20181227

The Bronx Slave Market (1935) Ella Baker.

Paradoxically, the crash of 1929 brought to the domestic labor market a new employer class. The lower-middle-class housewife, who, having dreamed of the luxury of a maid, found opportunity staring her in the face in the form of Negro women pressed to the wall by poverty, starvation, and discrimination.

No Scrubs (2018) Meagan Day interviews Kristen R. Ghodsee concerning the sexual freedoms socialism facilitated.

KRG: What we see is that when women have economic independence from men — in the sense that they can support children out of wedlock, they have jobs, they have pensions, they have access to housing and their basic needs like utilities and food are subsidized — they don’t stick around in relationships that are unsatisfying. When they can leave, they don’t stay with men who don’t treat them well.

20181222

A man does something to himself, it causes great discomfort but he survives it. He is an artist.

20181217

Indian restaurants in New York City make me feel like home. The interiors are decorated with art from the same sweatshops. Handmade wall ornaments painted in earthly hues, paintings of nature made in haste. Illustrations showing mythological figures, sports heroes and a distant relative. Some blinking lights, paper flowers and cityscape prints glued on walls, with peels revealing the sockets. Seeing the Brooklyn Bridge on the print makes more sense here then in Helsinki but it feels dislocated even so. The music is the same too. If I didn’t know better I would think these restaurants are designed by the same corporate stylist. This is not a complaint but a celebration. The food is good.

20181213

Can the Yellow Vests Speak? (2017) Édouard Louis. An analysis of the protests rhetorics.

For the dominant, the popular classes are the perfect representation of what Pierre Bourdieu calls a class-object; an object that can be manipulated by discourse, one day represented as the salt of the earth — the authentic poor — and the next day as racists and homophobes. In both cases, the underlying intention is the same: to prevent the popular classes’ speech, about themselves, from ever coming to the surface.

[…] the gilets jaunes movement is still a work in progress, and its language is not yet fixed in place: if there does exist homophobia or racism among the gilets jaunes, our responsibility is to transform this language.

[…] the gilets jaunes represent a sort of Rorschach test for a large part of the bourgeoisie. The gilets jaunes force them to express their class contempt and the violence that they usually only express in an indirect way.

20181212

On M.I.A. (2018) Momtaza Mehri. A celebration of the artist life and career (with some critical readings of M.I.A’s genre-flirting). Prompted me to listen to her again. I don’t agree with the sellout bits. It’s always a decision artists make and have to live with (you can be a sellout and a good artist too). Interesting text for learning about “Political blackness” in the UK context.

Authenticity is an unstable pedestal rooted in meticulously cultivated performance. It is externally adjudicated. No one understands this more than a slippery art school ingénue like M.I.A. Selling out means something entirely different when you come from no money. There are people who depend on you.

The class solidarities that once united communities facing street violence and economic disenfranchisement were bastardized by race professionals into the politics of lobbying and local government, a process abetted by New Left radicals in the name of political blackness. Tariq Modood tracked this phenomenon’s journey from factory floor to think tank, decrying a ‘false essentialism’ that assumes ‘all non-white groups have something in common other than how others treat them’.

Coalitions rooted in the denial of difference are bound to uncritically reproduce the very hierarchies they aim to dismantle, stifling criticism in the name of unity. Those excluded from hegemonic universalism should be the last to adopt reductive universals of their own. Too often, such gestural solidarities depend on the silencing and disciplining of dissenting black voices. ‘Despite our desperate, eternal attempt to separate, contain, and mend, categories always leak’ Trinh Minh-ha writes in Woman, Native, Other.

Learning that the Swedes (who Finns partially were) took skeletons of stone age Finns to collections in Stockholm.