The Violent Implications of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Shows

Despite the shallow gimmick of the film's interactive style, Bandersnatch raises for me a number of pressing social and political questions. Important in analyzing any film is paying close attention to the way violence is framed — the way the director and writers choose to deliver, handle, contextualize, and rationalize violence within the short universes they create. Given the interactive ability thrust onto viewers during Bandersnatch, the gaze of violence in this film becomes a crucial moment in defining, or — anticipating the potential popularity of this new interactive film style — redefining the ways in which violence is manifest bidirectionally in film and how that reverberates throughout society.

DeRay Mckesson's Misguided Case for Hope

There are two histories which have always battled each other, publicly and loudly: domination’s history—the history of the class in position to dominate the masses—and the people’s history, which is the history of colonized and oppressed peoples struggling and triumphing from the ground up. Between these two histories, narrative and autobiographical writings have been a key tool in correctively challenging the historical narratives placed onto oppressed and colonized people, from the era-defining writing found in Malcolm X’s autobiography, to the consciousness-shaping contours of Assata Shakur’s Assata. And still, one must wonder if such a definitive, important piece of autobiographical writing has come from our generation yet, or if any attempts have been made. However, as we move into a new generation characterized by celebrity activists steeped in social media rather than intellectual study, it seems domination’s recent history finds a comfortable bedfellow in the work of some high-profile activists, including activist DeRay Mckesson’s On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope.

The symbol of political prisoners resonates beyond borders

Among all movements of oppressed people, but particularly those of Black and Palestinian people, political prisoners become the face and embodiment of this unjust carcerality, recognizable figures from Angela Davis’ afro to Ahed Tamimi’s smile. We hold closely to these figures, and to the incarcerated, not because they are necessarily lionized but because they represent an integral key in breeding international, intercommunal solidarity.

Imperialism, Among Other Things, As Global Racism

There are many fitting descriptors one could use to illustrate imperialism in simple terms. An exploitative economic system between dominant and subordinate countries, an extreme and external form of colonialism, global domination, a phenomena which is simultaneously economic, systemic, and cultural. One simple description I often used with students when I taught my race/ethnicity class which resonated was "imperialism, among other descriptions, is global racism."

Extracting a legacy of Black, Southern organizing for Palestine

The particularity of racism’s history in the South has not been overlooked, and has given way to an understanding of immense commonality between contemporary Palestine and the Jim Crow apartheid system in the U.S. It should come at no surprise, then, that some of Palestine’s most well-known voices of solidarity from the Black community have come from those with Southern backgrounds, using their lived experiences through Jim Crow to call for action. Both Alice Walker and Angela Davis lived through the violent apartheid system of the South in the 1950s and 1960s, and have many times written and spoke about this connection of what they have seen in Palestine and experienced during Jim Crow. In an interview with Democracy Now, Walker went as far as to say it is actually worse in Palestine than what her family experienced under Jim Crow. Writing in 2012 after visiting Palestine, Davis stated: “we here in the U.S. should be especially conscious of the similarities between historical Jim Crow practices and contemporary regimes of segregation in Occupied Palestine.”

Florida Prisoners To Launch ‘Operation PUSH’ Strike Against Prison Slavery

Incarcerated people in Florida have announced a prison strike called ‘Operation PUSH’ beginning Monday, January 15th, coinciding with MLK Day. The organizers plan to disrupt as much economic flow of the prisons as possible by waging a labor strike; according to their statement published on Fight Toxic Prisons, they will not attend shifts in the kitchens, cleaning and laundry services, or facility maintenance services, including other jobs that exploit the labor of prisoners to maintain the prisons. Their demands are noble and straightforward: end prison slavery by receiving fair payment for their labor, stop price gouging through ‘outrageous’ commissary/canteen prices, and re-introducing parole incentives for those with life sentences and inhumanly long sentences.

Coates doesn’t get it

Coates is not an organizer or an activist. And, as far as I am aware, West is not an organizer, but is at least seen as some form of celebrity activist by popular standards of today (although, when the bulk of your “activism” surrounds presidential elections and campaigning, I challenge that application fully). This is not to say one is better than the other, rather that their ears are clearly to the ground in crucially different spaces. Thus, the question of who they listen to in order to hold themselves and be held accountable must also be crucially different. While one may be critiqued and hailed by the academy as what seems like a sole source of affirmation, the other is concerned with the voice that arises upward from the grass. And while some might bemoan this as “unfair” to Coates, that is indeed often the nature of truth.

Theirs and Ours: Terrorism’s “Inclusivity” Argument

I don’t know that we can say with clarity that arguing for the application of the term “terrorist” to certain individuals is actually useful. The conversation is positioned on the equalization of the term’s application, not on the total deconstruction of the term. The late Eqbal Ahmed agitates our use of ‘Terrorism’ as both a word and idea in his 1998 essay Terrorism: Theirs and Ours, stating: “[Terrorism] necessarily evades definition.” He further describes the nature of what gets defined as terrorism, as well as its double standards, by the US. Ahmed writes, “If you are not going to be consistent, you’re not going to define. […] They don’t define terrorism because definitions involve a commitment to analysis, comprehension, and adherence to some norms of consistency.”

Grammys Need To Bring Back Female Rap Categories And Here’s Why

Given the history of female rap at the Grammys and the several years of lacking representation for women in hip-hop, a redefining and reimagining of these categories is desperately needed. The institution should create a new kind of category once again; one that values gender performance, femme energy, and grand statements on sexuality/gender. They should create a category that exists statically to support, value, and cultivate women and LGBTQ rappers in hip-hop, as well as in the space where hip-hop intersects R&B. The existence of this new category within the Grammys structure, one that explicitly values confronts gender and makes space for sexuality transgressions — essential movements that female rappers have led for decades now — will create a new definition of “winning” as well.

I Can't Hear In That Ear: Abuse Affects Queer Relationships Too

All of the advice on dating, relationships, sex, abuse, and abusers had been steeped in such a strong hetero-patriarchal normativity, that by the time I was old enough to be in the midst of these things I had no clue what I was doing. More than just not knowing what I was doing, I thought that since I’d never really heard much conversation on these things from a queer perspective or been immersed in a world where queer relationships were discussed, that I couldn’t talk to others about my relationship.

A historical framework for continued Black-Palestinian solidarity

Solidarity between Black and Palestinian people internationally is rooted in a profound historical framework, one of shared struggles and collective identities that push us to challenge notions of international solidarity. Baldwin wrote that he saw the “treatment of the Arabs at the hands of Israel” and it threw him so much towards a connected feeling he could not ignore, he stated he would choose homelessness over what he witnessed familiarly. Angela Davis finishes the first chapter in “Freedom Is A Constant Struggle” by stating that “this is precisely the moment to encourage everyone who believes in equality and justice to join the call for a free Palestine.” Truly, thanks to freedom fighters like her, and Baldwin, and Newtown, and Carmichael, and the magnitudes of other Black revolutionaries who set such a strong historical backbone for Black and Palestinian solidarity to rest our current struggles against, we can continue to embrace solidarity in this long walk to freedom.

From Prison Reformist to Abolitionist

I believed that they’d simply gone awry somewhere along the way, like someone had left the door open and too much cold air crept in, and all we had to do was turn the heat on and patiently reform until this cold air was pushed back out. I thought that, in my protesting and organizing and public messaging and writing and photographing and family support work, the goal of all this energy around me was just to reform the beast of the prison-industrial-complex. And boy, was I wrong.

Mask Off: The Monopoly on Violence and Re-Invigorating an Anti-Imperialist Vision for Black Liberation

Examining the monopoly on violence through an international anti-imperialist lens is Pan-Africanist in nature, and reminds us: what the oppressors or capable of doing to our brothers and sisters in the global south, they can easily do in the imperial core, if not already occurring. Not only do the police and military share similar tactics when controlling a “native” population, but the police receive surplus military hardware for the job, and this should be an indicator that oppression transcends national boundaries in service to the maintenance of a global hierarchy. In a society dominated by privileges afforded to individuals backed by varying systemic and institutional representations, the western Black person must have a functioning anti-imperialist politic to actively disrupt the US’s monopoly on violence.

Does the Western Left Have an African Problem?

In 1983, Audre Lorde wrote that, "among those of us who share the goals of liberation and a workable future for our children, there can be no hierarchies of oppression," and that the act of placing oppressions on a scale of hierarchal importance is an oppressive act in itself. Of course, most on the left -- particularly those in Western countries who espouse anti-imperialist, antiwar, anti-colonial politics -- would agree with this in theory, but many seem to fall short of this analysis of anti-hierarchal political sentiment when it comes to the continent of Africa. There seems to be a deficit of caring -- or rather, caring enough to self-educate, research and act -- within the Western left on the current movements, histories and activism within African countries.

Black Mirror Season 4 Episodes, Ranked And Reviewed

Before I begin this short review, let me just say: I am a fan of Black Mirror. Despite its problems and the areas in which it lacks, which are real and seemingly growing, I believe its space as our generations Twilight Zone is both fascinating and important. Technology is such a deeply influential, pivotal, and political determinant to nearly all aspects of our society nowadays, and Black Mirror as a television series that explores this reality and where it could lead is important to me. There are many things that occur in the real world that Black Mirror predicts, or mimics, or makes us look deeper at, and I think that is valuable, and it is all done in an entertaining and cinematically pleasing way.
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