#gamergate

So anyway, I don’t play computer games. Never have done. Entirely uninterested. I ignored #gamergate the way I ignore most news stories am not interested in and all twitterstorms in twitterteacups.

I tweeted some rant or other about the state of modern feminism and I noticed that a tweet was being retweeted out of context by people who claimed that as their identity. I thought nothing more about it. Next thing my twitter account is subject to some random swarm of men one really should be grateful are at home tweeting and not outside near real women.

Learned that #gamergate is this. A hashtag where weird men sit waiting for women to use the hashtag so they can pile on and overwhelm her twitter account. Nothing to do with computer games after all, so no Spyro the Dragon tips for me.

I can’t see what I have to do with a discussion about ethics in gaming journalism, so I can only assume that is a front for some crazy women hating bastards who have been schooled in the 4chan arts. My twitter account now has to be locked because I included a hashtag in a tweet, and wasn’t in posession of a penis at the time. The online equivalent of ‘she was asking for it’. I thank them for the education in what #gamergate is, and am grateful we have free speech and they can demonstrate they are scary bastars and can assure them they don’t really need to do that to stop me discussing computer games, because I have no interest in computer games at all.

Labour do something very very sensible

New Economic Advisory Group including Stiglitz, Piketty, and Mariana Mazzucato. THis should sort out the stench that Richard Murphy has created.

This also gives the party a solid economic anchor, which probably wont bear fruit for a while. This means the disintegration that is guaranteed as obsolete factions need to tear shit out of each other, and pretty much destroy each other, may still mean the party can move forwards and get out of the rut they have been in for decades. It means there is a slight chance that economic certainties can be arrived at within current political frameworks, and Labour can move forward with the rest of us to a new age. Whatever happens, whichever faction wins out, they would be foolish to undo such a step.

Labour didn’t have the intellectual resources to address their problems, now they do. Not sure what you do about a culture of toxic cunts but things are progressing nicely.

Why media feminism needs to catch up with the rest of the world…

In our world women head households, have always worked, and are the backbone of communities. Not just an afterthought on a panel. The misogyny that defines media and politics cultures is an anachronism. The projection of that onto us using social policy systems is an abuse. And the media feminists who sell this really need to enter the century we all live in. To be honest, they need to enter the 20th century before they enter the 21st. And their media cultures cannot drag us back to the century they inhabit and will be destroyed in the attempt.

Why the ‘intersectionality debate’ is funny

A few years ago, ‘radical’ and ‘feminist’ media cultures attempted to transition to the internet. Anyway, this predominantly white, male led, upper class culture, attempted to demand that the people they encountered change their reality to fit in with the things they had decided were their identity. Demanded that anyone they encountered in their new internet paddling pool, change their reality to suit identities developed in cloistered universities and media organisations.

Understandably some people were quite upset. Or amused at the request. And refused. For women of colour, working class women, and the rest of us with complex identities and lives, who had long had to tolerate the impact of  a white upper class sealed off media cultures shaping the world we live in, it was absurd that they believed this possible. An education being subjected to the demand.

A fabulous essay by Flavia Dzodan, called upon an idea that Kimberley Crenshaw had articulated two decade ago, to rage against this bullshit. I urge anyone with ten minutes on their hands to read it. The understanding of intersecting inequality isn’t new.

Most of the professions in our public sector, in the services that address inequality, already have a nuanced understanding of the need to reflect on your own values, attitudes, and your place in the system, to avoid harming those you work with. Anti-oppressive practice in social work, supervision systems in psychiatry, psychology, healthcare provision, all demand that reflection on the impact of what you do on those you work with. We are a long long way past the buzzword of ‘intersectionality’. By a good couple of decades.

Anyway, the vacuous self absorbed media brats, and existing media behemoths were shocked to the very core by the people they encountered refusing to forget everything they know and are, and ignore the massive knowledge developed in the 20th century.

THey couldn’t believe the audacity of people refusing to change their reality to suit their political needs, and could not fathom why the people who had surely been waiting a lifetime to be a badge to decorate the identity of a media lefty or feminst could not do this. ‘Intersectionality’ became the buzzword du jour.

Friends of Laurie Penny decided intersectionality meant their right to target female journalists and encourage abuse of those women, and Russell Group feminists and posh lefties all over the place started thinking about how they were going to explain this ‘new’ concept to the poor grateful plebs.

‘No shit, you are going to explain how inequality intersects and shapes my life, social policy systems, and economic systems? Oh you were just going to tell me the thing you heard on twitter?’ *patshead

This was played out on twitter and in the broadsheets, with vacuous morons competing to dominate a chatroom shouting ‘intersectionality’, convinced this was another word to justify them being a gateway to the primary institutions of media and political discourse.

What they didn’t realise, was their vocal and visible civil wars were just a demonstration of the baby steps they were taking as they prepared to deal with the outside world. While we watched and laughed as they explained that to understand intersecting inequality, the poor plebs they were now forced to mix with, would have to learn their language and social norms or face abuse for not doing so.

As a vignette for how the cultures around politics, media, and the not so radical politics of elite universities struggled to mix with the outside world, it was funny. Hilarious in fact. It is still ongoing and whenever I see a posh post grad attempting to ‘explain’ intersecting inequality, I have a little chuckle at the difficulty they are having in transitioning to a world where they meet the people fucked over by them. Confident that they will be forced to catch up because the systems which allowed them to retain that ignorance no longer exist.

Refugee crisis

This is not really a post. More a brief expression of deep, deep, deep unease. While Giles Fraser is on BBC Daily Politics talking shit about peace and love, we actually have the world we have. We have a monumental refugee crisis which is exposing tensions in Europe, tensions within countries, the folly of decades of geo politics, and the solutions being offered up by various countries open up alarming possibilities. Prisons, camps, displaced people, a global political blueprint which demonises according to inequality faultlines. A winter coming. And millions of displaced people. Deep, deep, unease. #helpisnot coming but something is in the air and that something isn’t good.

Is all very well that crisis which bring us face to face with who we are bring change, but those crisis are often very very ugly and leave scars that last generations.

A Red Shift

Definition of a Red Shift.

red shift
noun

ASTRONOMY
noun: redshift
  1. the displacement of spectral lines towards longer wavelengths (the red end of the spectrum) in radiation from distant galaxies and celestial objects. This is interpreted as a Doppler shift which is proportional to the velocity of recession and thus to distance.

God bless twitter. Someone explained it to me thus- An object displaying red shift is receding from its audience at something approaching the speed of light.

As the electorate runs away from Labour at the speed of light, Labour says it is searching for a New England. Now ignoring the Kirsty McColl reference, England is a very small country. If you get lost in the heart of Lincolnshire, you just have to choose a direction and you will soon hit a motorway. We only have 64 million people and really quite a mature political economy. Maybe if its such a job to search for this tiny little nation, Labour need to ask themselves whether the fact they are a culture of turds is what is keeping people from associating with them? Anyway,  I think Red Shift is absolutely the right name for their new initiative to find us.

Free Meals for Infants Scrapped

The Tories have announced they are scrapping free school meals for infants. Tribalists all over are denouncing this as taking food out of kids mouths. No, that was benefit cuts and wage suppression. The free school meals for infants policy was scrapped because it was unworkable. It was policy scribbled on the back of a fag packet to triangulate on the deliberate creation of food poverty and cos Nick Clegg was getting shit.

It was foisted on schools even though it wasnt properly costed, and no consideration was given to how school meals are actually funded. It plunged school kitchen managers into chaos as they struggled to reconcile efficient buyinga nd meal allocation into extraordinarily complex budgeting systems that had to fit with a policy that hadn’t been thought about.

For about the same price, they could have extended the free school meals that go to very low income working households, to the single parents who are very specifically excluded from this policy. Schools up and down the country are pretty much begging for this, as they manage their relationship with single parents as creditors, and it could have been delivered easily, cheaply and moved schools towards the universal free school meals the Coalition claimed they wanted.

Instead schools have been plunged into chaos for no reason. The policy was axed, not to save money, but because it was unworkable. And we need to do something about politicians scribbling policy on fag packets and giving it to schools to implement without a fucking thought.

Milifans and rape threats

For five years we have watched the Labour media culture expose their toxicity online, and with it the appalling nature of the misogyny they foster in the political media echochamber. When the Labour media team siezed on a girl who was not yet finished her ‘A’ Levels and exploited her, so she could be the latest in a long long line of people recruited via twitter to present the Labour Party as other than it is, most of us knew how it would end. With a teenage girl and inbox full of rape threats. We knew this because she wasn’t the first, and she won’t be the last by a long shot.

We need to discuss how the Guardian, New Statesman and Labour Party present themselves using exploitation of the vulnerable, and the consequences for the people they pick and discard like detritus. We could probably discuss it in context of the way they use these people to lie about policy, but that’s been done.

When you recruit a 17 year old, or a person with a disability living in poverty, or a single mother to give you poverty porn, you have a duty of care. Period.

Today it emerged that yes, Abby is receiving the death and rape threats that are de rigeur when you are a woman in that echochamber, and when you have been held up, as Jack Monroe and many others have been, to be abused. Only she isnt a grown woman, she is a kid. I don’t really care that it is patronising to point out that a teenager is in fact vulnerable to exploitation by grown men who should know better. And the media culture we are discussing are mainly male, but by no means could they be described as rational or adult.

Abby was recruited, she may have joined the party by choice, and her youthful enthusiasm something that the Labour spin team saw would boost a flagging election campaign, but she was in fact recruited and exploited when they made her the centre of that campaign. This is not about young people having an interest in politics,

It was downright irresponsible, exploitative, and abusive of that culture to recruit a 17 year old into the long line of women and vulnerable people they have tossed to be abused. It is absolutely the Labour Party and the New Statesman’s responsibility that she is now getting the threats that could have been, and were, predicted, when they first started exploiting her. It needs to stop. At some point those threats are gong to be carried out and some vulnerable person is going to end up being seriously hurt.

The people they pick get more and more vulnerable, and the second they criticise Labour the threats come from the tribes who today swarmed me for daring to point out what is obvious. We can see how this culture behave and that visibility is partly why noone will vote Labour as yet.

Achiles heel of Corbyn’s platform.

There are several achilles heels in Corbyn’s platform right and everyone of them is visible from space. For Corbyn to succeed they need to be addressed.

1- Richard Murphy. A tax accountant presenting himself as an economist, because he walked out of an economics lecture. I can extrapolate flaws in economic thinking from my understanding of social policy institutions but it doesn’t make me an economist. Knowing the limits of your understanding is not a weakness, it is the starting point in finding out what you need to know. Corbynomics is not yet fully formed policies which is right and proper, because there are few certainties right now. They are starting point. The crisis we are in is a multifaceted crisis, which spans the political economy and is directly rooted in failure of the original post war economists to clarify or understanding inequality, instability and the structure of institutions. The institutional failure we are seeing is directly rooted in the failure of the early post war economists, combining with the failure of the economic orthodoxy we adopted in the mid seventies. Reversion to ideas formed in the last manifestation of the current crisis will not address that. It requires lots of perspectives.

The preservation of left wing nostalgia at certain points in our poltical economy, and a hostility to criticism of those ideas, is what has kept Labour stagnant and prevented that discussion happening. While Corybynomics is a starting point for discussion it is not a proper assessment, workable solutions, or sellable solutions.

Corbynomics won’t get to that point while anyone pointing that out is shouted down. Richard Murphy’s presentation of himself as an economists is a fraud, and what he is selling is snake oil. As a starting point for discussion it is adequate, but not if Richard himself shouts libel at any discussion he doesn’t like.

Amplification of your own voice and a twitter feed are not the equivalent of expertise. There are a host of economists out there who should be dominating discussion and a tax accountant fraudulently presenting himself as an economist is not one of them.

2- The twitter bubble. The twitter bubble is an echochamber around a political party. The election clearly told us that the ability to maintain group think in an online echochamber is damaging to any political cause. There was no Tory coup, and the shock of the twitter bubble at the election result most people could have told them was comig because they wouldn’t vote Labour, was ridiculous. The people in the twitter bubble who spent five years deliberately squashing discussion of austerity that didn’t suit Labour, and the radical wolfie smith fucknuts who spent five years demanding we did not discuss austerity, and instead screamed their kideologies, are a liability to anyone wishing to win an election.

If that bubble had not spent five years shouting down discussion of austerity’s reality, the Corbyn echochamber may have had the knowledge they need. An assessment which incorporates a critique of the symbiosis of left and right since the post war period is needed to understand the scale of this crisis, and this twitter bubble will violently abuse anyone who attempts that. This will keep the Corbyn camp stagnant.

If the Labour Party is to transition through this crisis, they need to rediscover the centre position. The left factions and the blairite factions and their toxic symbiosis is how that has been prevented. It may well be that the service Corbyn does to us is that the left faction and the blairite faction take each other out, and leave the way for new blood. The Oxbridge ‘radicals'(and I use the term with caution) who have spent five years abusing vulnerable people whose reality contradicts their ambition, are not able to do this. Being a lefty is a glassfloor for Oxbridge graduates with no understanding or connection to the economy, and they have no capacity to do anything but alienate the wider electorate.

When the centre position collapses, the resurgence of far left and far right is a sign of a system dying. They are not selling solutions.  The solution to the erosion of policy making abilities, because of the dominance of political media cultures, is not policy by twitter.

The utter hysteria over Corbyn from the mainstream press, has been akin to a body reacting to a virus and has exposed many of the mechanisms by which the status quo is maintained. The abusive protection of dogma by Corbyn’s own camp has done the same.

Understanding a problem is not the same as having a workable and sellable solution, and unless Corbyn addresses the fundamental achilles heels in his platform, this will just go the same way as the #webacked hashtag cult.

Help Is Coming.

A few weeks ago I wrote this post. I was angered by the disingenuous response to the refugee crisis, and the way the stolen picture of a child’s corpse was claimed. It later transpired that there were reports that the father of the child in the picture, could have been the one driving the boat. To me this made no difference. I hadn’t had the right to see the picture of that child as flotsam on the beach in the first place, and every day children die because inequality renders their lives meaningless and the people claiming ownership of that image are partially responsible. Inequality is ugly, and the belief of certain people that their awareness of inequality and their changed perspective is key to making a difference to this is offensive. The child’s death and the father’s pain not changed by any of these events. My understanding of the complexity of their lives, rendering me unqualified to judge this family.

I was told that Caitlin Moran and an actor called something Cumberbatch were behind a single advertised with the hashtag #helpiscoming, and the same anger I felt at the exploitation of a stolen image of a dead child came back.

While these people are happily tweeting and publicising how marvellous they are with hashtag that demonstrates how clearly they misunderstand the problem, they believe they are due a pat on the back. They believe they are doing something good. Except help is not coming for most refugees. Help is not coming for most migrants. What is coming is demonisation. In the UK alone, detention is coming, age assessments conducted by social workers bullied by the border agency is coming. Exploitation and physical and sexual abuse is coming, and existing on a pittance inadequate to eat, clothe, or heat a home, if one exists, is coming.

Abuse by the media is coming, the same media that pays their very handsome salaries. Most refugees will not hear the song, very little of the money raised will benefit them directly, and they certainly will not see the faux humanity of celebrities tweeting to say that because they are aware something happens that ‘help is coming’. Help is not coming. And as long as our vapid and toxic media culture defend a world where only their perspectives matter, help will never come.

More conflicts will be sold, many sold using the images of the people our conflicts displace.

What Moran and Cumberbatch are doing is exploiting the invisible, for their own benefit. Extracting value from those we have decided have lives that are dispensible. People patting them on the back for exploiting these people for their brand, their twitter feeds and their self image, are helping someone. It’s not the people who are the subject of this publicity storm.

Help is not coming and how dare these people say it is, because their attention was interrupted for a split second by images that were not theirs to ogle at.