My blog was broken for a while, but I finally figured out how to fix it. Besides an occasional post I’ll write for Feminist SF — The Blog!, I haven’t had much of an internet social life these last few years. Grad school and not having the internet at home didn’t help, but I largely have been focusing my activism on community and labor organizing. I guess I took the Le Tigre song, “Get off the internet” to heart. I went to my first mass convergence last summer, protesting both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. I should have posted this link 8 months ago, but check out the report-back video I worked on with submedia and Pepperspray Productions, Ground Noise and Static.
The summer before this one that’s just wrapping up, I decided I was a social anarchist, or advocated anti-authoritarian socialism. I was radicalized as an undergraduate (as much through blogging as through college activism) and I’ve been challenging sexism and racism for a few years now. Studying the history of oppression led me to a pretty solid critique of capitalism. I argue that we can abolish oppression based on socially constructed categories like race or gender or ability if an elite group still owns most the wealth and calls all the shots. Capitalism has a rich tradition of creating hierarchies so the working classes are too busy fighting each other to challenge the wealthy. But I wasn’t sure what I advocated as an alternative. While I am sympathetic with Marxism and largely agree with Marxist critiques of capitalism, I was uncomfortable with the authoritarianism of communism. A lot of folks will agree capitalism sucks, but so did the USSR, so we get stuck thinking there is no better alternative. It was Angela Davis who through her work on prison abolition that convinced me that another world is possible, a world without prisons or police or military.
Davis spoke at my university my senior year, where she said, “We often don’t think about the extent to which virtually everything has become commodities in our lives. The culture we enjoy, the education we try to get, the health care that we all need. It’s really all about profit.” I went on to read her short book on prison abolition, Are Prisons Obsolete? She offers a great critique of the prison industrial complex, or the incarceration of undesirable bodies to make a profit for the wealthy corporations that own privatized prisons. Capitalism relies on racism and that prisons are storehouses for undesirable bodies. It’s a great book, and quick read. Read it. The prison abolition movement, and later reading The Color of Violence: the INCITE! Anthology, written by activists working outside the criminal justice system (not a safe place for women of color and trans people to go), convinced me that another world is possible and people are building it right now.
Politics aside, I also feel like a total gaming loser, which is another reason I have not been blogging. I don’t even know what’s cool anymore! I’ve been playing Okami on the Wii and The World Ends with You on my DS, but those games are old news. Unless I can pirate it with my R4 chip, the games I play are used and the heated discussions are long over. But the good news is that my brother recently gave me his Xbox 360, so a whole new world of used games awaits me. I am giddy. What great hit of yesterday do I delve into first? Mass Effect and Bioshock and Fallout 3 all look pretty fun. And I think I’ll even try Resident Evil 5 despite its racism–I’ll be mocking the game all along. If you’re a longtime reader of my blog, you’ll know how much fun my friend Meghann and I had playing RE4 through on PS2 and then again on Wii, mocking Ashley and Leon the whole time.
In other news, I finished my master’s degree and I’m beginning my Ph.D. in English at the University of Washington. I got into mountain bike racing and collegiate road bike racing. Wow! How do I have time to even play games at all?
So what’s cool these days? What new feminist gamer blogs have popped up that I need to start reading?