Writer Mikkel Krause Frantzen explores depression and social suffering under late capitalism - as extreme alienation and political powerlessness dominate our lives, we lose track of the ways our deep unhappiness with our lives is collective, and at times realisted, and inflicted by a system that thrives on isolated subjects, en masse.
Mikkel is author of the book Going Nowhere, Slow: The Aesthetics and Politics of Depression from Zero Books.
Here's what we read this week.
Waste Only: How the Plastics Industry is Fighting to Keep Polluting the World - Sharon Lerner / The Intercept
Situational Breakdowns: Understanding Protest Violence and other Surprising Outcomes - Anne Nassauer / University of California Press
Law Without Future: Anti-Constitutional Politics and the American Right - Jack Jackson / University of Pennsylvania Press.
Can you hear me? - Greta Thunberg / Communists in Situ
Immigrants as a Weapon: Global Nationalism and American Power - Yasha Levine / Substack
The Reactionary Heartland Is a Myth - Matthew E. Stanley and Paul M. Renfro / Dissent
Basic income bows to the master - Ana Cecilia Dinerstein / openDemocracy
The voice from the black hole - Sam Kriss /
More Than A Wall Corporate Profiteering and the Militarization of US borders - Todd Miller / Transnational Institute
Everything Must Go - Whitney Curry Wimbish / The Baffler
Sharon wrote the article Waste Only: How the Plastics Industry is Fighting to Keep Polluting the World for The Intercept
Anne wrote the book Situational Breakdowns: Understanding Protest Violence and other Surprising Outcomes for Oxford University Press.
Jack is author of the book Law Without Future: Anti-Constitutional Politics and the American Right from University of Pennsylvania Press.
Thomas wrote the article A tale of corruption by the United Auto Workers and the Big Three American automakers for Monthly Review.
Brian wrote the article Withdrawal of the extradition bill in hong kong is likely too little, too late to put an end to protests for New Bloom.
Alex is author of the book How to Justify Torture: Inside the Ticking Bomb Scenario from Repeater Books.
Keir is author of the book Generation Left from Polity.
Jonathan is author of the book This City Is Killing Me: Community Trauma and Toxic Stress in Urban America from Belt Publishing.
Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.
Spiders are spinning their webs in the grass: pretty, tiny, black jumping spiders, with turquoise rings around their abdomens. Spiders have spinneret glands to poop out their web strands. That’s one way to do it, I guess!
Kids with excellent eyesight can watch the spiders spin. So can old people who once had good eyesight but now have excellent reading glasses. From the vantage point of the kids, it all looks like an arachnid multi-scene diorama. The spiders appear to be weaving rustic booths in the grass, tiny bamboo booths with roofs of foliage, like tiny sukkahs for Sukkot, the harvest festival. These are Jewish spiders. Their turquoise comes from their retired Uncle Nate in Arizona.
One spider, I don’t know if he’s Jewish or not, spins his webs out of gold. His name is Epstein. I heard this story about Epstein on “The Daily,” the New York Times podcast, hosted by Michael Barbaro. It was one of many gruesome tales I’ve read or heard about this gold-spinning spider. Like all the stories about him, it’s appalling. I don’t even like thinking about them, any of them, but this one especially sickens me. Nevertheless, it should be known, so that you can understand only the smallest fraction of the way Epstein wielded his wealth. It’s illustrative of the weaponization of power through, not only wealth inequality, but gender inequality and age inequality, and a slew of other inequalities that come together to make up status inequality.
This is the story of an artist in her mid-twenties, so she wasn’t under the age of majority, as many of Epstein’s victims were. We’ll leave behind the spider metaphor for a bit, though we’ll come back to it.
Maria was an artist, not a spider. The only reason I couple spiders and the story of Maria is that what Epstein did to Maria was a violation. And the thing I think of when I think of good things being violated is industrious, busy spiders of the variety I’ve described above, weaving their tiny sukkot in their tiny diorama world in the grass, and that impulse of pure endeavor being invaded by conquistadors. It’s a world like that one, being violated. A world of effort and beauty, of individual and communal spirit, and of ritual, being violated by a creature weaving webs of gold and injecting his prey with venom that liquifies their... read more
Richard wrote the article Holocaust Capitalism for Cosmonaut.
Richard is author of the new book The Twittering Machine from The Indigo Press.
Adia is author of the new book Flatlining: Race, Work, and Health Care in the New Economy from University of California Press.
Aviva wrote the article Jobs, the Environment, and a Planet in Crisis for TomDispatch.