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December 31, 2019
Low, dishonest decade
Posted by Patrick at 07:13 PM * 35 comments

I largely gave up political blogging after November 8, 2016, when it became obvious that I have no idea what I’m talking about. I still don’t think anyone should pay any attention to what I think.

If you’re still reading, here are some of the things I recently thought were smart. Keep in mind that I’m an idiot.

Politics is for Power, Not Consumption, by Eitan Hersh. The bullshit performative stuff we do online isn’t politics, it’s just cosplay. “If you feel unfulfilled, melancholy, paralyzed by the sadness of the news and depth of our political problems, there is an alternative: actually doing politics. Citizens who want to empower their political values would be better off if they spent less time consuming politics as at-home amateurs and instead fell in line to help strengthen organizations and leaders. Rather than kibitzing with their social media friends, they could adopt some of the spirit of the party regulars, counting votes and building interpersonal relationships in their neighborhoods.”

Twitter thread by Jonathan Smucker, author of Hegemony How-To: A Roadmap for Radicals, which I’m reading and which is so far very good. “Being right wins you exactly nothing if you have no power.” “If you don’t choose your battles, your opponents will choose them for you.” “Revelations of misdeeds of the powerful induce only popular resignation if there is no viable counter-power to take advantage of the opening.” More.

Jane McAlevey, How to Organize Your Friends and Family on Thanksgiving. Step by step, how to talk to normal human beings without being the sanctimonious leftist prick everybody hates. Not coincidentally, written by a brilliant modern union organizer. I’m reading her No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age and it’s terrific.

We Have to Take the Roses Seriously: Talking to Nathan J. Robinson. Interview with the very smart editor and publisher of the wonderfully-named Current Affairs, whose writing I’ve been generally bingeing on. “That great Terry Eagleton quote comes to mind, describing a socialist as ‘just someone who is unable to get over his or her astonishment that most people who have lived and died have spent lives of wretched, fruitless, unremitting toil.’ So I’d begin from that kind of disgust with certain features of the world, certain things that happen to some of us, certain ways that workers get treated. If we can agree that people should meaningfully participate in the decisions that affect their lives, then ‘Do you like the fact that if you drop below packing some set number of boxes per hour, a robot will fire you?’ they probably would say: ‘No, that’s not a process I personally would have established.’”

Hoping for hope. Happy new year.

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