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SEPTEMBER 23: Anita Cornwell (1923-)

Happy birthday, Anita Cornwell!! The LGBT activist and author of the very first collection of essay by a black lesbian to be ever be published turns 94-years-old today!

Anita’s only fiction book to date, The Girls of Summer, was illustrated by Kelly Caines and published in 1989 (x).

Born on September 23, 1923, Anita Cornwell was raised in Greendwood, South Carolina before the family moved to Pennsylvania when she was 16. At first she lived with her aunt in the town of Yeadon, but she later went to live with her mother in Philadelphia. Anita stayed up north for college and eventually graduated with degrees in journalism and the social sciences from Temple University. She worked as a journalist and a secretary before her 1983 collection of essays, Black Lesbian in White America, made her a name to know in feminist and LGBT circles. Along with Black Lesbian in White America, Anita’s writings that have been published in Feminist Review, Labyrinth, National Leader, Los Angeles Free Press, and The Negro Digest were some of the first pieces of published writing where the author declares themselves a proud black lesbian. Although Anita was surely not the first of her kind in history, she is the mother of an entire branch of literature and an LGBT hero.

-LC

Some facts about capitalism:

  • Artificial scarcity drives profits up
  • It is not profitable for everyone to live comfortably
  • The system demands unceasing growth and resource extraction for its own survival, in turn putting the survival of humanity and ecosystems in peril
  • The growth that arises from capital accumulation makes a select few obscenely wealthy, while most of the world lives in poverty 
  • It can be transcended

If you would go out of your way to argue how easy it is for capital to automate away jobs when labor costs become too high, then you should probably know that you’re giving all kinds of credibility to those of us who advocate fully-automated luxury communism. I mean, think about it: you’re arguing that so much of human labor ISN’T NECESSARY because said jobs can be done by machines, and yet you STILL want the bulk of humanity to pointlessly scrape by laboring for the capitalist class, receiving meager wages to buy the shit they helped generate in the first place. The above billboard is a THREAT. Let’s not mince words – that billboard is bourgeois propaganda designed to turn the working class against each other and against the broader goals of resource democratization. “If you fight for a basic livable wage, just know that you’re easily replaceable, peon!”

This is what leftists mean when they say that capitalism is an economic system filled to the brim with tensions and contradictions; it’s also what they mean when they say that capitalism inevitably produces its own gravediggers. Automation is one of those gravediggers, and it’s a major one at that. As more and more jobs become automated in the coming decades, the working class will face widespread dispossession, ramping up revolutionary class consciousness in the process. At that point, capitalism will either focus on generating more superfluous jobs for people to work or set about instituting a universal basic income – regardless, the point is to keep enough scraps flowing downward so that people don’t call for a broader system change. In this way, capitalism’s ruling class can maintain control over the wealth-producing means of production and imperialist capital accumulation can continue unrestrained.

For these reasons, “more jobs” and universal basic incomes are not enough. We need to democratize the broader social infrastructure and eliminate the profit system. If you recognize how possible it is to automate away human labor, then you should defenestrate yourself out of the Overton Window and use some political imagination – cut out the unnecessary jobs, automate all the labor you can, produce for human need rather than elite profit, and you end up with drastically reduced working hours and bountiful leisure time. This is the essence of fully-automated luxury communism – the natural conclusion of the conditions that capitalism set in motion.

Be wary of automation in the present climate, but always trace it back to the class struggle. Robots taking our jobs SHOULD be cause for celebration; why should we treat these potential liberators as harbingers of dispossession? Technological advancements are pushing us exponentially towards a de facto post-scarcity world, where everyone’s needs can be comfortably met alongside their desires for community and leisure and entertainment, and yet we’re held back by Empire’s insistence on keeping the means of production hoarded under the command of a superfluous ruling class. As long as we are divided into capitalists and workers, humanity will never know full liberation.

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In which jason decides to go public with his girlfriend [Y/N]
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Gem Class Analysis: Pearls

Prior to the recent Steven Bomb, some of the most divisive fan theory characterisations have been for Blue and Yellow Pearl. Theories would range from their having a close and intimate relationship with the Diamonds, to their being physically abused, to it sometimes being a mix of both.

And we can understand the source of what seems like a contradiction. That these Pearls, in particular, are serving the Diamonds directly puts them in a very privileged position, not exactly in the modern sense of the word.

That Pearls are in such close contact with the ruling elite makes them privy to the goings on of upper Homeworld that other gem classes would remain ignorant to. At the same time, they’re also living objects, dehumanised and treated as utilities rather than individuals.

It’s a unique position of power and powerlessness and, unconsciously, we as fans pick up on that; hence, the muddled characterisations of what their relationship with their Diamonds would have been like.

In the latest Steven Bomb, we got to see more of all of these characters and we know now that their relationship isn’t one or the other but somewhere in between.

“Oh no. It was very serious. When I still served Homeworld, I saw it myself.”

In that regard, I want to talk about how Diamonds and their Pearls relate to each another, and look at the implications this has for our very own Pearl, who admits she served Homeworld at one point.

1. The function of the Pearl class

To get this out of the way as early as possible, Pearls are being dehumanised. It’s not right to limit an entire class of gems to objects and prevent them from having individual inclinations, when other gems can manage some level of individuality. Pearls are individuals with their own capabilities, thoughts, and feelings.

Even before we knew about the Diamonds, the way other gems like Peridot initially treated our own Pearl showed us that Pearls are one of the lowest classes on Homeworld.

Words like “owner,” “stand there,” and “hold your stuff” were being thrown around. Not much was expected from them.

In light of all the new information received, a consolidated understanding of what Pearls were expected to do on Homeworld would help in the succeeding discussions. And what we know is that Pearls were gems created specifically to serve particular individuals. This service did not entail doing a job like other gem classes.

Other gems serve a specific function in servicing gem society as a whole. Like builders, soldiers, technicians, and leaders.

This public- or collective-oriented approach to organising gem society makes a lot of sense considering the way the gem life cycle is perpetuated.

The reason we don’t have gem classes specifically for private affairs, like the home life, is because their concept of “home” is much different from ours. Gems are born as full adults; they don’t need to eat or sustain themselves physically. That means a lot of our human necessities don’t apply to them.

That in turn puts the service sector of Gem society, where Pearls are, as something extraneous to functioning. 

It’s much the same for social constructs. Would the Ruby Squad consider themselves a “family?” Probably, but not in the way we understand the word. Instead of families, gems are groups into classes. And in these classes they socialise each other on what it means to be the gem they are.

The best example of this would be the soldier gems, who train each other and depend on each other in missions.

Leggy, the newbie “just born yesterday,” according to Rebecca Sugar’s early sketches of the Rubies, was being oriented by her more senior teammates.

Even though we felt threatened by the Ruby Squad, and Eyeball in particular, Leggy had absolutely no fears hiding behind the latter and it’s more than clear their shared experiences made them more cohesive as a unit.

In that way, gems don’t seem to spend a lot of time with gems outside their class.

The very “function” of Pearls is very different from that of other gems. Their work is relegated inward into the private sphere. They attend to very specific individuals. They are always with gems who aren’t like them.

And the key to this is the value system on Homeworld.

I talk about the utilitarian nature of Homeworld a lot of the time. So in a society in which utility is one of the key aspects, having work that is visible, like the creation of buildings or the colonisation of planets, puts a high premium on certain types of gems.

Service is invisible.

It’s not as easy to measure the impact of telling people they’re great everyday has on the rest of their lives. But this is the work Pearls do. Their work makes Pearls appear like they’re of even less use, which in turn puts them lower down in the eyes of individuals.

It’s very similar to how the work of medical nurses wasn’t recognised as legitimate until very late on in the history of medicine. Nurses comforted patients, checked on them daily, and attended to them, while doctors stepped in for a diagnosis and prescribed the treatment plan.

Because one involved something tangible and the other involved the daily grind of caring for another human being, the “usefulness” of latter was taken for granted.

It was (and in many places still is) very difficult to quantify the effects of their contribution and they were viewed lowly.

2. Servicing the Diamonds

Now to the specific question: What exactly do Pearls do?

Keep reading

but thanks for calling

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Jason x short brunette girlfriend

Character Update: Yellow Diamond

Quite a while back, I wrote about Yellow Diamond, and my intent was to present the character I saw in totality. Even now, when I talk about the Diamonds and how they read strongly as characters with motives and feelings beyond just hurting others because they can, I feel like for the most part, I’m addressing questions about Yellow Diamond in particular.

Yellow Diamond is a character easy to picture as an irredeemable antagonist. Like Jasper and Aquamarine, she walks with an air of authority and certainty about her. A lot of people take her character as one who hasn’t shown any explicit self-doubt or weakness. It wasn’t long ago that The Answer aired and there was a lot of positive feedback because we got to see a “vulnerable” Garnet.

When I hear this sort of characterisation, I think back to these characters. While it is a very humanising experience to see a character previously presented as a bastion of unshakable strength question themselves and show a “fatal flaw” or weakness, it’s not the only way to present a relatable, dynamic character. To situate this in our world, it’s very rare that people choose to show their inadequacies in the first place. In fact, it is far more common for people to do everything in their power not to reveal vulnerability.

Yellow Diamond is a very complex character precisely because she shows indication of presenting herself as much more put together than she lets on. And, as usually happens in real-life as well, it’s not only for others’ sake but also for her own. In her, we see a character brutally honest, suffering neither formality nor trivialities for the sake of it. To view her consistently would be taking her actions into that context, and using that to understand where she stands on PD’s shattering. That’s something I want to talk about in this post.

So let’s get started.

1. Yellow’s relationship with feelings is complicated

I’d like to begin by talking about YD as a chest gem. Like Blue Diamond and other chest gems, she tends to interact with the world in terms of feelings. Remarkable moments in her life are likely best remembered by what she was feeling at the time they happened, and her first impressions are probably marked by how she felt about certain individuals, places, or things.

I think this is most evident in how she feels about Earth. In the past I’d talked about how Peridot was presenting a solution to Homeworld’s resource shortage in Message Received. What we’d learned at that point was that Homeworld was running out of resources, so much so that Gems couldn’t be made as physically strong or with the same abilities as they were supposed to be.

Upon closer inspection, it’s because the very means Homeworld uses in order to advance its species is inherently parasitic. They drain planets and have no means to replenish these resources. What Peridot claimed to find, after † a deeper appreciation for organic life, was a way to make use of Earth without damaging said life. And that’s a game-changing discovery, because the only way for that to happen would be a renewable or sustainable means of using a planet.

Peridot had expected Yellow Diamond to see the reason and logic of her plan, to be just as excited about saving Earth as she was because it meant helping all Gems. That was YD’s reputation. Recall that at this point, it was not that Peridot turned her back on Homeworld because she realised Earth was a better place to live. She realised that Earth was worth protecting, but she thought the Crystal Gems were unable to meet their own goals. That’s why she reached out to the most powerful, rational, objective being she could think of, Yellow Diamond, to help her reach that goal.

Peridot was sorely disappointed by that encounter. She realised her hero wasn’t perfect, but I wouldn’t say she wished for the destruction of Homeworld. I doubt that her take-away from that was that all Homeworld gems were evil. There was a time she’d worked with them, lived with them, learned from them. On her way to destroy the Cluster, the weapon of mass destruction about to shatter the planet she was currently living on, put there by Homeworld, she said it was difficult not to have feelings about Homeworld.

And I think that’s something to understand about the Homeworld defectors we’ve seen so far. Earth was a better option for them, but Homeworld would always be home. For the most part, those who chose to leave still imagine a better life for their fellow-Gems back home, but found no way to give them that life without leaving Homeworld altogether.

What this leads up to is the idea that all these Gems have strong feelings associated with Homeworld, and now Earth. But on different occasions, they put aside these feelings because they felt something better could be realised. Rose put aside her sentimental feelings of never being able to go “home” because she wanted to give the Crystal Gems the freedom they currently experience on Earth, and she wanted to protect the life that was already thriving there. Steven, more than once, has sacrificed the fear he felt and let himself be placed in dangerous situations for the sake of protecting others.

The other thing that I want to point out here is how we were led to believe Peridot was going to sell out Earth to Homeworld. We don’t get a lengthy monologue about how she feels or her plan. She just goes through with it and we feel a sense of betrayal, like the gems did. That she was thinking up a solution and pitched it to her Diamond shows that she didn’t just realise Earth’s life had value halfway through the conversation. It was her objective assessment from earlier on. Unlike most short-format shows though, these changes in characters aren’t exaggerated, and more closely reflect the interiority we experience in life.

On the one hand, we have someone like Blue Diamond, who has let the feelings of both sadness and regret take over her ability to act. BD is angry and upset with Earth. She cannot fathom how such a weak and fragile planet was able to shatter a Diamond. The wounds are raw enough that when Steven was unable to give the detail about the sword in The Trial, she uncontrollably used her gem ability on the court.

On the other, we have someone like Yellow Diamond, who has had to run everything in her stead as well as maintain her own duties, and those of Pink Diamond, and deny those feelings day in and day out. Peridot called her the paragon of objectivity and reason. Peridot, who prides sound logic above all else when making a decision, put her faith in YD.

And YD couldn’t put aside her feelings about Earth, and the anger she and BD both felt about a planet that destroyed their friend and comrade, to listen to a plan with the potential to save Gem-kind.

That’s something I need to stress because it speaks of the depth of the wound inflicted by the war. More than that, it paints a more realistic image of YD. YD is someone trying to be the perfectly objective and emotionless leader, and most of the time she succeeds. She is the person she wants to be often enough that it’s become her reputation. That doesn’t mean the feelings go away. The irony of her being a feeling-gem is not lost here.

2. To YD, Leading is a “job” not a privilege

Keep reading

More domestic murder husbands! Featuring dork Hannibal, gross Chilton and smug Will. Honestly this was mostly just conceived because @franicie referred to Will as a curly fry once and I couldn’t let it go. Someone take my tablet away.

For the record, Hannibal probably liked Will’s last comment. And also told him that pun he’s withholding because he just can’t help himself.