Weekly Update: 29 May
Gods & Radicals This Week
After one of the best weeks in recent memory on this site, with several really thought-provoking articles, we have another strong week in store. Early in the week will be “What Wants Us Gone” by Rhyd Wildermuth. We have two new writers making their debut on Gods & Radicals, “Magical Arts and Sacred Geographies” by Gersande La Flèche, and “For Low & Middle Class Unity” by Martin Christensen. Later in the week will be Kadmus’ “The Original Sacred,” “Free Against Hope” by Sophia Burns, and the long-overdue return of the Crafted Recordings Podcast with “Episode 7: The Deeper Magic of the Commons.” I’m excited about this episode, which will contain music by The Droimlins and interviews with Peter Linebaugh, George Caffentzis, Massimo de Angelis, and David Bollier, along with another contribution from Dr. Bones.
The print journal — A Beautiful Resistance #2 — is still in process, but sadly there have been some delays in production. Be patient — this amazing issue is still in the works and we’ll have more information as soon as it is available.
As many of you are probably aware, Rhyd Wildermuth and Alley Valkyrie are, more or less, the spiritual progenitors of Gods & Radicals, given that this project was inspired by their Pagan anti-Capitalist presentation at a conference a year or two ago. They are presently on a sabbatical & pilgrimage in Europe. Both are documenting their experiences on their sites (Paganarch and The Scallop and the Dusk), as well as their various social media presences. If you enjoy their writings and photographs, please consider supporting them if you have the means via Paypal (Rhyd here and Alley here) or Patreon (Rhyd here and Alley here).
G&R Board Member and writer Syren Nagakyrie launched a Patreon drive this week, and is very close to her first goal. It’s so important that we support one another, as far outside the mechanisms of capital as possible.
Quite a few articles caught my eye this week. Among them were:
- Seeing Wetiko: On Capitalism, Mind Viruses, and Antidotes for a World in Transition
“Wetiko is an Algonquin word for a cannibalistic spirit that is driven by greed, excess, and selfish consumption (in Ojibwa it is windigo, wintiko in Powhatan). It deludes its host into believing that cannibalizing the life-force of others (others in the broad sense, including animals and other forms of Gaian life) is a logical and morally upright way to live. Wetiko short-circuits the individual’s ability to see itself as an enmeshed and interdependent part of a balanced environment and raises the self-serving ego to supremacy. It is this false separation of self from nature that makes this cannibalism, rather than simple murder.”
- Let’s not abolish sex work. Let’s abolish all work
“I support the abolition of sex work – but only in so far as I support the abolition of work in general, where ‘work’ is understood as ‘the economic and moral obligation to sell your labour to survive’. I don’t believe that forcing people to spend most of their lives doing work that demeans, sickens and exhausts them for the privilege of having a dry place to sleep and food to lift to their lips is a ‘morally neutral act’.”
- White Niceness as the Enemy of Black Liberation
“Niceness is about convenience. It’s about our comfort. It’s about control. It can never include disruptions. It is exactly what MLK disparages in his ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ as a ‘negative peace’, set up to keep the status quo.”
- Recovery & Radicalism
“The word addict has a ton of baggage. It bears the weight of the racist war on drugs coupled with the debate about whether addiction is appropriately categorized/pathologized as a medical condition or ‘disease’. We recognize that those, and other related concepts are connotations when we use the word. It’s frustrating to us to explain that we use it differently.”
- Stolen People on Stolen Land: Decolonizing While Black
“Searching for the answer brings me face to face with a difficult reality—a reality that means it is understood and acknowledged that I am here as a result of theft of life and culture. This feeling is hollowing and a specific loss of self and personhood unique to that of a non-Indigenous slave descendant. The denial of ever having a true anchor even if able to completely dismantle the settler system.”
The Working Class in France and Elsewhere
For a politically-engaged American, the present situation in France is a lesson in contrast, if nothing else. Four years ago, President François Hollande was elected on a socialist platform quite reminiscent of one leftist (by US standards) campaign this year in the US, emphasizing containing wealth stratification and increasing France’s social safety net. Now, just a few years after his populist victory, this same President is trying to combat high unemployment rates by curbing workers’ rights and increasing the power of employers to reduce pay, fire employees (presumably to to then hire lower-waged replacements), and cut back on customary leave and vacation times.
The French did not passively accept this situation. They have taken to the streets by the hundreds of thousands, protesting and participating in a General Strike. You see, French workers pride themselves on having a society with laws that protect workers’ rights, including the 35 hour work week, strongly regulated paid leave, and an inability of an employer to fire a worker “at will,” requiring long and expensive legal processes, along with a specific reason to fire someone. They have strong labor unions, including the Confédération générale du travail (CGT) — General Confederation of Labour, or the first and largest confederation of labor unions in France, and as such are much more organized and effective than American workers.
These unions provide a way for workers to not only consolidate their power in opposition to capital, but also an infrastructure where workers can help take care of one another. One intriguing example emerged this week with The Babayagas’ House, a feminist alternative to the “old folks home.”
In addition to the protests, the General Strike happening in France have created disruptions in conveniences, including limited power availability, less available gasoline, blocked motorways & bridges, flaming barricades, train disruptions, and other inconveniences. French workers seem to take these everyday hassles in stride, knowing that they are a consequence of the struggle for the greater good.
Meanwhile, here in the US, the last general strike was in Oakland in 1946. Well before most of us were born. As such the working conditions are quite different. Minimum wage workers can’t afford rent in any American city. This week, one American worker killed his wife of more than 50 years in her sleep, because she had been ill for so long and could not afford her medication.
The context of these struggles is Capitalism, or more specifically Neoliberal Capitalism. For over 40 years, Neoliberalism has had a stranglehold on America and much of the world, resulting in the annihilation of the middle class and systematic wage suppression & stagnation. This has created signs of a new class: the Precariat (as explored last week by Dr. Bones) and even the Unnecessariat. Amidst this suffering, the 5 largest tech corporations now control 30% of the privatized cash in the US (outside the financial institutions).
Some are predicting that America is on the brink of profound social, economic, and political change. We will see. In the meantime, American workers should pay close attention to what French workers are fighting for.