Editors’ Note | A Feature, Not a Bug

  1. Even Netflix thinks it’s time to log off. Last month, the streaming service released The Social Dilemma, a documentary that promised to “unveil the hidden machinations behind everyone’s favorite social media and search platforms.” Intercut between dramatizations featuring actors you’ll sort-of recognize (Pete Campbell from Mad Men, the guy who played Larry’s dermatologist’s son on the most recent season of Curb) are the direct-to-camera testimonies of former tech...

“Naming the Work” | An Interview with Silvia Federici

The Drift

Last month, the U.S. saw hundreds of thousands of women disappear from the workforce, part of a trend that has accelerated since the pandemic began. At the same time, we’re seeing a transformation of attitudes toward work and the organization of society around it, as the rupture of normalcy reveals deep-seated unsustainability.  To guide us in thinking through this tumultuous time, we Zoomed with the legendary Marxist feminist scholar-activist Silvia...

Losing Count | The Sordid Business of Bookkeeping

Noah Kulwin

There is plenty of blame to go around for the stunning explosion of Wirecard. Until as recently as this year, the payments processing company was considered a German national treasure, the most exciting European technology firm since Nokia’s mid-2000s heyday. Valued in August 2018 at a peak of more than $28 billion, it looked like Wirecard and its executives were going to skate by on clout alone when a series of...

Bullets | Poetry

Kaleem Hawa

A list of things I learned from you: the coercion of form; formalism as anxiety; art’s fickleness as the point; dematerialization of thoughts as insects; iconicity as dehumanization rather than elevation; ambivalence as deeply uncool; (moral cloaking as the same); that I’m pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty pretty...

Our Friend Angela | Soviet Schoolchildren, a Letter-Writing Campaign, and the Legend of Angela Davis

Yana Skorobogatov

Several years ago, I found myself sitting at a desk in the main reading room of Stanford University’s Hoover Library. The box in front of me contained thousands of unopened letters, their thin red, white, and blue envelopes stacked indiscriminately. All were postmarked in the winter of 1972, and written in languages of the former Soviet Union: Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Estonian, Ukrainian, Kazakh. Most notably, all were addressed to Angela...

First World Problems | The Politics of Development Aid in Britain

Helena Roy

By June this year, the UK had surpassed 40,000 deaths from Covid-19. That same month also marked the end of a quarter in which the nation’s GDP shrunk by 20.4 percent, leaving the country firmly in the grip of a recession. At the same time, social movements percolated across the globe: Black Lives Matter protests had reached London, Birmingham, Manchester, and more UK cities following the death of George Floyd....

American Accident | All the Presidents' Movies

Rebecca Panovka

Surveying the canon of schlocky president movies will tell you there are two things a Hollywood audience loves: drama with the first daughter (kidnapped? new boyfriend?!), and an accidental president. The former can be explained away through our nostalgia for monarchy, or at least for princess tales; the latter by our democratic ideals.  The accidental president is a pipe dream — an unthreatening premise from which to launch a political...

AND WHO WOULD YOU PREFER TOLD THE STORY? | Poetry

Sasha Debevec-McKenney

I swear I work so hard not to feel anything. Fires surround the Reagan Library anyways. Across the entire country ten pigeons fight over bread in my street, flying away then regaining territory against the cars and buses and again against each other. Last spring, in a ring outside the Ronald Reagan Library, a crew of 500 goats put their heads down and ate and ate and ate and ate...

Tell Me About the Weather | Fiction

Sarahana Shrestha

They’ve thrown this party for twenty years and counting. I haven’t missed once. Some of us have divorced, some have left the country, others are joined by their children, and I’ve had my only one die.  The party is Christmas-themed and takes place on Christmas Eve, which means something to only two kinds of people in this country. There’s the poor, misplaced by every one of our 33 million gods...

Far-Flung Commiserators | Jubilee Gestures and Revolutionary Stirrings in Black Lives Matter

Lake Micah

“This is the fire that terrifies our pitiful enemies. That not only are we alive but shatteringly precise in our songs and our scorn.”—Amiri Baraka “But what I'd like to know / Is could a place like this exist, so beautiful?”—Stevie Wonder The condition of our history is one of abject reduction—to metonyms and to misapprehensions, to causes and to effects, to trite little truisms: a surfeit of errant narratives...

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