Weekend Reading

This edition comes slightly early, as I am finding myself increasingly busy. Enjoy what made the cut:

[D]ebt is also symptom as well as cause. If education were free, as it should be, student debt wouldn’t be a problem. If we had a humane health care financing system, medical debt wouldn’t be a problem. If housing weren’t so expensive—and if rising prices weren’t taken as a sign of a “healthy” housing market (why is the rising price of one of life’s essentials a good thing?)—then mortgage debt would’t be a problem. If wages hadn’t been under relentless downward pressure for the last 30 years, people wouldn’t have borrowed so heavily against home equity during the bubble, and wouldn’t have put so much on their credit cards.

What if we know that we Millennials were born into an already abandoned world? What if we only know the welfare state of yesteryear as a myth? What if we can only laugh when someone encourages us to declare, “it’s our government”? What if we only know a world of de-pegged dollars, of flexible production, of fast-moving finance? What if we only know a world in which the state at every turn functions to stack the world against us? What if we only know a world in which the state’s primary mode of being is as an agency dedicated to the proposition that black and brown people around the world should be incarcerated or killed? What if we only know a world in which our most “progressive” president was the one who gave us the horrible, racist Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act? What if we only know a world in which liberals justify the maintenance of the state by rhetorically gesturing to the very raced and gendered populations that the state only cares to fuck over? What if we know that the devastating abandonment to which precarious populations are now subject as a result of the “shutdown” is simply the agonizing materialization of an already established fact?

What if we’re not cruel optimists because we were never optimistic in the first place.

We want to be in the streets. We showed that. We want nothing more. We want to be in the streets. Dancing, laughing, arguing. Feeding one another, caring for one another, defending one another against the organs of the state that never shut down.  Shattering windows, tearing down fences, making the world our commons. We want to build worlds where the hungry can eat, where the sick can repair. Where black skin isn’t a marker of disposability and where bodies can embody as they like. Where the forms of ableism at times implied in the political shorthand of “the streets” are annulled.


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