The Constructive Genius of the Great Mass

“Today we must deepen, develop and propagate our ideas and co-ordinate our forces in a common action. We must act within the labour movement to prevent it being limited to and corrupted by the exclusive pursuit of small improvements compatible with the capitalist system; and we must act in such a way that it contributes to preparing for a complete social transformation. We must work with the unorganised, and perhaps unorganisable, masses to awaken a spirit of revolt and the desire and hope for a free and happy life. We must initiate and support all movements that tend to weaken the forces of the State and of capitalism and to raise the mental level and material conditions of the workers. We must, in short, prepare, and prepare ourselves, morally and materially, for the revolutionary act which will open the way to the future.” –Malatesta, from The Anarchist Revolution

I like this passage. Especially,  We must work with the unorganised, and perhaps unorganisable, masses to awaken a spirit of revolt and the desire and hope for a free and happy life. We must initiate and support all movements that tend to weaken the forces of the State and of capitalism and to raise the mental level and material conditions of the workers.

When I read inspiring passages like this, I think of Kroptokin invoking the “the constructive genius of the great mass”. This distinguishes us from the pessimistic socialists who demand a state apparatus and central power structure to primarily discipline the masses prior to organization.

There is a lot of conversation about ending mass incarceration, but almost all of it is focused on changing how we respond to non-violent and low-level crimes. The problem is that more than half of people in state prison are incarcerated for violent crimes, so we will only end mass incarceration if we deal with the question of violence.  

This Issue Time conversation will deal with the question of violence, and will discuss whether mass incarceration actually makes us safer and what else could make us safe instead.


Danielle Sered envisioned, launched, and directs Common Justice. She leads the project’s efforts, locally rooted in Brooklyn but national in scope, to develop and advance practical and groundbreaking solutions to violence that advance racial equity, meet the needs of those harmed, and do not rely on incarceration.

Fatimah Loren Muhammad is the Director of Equal Justice USA’s Trauma Advocacy Initiative, which, in its pilot stage hosts weekly, half-day collaborative workshops bringing over 250 members of the Newark Police Department together with African American community leaders and public health practitioners to discuss issues of race, trauma, violence, policing, and mass incarceration. She is a Senior Fellow at Humanity in Action and a recipient the Leeway Foundation 2010 Social Transformation Award. 

Ryan King is a senior fellow in the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where he works on sentencing and corrections issues with a focus on mass incarceration. His objective is to produce high-quality empirical research on the impact of sentencing and corrections policies at the state and federal level; and to work with policymakers, practitioners, and community advocates to identify strategies that assist in the pursuit of a fair, effective, and rational criminal justice system.

Glenn E. Martin, is the President and Founder of JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA), an organization dedicated to cutting the U.S. correctional population in half by 2030.

Our panelists will begin answering your questions on Monday April 17th.

AP Literature Horoscopes

Aries: “his looks are my soul’s food”

Taurus: Lucetta, a likely lesbian

Gemini: an insignificant small bird trying to be significant

Cancer: a victim of Godfrey Gauntlet’s A1 chastisement

Leo: Mr. Pickle’s sword

Virgo: a beautiful woman unfortunately given the name Hetty

Libra: believes pugs are monkeys

Scorpio: will not share their air w anyone bc ppl lie when they say that music is universal 

Sagittarius: a nasty ass cord of maple decaying in the swamp woods that nonetheless is pretty thicc, considering it is a massive 4x4x8

Capricorn: an option for the third FRQ

Aquarius: desperately wishes that Babamukuru will take them away to transform their social standing

Pisces: is harassed by an insignificant small bird that thinks they want its feathers

It might at first seem attractive to say things like “Marxism can’t explain everything and although it is useful in its particular domain it’s not enough to explain the experiences of xyz, etc.”—but there’s a few things that people forget or don’t realize when they say that.

First, people mistake Marxism for a specific set of conclusions. When we realize that certain issues like racial or national oppression cannot be strictly analyzed through the lens of some pre-existing categories within the Marxist “canon,” we may be tempted to say that Marxism has reached its limit here. I must insist in contrast that, while i certainly feel many of the conclusions typically associated with Marxism are correct, all of these conclusions could actually be wrong and Marxism would still be “true” in the sense that it is most fundamentally a revolutionary way of approaching problems and enacting social change

Second, what is particularly insidious about the idea that Marxism “doesn’t apply” to this or that is the broader implication—which is quite consistent with postmodern theory in general—that different “domains” of life require us to use different approaches, different methodologies, different systems, etc. Wittgenstein, for example, was one of the people who most rigorously argued this, and he held that different domains of life were playing different “language games” which each had their own logic. One conclusion that follows from this is that no domain of social life is really poised to evaluate the validity of the others or appeal to universal truths. This can seem like a compelling line of reasoning, especially since it aligns with the dominant ideology of late capitalism. But it begins to fall apart when one realizes that, to even be able to distinguish where different domains of social life lie and what separates them requires a “global” logic by which you make the distinctions. Proponents of the notion that there can only be “local” theoretical and political systems tailored to the specific conditions of different “domains” do not at all escape appealing to universals; they simply leave the universal principles upon which they base their conclusion completely unsaid, which i feel is extremely dangerous. At least with the liberal humanists, although they simply assert universality from on-high and base their notion on the most vague of abstractions, you know what their assumptions are.

So the question is, what do you hold to be universal? Because without universality, the notion of specificity literally has no meaning.

What do i think? Well, i think Marxism as a theoretical and political practice does have boundaries, but it is able to evaluate where its own boundaries lie utilizing certain principles which are universal. To be precise materialist dialectics contain statements about the very nature of existence which are of necessity global. The fact that materialist dialectics are the product of a concrete practice—namely, taking the standpoint of proletariat in the realm of theory—does not jeopardize their universal “reach.” In fact, i would say that the proletariat, a force which occurs at the point where the various contradictions of society fuse, is particularly poised to access the universal.

Further, the boundaries of Marxism as assessed under the framework of materialist dialectics are larger than many people assume. Remember that Marx does not simply presuppose social class and then analyze society through that lens. Marxism is ultimately interested in the social formation as a whole and in particular in the transformation of that social whole. Marx arrives at the concept of social class as a result (not as the point of departure!) of the study of the social formation in its entirety (which is also why he really only began to concretely articulate the concept of class near the end of his life). So, Marxism is immediately relevant whenever we are talking about the revolutionary transformation of social life. And i am convinced that it remains the best tool for catalyzing revolutionary change there is. After all, it is not a coincidence that the most successful revolutionary movements around the globe have either been explicitly communist or have at least tried to appropriate certain elements of Marxism to suit their purposes.

Long story short, Marxism as a whole “package” may have limits, but they are broader than most people assume, and within Marxism there are universal principles, without which it is impossible to even distinguish what is specific. 

@shixpe and I were talking about 12x05 “The one You’ve Been Waiting For”, which, God, terrible episode in my opinion, but not the point.

To the people that want to say there is no performance Dean and that Dean is straight and is exactly how he often overcompensates and acts….

Dean admits to performance Dean in the episode, so I am therefore confused.

Sublimation is the act in which socially unacceptable impulses are transformed into other, more acceptable, behaviors.

Sam: Dean its called sublimation.

Dean: Yeah. Yeah, it’s kinda my thing

And yet?? Like, it’s not even context and subtext, Dean admits to it. Has admitted to it multiple times that he puts on a facade. he literally confesses to it to a priest, then comes out and puts back on the mask, leaving the truth a kept secret. Heck, he admitted back in S5(?) to having tried on a girls satin panties and having kind of liked wearing them- his reasons why bar none, he did, with little persuasion, and admittedly liked them, but of course, would never indulge the impulse because he has a stereotype and toxic masculine expectation to mold himself to. Kind of like how often he checks out or even flirts with other men. Note, not saying there’s correlation between clothing options and sexuality, as this about his personality as well. He refuses to admit to liking things he thinks he shouldn’t, unless done in a way he feels safe with. Like Taylor Swift, like Dory, like dozens of other things from canon. The bravado immediately comes out. Because of this toxic mindset he has always felt he had to conform to, though he’s gotten better over the years, he still does it, some days worse than others.

[Sublimation] It’s kinda my thing.

It could even be taken as far as admitting on the sly to being in the closet, yet in a way he feels safe that Sam won’t understand. Y’know, as closeted LGBT people often do.

I haven’t really seen anyone discussing this particular canon. @mittensmorgul? You are a major advocate for the canon of performance Dean that people want to dispute.

  • Main political compass test: We strive to be the most accurate two-axis political chart around! =)
  • Main political compass test: *has no questions related to unions, private property vs common property, or organizational class aspects over the means of production; frames every question within a capitalist overton window so that the politically-advantageous lie about the Left (that it merely supports redistribution and regulatory checks to corporate power, rather than a full social transformation that would render those things unnecessary) is held in place; biased in favor of social liberalism in such a way that most people taking the test end up in the libertarian left quadrant when in reality they'd be situated closer to the center or in the authoritarian right quadrant (as is the default ideology with regard to capitalist liberal democracy)*

anonymous asked:

I never said you said people can't enjoy KS. Never even hinted at it. What I find stupid, is the fact you actually believe fiction has a hold on people's minds. When Harry Potter came out no one thought they were wizard, no one attempted to do spells or find hogwarts. When The Hunger Games came out, nobody got in a ring to fight their friends to the death. Should I go on? Wanting 2 characters to have sex or be together doesn't mean you're making a fetish or a goal out of the relationship...

There’s a reason that during political regimes, certain books are banned and why books are sorted by age categories for the content within it. Repeated exposure to a subject can lead to desensitization towards its subject matter. Though studies have not found that kids who play violent video games significantly demonstrate violent behavior, studies have shown that kids who play violent video games are less affected by violence in media. 

Constant exposure to fetishization of a social group, be it ethnicity or a same-sex relationship, without critical thinking on the reader’s part reduces the reader’s ability to recognize fetishization as a problem in reality as well due to internalized normalization of the content. There’s a reason why fetishization of Asian women (’yellow fever’ is such an ugly term) and desexualization of Asian men is so prevalent in the current, real world, and it’s all to do with the works of fiction and basically fictional accounts of the Western world about the Orient. 

If you’re going to make it easy for me and bring in the big works like Harry Potter, I don’t even have to pull out my psych book - I can just link you the studies. First of all, no one may have thought they were a wizard or attempt to do spells, but the number of kids who waited for their Hogwarts letter is more than you might think, and that’s only approaching the issue in the way you have narrowly defined it.

Fiction has social, transformative capabilities. Here’s a piece in the New York Times about how the themes present in Harry Potter has been influential to an entire generation. Here’s an article in the Scientific American about how the series instills empathy in children. Here’s the NPR’s on a study that claims reading Harry Potter leads to more positive social attitudes in children. Johns Hopkins University wrote a whole book on the subject. The Conversation also touches on this, and further, links to other studies on how fiction influences audience thinking.

Those are just the big-name publications I could link on Tumblr. The number of scholarly sources I can access through my university’s database is astronomical. Everyone wants to write their thesis on Harry Potter, I suppose, aha.

The Hunger Games has not been around for as long as Harry Potter nor comparably internationally successful, so there aren’t as many studies completed, but there is still this article from the Huffington Post with quotes from students remarking on real-world connections to the story and this Daily Dot piece on the series’ cultural impact. Oh, would you look at that. No one got in a ring to fight to the death, but there’s been an uptick in archery lessons for girls.

And to address your last point, no, wanting two characters to have sex or be in a relationship does not mean you are fetishizing them. It depends on why you want the characters to have sex or be in a relationship and how you portray it, and with Killing Stalking, it’s all too easy to get it wrong. 

If the primary reason you want the characters to have sex is because ‘it would be hot’, it’s fetishistic, and not just in the case of LGBT relationships. However, it is more damaging to LGBT people because proportionally, there are fewer LGBT sex scenes in media, so proportionally, there are fewer LGBT sex scenes done without a fetishistic gaze. If the primary reason you want the characters to be in a relationship is because you find it titillating, then it’s fetishistic, and it’s more damaging to LGBT people for the same reason: There are fewer LGBT relationships in mainstream media. 

Real-life lesbians have to deal with men who think they can butt in with a threesome, an idea popularized by pornographic fiction. Real-life gay men have to deal with gay-ship fangirls who tactlessly ask, “Which of you tops?” without realizing that asking about someone’s sex life might be intensely intrusive, thanks to yaoi culture. Bisexual and people with low sex-drive in general all have to deal with people who think that they can be the ‘exception’ and change their mind once they have sex, thanks to a lot of damaging fiction and ‘no means yes’ fiction written in the past.

Fiction can very much exert cultural and social influence, and trying to claim otherwise is a discredit to many great storytellers of the past and an offense to many aspiring storytellers of the future.

  • Propertarian: The founding fathers were willing to start a revolution over unjust taxation =) my heroes =) revolution is my jam =)
  • Socialist: Cool, here's more revolutionary potential in industrial unionism, community self-defense for marginalized groups, antifa, militant protests, strikes, etc. -- ya know, actions that will transform social relations for the better in the long run. That's revolution.
  • Propertarian: Wait no =/ not like that =\

‘Black Panther’ Climbs to Top of Social Media Chart With First Trailer

Disney-Marvel’s “Black Panther” dominated social media buzz last week in the wake of its first trailer with 466,000 new conversations, according to media-measurement firm comScore and its PreAct service.

The trailer for the film debuted during Game 4 of the NBA Finals on June 9, as the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers faced off. The footage offered the first look at such big stars as Lupita Nyong’o and Michael B. Jordan, as well as Chadwick Boseman, who plays the titular Black Panther.

Boseman, who debuted the character in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War,” plays T’Challa, the king of a fictional, technologically advanced African nation. “Black Panther” opens Feb. 16.

Sony’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming” generated nearly 88,000 new conversations last week as the studio released extended clips on June 6-8, and revealed Zendaya’s role as Mary Jane Watson on June 9.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” has produced a total of 1.95 million new conversations. The tentpole opens on July 7.

Disney-Pixar’s “Cars 3” generated 45,000 new conversations last week in the wake of releasing a final trailer on June 9. The movie, which has generated a total of 423,000 conversations on social media, opens Friday.

Paramount’s “Transformers: The Last Knight” saw 21,000 new conversations as the studio released character posters on June 5 and an international trailer on June 8. The fifth Transformers film, starring Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Hopkins, opens June 21.

Disney-Lucasfilms’ “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” produced 13,000 new conversations after the June 6 announcement of its early U.K. release date on June 6, and alleged plot details leaked on June 7. The tentpole, which opens Dec. 15, has already generated 1.87 million new conversations.

anonymous asked:

Do you think social media affects mental health positively at all? (because most people, me included, think it does the opposite)

Absolutely. Here are some examples:

People with cystic fibrosis (CF) are highly prone to illness and are discouraged from interacting with each other. Although they can develop social support networks with non-CFers, they are unable to be around other CFers – the very folks who understand their illness best. Social media has created a platform with which people with CF can meet and develop friendships and support communities. For more information about how social media has radically transformed the lives of people with CF here’s an interview:

Where do most people turn when they are feeling frustrated and overwhelmed by life? Social media. It can be a GREAT place to vent, seek comic relief (such LOLcats), and feedback from people you care about. It can also be a place where a hobby or interest becomes a community of support. A friend of mine destresses by photoshopping photographs of Donald Trump and his ties []. He created a Twitter account where he’d post the photos of Trump and his long ties. His side project was picked up by Yahoo news and now he has thousands of people cheering him on.  

[A]lthough we need norms in order to live, and to live well, and to know in what direction to transform our social world, we are also constrained by norms in ways that sometimes do violence to us and which, for reasons of social justice, we must oppose.
—  Judith Butler, Undoing Gender (206)

anonymous asked:

Do you have anything I can read about the "active struggle to increase workers’ control over society and revolutionise the relations of production" in China under Mao?

As we are not a blog that focuses on reading communist literature or literature on the history of communism, we feel it is not adequate to answer this question with a simple reading list. However, the question of how there was an active struggle to increase workers control and revolutionize the relations of production is a pressing one, and deserves a thorough response.

The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) was a massive upheaval in social, economic, and political life in the People’s Republic. It was in this context that China saw a massive shift from the economic policies both capitalist states and the USSR (both in its socialist and capitalist periods).

In the factories, workers and local revolutionary committees maintained a strict political line and focused on the welfare of workers in their workplace. In Charles Bettelheim’s work, The Cultural Revolution and Industrial Organization in China, textile workers interviewed on the changing of relations remarked on the welfare of workers achieved in the GPCR:

“We pay particular attention to working conditions and are guided in this by the Chinese Communist Party. We are concerned with the welfare of the workers and the preservation of human initiative. In the old society things were very different. The capitalists did not care about such matters. […] There are two additional fifteen minute breaks for physical exercises designed to prevent work-related disabilities. These are at the same time military exercises, for we must all be prepared in case of an imperialist invasion.

All doctors attached to the infirmary are required to make daily rounds of the shops. This reduces the need for a worker to consult a doctor elsewhere. […] There is no charge for consultation and medication. […] Of course, we do not claim that we have done enough to improve working conditions. We must make even greater efforts, for there are always new problems to be solved.”

Other factories in China operated on similar platforms, as well as paying wages regularly above the cost of living, providing special assistance to workers in extraordinary working conditions, and providing more assistance to working women and mothers. Many of the larger factories offered educational facilities for workers, teaching technical skills, engineering, and more. During the GPCR, workers struggled to replace the individualist idea of “professional advancement” with serving the people- using these more advanced skills and new responsibilities to be useful and for the benefit of the collective and the whole people.

Most industrial workplaces in China were attempting to “learn from Daqing,” a petroleum complex that, following the end of Soviet aid as a result of the Sino-Soviet split, necessitated massive effort of workers and administrators working together, not just to earn more money, but to expand China’s resources and provide for the revolution and the people. Daqing was upheld as a model to follow for the PRC because it ended the country’s reliance on foreign oil and maintained a proletarian political line.

In Daqing and other factories, problems were discussed collectively, and daily, and so solutions were formulated outside of a purely technical outlook. In the USSR and capitalist countries, factories had "economics in command”- meaning production was seen as primary, along with monetary incentives, specialists, profit, etc. The top-down method of Soviet leadership in the economy was abandoned as workers made a serious effort to include political cadre in production and themselves in management. Before the GPCR, the division between workers and management was stark, similar to the USSR. Management was appointed by central administration and the factory party committee, which focused almost entirely on production and technology without much (if any) conversation with the workers. The GPCR flipped this model, and put “politics in command.” Factory committees were completely dissolved and replaced with mass organizations such as management teams and revolutionary committees, with the revisionist line of management eliminated as the workers and masses rose up under the leadership of the Communist Party. Piece wage systems were abolished, individual and group bonuses were increasingly eliminated, and production teams took over much of the work of management. Some factories implemented yearly production goals after lengthy, factory-wide discussion, and production teams even deliberated on their own wages based on experience, skill, and attitude. Furthermore wages were set on a system that averaged wage differentials to 1:3. Management, political cadre, members of the revolutionary committees, and administrators all participated in production as the GPCR went on. “Triple combinations” of workers, administrators, and technicians were formed to solve technical problems and make innovations. Factory workers began focusing on the needs of the country as a whole, instead of just their workplace.

Political study of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and other socialist thinkers was also common in factories, in order that workers would be more able to investigate and forge solutions to both economic and political issues.

When the Deng Xiaoping clique within the Party gained power, these achievements were all reversed, washed away and replaced with the all-too-familiar system where all authority was placed into the hands of factory managers.

This ask is already quite long, and we have really only touched on industrial production- but these achievements were deeply felt in the rural regions of China as well. During the GPCR, peasants in the countryside (who still made up 80% of the population) formed independent mass organizations in the People’s Communes, and directly confronted the bureaucratic methods of work by leadership and Party cadre. Production team leaders were elected and subject to recall. Village revolutionary committees were formed and exercised day-to-day leadership in villages and on Communes, similar to urban revolutionary committees did in city neighborhoods. Peasants began painting, writing, performing, and became involved with politics, and the expansion of education and healthcare brought immediate benefits to people who had never had access to it before. The rural Communes were advised to “learn from Dazhai,” which was a brigade of a Commune in Shanxi Province. Dazhai transformed its hills into fertile land, struggled against capitalist mentality in agriculture, and constructed new housing and community projects in villages. In the late 1970s, again with the rise of the Deng clique, the Communes were broken up, land was distributed to individual peasant households, and privatization brought an end to the collective healthcare system and “barefoot doctor” initiative.

The key achievement both in industry and agriculture towards revolutionizing social relations was in putting politics in command. By putting politics in command, the PRC was able to transform enterprises into interrelated political units, dramatically changing the relationship between workers and managers, between city and countryside, and further advancing the class struggle and demonstrating, especially considering the reversal of these achievements, that a proletarian political line is essential to the development of socialism and of communist transformation. 


Music tells us things — social things, psychological things, physical things about how we feel and perceive our bodies — in a way that other art forms can’t. It’s sometimes in the words, but just as often the content comes from a combination of sounds, rhythms, and vocal textures that communicate, as has been said by others, in ways that bypass the reasoning centers of the brain and go straight to our emotions. Music, and I’m not even talking about the lyrics here, tells us how other people view the world — people we have never met, sometimes people who are no longer alive — and it tells it in a non-descriptive way. Music embodies the way those people think and feel: we enter into new worlds — their worlds — and though our perception of those worlds might not be 100 accurate, encountering them can be completely transformative.
—  David Byrne, How Music Works, 2012
The Archaic Revival

We have gone sick by following a path of untrammelled rationalism, male dominance, attention to the visible surface of things, practicality, bottom-line-ism. We have gone very, very sick. And the body politic, like any body, when it feels itself to be sick, it begins to produce antibodies, or strategies for overcoming the condition of dis-ease. And the 20th century is an enormous effort at self-healing. Phenomena as diverse as surrealism, body piercing, psychedelic drug use, sexual permissiveness, jazz, experimental dance, rave culture, tattooing, the list is endless. What do all these things have in common? They represent various styles of rejection of linear values. The society is trying to cure itself by an archaic revival, by a reversion to archaic values. So when I see people manifesting sexual ambiguity, or scarifying themselves, or showing a lot of flesh, or dancing to syncopated music, or getting loaded, or violating ordinary canons of sexual behaviour, I applaud all of this; because it’s an impulse to return to what is felt by the body – what is authentic, what is archaic – and when you tease apart these archaic impulses, at the very centre of all these impulses is the desire to return to a world of magical empowerment of feeling.
And at the centre of that impulse is the shaman: stoned, intoxicated on plants, speaking with the spirit helpers, dancing in the moonlight, and vivifying and invoking a world of conscious, living mystery. That’s what the world is. The world is not an unsolved problem for scientists or sociologists. The world is a living mystery: our birth, our death, our being in the moment – these are mysteries. They are doorways opening on to unimaginable vistas of self-exploration, empowerment and hope for the human enterprise. And our culture has killed that, taken it away from us, made us consumers of shoddy products and shoddier ideals. We have to get away from that; and the way to get away from it is by a return to the authentic experience of the body – and that means sexually empowering ourselves, and it means getting loaded, exploring the mind as a tool for personal and social transformation.
The hour is late; the clock is ticking; we will be judged very harshly if we fumble the ball. We are the inheritors of millions and millions of years of successfully lived lives and successful adaptations to changing conditions in the natural world. Now the challenge passes to us, the living, that the yet-to-be-born may have a place to put their feet and a sky to walk under; and that’s what the psychedelic experience is about, is caring for, empowering, and building a future that honours the past, honours the planet and honours the power of the human imagination. There is nothing as powerful, as capable of transforming itself and the planet, as the human imagination. Let’s not sell it straight. Let’s not whore ourselves to nitwit ideologies. Let’s not give our control over to the least among us. Rather, you know, claim your place in the sun and go forward into the light. The tools are there; the path is known; you simply have to turn your back on a culture that has gone sterile and dead, and get with the programme of a living world and a re-empowerment of the imagination. Thank you very, very much.-Terrence Mckenna

The most significant transformation in all of Black life over the last fifty years has been the emergence of a Black elite, bolstered by the Black political class, that has been responsible for administering cuts and managing meager budgets on the backs of Black constituents. Today a layer of Black “Civil rights entrepreneurs” have become prominent boosters and overseers of the forces of privatization, claiming that the private sector is better suited to distribute public services than the public sector
—  From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, Keeanga Yamhatta Taylor

(Y)our voices are important to be heard. We should recognize social difference as an important means to building consensus, as essential to it. We should recognize consensus need not ever be based upon unity of or in voice. That is, unity of or in action can develop after a decision to cooperate with people at this time with whom we’d ordinarily and otherwise disagree. We already do this all the time. For example, then, the demand that internet discourse should illustrate a unity in voice(s) in order to represent unity in action(s) is always going to be problematic as internet discourse for many of our comrades is the only venue for their voices to be conducted into public. They are otherwise exiled to liminal margins of participation for various reasons that don’t represent their desire to more actively participate in social transformation in which they are entirely invested for reasons of survival, health, and/or happiness. We should prioritize producing a public sphere in which all voices are perceptible over representing our struggle as singular.

Progressive social change is not merely about changing policies, but about changing hearts and minds. Genuine and lasting change requires a paradigm shift, a transformation of the mentality that propped up the old order. We must knock out the foundations of oppression and cultivate the values that form the foundation of justice, values such as compassion, integrity, and reciprocity. And to challenge injustice everywhere, we must practice justice everywhere: on streets, in the courtroom—and on our plates.
—  Melanie Joy
It should also be clear where the corporatist temptation comes from; that is, why this temptation in the necessary reverse of capitalism. Let us take the ideological edifice of fascist corporatism: the fascist dream is simply to have capitalism without its ‘excess’, without antagonism that causes its structural imbalance. Which is why we have, in fascism, on one hand, the return of the figure of the Master — or Leader — who guarantees the stability and balance of the social fabric, who again saves us from the society’s structural imbalance; and, on the other hand, the reason for this imbalance is projected into the figure of the Jew whose 'excessive’ accumulation and greed are deemed the cause of social antagonism. The dream is thus that, since the excess was introduced from outside — the work of an alien intruder — its elimination would enable us to obtain once again a stable social organism whose parts form a harmonious corporate body, where, in contrast to capitalism’s constant social displacement, everybody would again occupy their own place. The function of the Master is to dominate the excess by locating its cause in a clearly delimited social agency: 'It is they who steal our enjoyment, who, by means of their excessive attitude, introduce imbalance and antagonism.’ With the figure of the Master, the antagonism inherent to the social structure is transformed into the relationship of power, in the struggle for domination between us and them, the cause of antagonistic imbalance.
—  Slavoj Žižek, “Eastern Europe’s Republics of Gilead,” in Dimensions of Radical Democracy:Pluralism, Citizenship, Community
the great unknown

hi @plastikfood ! i was ur backup santa & i hope u like this (i couldn’t read more it im sorry)

Reyna was woken by something flashing in the corner of her room.

At first, she thought she was still dreaming, and she rolled over, pulling the blankets around her. Anything was better than the nightmares that plagued her like a swarm of locusts, following her wherever she went and invading her dreams and tearing out the nice bits to replace them with blood and pain and death, death, death.

The flashing didn’t stop. It blinked and blinked, and finally Reyna realised she wasn’t dreaming and there was actually something flashing in the corner of the room.

Groaning, she threw back the covers and dragged herself out of bed. She stubbed her toe on the way over and hopped one one foot to the source of the light, which turned out to be a glass of water on her dresser. The glass was bubbling ominously, like it was boiling, but when she touched it it was as smooth and cold as ever. Lights flickered inside the bubbles and inside the spray and mist that drifted away from the surface of the water, lights all the colours of –

The rainbow! Of course!

She scrabbled for a coin and tossed it into the spray. Immediately, the misty dissolved and a picture appeared.

The girl in the picture had spiky dark hair and numerous piercings. She was in the middle of saying something, her sky-before-a-storm eyes creased and worried. “Thalia?” Reyna said.

“Reyna! Thank God, I’ve been trying to get through to you all night, but there’s been some interference –”

“Probably the nightmares,” Reyna said sombrely.

“Really? I’ve never felt it that strong before. Something’s got a really firm bind on you, but I can’t tell what –”

Reyna cut her off. “Thalia, what’s wrong? Why have you Iris'ed me at –” she checked the time – “four in the morning?”

Thalia exhaled slowly. “Reyna, we need your help.”

“Did it kill you to say that?” Reyna said sarcastically.

Thalia ignored her. “Reyna, it’s Nico. He’s – he’s gone.”

“Gone?” Reyna’s mind raced. “Gone, like, killed by a monster, gone? Or gone, like, Percy Jackson in New Rome gone?”

“Gone, like, kidnapped gone.” Thalia closed her eyes.

Reyna sat down heavily on the floor. “What,” she began, aware her voice was steel-tipped, “do you mean by kidnapped?”

“I mean there was an attack on the camp as we were coming in. The monsters couldn’t get through the borders, but they were smashing up the forest and it felt like they were about to breach camp. Nico ran out there, figuring there were plenty shadows and he could get away if needed. But, uh… one of them got him, and I guess he didn’t have enough energy to dissolve outta there. They scattered once they’d caught him, and we don’t really know where they went.”

“Well, not really,” said a boy’s voice in the background. “But there was the tracking device – tell her about the tracking device, Thalia –”

“You tell her!” There was a short scuffle, and then a boy’s face appeared in place of Thalia’s.

“Hi, there. I’m Will Solace.”

“I remember you!” Reyna said, recognising the floppy blond hair and freckled skin. “What do you mean, tracking device?”

“My half-brother has a spear with a little tracker inside. Not very sophisticated, but with no other options…”

“So this tracker… it’s in the monster?”

“A cyclops, we think. Yes. The tracker embeds in the skin once the spear’s been pulled out, and so we have the monster’s general location down pat.”


“Good news: it’s not far? They’re in Nevada.”

“And the bad news?” Reyna said cautiously.

Will scratched his eyebrow. “They’re, uh. Heading for the airport.”

“Oh, for god’s sake. This is the last thing I need!” Reyna got up, extracting a crumpled camoflauge-print rucksack from under her dresser. She fished out some jeans and a T-shirt. “Get across country, ASAP. I’ll meet you by the Golden Gate. Clear?”

“As a bell,” said Thalia, and then the image dissipated with a little poof.

Reyna sighed as she stuffed the bag with spare ambrosia and nectar – which she found much more effective than unicorn draught – and several knives, as well as a change of clothes and her toiletries bag.

Then, slinging her rucksack over her back, she headed out of the house and towards the Senate. She had some people to talk to.

Frank Zhang was sitting in the middle of the raised platform in a pool of light from a desk lamp beside him, paperwork strewn around him. Rachel Dare and Hazel Levesque were crouched beside him, and all three were talking in hushed voices.

Reyna cleared her throat, and Frank looked around. “Oh, hey, Reyna,” he said easily – Reyna was still shocked by his transformation from socially awkward hopeless demigod to confident, strong praetor. “Is anything the matter?”

“Yes. I’m afraid I – well, I’ve just come to say that you should take on all responsibilities during my absence of the next few days.”

“Your… absence?” Frank seemed to notice the bag on her back. “Where are you going?”

“On a quest,” Reyna said decisively.

“What? With who? But there hasn’t been a prophecy, or – why?”

“I’m going on a quest with Thalia Grace and Will Solace, because Nico di Angelo has been captured by a cyclops.” Reyna brushed some imaginary dirt off her sleeve. “And it’s not a long quest. We don’t need a prophecy.”

“Besides, the Oracle’s out of action,” Rachel pointed out, at the same time Hazel cried, “My brother’s been taken? Again?”

“Yes,” Rachel said to both of them. “Anyway, I just came to tell you I’d be away. Thanks, bye.” She turned and walked out of the building, her bag bumping against her back.

Surprisingly, no mortals bothered her as she walked right out of the tunnel, past the guards, and onto the highway. Then again, to them, she probably looked like a homeless person, walking down the highway at four in the morning, heading towards the Golden Gate.

The wind blew through her hair, rippling in little eddies around her head. A wind spirit, probably – a friendly one, helping her along on her quest. She laughed, batting the wind away, and then realised that probably didn’t help her look more sane.

At the Golden Gate, two figures stood by one of the railings, staring off into the wind. “Already?” Reyna called.

The figures turned; seeing Reyna, one of them waved. Reyna fast-walked across the highway and joined them at the edge of the bridge. “How did you get here so fast?” Reyna asked.

“Working for a goddess has its perks,” Thalia said. “Also, we stole a pegasus.”

“You did what?”

“Borrowed,” Will corrected. “We borrowed a pegasus. It’s not stealing if you plan to return it.”

“Where, exactly, is this pegasus?” Reyna pinched the bridge of her nose.

“It’s, uh…” Will looked upwards. Reyna followed his gaze, and then had to grab onto the railing to stop herself from falling.

“You tethered a pegasus to the top of the Golden Gate bridge,” she said. “You tethered a pegasus to the top of the Golden Gate bridge.”

“Basically,” Thalia shrugged. “He’ll come down if we call him.” She clicked her tongue. “Bundy! Come here, boy. Come on, Bundy!”

“Bundy?” Reyna muttered to Will.

“After Ted Bundy the serial killer,” Will muttered back. “Thalia chose it.”

“What a surprise.” Sure enough, though, the pegasus wheeled around before coming to land beside them, its rope pulled taut. Thalia pulled out a knife and cut the cord.

“Jump on, ladies,” she said, swinging herself into its back. Grumbling, Will got on after her, and Reyna last.

“There’s not really enough space,” she said through Will’s armpit.

Thalia ignored her, and dug her heel’s into Bundy’s sides. With a sickening lurch, the pegasus took off.

Reyna had ridden a pegasus many times, but she’d never gotten over how awful takeoff was. Shutting her eyes, she waited until the squeezing, pressing feeling abated a little, and then opened them again.

And immediately regretted it. Thalia definitely did not know how to control the pegasus. They wheeled around the towers, and Reyna had to duck to avoid being beheaded. “Turn left!” she howled over the roaring wind.

“I don’t know how!” Thalia hollered back.

Reyna cursed. “They aren’t stupid! Just tell it!”

“Left! Go left, boy!”

Reyna dug her heel into poor Bundy’s right side and, sure enough, it turned left, swooping away from the bridge and up into the air. They shot through the clouds with a muffled rushing noise, and everything went quiet, apart from all three of their heavy breathing.

“Was it like this on the way over here?” Reyna asked eventually.

“Worse,” Will said miserably, looking rather green.

“I thought my first experience of flying around the Golden Gate on a pegasus would be positive,” Reyna mourned.

“Life is full of disappointments, praetor girl, and much of it is learning how to cope with them.” Thalia appeared to be getting the hang of steering the pegasus now. They ducked through another cloud and emerged in an unfamiliar place.

“There is is!” cried Will, pointing straight down. “The Reno-Tahoe International Airport!”

“Excellent.” Thalia dived down towards it, to the point where Reyna was pretty sure she was going to slip off over Bundy’s tail. She clung onto the folds of Will’s jacket and tightened her thighs around the horse, which only sped it up.

They landed on the top of the multi-storey parking lot with a crash that made Reyna’s bones vibrate. She slipped off the back of the horse and somehow landed in a cat-like crouch on the concrete.

“Come on!” Thalia cried, dismounting. “Will, where are they now?”

Will looked at something on his wrist and shrugged helplessly. “It just says they’re in this airport.”

“They’re probably catching the next flight,” Reyna chimed in. “We should get inside, and fast.”

Thalia looked around. They were standing on the very top of the multi-storey, with apparently no way down. “Over there?” Will suggested, pointing to some rickety-looking service stairs.

“Perfect.” Thalia patted Bundy on the rump and he took off into the air. She set off at a jog, and Reyna reluctantly followed, still out of breath from the pegasus flight. The stairs wobbled and shrieked under her feet, but Thalia ran down them without a care, and Reyna followed her.

The stairs ended in the top floor of the parking lot. A glowing sign pointed towards a lift, and Will took off towards it at full sprint. They got more than a few funny looks from early-morning commuters, but Reyna just made it into the lift by skidding inside, Indiana Jones-style.

The normal, everyday harsh lights in the lift felt a little surreal compared to soft morning darkness outside, and the sprint through the parking lot. Reyna jammed her finger against the ground floor button and then sagged against the wall, breathing hard.

She closed her eyes, and when she opened them again, everyone was staring at her. “Sorry,” she muttered. “Just in a rush – catch the next flight –”

“You going to England too, hon?” asked a middle-aged woman surrounded by a cloud of Chanel No. 5.

“England?” Reyna choked, then, “Yeah. Yeah, we’re going to England. God save the Queen?”

Thalia started coughing to cover her laughter, and Reyna shot a glare at her. Just then the lift pinged to a stop, and the doors slid open with a soft rush. Thalia sprinted forwards, clutching Reyna’s hand and Will’s ear, much to his protest.

The terminal was a short sprint away. Reyna hadn’t been for a run in so long, she’d forgotten what it felt like; if she hadn’t been running for Nico di Angelo’s life, she’d have enjoyed it.

Inside, people with smart suits and curled hair and large suitcases bustled every which way, watches gleaming on their wrists and coffees clutched in hand. Reyna ducked underneath arms and hopped over shoes until she reached the notice board.

As she reached it, a women’s voice sounded over the loudspeakers. “Would all passengers for flight 16XZ63R please report to Gate 28. This is the final call. I repeat, this is the final call for all passengers for flight 16XZ63R. Please report to Gate 28. This is the final call.”

“The final call…!” Reyna looked at Thalia, and found that the other girl’s face was set with determination. “Let’s go.”

“We need boarding passes! Passports!” Will sounded close to tears. “Oh, gods!”

“The toilets!” cried Thalia, taking off at a sprint.

“Thalia, we don’t have time for you to use the bathroom –” Will began, but Reyna cut him off.

“The Mist! She’s right – of course she is –” Reyna raced after Thalia, skidding into the ladies a few seconds after her. Thalia was already in a stall, tearing off several sheets of loo roll. She spent a few seconds carefully folding them and then passed one to Reyna and kept the others. “To security!”

“How will we get our weapons through security?” Reyna asked hopelessly. She wished her friends were there: Piper could’ve charmed the guards, and Annabeth would’ve come up with something smart, but she was just Reyna, just a girl with a knife. And soon she wouldn’t even have that.

Thalia snatched Reyna’s sword and tossed it aside. “No time to stress. Let’s just run.”

So they ran.

They screeched to a halt in front of security, gasping for breath. Reyna shoved the sheets of toilet roll into the man’s face and, unbelievably, it worked.

“Ma'am, sir, I’m afraid you’re cutting it very fine -”

“Thankyoubye.” Thalia snatched the paper from his hand and pushed them through, grabbing a plastic tray.

Reyna took off her shoes and belt, and laid her rucksack on its side in the tray. Then she pushed it along the conveyer belt, and the guard nodded at her to move through the metal detector.

Thankfully, it didn’t go off. Thalia and Will followed, and they weren’t pulled over. The woman behind the computer barely gave them a second glance as she ushered Reyna forwards to collect her bag.

“Thank God,” Reyna muttered, shoving her feet into her shoes, slinging on her belt and swinging her bag onto her shoulder.

Thalia chucked her tray in the vague direction of the drop-off point. “Gate 28 guys, let’s go go go!”

“Oh, please, no more running,” Will said. “I’m much better at archery than running.”

“I thought you were terrible at archery - oh. Right.” Reyna grabbed Will’s sleeve. “It’s the only way we’re going to make the flight, I’m afraid.”

They raced through the airport, following signs for gate 28. On their way, Reyna counted twelve restaurants, ten souvenir shops, five clothes shops, an Apple Store, a chemist and a bookshop.

Thalia tapped the side of the currency machine as they ran past, and Reyna looked at her, confused.

“For luck,” Thalia explained.

“We’re going to need all the luck we can get,” Reyna grunted. They rushed over several of those annoying floor-escalators, and finally - finally! - the sign for gate 28 came into view.

“We made it,” Will gasped, leaning against the desk. The woman behind it smiled at him.

“Oh, they always put the final call notices up early. The plane won’t be leaving for five or ten more minutes.” She checked their papers. “That’s three seats in business class, numbers thirty six, thirty seven and thirty eight. Have a nice flight!”

“Thanks.” Reyna stumbled down the corridor and up to the plane door, where a flight attendant checked their passes.

“Business class to the left, your seats are just up there. Enjoy your flight!”

Numbly, Reyna led them up the aisle to their seats. “Do you see them?”

Thalia peered around incredibly conspicuously. “Nope. No sign. They must have gotten into first class.” She sat down, and Reyna sank down next to her, with Will across the aisle.

“Guys, you realise what this means?”

“We’re going to London!” Thalia whooped and fist-pumped. “I always wanted to meet the Queen! Lizzie, here I come!”

“Thalia,” Reyna hissed. “I do not think you quite understand the severity of this. We have lied and cheated our way onto a flight. If anyone finds out, we are in big trouble.”

“Yeah, but they won’t find out.” Thalia closed her eyes. “Get some rest, praetor girl. There’s nothing we can do till we get there.”

Sure enough, Reyna slept off and on until the plane landed, and then it hit. They were in a foreign country, with no passports, weapons, or money, expecting to find a monster with a boy who was probably already dead.

Outside, it was drizzling and dark. A big sign proclaimed them to be at Gatwick airport. Someone had drawn a penis underneath it. Reyna had never been to England before, but so far it was matching all her expectations.

Just as they were filing into a queue to get up into Arrivals, Will grabbed Reyna’s hand, so hard she sucked in a harsh breath. “What -?”

“It’s them,” he whispered through his teeth. Reyna gasped and looked round.

Nico di Angelo was standing next to a tall, handsome fair-headed man. Reyna blinked, and the man rippled and dissolved into a bloodshot-eyed Cyclops. Nico was struggling a little, but the Cyclops had him by the shoulder.

Reyna didn’t dare draw attention to them, but she kept a close eye on Nico as they filed through passport control.

The man at the desk took her passport. “Good morning,” he said, checking it over. “All alright. Enjoy your stay!”

If one more person told her to enjoy something, Reyna thought she would gut them. Instead, she smiled at the man and walked forwards.

All through customs, she could see them, but couldn’t get close enough. Will vibrated at her shoulder, and Reyna patted him awkwardly on the back.

“We’ll get him,” Thalia said reassuringly, except from her it sounded more like a death threat than a comfort.

Finally, they arrived in the main lobby of the airport. It was surprisingly similar to an American one, except everyone was talking in British accents. “Ay up,” said a man as Reyna crashed into him. “You lookin’ for a lift?”

“No, we’re looking for a boy,” Reyna said, pushing past him.

The man clicked his tongue. “Ain’t we all.” Reyna ignored him, ploughing through the crowd until she was just behind Nico.

Very, very cautiously, she touched his arm. Without looking at him, she took a few steps ahead, so she was in his line of sight, and heard him inhale sharply.

She had no weapons. No way of besting the monster. What would a mortal do? What would a British mortal do?

A policeman stood near the doors, and Reyna felt inspiration spark. Shrugging off her bag, she swung it behind her and brought it down against the cyclops’s face. He gave a cry of annoyance and turned to her, but she was already bringing it down again.

The policeman appeared at her shoulder. “What’s going on here?”

Reyna burst into hysterical tears. “He – he tried to take my jewellery! I felt him touch my b-b-bag…” She dissolved into sobs. “He’s a criminal! A thief!” Between wails, she looked at Nico, and hissed out a quick, “Run.’

“What – I never –” The cyclops stepped backwards, holding out his hands.

“Sir? Did you take her jewellery?”

“No! Never!”

“But I thought I felt –” Reyna cried even harder, and the policeman patted her on the shoulder. People were stopping to watch.

“There, there, miss,” the policeman said. “Let’s check you have all your jewellery, shall we?”

Reyna peered into her bag, making a big pretence of rummaging around. “It’s all there,” she said, feigning confusion. “But – I thought –”

“Just a misunderstanding then, eh?” The policeman clapped her on the back. “Off you go, miss, sir. Enjoy your day.”

Somewhere, at some point in all the confusion, Nico had vanished.

Reyna found them kneeling by a pillar. Will was half kneeling, his arms wrapped around Nico, supporting him, and they were whispering to each other.

“Look at them.” Thalia pulled a face. “Disgusting. Have you ever seen anything so dramatic?”

“You should’ve seen my performance just then,” Reyna joked. “So what are we doing now?”

Nico looked round, eyes sparkling. “Well, we have the rest of the day…”

“Sightseeing!” Will exclaimed, and even Thalia seemed to agree.

“So, Reyna,” she said, as they headed towards the huge glass doors, “tell us about how you defeated the Cyclops?”

And as they stepped out into the weak British sunshine/drizzle, Reyna felt something she hadn’t felt in a long time.