consumerism

Sean P. McCarthy: r/WallStreetBets Should Scare the Elites

PODCAST
Sean McCarthy Sean P. McCarthy is a comedian and co-host of the Grubstakers podcast, which covers the lives and misdeeds of billionaires. Sean joins me to talk about GameStop, Wall Street, populist movements, and why this story about the stock market should matter to all of us.

Sean P. McCarthy: r/WallStreetBets Should Scare the Elites

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On the Rise of Hyper-Individualism

ARTICLE
Individualism is highly coveted in Western culture. Entire industries exist exclusively to profit off of our increasingly unhealthy preoccupation with ourselves. And with the arrival of the Internet, many more opportunities for people to express their individuality emerged.

Chatter about individualism grew amid the pandemic, with issues of identity being the focal point of many debates. The question of identity and its related discontents became a mainstay of public discourse.

These issues didn’t start in the pandemic, nor did they emerge with the rise of post-modernist thought – which has been years in the making. Indeed, today’s preoccupation with identity has a long history – and its popularity largely stems from transformative changes undergone in the centuries preceding, though at that time, it had a different name.

On the Rise of Hyper-Individualism

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How about a coup against Silicon Valley?

ARTICLE
Google - artwork by Andrei Lacatusu A decade ago for a brief moment following the 2008 global economic crash, there was a world-wide wave of angry emotion when the unbridled greed of the dominant capitalist elite was suddenly laid bare. Here in the US this engendered a movement called Occupy, which started in Zuccotti Park in the New York City financial district and spread quickly throughout the country.

Occupy, with all its imperfections, was widely viewed as a genuine populist movement. The movement focused on issues of economic inequality and coined the phrase ‘we are the 99%.’ Chris Hedges said at the time in an article on Truthdig that “Occupy articulated the concerns of the majority of citizens.”

Occupy set off a powerful emotional surge that swept across the country and genuinely frightened the elite. The State moved quickly to ensure that Occupy was effectively quashed. Under Obama, the federal government and local police forces joined to dismantle, often brutally, Occupy encampments across the country. No effort was spared in terms of mass arrests, surveillance, and other forms of State powered repression to ensure that Occupy couldn't metastasize into anything lasting or inspire any actual challenges to power.

How about a coup against Silicon Valley?

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Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close For Comfort

ARTICLE
Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close For ComfortRight-Wing Populism in America: Too Close For Comfort by Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons presents a thorough understanding of various manifestations of right wing populism in the United States. It traces the history of this socio-political movement from before the American Revolution until the year 2000. Berlet and Lyons go beyond caricatures to explore how right wing populism gains strength first by exploiting real economic, social, and political grievances, but then goes on to scapegoat perceived shadowy elitist puppet masters, typically Jewish bankers, ‘PC Police’, etc-- and perceived ‘parasites’ from below--welfare recipients of color, recent immigrants, etc. The authors show that right wing populism is often an alliance between disaffected members of the elite and the working and middle class. These movements tend to emphasize their shared “whiteness” and sense of victimhood in order to bond together.

Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close For Comfort

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Strangers In Their Own Land by Arlie Hochschild

ARTICLE
Strangers in Their Own Land - bookcoverStrangers In Their Own Land by Arlie Hochschild is a must-read for anyone interested in going beyond conventional political analysis and exploring the “deep story” worldviews that shape thinking on both the left and right of the political spectrum. Hochschild describes “deep stories” as emotional images that shapes the essence of a person’s worldview, and this book was her attempt to understand the deep story that forms the ideology of the right wing. Hochschild is a UC Berkeley sociologist who spent five years in Louisiana in an attempt to break through the “empathy walls” that divide the political spectrum in the US. She worked to overcome her own biases as a member of the left-leaning political spectrum by forming human connections with conservatives in Louisiana, many of whom were Tea Party activists.

Strangers In Their Own Land by Arlie Hochschild

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