Hey! Thanks for reading! Just a reminder that I wrote this some years ago, and may have much more complicated feelings about this topic than I did when I wrote it. Happy to elaborate, feel free to reach out to me! 😄
🎵 The song for this post is Play, by Big Freedia feat. Goldiie. 🎵
It feels pretty awful to pay attention to, well, anything. We've got a killer pandemic, Depression-era job loss, and demonstrations with violence instigated by police we're paying for on the same-ass bullshit that's been a problem for over a century.
Some of my absolute favorite art is Black American Civil Rights songs, except that I've been listening to them my whole life and they've always, always applied to the present. Here's Fight the Power by Public Enemy in 1989:
So this song is almost as old as I am and we're still content to neglect Black populations, letting them die disproportionately of COVID ("The Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Found Out Who Was Dying"), get thrown into prisons and forced to work for pennies to the hour, and otherwise get fucked in every manner social scientists care to measure.
But it's not just my lifetime: here's Mississippi Goddamn, 1964. That's an entire generation of people between this and Public Enemy:
Between that? Another generation of people, and Billie Holiday's Strange Fruit in 1939:
Before that? We didn't really have recorded media lol, though obviously people were making and distributing music about this.
I want something meaningful; anything at all, to change. I hate listening to these songs from literal lifetimes ago and see that we're talking about these issues in exactly the same terms. I hate that the surviving generation of wealth-hoarding planet-boiling racists want to claim no responsibility for it while continuing to perpetuate it. And I really hate people advocating for a "peaceful resolution" from the people with a boot on their necks, like that's even possible.
Did you see what a shitshow the narrative-makers created out of kneeling during a National Anthem? Do you see them misremember MLK as some well-loved peacenik? He was assassinated! Direct action gets the goods; if you want change to happen, I won't take you seriously (and will consider you part of the problem) if you suggest things that have obviously never worked.
Also, cops! Gut their institutions until they're unrecognizable, the situation is beyond "reform." A lot of people say the word "abolish," and it scares people because they think you mean "wave a wand and make them disappear, now," but a) obviously you can't do that IRL, life doesn't have beaurocratic Infinity Gauntlets, so given that b) you can do effectively the same thing "within the lines," like Republicans have been doing for voting and abortion rights for the last three decades: the NYPD currently has a $6bn budget, let next year's be $300m, and let them fight over it. Bonus! You've got $5.7bn for decarbonization efforts. Then cut it to $200m the next year. Prosecute them, and pay violence settlements out of their pensions. Take their guns and military surplus toys away. Something called the NYPD might even survive, and it might even do some policing work, but it won't be that power-hungry octopus that has, like, 9 bored assholes harassing a fare jumper.
If you want a collection of videos of police attacking protesters without provocation, go ahead. I also have a ton of links up from the last time I wrote about this for broader police abuse, before this spate of protests. And, like, listen to those songs, or watch the Rodney King video, or read a fucking book: this shit's been happening far longer than we've had ubiquitous cameras to catch it. If you click the links and you're still think property damage on insured buildings is worse than the shit we inflict on our population, I'm done with you, it's on you to convince me you're worth spending time on (and that you, on some level, don't think marginalized people deserve this).
Two weeks after stating how proud he is at Facebook's fact-checking, Zuckerburg licks Trump's balls and says it's not the place of a social network to fact-check.
Facebook employees (and to a lesser extent, Twitter and YouTube employees): employment is very personal, subject to many factors, and I only have so much visibility. I've done my time in Big Tech Monopolies, questionable companies, and have collected paychecks from places whose investors are cretinous toads. So it is my opinion, and nothing more, that at this point you all are complicit bastards in this, and you should be raising more hell than your privileged asses have ever done before. Oh you had a walkout? That's cute. I'm sure the internal memes were blistering. Facebook is really going to feel the pain of you taking a single day off of working on that project that might, when done, move a metric 4% toward a quarterly OKR goal.
This shit won't change anything, and plays right into the PR that Facebook's not a complete tool of right-wing ghouls that have plundered the country. Violet Blue:
Making Facebook seem like a house divided serves Facebook’s PR perfectly, like when a president puts children in cages and his wife makes a benign comment about the importance of child safety, and press goes “oooh look there are two sides in this.”
Next time? Take down the site and APIs until Mark and Sheryl come to the table. It's not them (or board of directors member Peter Thiel, or Kavanaugh-pushing Joel Kaplan) keeping the machines on. Their most useful professional skill at this point is laundering the accountability in making you turn the crank that grinds democracy while they clink glasses with other billionaires.
Alternatively, if you're going to sell us all out, don't be so damn cheap about it. Organize, shut down the machine for 10 minutes, and threaten to do it for longer until y'all get paid 5-10x, and the same for your contractors (and get them benefits, for God's sake). That people can be bought into brutalizing others sucks, but it's a reality I accept; if you're going to do it, it's insulting to have our future sold for so fucking cheap.
(I'm off FB because it's sucked long before this)
I realize I'm coming off strong. But goddammit, it doesn't have to be this way. None of this is new.
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