Imagine this: an economic system that is designed to make democracy and self-determination the cornerstone of its function. Decisions are made on a local face-to-face basis in your own neighborhood and is coordinated to the town and region, so power always flows from the bottom up. When you go to work it is not to do the bidding of someone else but instead can be done eagerly knowing you directly own and manage part of that workplace, just like everybody else there. Jobs are designed to be equally empowering to everyone in a firm, meaning everyone is equally skilled and equipped to help manage their work. Your community directly controls natural resource health and stability, no longer to leave industries to pollute the environment and the people in it.Read More »
Who Will Mourn Syria?
On Wednesday air strikes were launched into Syria amid a formal announcement from Erdogan of Turkey’s intentions on Twitter. This came as a shock to nobody, seeing Turkey’s intentions have been explicitly known for some time. The air strikes targeted villages with locations of Syrian Defense Force positions, and has been reported by the SDF to already have taken civilian lives. The U.S. knew this was going to happen when they began pulling troops from the region despite historically supporting the Kurds in the offensive against ISIS. Trump’s announcement of pulling from the region came after pressure from Turkey to create a “Safe Zone” for which to relocate refugees. Read More »
The Failures of Masculinity
There are few things in society that can be perpetuated that are so plainly false yet never have their merits questioned. The concept of masculinity is one of these things. It can take many forms, not just as a mindset but also through actions in our daily lives. Masculinity is believing that men need big muscles, hair on their chest, never to show emotions – and especially – never to cry. It is a repressive force that keeps men at a standstill, keeps women in a nuclear home holding cell, and adds absurd amounts of anger to the world we live in. First, once we fully understand the roots and causes of masculinity it will be easier to tear it down and place a functional belief set in its place.
Most of the things said throughout this essay are coming from the point of view of a white male that grew up with the typical ideas of masculinity. Because of that, this polemic is aimed mostly at men since we are the ones that must change our actions and mind states to help resolve the issue. But we shouldn’t forget that to end the patriarchal attitudes in society then it takes the effort of both men and women to remedy it.Read More »
Capitalism and Nostalgia
The only way capitalism can survive is if we’re all consumers. We constantly have to buy new things so new things can be made and the system reproduces itself, spinning into a showboat auction of who can sell the most stuff. There are whole fields of study dedicated to making consumers purchase the most stuff, which is a somewhat frightening thought given all the consequences. One way to win that profit race to the top is to figure out what consumers want to buy, and the easiest way of doing that is ensuring them of what they want to buy.
For instance, have you noticed all the sequels and remakes that Hollywood has been pumping out? We’ve just gotten a whole slew of new Star Wars films, Disney is releasing all their old films but with live animation this time (Jungle Book, Lion King, Mulan, etc), kids sequels like Toy Story 4 or Frozen 2, the list could go on. It’s not just direct sequels either, symbols and themes from the past appear in supposedly original work. Take for instance the Netflix series Stranger Things, which although an original work plays heavily into 80’s nostalgia; same with the much of our pop music, in which I’ve noticed New Wave motifs being played into heavily.
I’ve heard the phrase that “Hollywood is running out of ideas” but that’s hardly satisfying. What the media manufacturers are doing is far more calculated and in fact quite intentional.Read More »
Workplace Democracy (How to be Your Own Boss)
If you ask the average American why they believe their country is great they’ll usually mumble something about free speech, civil liberties, and eventually they’ll get around to democracy. In recent years the concept of democracy has lost its weight due to forces all around us working to diminish democracy; because at its core, true democracy is still a radical idea. I for one still believe in democracy. But it is curious that we continue to strive for a democratic process in our politics but not where it matters most: in the workplace.
The mainstream discussion about social issues does not even consider the idea of a democratic workplace because of the radical implications of democracy. But, if anything, it makes more sense to focus on democracy in the workplace. We are told to go participate in politics every 2-4 years when elections roll around to help shape our futures the way we see fit, but we spend far more time shoved into a workplace where we have no control at all about what happens there. People’s entire livelihoods – their entire means to keep surviving – are all the result of their time in the workplace, yet we have less control over this than we do the entire workings of our government.
If we truly believe in the principles of democracy, then those principles need to be extended to the most consequential parts of our lives. If our society promoted the idea of democratic workplaces then not only would that give people far more control over their own lives, but it would make society more productive and more equitable. The majority of our days would not be going to work to serve some boss that was placed over us arbitrarily, but instead every day when we go to work we would be working for ourselves to reap the benefits of our own labor.Read More »