the system perpetuates itself

separatism and neo-primitivism come from really similar places and both make the same fundamental mistakes that mean they’re never ever going to work

back-to-the-earth retreatism and, to pick a completely random example, trans-woman separatism both assume that there is an outside to power and that you can just leave it so long as you can police a community into ideological purity. so anarcho-primitivist groups set up rural communes and baeddels form insular online communities, both premised on not participating with ‘modernity’/ people not subject to transmisogyny - because both of these groups assume that there is an outside to capitalism/ gender and they can go there.

the problem is that capitalism and gender are both totalising processes whose only limitations are internal - for capital, the limitation is that of productive output; for gender, the limitation is the coherent gendering of subjects. 

neither strategy successfully engages with the process it’s intended to address. primitivism doesn’t engage capitalisation at all - if your radical praxis mirrors that of the Amish your revolution is never, ever coming, sorry.

likewise, baeddel-style separatism is premised on the idea that ‘trans woman’ is a revolutionary subjectivity to occupy as an individual, never recognising that subjectivities are precisely the product that gender as a system perpetuates itself by producing. trans womanhood isn’t revolutionary - trans womanhood is a component of gender as a system and it has a productive role in perpetuating that system.

trying to end gendered violence without ending gender as a system is never gonna work 

Until you practice surrender, the spiritual dimension is something you read about, talk about, get excited about, write books about, think about, believe in — or don’t, as the case may be. It makes no difference. Not until you surrender does it become a living reality in your life. When you do, the energy that you emanate and which then runs your life is of a much higher vibrational frequency than the mind energy that still runs our world — the energy that created the existing social, political, and economic structures of our civilization, and which also continuously perpetuates itself through our educational systems and the media.

Through surrender, spiritual energy comes into this world. It creates no suffering for yourself, for other humans, or any other life form on the planet. Unlike mind energy, it does not pollute the earth, and it is not subject to the law of polarities, which dictates that nothing can exist without its opposite, that there can be no good without bad.

Those who run on mind energy, which is still the vast majority of the Earth’s population, remain unaware of the existence of spiritual energy. It belongs to a different order of reality and will create a different world when a sufficient number of humans enter the surrendered state and so become totally free of negativity. If the Earth is to survive, this will be the energy of those who inhabit it.

—  Eckhart Tolle
How The Replicator Destroys The Federation And Leads To Humanity Becoming A Slave Race to the Vulcans

This from your friend and mine, Professor Zach Feinstein (here’s his Star Wars / Empire brought down by economics email!).  I would like to thank him for showing me the respect of referencing episodes by season and broadcast number, knowing that I clearly have all episodes memorized in this manner.  Here we go.  His words, my sassy picture captions!


Statement 1: Replicators exist and are widely available to any human (i.e., not just Starfleet officers or the wealthy).

Gimme, oh, some chicken, three glasses, and a bottle of brown.  Corked, please.

Evidence: We can justify this statement since: 1. according to TNG Ep. 1x26: money has become obsolete [so idea of “wealthy” no longer can exist in the traditional sense] and humans no longer care for materialism [so assuming “wealth” means access to a replicator is inconsistent with Picard’s comments as it can only provide material objects]; 2. if only military officers had access then humanity would live in a fascist regime, which (for the moment) let us assume is false.  

Further, while never depicted within canon (to the best of my knowledge), we can further justify wide-spread replicator adoption since the first could just be used to replicate new replicators (and thus an exponential growth of replicators could be manufactured) thus supply and demand would make the value of a single replicator essentially worthless from a capitalistic standpoint once they were being sold.  

The only other reason why some humans might not have access to a replicator is due to the power requirements.  Having a single replicator would require immense amounts of energy (e = mc^2), but it is rarely remarked on the energy needs.  In Voyager there were replicator rations at times, but even with an energy crisis the replicators were able to still function when necessary.  This implies that under normal circumstances, and particularly in a stationary habitat such as a planet, unlimited and free energy (or close enough for all practical purposes) energy is available.


Statement 2: Assuming wide-spread replicator use, humans lose economic incentives to work or join Starfleet (save for a select few).

In this image, we see Picard feeling a little… blue.

Evidence: There are many jobs that people would volunteer to do for enjoyment or adventure.  However, for every Starfleet captain there are hundreds of junior officers who are worried about their prospects at a promotion (see e.g. TNG Ep. 7x15) or those that are actually stuck in a path with no chance for promotion (TNG Ep. 6x15).  In an economic system someone would stay in a job they don’t enjoy or feel they are underutilized for compensation.  But free energy/necessities mean that compensation is unnecessary.  So at the first hindrance most people would resign.  This would especially be true for the service jobs that remain.  Yes people would want to travel through space, but the ships must be maintained which requires specialized skills and knowledge.  So each ship needs an engineering section, and the rest of the “crew” just has a pleasure cruise?  That would be a very unstable relationship and would quickly lead to mutiny.


Statement 3: Assuming wide-spread replicator use, Vulcans would not lose the incentives to work.

What does that thing Spock messed with even do.  Why does it kill everyone if you take the lid off.  Why did we build one into our engineering meeting room.

Evidence: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”  So while optimal for the individual to be content with the necessities, it is optimal for society if everyone continues to contribute.


Statement 4: Vulcans advise humanity on issues of galactic importance. 

This is an “I’m gonna tell you what to do” face if I’ve ever seen one.

Evidence: As noted on Memory Alpha: “The Vulcans eventually became Earth’s "big brothers” in a way, advising Earth officials on how to proceed into the galaxy.“ Additionally, the rulers of humanity would recognize the useful analytical skills of the Vulcans thus employing them as advisors.


Conclusion: Vulcans manipulate humanity into becoming a slave race.

And it’s probably all Janeway’s fault.

Evidence: Given the evidence stated above, we will assume Statements 1-4 are true.   Humans lack economic incentives to do any kind of work.  They are left with just one kind of incentive: the hope for power.  This is an unstable system though since, as mentioned in Statement 2, the moment an obstacle would be placed in front of advancement, the person would almost invariably choose to resign.  However, since replicators would have been introduced slowly (as the technology matured), this would not be an immediate shock to the system, allowing for the prior system to perpetuate itself to some degree.  But once wide-spread replicator technology is introduced it would create massive unemployment and instability (which seemingly does not occur as it is never depicted or referenced).  This implies that there is an element of "bread and circuses” going on to keep the political system in place.  This can only last for so long as the “best and brightest” may also be contented thus leading to suboptimal outcomes.  

“See, what I did here was, I put in a picture from the episode with the same name as the words Zach used.” - Me in my acceptance speech for my future Best Tumblr Presentation Of An Email You Didn’t Write award

The Vulcan advisers (Statement 4) would keep trying to advise as best they can (Statement 3 + assumption the Vulcan race is benevolent towards humanity).  But at what point do the humans stop making the decisions and start passing all decisions off to the advisers to begin with.  And with many of the best and brightest not making it to the top ranks of society because they are contented already (Statement 2), those that are at the top may not have the wherewithal to handle it.  And what leader who has tough choices not “pass the buck” in case it goes wrong?  So Vulcans would be making the big decisions for humanity.  And humans are still desiring to join Starfleet in apparently massive numbers, so something broke the incentives argument (Statement 2).  This means Vulcans have found a way to bypass human economic rationality, which means they either are a master race to humanity or just well positioned to be one if they ever chose to do so.  

It may sound like humans could take decisions back from Vulcans and return to the strictly advisory role as before.  However, likely the new generation coming up the ranks would look to the Vulcans as always having had that power.  It is why power once taken is rarely given back freely.

Live long and prosper.  It’s more profitable for us that way.

Additionally, just to point out a suspicious piece of information that is not strong on its own, but powerful with the rest of the argument provided: Vulcans began strongly prioritizing science over Starfleet beginning in the 23rd century.  This happens to be the exact point when replicator technology was first being introduced in industrial settings (and thus beginning the economic arguments above).  The logical Vulcans would clearly have noticed where this was going and performed the soft coup to keep humanity “stable” but also provide benefit for Vulcans (give the dangerous and undesirable jobs to humans and leave Vulcans the positions of prestige: diplomats, scientists, webcomic artists, etc).  This suggests that humanity has been enslaved already, but just doesn’t realize it. 

On Knowledge

CW for brief mention of domestic violence and rape threats/jokes in anecdote #2

So the BF and I had one of our rare arguments the other night, which we resolved not through discussion of the issues that caused the fight (I don’t even remember what they were, tbh), but through a middle-of-the-night, perched-on-the-kitchen-counter-with-glasses-of-cheap-malbec discussion about standpoint epistemology. And since it’s relevant to this blog (and to that asinine non-debate), I figured I’d share our conclusions here. I’ll start with a couple bits of anecdata—not because they validate my argument, but because they illustrate and concretize it—then sum everything up as efficiently as I can. Which, given my current state of exhaustion, will probably be less efficiently than I’d like.

Anecdote #1

When I was an undergrad I worked as a writing center consultant, and one day I had a student come in with a personal narrative assignment. She had grown up on the Pine Ridge reservation, and wanted to write about her experience with poverty. The poverty she suffered was extreme—no running water for days at a time, severe malnutrition and constant hunger—and at one point she said, “I don’t mean to be, you know, racist or anything, but I don’t think that white people quite…get it.”

“I don’t think that’s racist. You’ve experienced it first-hand, and your perspective is important.”

“I just don’t want the paper to sound too angry, you know?”

Well, yeah. That made sense. And I don’t know her exact reasons for telling me that she didn’t want to seem racist, but based on her other statements, I suspect she was anticipating objections.

As we continued to work on the paper, she repeatedly expressed concern about her tone. She seemed primarily concerned that a hostile tone could impact her grade, which was, again, understandable. We lived in a racist area, and her writing definitely could piss people off. I knew her teacher and doubted they would respond negatively, but it was a reasonable concern nonetheless.

Anyway, what struck me here was her self-awareness. She had unique first-hand knowledge of poverty and racism, yes—but she could also anticipate hostile responses. She didn’t just view the world from her own perspective, but from the perspectives of others, including those who would object to her statements.

Also interesting is what she didn’t address. About the causes of this poverty, she said simply, “too many people stay on the rez. Nothing will change if people don’t leave.” If she had thoughts about the systemic causes of this racism and poverty—which, to be fair, she may have—she didn’t discuss them during our session. Whether or not she did is, of course, beside the point; the point is that there are different types of knowledge, and that it’s important to distinguish between them. Knowing how to thrive within an oppressive system and knowing how it functions and perpetuates itself are very different things.

Anecdote #2

I also used to wait tables at a terrible, poorly-managed restaurant, and one of our line cooks, T, was a violent misogynist in his mid-twenties who bragged about hitting his girlfriend and enjoyed shoving the female waitstaff against the wall, holding paper towels over our mouths, and asking us if it “smell[ed] like chloroform.” One time he pretended not to understand my request for a side of garlic bread, and, when I snapped, “I’m sure you can handle it,” threatened to follow me home and…eh, you get the idea.

Our male co-workers encouraged us to be straightforward with him. “Just tell him to stop, he’ll respect you more if you defend yourself.”

“Okay, but when I defend myself he threatens violence.”

“You probably didn’t approach it the right way.”

Well, that was half-true. There was no “right way” to stand up to this guy, because he hated women in general and flew into a rage when we dared to fight back. The one time I snapped at him was a mistake—otherwise I just tried to avoid him.

That said, two of my female co-workers were great at calming him down. One had been in a long-term abusive relationship several years before, and one was in an abusive relationship then. They were both adept at distracting or placating him when he started ranting, and working was much more tolerable with them around.

The guys we worked with encouraged us to speak up because, by their own admission, that was the method that worked for them. Just call him out, joke around a bit, he’ll be fine. They were especially confused about my behavior, because I was known for giving the kitchen staff shit. They didn’t understand that this method wouldn’t work for us because they never had to see things from our perspective. T wasn’t a threat to them, just an occasional annoyance—and he never threatened them to the point that they felt compelled to prioritize his thoughts and wants.

In short: Very few of the women who dealt with T chalked our problems up to rape culture or misogyny, yet we all had some understanding of how to deal with him. Our understanding wasn’t shared by the male staff because they never needed to understand T in the first place. We—and particularly the women who had dealt with abusive partners—had a much better sense of how to cope with the abuse, regardless of how well we understood sexism.

(The story has a good ending, by the way: After I had a long discussion with my manager, she confronted him in front of the other guys—a strategic choice—and yelled at him until he tore off his apron, screamed “fuck you, bitch,” and quit in a blaze of male entitlement.)

End of anecdata

When we—feminists, anti-racists, social justice bloggers, etc—argue that the voices of oppressed people deserve priority, or that those people possess a privileged knowledge dominant groups don’t, we’re not saying that they’re necessarily more knowledgeable of, or fully-equipped to dismantle, oppressive hierarchies. We’re not saying that privileged people who have studied these issues in higher education are completely ignorant and have nothing to contribute to the discourse.

What we’re saying is that, while oppressed people may not share your academic understanding of oppression, they tend to be very adept at surviving within those systems—and those who do have this academic knowledge will often have a more nuanced perspective. Your opinion isn’t magically invalidated simply because you’re white, cis, male, wealthy, able-bodied, or neurotypical; however, you are seeing from a necessarily limited perspective. You can read the source material, but you haven’t lived it, and empathy is not enough.

More importantly, you don’t usually have to empathize. Want to ignore the ways you benefit at others’ expense?—that’s a component of privilege, so go right ahead. Oppressed people, however, don’t have this luxury. If they want to thrive within an oppressive system, they usually have to internalize dominant modes of thought.

I’ve seen people argue that “if I can’t fully understand your experiences as a [marginalized person], you can’t fully understand my experience as a [privileged person] either,“ which is true–but it also ignores the very different ways that oppressed people are socialized. Oppressed people are not simply told that their voices, thoughts, and rights don’t matter; they’re taught that the voices, thoughts, and rights of privileged people deserve priority. Consequently, they often internalize those voices and thoughts. They memorize them. They act under the influence of them.

So no, the point is not that oppressed people are the only ones who deserve a voice, or that they are automatically more knowledgeable on all aspects of privilege and oppression. The point is that they have first-hand knowledge, and therefore deserve prominence in anti-oppression movements. So if you want to criticize standpoint theory, go for it—but be careful to distinguish between different types of knowledge and learning. Because while there are many reasonable objections to standpoint theory, the notion that oppressed people have a better understanding of certain aspects of oppression is not far-fetched.

How normal people world-build:

  • Ok.  Maps.  Big cities.  Differing terrain.  Add some people.  Possibly write a mini-novel on the culture.  Do some mythology.  Government.  Occupations.  Add the educational, social, and religious structures.  Does it all fit?  Does it make sense?  Is it complete?  This basically covers everything I need.  Looks good.  Time to write.

How I world-build:

  • WRITE A 500 PAGE ETHNOGRAPHY AND CASE AND LANGUAGE STUDY OF EACH SOCIETY AND CULTURE I WILL ADDRESS WITHIN THE WORLD EVEN THOUGH ONLY .01% OF THE INFORMATION ABOUT ANY GIVEN CULTURE IS REMOTELY RELEVANT TO THE STORY AND ENSURE THAT ALL PEOPLE FIT WITHIN THE CULTURAL COGNITION AND SOCIAL PERSONALITY TYPES.  DEVELOP EACH LANGUAGE FULLY AND EXAMINE HOW THE CONSTRUCT WILL AFFECT SOCIAL AND TEMPORAL INTERPRETATION AND BASIC SOCIAL INTERACTION.  APPLY ACTUAL LINGUISTIC THEORY AND TRENDS.  LIKE GRUE.  ONE OUT OF THE FIFTEEN CULTURES IN THIS WORLD (ALL OF WHICH WILL RECEIVE A 500 PAGE ETHNOGRAPHY AND CASE AND LANGUAGE STUDY REGARDLESS OF PROMINENCE) MUST USE THE GRUE IN ITS LANGUAGE.  ANALYZE AND CONSTRUCT USING THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL THEORIES OF MEAD AND BENEDICT. EXAMINE FROM FUNCTIONALISM AND STRUCTURAL FUNCTIONALISM.  ARE ALL BASIC HUMAN NEEDS MET BY THE SYSTEM? DOES THE SYSTEM ENGAGE AND CONSTRUCT ITSELF AND MEET ITS OWN NEEDS?  POP IN A LITTLE LEVI-STRAUSS TOO, BECAUSE WE CAN’T FORGET HIM.  LOOK FOR EXAMPLES OF PRACTICE THEORY. EXAMINE AND DEVELOP STRUCTURE AND CONCEPTION USING THE MODELS FOR THE RISE OF STATES.  MAKE SURE YOU CAN TRACE THE CULTURAL AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT FROM THE PREHISTORIC THROUGH SPECIFIC AND LOGICAL AGES THAT FIT WITHIN THE RESOURCES AVAILABLE.  DEVELOP THE RISE OF AGRICULTURE AND UNDERSTAND THE EFFECTS THAT SUCH A DEVELOPMENT WOULD HAVE ON CHARACTER AGENCY.  APPLY EVERY OUNCE OF THEORY YOU KNOW AND USE THAT TO CONSTRUCT AND DECONSTRUCT THE CULTURE. IF ONE AREA IS INCOMPLETE, FIX IT. BUILD USING ANTHROPOLOGY. BECAUSE FUCK REAL WORLD APPLICATIONS OF THAT FIELD AND ITS THEORIES. THIS IS WHY IS SPENT FOUR YEARS GETTING MY DEGREE IN ANTHROPOLOGY.

The structures that are meant to keep women in their place are the exact same ones that attempt to ensure that transgender people self-deport to the closet. Religious institutions that prohibit women from positions of influence within the church universally regard transition as a sin. The glass ceilings that women bump up against are the same ones that transgender women (in particular) face. We’re still fighting about the roles of women and transgender people in the military. Women, and transgender women, continue to fight against their sexuality being pathologized or categorized within false dichotomies (slut vs. frigid, gay man vs. fetishist).

Transgender people represent an imminent threat to many of the patriarchal power structures and arguments that support them. We blur the lines of what it supposedly “means” to be a man or a woman; we obliterate conventional definitions of sexual orientation and sexuality; we lie at the intersection of so many forms of oppression (sexism, homophobia, racism) that successfully taking on transgender issues makes inroads into many of their strongholds.

Similarly, we see defenses of the indefensible when it comes to oppression by the same entities trying to enforce gender stereotypes. Vilification and blaming of victims of violence, calls for “right to discriminate” laws against gays and lesbians, defenses of horrific child abuse in the name of discipline, and calls for an end to the concept of separation of church and state – all of these come from power attempting to preserve itself by any means necessary.

Feminist and transgender issues are interdependent. Bodily autonomy for all or for none. Enforcement of gender stereotypes applies either to all of us or to none of us. You cannot oppose the overarching system of oppressions while giving it a free pass to perpetuate itself against one disadvantaged class.

We will only succeed together, because feminist issues are transgender issues.

—  Feminist Issues Are Transgender Issues | Brynn Tannehill for the Huffington Post 

anonymous asked:

Okay so let me get this straight when it's one cop it's the system but when it's one person who shot a cop it's just the one person? Look I'm not saying that there aren't cops out there who are shooting unarmed black men. But let's not act like the cops and black community are so different. Both systems are flawed and violence isn't the answer. Not all cops are racist and not all black people are criminals or thugs.

Yes when one person shoots a cop, that’s one person. 
Yes when an officer shoots an unarmed Black man, it’s most likely a product of systemic racism that automatically makes one feel that Black men are more of a threat than white men given identical situations and circumstances (read up on that) *not* that individual cop being a racist card-carrying member of the Klan.
No one said violence is the answer.
No one said all cops are racist.  The system itself is stacked to perpetuate prejudice and oppression.
Thank you for being another terrible anonymous commenter who read one thing on the internet and feels like they have the full picture.  Please do more research.