warn all readers that I don’t treat the Feanorians very kindly in this essay. It is definitely not my most objective piece, and you’ll see quite a bit of vehemence and emotion in it (probably because it was written in a fit of unhappiness with people who claim that Maedhros and Maglor are redeemed because of this one act). That being said, I would also like it to be known that Maedhros is actually my favorite of the Feanorians, as well as in the top ten of my favorite Tolkien characters. So it is not that this is meant as hate against him.

The idea in this fandom that Maedhros and Maglor were gracious little angels for “rescuing” Elrond and Elros makes me so furious. I mean, I really like the two of them (at least, a LOT more than I used to, because I used to despise Feanor and all of his brood). But their one act of “grace” honestly wasn’t even a true act of grace, when you look at it.

Some say that Maedhros and Maglor were saving the twins’ lives, but truth be told, that wasn’t the case. They knew that Cirdan and Gil-galad were coming for one thing. And even if they hadn’t known, then you can bet that they did know that some of the people of Sirion were still alive—were still alive and would look for the sons of Earendil and Elwing, their lord and lady. True they may have been concerned that some of their men might take the twins and do with them what they did with Elured and Elurin, but they kept the twins safe from their men in captivity, didn’t they? Why didn’t they leave them on the clifftop (bound even, to keep them from wandering), and command the retreat? Their men would have followed, and the twins would have been left waiting for someone from Sirion or Balar to come find them.

No. Their act of taking Elrond and Elros was not an act of grace. It was selfish and nothing else. Whether it was done in an attempt to find redemption themselves (for what they had done to this set of twins’ uncles, as well as Sirion and Alqualonde and Doriath), or else political, either reason was self-serving.

It was an act that did, character-arc speaking, bring about redemption—they saved this set of twins, whereas Maedhros (or his men, as he repented of it later) was the reason for their uncles’ deaths. It was Elured and Elurin again…with a different outcome. Yes it was an act of redemption, and I think it did likely sway both of their judgments a little…for in that at least they DID chose to spare the children, and not slaughter them as they could have. (Yet that still does not absolve them of their crimes. Merely adds a tick in their favor to their tally).

Most of all though, I would argue that the move was a political one—again, self-serving, and even more than that yet another move in their relentless quest for the Silmaril. The act was not one of moving away from their hatred and pursuit. Instead, it was a way to ensure that 1) if Elwing ever returned with the Silmaril, they would have leverage against her. Her twin sons—her only sons—in their hands would be the perfect bargaining chip; 2) they would ensure that, should Gil-galad ride against them, they would have the perfect hostages and, again, bargaining chips needed to ensure that the High King would not do anything rash. They were his kin after all, and the last remaining of his family, as well as of Thingol’s. No, holding Elrond and Elros as prisoners ensured that the remaining sons of Feanor would be in prime political standing, whatever the outcome.

And then one has to wonder—was this in some part recompense for Amrod and Amras’s deaths? According to at least one version of the legendarium, the red-haired twins died in Sirion. It is an old custom for a king to take wards (if a child was left an orphan, the king would take them in, and it is quite likely applicable in the Game of Thrones style as well, where a ward was taken by a victor as a way to ensure that the losers would not rise up and attack (I seem to recall that that is actually historically accurate, although I can find no backing in five minutes’ worth of googling)) (again politics, regardless of the manner in which we speak). But was it deeper even? Somehow some recompense, to take this set of twins from Sirion in payment for the twins taken from them?

It is true that “love grew between them, as little may be thought.” Tolkien states that. But Elrond and Elros were 6 years old when they were taken. They were children, even by pure Human standards, and they were more than half Elven. I am not at all surprised that they grew to love their caretaker, whether he was the one to slay their family and steal them from their home. And there is such a thing as Stockholm’s Syndrome, for those of you have forgotten.

So no. Maedhros and Maglor taking Elrond and Elros was not an act of goodness. It was selfish and self-serving, political and self-redemptive. It does not pardon them for their sins. In fact, if anything, while they spared them and raised them well (and there is no doubt in my mind that they raised the twins well, looking at how both turned out), it is as much of a mark against them as a mark for them. It was not done out of grace. It was not the act of angels.

And don’t you dare try to tell me otherwise.

People were recently searching for ‘Brexit’ more than they searched for 'porn’

Sometimes it takes a terrifying political outcome to cool your loins. Based on Google Trends, there were three times more search results for “Brexit” than there were for “porn” on the Friday morning following the vote. This contrast held true both globally and in the U.K. Surprisingly “Brexit” also topped searches for the Internet’s favorite it girl.

Follow @the-future-now

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“Well I wanted to vote Conservative, but when I went into the voting booth I don’t know what happened…I just thought of Kate going into labour and seem to have ended up standing as the Labour candidate in the very election I wanted to vote Tory.”

Three ways in which capitalism limits democracy

I. Domains with broad collective effects removed from collective decision making

“First, by definition, ‘private’ ownership of means of production means that significant domains which have broad collective effects are simply removed from collective decision making.” Wright 2010, 82

Idea of democracy: collective decision about collective fate

  • “The idea of democracy is that people should collectively make decisions over those matters which affect their collective fate, not that all uses of resources in a society should be made through collective-democratic processes.” Wright 2010, 82

Private decisions of capitalist owners have collective consequences

  • “The key issue, then, is that the private decisions made by the owners of capitalist firms often have massive collective consequences both for employees and for people not directly employed in the firm, and thus the exclusion of such decisions from public deliberation and control reduces democracy.” Wright 2010, 82

More democratic society

  • Workers democratic control within firm
  • External democratic controls

II. Inability to democratically control capital flows undermines ability to set collective priorities

“… the inability of democratic bodies to control flows and movement of capital undermines the ability of democracy to set collective priorities even over those activities which capitalist firms themselves do not directly organize.” Wright 2010, 83

  • Local tax base depends on private investment
  • Limited power to decide how to allocate social surplus
  • Disinvestment constrains allocative decisions

“The issue here is not simply that many of these decisions are made outside of democratic deliberation, but that because investments are made privately, the threat of disinvestment heavily constrains all other allocative decisions within democratic bodies, even over those things in which capitalists do not make investments.” Wright 2010, 83

III. Concentrations of wealth subvert principles of political equality

“Third, the high concentrations of wealth and economic power generated by capitalist dynamics subvert principles of democratic political equality.” Wright 2010, 84

“The key to political equality is that morally irrelevant attributes should not generate inequalities in political power. Capitalism violate this condition.” Wright 2010, 84

Wealthy have disproportionate influence over political outcomes

  • “Wealthy people have a much greater ability to contribute to political campaigns. Powerful people in corporations are embedded in social networks which give them access to policy makers in government, and are in position to fund lobbyists to influence both politicians and bureaucratic officials. They have greater influence on the media, especially the private capitalist media, and through this they are able to influence public opinion.” Wright 2010, 84
  1. Contribute to political campaigns
  2. Access to policy makers
  3. Fund lobbyists
  4. Influence over media and thus public opinion

“While one-person-one-vote in electoral competition is a critical form of political equality, its efficacy in insuring broad political equality in capitalist democracies is severely undermined by the deep interconnections between political and economic power within capitalism.” Wright 2010, 84

SOURCE: Erik Olin Wright. 2010. Envisioning Real Utopias.

listen, i’m not gonna be one of those “you need to vote or you’re an asshole” people, but if you use “all politicians will lead to the same outcome” or “worse politicians will get us to revolution faster” as an argument, consider this:

  • there are political movements immersed in the deconstruction of specific oppressions who are very loudly stating that, yes, the outcome of political elections will affect the groups they represent greatly
  • ignoring those calls to action is inherently privileged
  • you don’t get to use the continued and magnified suffering of oppressed groups as a pawn for your idea of revolution
  • your idea of revolution is probably privileged nonsense in the first place
  • your farts do more to deconstruct oppression than you do, at least they stand a chance of somewhat inconveniencing a fascist

there’s a couple good reasons not to vote, like, idk, “i’m a member of a group who’s gonna get bombed by every one of the fuckers,” but leftist elitism isn’t one of them

“Your dad hires economists for intellectual cover, to prove his dynastic fortunes and political influence are the outcome of a complex, self-correcting mechanism with the mystical power to pluck the deserving out of the teeming mass of humanity and elevate them so they can wisely guide us. They have a sciencey vocabulary conceived of solely to praise people like your father. Like *job creator*. As though we need *jobs*! I mean, if there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that I never want to have a job again. I do math because I can’t stop. Because I’ve found people who need my math to do something amazing.

"If you need to *pay* me to do math, that’s because a) you’ve figured out how to starve me unless I do a job, and b) you want me to do boring, stupid math with no intrinsic interest. A ‘job creator’ is someone who figures out how to threaten you with starvation unless you do something you don’t want to do.

"I used to watch you kids do your Communist Parties, when I was in default and pretending any of that shit mattered. I’d get so *angry* at you, beyond any sane response. It wasn’t until I walked away that I figured out why: because every time you broke into an empty factory and turned the machines on, you proved I was a plow horse whose poor lips had been scarred by the bit in my teeth as I pulled a cart for the man with the whip and the feedbag.

"That’s my point about the difference between the kind of meritocracy we have in the university and the bullshit the zottas swim in. When we say that Amanda is a better mathematician than Gretyl, we mean there are things Amanda can do that Gretyl can’t. They’re both nice people, but if there’s a really important math problem, you’re better off with Amanda than Gretyl.”

Limpopo’s voice ricocheted in Iceweasel’s mind. “But Amanda can’t do it all. Unless she’s working on a one-woman problem, she’ll have to cooperate with others. If she sucks at that, it might take a hundred times more work in total to get it done than if Gretyl – who’s good at sharing her toys and keeping everyone purring – were the boss. This isn’t anecdote – as you keep telling me, the plural of anecdote is not fact. Limpopo sent around this meta-analysis from the Walkaway Journal of Organizational Studies that compared the productivity of programmers. It broke out the work programmers did as individuals and inside groups. It found that even though there were programmers who could produce code that was a hundred times better than the median – one percent as many bugs, 100 times more memory efficiency – that this kind of insane virtuosity was only weakly correlated with achievement in groups.”

—  A passage from Utopia, the novel for adults that I’m working on