It’s all stories


Had a little argument today, and it brought me into an interesting discussion. A friend suggested we building positive social movements, must build our myths and stories too, and too not forget such stories are core to political movements through history. Before I had even seen the message another had popped up to say that “we (of a certain ideology) don’t truck in myths” but that comment immediately gave me pause, and I don’t agree with the statement.

Story is central to the human, in that it is central to how we communicate. Existence as complex entities is an immense world filled other complex entities  and processes means it’s functionally impossible to describe even basic experiences in anything like a reasonable time frame and retain all the information of said experience. Your eating a sandwich what does an all inclusive summary look like? How did you skin feel, what was the lighting like, what happens earlier in the day, what are you sitting on, give a fully detailed description of the room, your clothing how it feels and smells… and so on and we haven’t even got to the sandwich yet.

So of course how your pants sit on your frame isn’t terrible relevant, but perhaps the conversation you had right before does effect things a little, or maybe a lot. There can be a lot of context in our surrounding, but we have to choose to convey what is or is not important, when we choose communicate something. We have to be choosy as a matter of practicality. We really can’t share it all.

Even the most basic communication we are truncating, shortening, the full ideas in our head, the full experience, into small stories which attempt to convey the core essence. From a conversation about what you ate, to even a scientific paper. We are always crafting narratives to explain some aspect of experience, or the world. Some narratives are more rigorous then others. Such as in a science paper, there are several important stories built in. The Hypothesis, and story about how the researchers thought the world might be. Methods section, a recounting of what the researcher did. Results, a series of claims and data discussing what was found. And the conclusion an attempt to tie together all the prior stories into a useful set of ideas which can inform future researchers. Many cuts need to be made though the whole process, the journal will only allows so many pages, and even the most devoted reader only has so much patience and time.

So what is myth building as my friend was suggesting? Myth building is a tool we can use to lay plans for a better future, so should we choose that direction at least. We can, and I think should, consciously build stories that try to empower, and inform those around us. We all “truck in” myth whether we like it or not, and so I think should think hard about what kinds of myths we are growing and which we should spread around.

-Withteeth


Withteeth is back.


It’s been a while,

I figured it was time to get writing again. I might be a stay at home parent and busy as all hell, but writing is good for me, so I should get back at it.

Over these last few years both Hessian and myself have gotten much more political, aided like many by the extremist and often fascist politics coming out of the USA, Brazil, and Turkey to name a few, we have really felt the fire under our asses to get working on our projects, and net working and organizing has never been easier with those same fires energizing people around us.

New posts will be more political, and I have far less patience then I use to for those whom wish to be demagogues. The comments will be places for questions and discussions. Not a place rhetorical yelling matches. I will not tolerate hate speech, or hateful dog whistles. But that said, learning is encouraged and I have always enjoyed hearing and learning from people of many view points. So long as they are not calling into question the basic humanity of other people that is.

I hope to talk about organizing, build intentional community, and the creation prosocial social environments. Hope to hear from some of he long time readers! If anyone one has suggestion for posts or wants to ask question please leave a comment!

Withteeth


This 2019 Canadian Federal Election


Hello friends,

A little recap is in order. As I excepted, Trudeau and the Liberals never did bring about electoral reform. Despite having a mandate of 73% for electoral reform, and similar numbers even in a questionnaire the liberal comity designed to cloud the issues. Canadian made it clear they wanted electoral reform. Sure you might argue that Canadian’s didn’t agree on what kind of system would be best, but the experts where quite clear on which options would be proportional and which would not be. The large consensus was on the Mix Member proportional (MMP) format. MMP would be easy for voters to understand, and cost effective to implement while also being highly proportional. However, the Liberals benefit the most of any political party from the First past the post system being on average the second vote for all parties, hence why I never thought they would follow through after winning a majority in the 2015 election. (Although this election it’s the NDP who are second vote even being the third option for conservative voters)

While the Liberals did Legalize cannabis even the legalization was a half measure. They didn’t decriminalize it or help those thousands of people in jail from simple possession of the now legalized drug, or those who where punished in the years leading up too legalization. They when back on their promises for reconciliation with first nations, and are even taking the aboriginal victims of child abuse to court at this very moment to get out of paying for program improperly funded. The Liberals with an ill gotten majority have managed to do a great deal of harm, and now have the gall to ransom Canadians claiming voting for anyone except the liberals is a vote for the conservatives. Not only is this not true, and the best it looks like the Federal Conservative can do is a minority government, but it’s not a valid strategy to rely on known liars, using an abusive tactics, to hope they will save you from other liars. The lie is especially galling when other options exist. Notably the NDP with their leader Jagmeet Singh (Jug-meet Sing) Who has been doing stellar over the last few weeks.

The election is tomorrow. The NDP are offering a green new deal for Canada, a no referendum electoral reform to MMP in the first months of the new term, and importantly Dental care for the most vulnerable out of the gate, funded by a modest tax on the top 0.1% of Canadian’s. All this before working on universal pharma and dental care, something need by all, benefits all. If we take the priority away from major cooperate handouts, these measures are something we can easily afford, and in fact will collectively save us money and a whole lot of human suffering.

At this point I am sick and tired of our thankfully short elections here in Canada, and as I live in Alberta I know the damage of a conservative government better then most. But continuing to bring in federal liberal governments as a stop gap only ensures better options will never arise, and the liberal option is only a lesser evil, and we have a much better option in Jagmeet Singh. I’d dare say this elections NDP present a genuinely good option for once now that they once again have a truly progressive platform, and now have a diverse party.

I am hopeful for a minority government tomorrow. Help make that happen, carefully look at the polls for your area. Vote to keep the cons and the liberals at bay, do your best to bring real options into our federal system. Vote for Electoral reform. Vote for universal Pharmacare. Vote for universal Dental. Vote to tax the super rich. Vote for the NDP. Make it so everyone’s vote counts.

Withteeth

 


Thoughts on finding the right gender.


For many of us, gender is just a basic identifier. It’s something we’ve had as far back as we can remember, and even if it never really fit us, it was not a particularly uncomfortable fit either. However, for a growing number of people, the genders society offers just don’t appeal. They see the obsession so many people have with “fitting” those gender expectations deeply unappealing. But many still hope to find the “right fit.” Some yet undiscovered gender that they can just slip into.

That desire, while not inherently wrong, I think misses the issue though. Genders, particularly the Man/Woman binary, they are not niches the people slide into, but broad categories of culturally defined (and highly variable) traits. You not meant to fit into them, but to be caught up in them, shaped by them. I think in practice people don’t fit into the gender binary in the way they think they do. It’s not this highly personal “truth” they say you are a man or a woman, but rather it’s an ill defined goal people aspire to fit into.

Something non-binary people have managed to step beyond, as many non-binary people find as they soul search and attempt to discover there “gender” they end up further away, because they end up learning who they actually are rather then attempting to fit some general category.

Something non-binary people have managed to step beyond, as many non-binary people find as they soul search and attempt to discover there “gender” they end up further away, because they end up learning who they actually are rather then attempting to fit some general category. It seems to me that by rejecting the binary, people end up becoming more complete as people, no longer bound by the often impossible, toxic, and contradictory standards the gender binary. Non-binary people, and those who reject gender more explicitly are able to, their personal environment permitting, expand into fit the space of themselves, rather than the outlines cut for us all, but our cultures ideas of gender.

Withteeth


Trying to figure out Marxism, page by page…


DiaMyHegel

Video by video, podcast by podcast, and even pretension, by irritating pretension. Before we get too far, do I really understand the works of Marx? Nope I’m still neck deep in working it out, but recently my head crested the surface after something like 2 months of on and off reading, watching and general research.

So if you read some of my other posts on philosophy you may have noticed me mention I do not like it when anyone uses over complicated and difficult to understand terms to describe their work. Especially when it is an introductory piece. There no need for it, and regardless of how fashionable being hard to understand is if you goal is to create something to be use to improve the world, it will need to be able to apeal to people not steeped in your field already.

Now Marx was writing in a different time, and in many ways a climate where deep intellectual materials where simply the norm, so he writing would have been easier to digest. Yet there has been over a century of time dividing his work from us, and while plenty of people exist to carry on his work. Marxist still can’t explain what the fuck Material Dialectics are. There’s this expectation you need to read Hegel, and Marx, and sometime Lenin to really understand what Marxism is. Though I’m here to tell you, in my experience whenever someone has said that, “only x y or z can explain that,” to me it’s been bullshit. I think the real problem is many Marxism either worship the shrine of Marx, hoping to get the long dead man’s approval, or simply don’t really get the methods and just parrot what they know, because it’s confusing and that’s the only thing they know how to do.

That itself is of course an over simplification of what Marxists are doing, an abstraction if you will *wink wink*, but my frustration is real. So what have I been trying to accomplish since late September? To understand the basic of what Marxism are, so I can begin to both discuss and explain wtf it is to my own satisfaction. Because I firmly beilive that if you can’t explain the basics of a concept to a high school student in under 30 minutes, you don’t understand it yourself.

Now I wouldn’t have made is post if I was completely confused still, indeed I would have written much sooner if I had better luck in my search, but I got lucky, and decided to backtrack from Marx and figure out that “Dialectics” are in the Hegelian sense, which was much of the basis of Marx. The Luck Really kicked in when I found this lovely video series outlining the basics of Hegel’s Dialectics.

Not to be confused with the Dialectical Method of Socratic fame.

The Long and the short of it is as follows, Dialectics are not a formula for thinking, they are a method very much akin to the scientific methods. Not a single paths, but a basic system of thought that allows you to critically analyze concepts and physical processes. From what I’ve deduced and inferred from my readings. Material Dialectics, and Hegel’s Dialectics  are in turn a scientific method itself, and almost a scientific method, but still holding on to  the idealism (Think platonic if you aren’t familiar with what idealism entails) present in much of early a pre-enlightenment thinking.

So what is Marx Method? Well he died before he ever laid one out explicitly… THANKS MARX. However, Hegel was more kind, and laid the following three steps which should apply well to Marx with some tweaking. Thanks Hegel!

1 Abstraction, 2 Negation, 3 Concrete.

1. The Abstraction: This is the first step in what is a cyclical cycle. Fairly analogous to Hypothesis and experimental design in the common description of the scientific method. The Material Dialectic, when you begin to attempt to understand anything, first you must begin to make an abstract of it you must deconstruct how you think it work. Determine what it’s parts are, the inputs, the outputs, followed later by how that parts relate to one another.

2. Now like a good materialist as good scientist you must destroy what you’ve made. Now it is time for Negation! You now get to see if your abstraction can survive when it come into contract with the real world, or at least can withstand logical bombardment, in Socratic Method sense, as you and ideally some critics attempt to find its weak points.

3. Concrete is a bad name, but basically once you’ve done your best to negate the abstraction, you should be left either with nothing as your idea was wrong and completely unsalvageable (return to step one) or you should have helped move your abstraction closer to the real (material) world, and can use it to better describe the world. In essence you start with the simple abstraction, and through negation to bring it’s abstracted parts at least partially back together in a way that effectively describes, and ideally helps predicts the world.

4. Same as step one, but you take your idea from step 3 and feed it back though, in an endless cycle as you attempt to approach a perfectly accurate description of reality.

Is that all correct and accurate? Probably not, but if not I can certainly run in it back through the system, because the funny thing was, if I’m even close to being right, I have been doing material dialectics all along.

Questions and comments are more than welcome. If you know a fair bit about Marxism even better, but regardless I’ll keep up my investigations, and share again when I have something of interest.

Withteeth


Podcasts on the LEFT, Including some potential clarity on Charlottesville.


Bwahahahaha! Ready to be radicalized? Bored with your listening options? Want more Radical Politics in your cereal, your commute, and your alienating job? Well I know I did a few months ago, and luckily I’ve been finding them! Time to share.

Aside: Sorry I can’t keep up with posts I’m monstrously busy. Parenting, moving, demolition, selling of annoying asset, work. I need a lot of time over a few days to write a decent article, and so far I’ve got a bunch of half finished posts, but nothing worth publishing.  This, however, I can do tonight.

This list is by no means comprehensive, but here are some excellent Radical Podcasts. I lean heavily to the Anarchist line of thinking, but not all of these podcast are anarchist, many are Marxist and some avoid political labels at together. All I can say is that each of these podcasts a worth listening too even if you don’t find yourself agreeing with them.

First some specific episodes on what went down in Charlottesville. There’s a lot of bullshit on the riots, and It’s good to hear from actual people on the ground there.


The Ex-Worker: Charlottesville – Triumph & Tragedy in the Struggle Against Fascism 

An excellent overview on hat went down and my memory fails me at least one good interview about what Antfia was doing on Friday and Saturday.

It’s Going Down IGD Podcast: Unicorn Riot on Neo-Nazis Celebrating & Planning Violence at Unite the Right and “Soft Targets”
If you want to hear about the riots from a journalist perspective, but one who was actually there, this is for you.  There are additional links in this podcast to follow as well

Feminist Killjoys, PHD: Ep 66: Stand Up & Fight Back – An Interview with Redneck Revolt

Want to learn more about those Armed Leftists at Charlottesville? An Excellent Podcast.


Now Onto the Podcast proper. I’ll be splitting them loosely into categories to make picking some out easier.  In no particular order…

The Fun Stuff: Comedy, typically lighter subject material, or at least stranger!

Srsly Wrong: These guys are Canadian, so that’s cool for me. They do a lot of skits and faux ad in there podcasts. Very entertaining, but some very good substance as well. You want to get some family and friends Radicalized? These are some cool dudes who might just be able to do it. Episode 100 is great.

Left Coast: New and make me laugh every time. West coast the best coast? Well these fine folks make a strong case. If your ready to go on a radical journey with some funny people this is also an amazing Podcast to get started with.

Last Podcast on the Left: Warning contains Liberalism! If you need to stay tapped into what more liberal minded folk are thinking, plus the weird conspiracy nonsense coming out of the right. These guys will do you well. They also make me snort randomly on the job which is difficult to do. More entertainment then info, and a centrist bias but just worthy of being on this list. Abe Lincolns Top Hat (politics) and Sex and other Human Activities (Sex and Mental health) are good too, but not good enough to get their own entries here.


Though Stuff: If you’re looking for the weighty stuff this is for you.

Revolutionary Left Radio: Probably my Favorite of them all. Consistently even handed (not neutral), smart and thoughtful. Very active with a new podcast every week. Rev Left Radio goes into the various different leftist ideologies, and into detailed left history. Has a gold star recommendation from me.

CrimethInc. The Ex-Worker: This Podcast was what got me started down this rabbit hole. They have a decent archive, and they recently started a weekly show “The Hotwire” which covers the news in anarchist circles. Hardcore, and some time difficult. I definitely recommend stopping in from time to time.

From Alpha to Omega: Infrequence updates, but a quality archive. Tom O’Brien is a Marxist, and get quality quests on his show every episode. Worth a try with a strong recommendation from me.

IGD It’s Going Down Podcast: Very similar news outlet to CrimethInc.  With a much more frequent history of updating. I have less experience with IGD, but they have been good over all and like CrimethInc. Are worth dropping by ever so often and downloading a few files for later.

Zero Squared Podcasts: Zero Squared is a book publisher, but they have a Podcast which goes into all kinds of stuff I’ve never heard of and pump out content for their podcast and Youtube videos. I recommend the Posadist Episode if your into some quality Satire. This also gets a quality assured recommendation from me.


Here lies Feminism! Sex, Veganism, and Good times.

Sexplanations Podcast: The Least political of the podcast posted here. This podcast by Lindsey Doe is all about sex positivity, and sex education. Nothing like dismantling puritanism when your smashing the patriarchy am I right? Fun and Positive Episodes. If you need something Uplifting and Sex Positive Sexplinations may be what your looking for.

Feminist Killjoys, PHD: These two Academics are all about media theory. A Bit woo-ie, but self aware about it. They get into Marxist stuff every so often, and a a good place to get your feminist fix, as all good Anarchists are want to do.

Whorecast: Sex workers and Anarchist work well together, and you’ll see the connection crop up in this podcast fairly regularly, if not always directly. Very important stuff in here, and if you want to deconstruct the stigma you have towards sex work I can’t really recommend anything else! A personal failing I’m sure.

Vegan Warrior Princesses Attack!: First they are not preachy about Veganism, two they talk Marxism and Anarchy, and a very anti-capitalist, and are good feminists far as I’ve listened to them. If any of that is of interest to you (understand I recommend them as an active omnivore) then give them a try. They might be a good listen for you as well.


Yes I listen to all of these I wouldn’t recommend them otherwise. Yes my job would be crazy boring (and alienating) with out them.

Have fun listening!

Withteeth


Reminder!


Hey all just a reminder!

If you are equating ANTIFA or the Left to Nazi’s and ISIS. You’re acting as a Apologist for Fascism.

Stand up to Nazis and all forms of fascism. They will not go away if you ignore them. appeasement politics of the 1930’s only lead to stronger fascists.

Withteeth


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