Subtlety is Dead: Communism and ‘A Bewitching Revolution’ [CC]

Subtlety is Dead: Communism and ‘A Bewitching Revolution’ [CC]

A lot of what I do on this channel is look
at media and try to find its latent messaging, generally with a radical leftist bias. I am,
in no uncertain terms, a propagandist who tries to put the ideals of communism in a
surprising context, which will hopefully work as an activation trigger that gets you asking
the right questions. I don’t want to be a resource or an endpoint, I want to be someone
who helps open a door by slipping ideas in where you might not expect them. A lot of times in these discussions, we get
caught up on “intentionality.” In my Politics of the McElroy Brothers video, I end by saying
“Baby, that’s communism!” Now, do I think that that is an intentional
message? Do I think that the brothers themselves are literally communists? For me, that question
isn’t terribly important because regardless of what anyone says, their belief is most
loudly spoken in their work, in what they do. In my experience, a decent chunk of people
are politically inactive- especially in america, politics have become so stratified that for
a lot of folks, the conversation begins and ends at “are you a Democrat or are you a Republican?”
When you get past that political tribalism, however, you start to find people who vote
republican but also infrequently lapse into rhetoric that is… surprisingly egalitarian? Many of us, I think it’s safe to say, were
raised with catch-all ideas like “the golden rule,” the idea that you should treat others
as you would have them treat you. It’s a sterilized notion under capitalism because our culture
has been individualized to the point that we don’t understand kindness beyond simple
one-off actions. BUT, if your political “team” does not make explicit its opposition to certain
ideas, or you just miss those messages altogether, you may find yourself naturally straying towards
a compassion that, to you, does not seem incongruent with your supposed political affiliation.
When you take that egalitarian mindset to its logical conclusion, if you really apply
it systematically, you can easily wind up at something that starts to look a little
like communism. So, maybe the McElroys are communists, maybe
they aren’t- the point is irrelevant, because the philosophy they espouse across the body
of their work, however general, however understated, is one that pretty easily reads as communist.
And that’s basically what I do here, I interpret texts that seem to me to have an interesting
lefty message. All of which is to say that, with this channel,
I’m rarely engaging with the intentional and instead digging for the implied. So what happens when I find a text that isn’t
a euphemism? “A Bewitching Revolution” is a short indie
game by Colestia where you are “the witch of the city,” here to sow the seeds of revolution
among the people through tarot readings, potions, spells, and the practice of rewilding urban
environments. A lot happens in this little game despite the fact that it only lasts about
an hour, and if you’re at all curious based on this description, I recommend giving it
a shot, it’s pay what you want which means you can get it for free, though if you have
the money to spare I’d suggest giving a few dollars. I played A Bewitching Revolution for the first
time on a livestream knowing next to nothing about it. I could tell pretty quick that this
was my kind of game when your familiar, a black cat, says>>Sarah: “If socialism does not stand unflinchingly
for the exploited and oppressed masses of all lands, then it stands for none, and its
claim is a false pretense.” [bleep] yeah, cat! Even though the description itself describes
this as a communist game, I was still expecting some level of coded messaging especially when
it came to witchcraft- but, uhh, nope. Your tarot readings are communist polemics, your
potions are things like spraypaint and molotov cocktails. The only thing that is traditionally
mystical is your ability to cast spells that turn pro-war billboards into solar panels,
or turn cops into pigs. Wait hold on what’s the difference between those last two, I don’t
get it. But the moment I knew I wanted to talk about
this game in a video came a little later, when you come across this homeless person,
and I think my reaction here says a lot.>>Please give what you can spare. “Witch
of the city, I remain homeless while houses stand empty. Can you help me find shelter?”
Oh god… Every once in a while you’ll see the statistic
that there are more empty houses in America than there are homeless people, the implication
being that we could end homelessness by just giving people shelter. But when you get into
discussing this idea, you pretty immediately get bogged down in the questions of logistics,
of property ownership, of funding, none of which even touches on the systemic issues
which cause homelessness in the first place, and like so many conversations in leftist
circles you just wind up throwing your arms up and saying THE PROBLEM IS CAPITALISM over and over until everyone’s just sighing about the magnitude of the task facing any
revolutionary movement, and now you’re too busy double-fisting wine coolers to even think
about homelessness. In A Bewitching Revolution, you see a homeless
person, you see an empty house, you break into the house, and you give it to the homeless
person. However unrealistic this scenario may appear on the surface, simplifying it
to the basest chain of events does something kinda special. When I first read this person’s
dialog, I was sad. I can’t really say why it hit me so hard, maybe my HRT was screwing
with my emotions- I’m gonna- I’m gonna clean you up, and you’re
gonna be fine. I’m just cleaning you up. [gasp] AHHHHHH, she’s so happy! Look at her! [cries] Regardless, I had to take a few seconds to
collect myself because it almost brought me to tears. It had me feeling kinda hopeless
as I walked away thinking, “there’s nothing I can do.” But then I opened up this house,
the homeless person came in, and I just gawked as the room transformed.>>: Oh, I let this homeless person have this
house! [gasp]
That is exceptional! Without any exaggeration at all, this was
a revelatory moment for me. What you can hear in my voice as I’m reacting to this chain
of events is the realization that it is possible. I spent so long feeling defeated by logistics
that I’d never really thought about what it would look like, what it would feel like,
to reappropriate the homes largely owned by the wealthy and provide shelter to those who
need it. And that’s basically the loop that this game
repeats from start to finish. Your various tarot-lead polemics lay out in the most basic
terms the necessity for things like labour exploitation, joblessness, and prisons under
capitalism. These are precisely the topics we leftists indignantly soapbox about all
the time, which on their own are incredibly refreshing to see stated shamelessly in a
video game. But in each of these cases, the game proceeds to show us what it would look
like to act on those ideas. Train workers go on strike, fast food employees open a community
kitchen, a job application center is turned into a public space for free lessons and live
music. The prisoners themselves stage a protest that results in them being tear-gassed, which
further provokes a community riot that eventually leads to the police being exiled altogether.>>: They can shoot us all to death…
but they can’t shoot us back to work! [gasps]
Oh, that’s a strong message. Yo. There are also lots of other touches- the
spray paint you make is used to ruin security cameras, which is important because the surveillance
state is pretty obviously antithetical to any revolutionary movement. But what really
got me is that you plant these trees everywhere, right? And they grow this fruit that you can
pick, which doesn’t seem to do anything… until you notice the many baskets all over
the city that slowly start to fill up with fruit as you pick the trees. In ANY other
game, these apples would be a collectible you’d harvest to get that 100% achievement…
but in this case, their utility is in how they benefit the community. You could hoard
the apples for yourself, but why? To hoard in this way is itself a capitalist notion.
The community kitchen introduces the idea of nutritional self sufficiency, but this
minor side detail also highlights the role that agriculture plays in a commune, and further
underscores the ways that capitalism as an ideology has wormed its way into every facet
of our daily lives, and how a revolution cannot leave any institution unexamined if it truly
intends to be successful. And I pulled all of that from a mouse click. The ‘witch of the city’ character clearly
draws from the tradition of labor agitators who go from place to place essentially infiltrating
worker communities to agitate for unionization and often Marxism generally. What’s interesting about this choice is that,
by putting you in the shoes of the agitator, the game is kinda making the assumption that
you’re already at least a little on board with communist theory. So then these polemics
that are you presenting information to other people are also functionally aimed at you,
the player, in an act of bizarre pseudo-dialectical interrogation? Like, here is a statement,
here is the action it motivates; now, do you disagree with the words but seek the demonstrated
outcome? Do you agree with the words but feel their outcome is impossible? What this call
and response setup did for me is highlight where my goals and my rhetoric were misaligned
-which ideas I championed earnestly, versus the ideas I generally assumed were a pipedream. By acting out this revolution in microcosm,
A Bewitching Revolution is consistently insisting that yes, this strong rhetoric can be effective,
and yes, the desired outcome is possible. Which, you know, in a media landscape dominated
by neoliberal vagaries and subtextual at best progressivism, is really refreshing! Now, I’ve so far avoided talking about the
“witch” aspect of A Bewitching Revolution. This is partially because it’s just not something
I know a lot about. The game’s description lists Silvia Federici as a major influence,
and I’m not familiar enough with her writings to really make any comparisons. In a happy
coincidence, however, Oliver Thorn over at Philosophy Tube did a video about Witchcraft
which draws largely from Federici’s work.>>Olly: Back when a lot of people believed
in magic, establishing capitalism, Federici says, was difficult. Because what is magic
at the end of the day? It’s the promise of getting something for nothing, of a world
without work, and without strict rules or boundaries in the way that science strives
for or that capitalism requires to organize labor. Obviously, we should be skeptical of mysticism
when it appears, as it’s just as often the providence of cynical capitalists as it is
of earnest and well-meaning comrades. What I will say is that witchcraft is not presented
as a solution in itself here, but rather as a vehicle for the ideas that can lead to a
solution. You see a people who are desperate for answers, and instead of “telling the future”
you tell them the truth. Whether they act on that truth is their business, and I think
that’s an important distinction to make. As the ‘witch of the city,’ you’re not a protagonist
coming in and fixing everything for others- you are, again, an agitator attempting to
raise class consciousness and help people become aware of the power they already have.
The result is a game that emphasizes the fact that, yes, communism is in fact a community
effort. You as one person are not going to change the world- but all of us together?
That could be another story. And you know, there’s something to be said
for the fact that, in a world where logic and objectivity are enshrined as unimpeachable
polestars of truth, it kinda makes sense that communism would find an expedient vehicle
in witchcraft. Witches themselves are historically framed as predators of the heart who exploit
the emotions of those caught in the throes of passion -but, I dunno, maybe a dominant
narrative that frames a typically feminine practice as wholly inferior to a more controlling,
authoritarian, mostly male-dominated alternative is… something we should interrogate?>>Hbomb: I care the least, so I’m more rational!
I win! Communism is fundamentally an emotional ideology:
it is outrage at a status quo that doesn’t serve the masses; sadness for the exploitation
of your fellow comrades; hope and determination that a better future is possible. This is
not to say that communism is illogical, but that communist action often reads as illogical
because we live in a world that teaches us to see any display of emotional investment
as childish, cringe-worthy, and ultimately self-incriminating. So it’s not hard to see
how witchcraft could function as a way to bypass that kneejerk judgment, since the people
in this case are already turning towards the seemingly illogical for answers.>>Sarah: Capitalism was built through the
violence of slavery, colonialism, witch-hunts, and enclosures.
Capitalism is maintained through the violence of armies, police, borders, and prisons.
Capitalism will sooner lead us to annihilation than allow a more just society to emerge.
We are left with only two possible futures: socialism or barbarism. I’ve been thinking lately about the utility
of utopian storytelling. Like a lot of people who grew up in the 90’s and early 2000’s,
the predominant attitude of the media around me was that iconic postmodern cynicism which
seemed at every turn to suggest that everyone is a grifter, sincerity is a lie, and that
nothing matters and you can never change anything. Post-apocalyptic storytelling in particular
had a huge boom in the 2010’s, and nothing exemplifies this more than The Walking Dead.
What we see in this story is a worst case scenario- a world of constant threat and no
infrastructure, where people have to band together to survive. Except The Walking Dead
approaches its world from a deeply cynical place that insists that humans are violent
and self-destructive creatures who will find any excuse they can to shed blood. Here, the
soft and the meek die, the gullible are manipulated, and any gesture towards recreating the old
world is shown to be deluded and pointless. This is a lawless land where might makes right
and the only way to survive is to be the last one standing. I mean, it’s no coincidence that protagonist
Rick Grimes is a cop who becomes a violent authoritarian leader that we are meant to
think is always justified in his actions, hashtag yes all cops. Grimdark narratives like this are often described
as “realistic,” I guess because like… bad things happen? In ways that don’t feel good?
But it doesn’t feel realistic to me, it feels like a libertarian power fantasy where their
dogshit ideology is never wrong. Every time my dark passenger punishes me for my hubris
and forces me to watch The Walking Dead, I find myself asking questions like: Where are
the musicians? Where are the poets? Where are the comedians? Where are the painters?
And maybe that sounds like a joke to you, but like… At no point in human history have
we been without art, even in the most dire and apocalyptic of circumstances. Yeah, okay,
you’ve got zombies around, constant peril, I get it. But if you want to talk about realism,
in World War I, soldiers in the trenches would carve flowers in abandoned shell casings.
Are you really going to tell me there’s no time for self-expression after the zombie
apocalypse? Art is not frivolity, it is an intrinsic part of how we process the world
around us. And not for nothing, but sometimes human beings,
like girls, just want to have fun! Like, we can’t be in survival mode all the
time. You gotta rest, you gotta relax, you gotta have fun! It’s just really frustrating to me that we
continue to enshrine this Social Darwinist attitude about storytelling where men taking
authoritarian power and being right to do so are true to some nebulous concept of human
nature? It just feels so hollow and bitter and dystopian in the truest sense of the word,
like it insists from top to bottom that there is absolutely no hope for us without “law
and order.” [vomit] Mainstream media and prestige golden age tv
is basically just a cynical boo cake of fetishistic power fantasies and, oh hey, funny coincidence,
finding excuses to kill queer people and people of color. Wow! What’s the deal with that?
That’s weird! Huh. In this environment… is it really any wonder
that we often feel hopeless? Even as I have argued that we could end homelessness
by reappropriating empty homes, on some level I didn’t really believe it was possible. But
the utility of utopia is to set aside our cynicism and just imagine, for a moment, that
the barriers aren’t there. What would that world look like? What would it feel like? We have to be able to imagine a better future
if we ever expect to have something to fight for. Those soldiers in the trenches carved
flowers in cold metal to remember what organic life looked like, to remember that there was
a natural world to return to. Who cares about what’s realistic, what’s reasonable, I’m not
a machine that functions on logic, I’m an animal with a brain too big for my own good
and for better or worse EMOTIONS are the vehicle for my subjective experience of reality, and
right now I’m terrified that the future is out of our hands. Communists have to be dreamers,
and ours is a world that has taught us to kill our dreams. I do have some issues with A Bewitching Revolution-
in particular, it seems to advocate for parallel power by virtue of being set in a small community
within a larger city, and I don’t think you have to dig very far in America’s historical
record to understand why this probably wouldn’t work out in the long term. But, again, this
is a revolution in microcosm for the purposes of opening our eyes to a possibility, and
as such we are meant to take its constituent elements as simplified versions of something
that would be a lot more complicated in real life. And yeah, generally the game is simple. It’s
only an hour long, of course it is! But I think this kind of simplified communist agitprop
has tremendous power in that it gives you the catharsis of living a revolution, and
thus makes at least temporarily real what for most of us has only ever been theoretical.
And I think the ability to imagine the best possible outcome, even as we’re mired in the
day-to-day struggles of laying the groundwork for it, is of paramount importance at a moment
in time where the future of our world is very much uncertain. In the past, I’ve advocated for a sort of
euphemistic leftism? Like using the term “socialism” instead of “communism” because the latter
seems permanently tainted by Cold War propaganda in the States. I’ve felt for a while that
you have to be subtle and strategic with how you deploy your rhetoric, as if you’re sneaking
into the back door of the establishment to hijack it from within. And I dunno, maybe
there’s still some merit to that? But this strategy kind of misses the fact that the
establishment is already opposed to every kind of leftism, euphemistic or otherwise.
You can’t beat the liars at their own game, because they aren’t trying to tell the truth. So to hell with it, why even bother pretending?
Why be ashamed of what we believe?>>Ash Sarkar: I would actually encourage
you to check out some of the other work I’ve done where I’ve been intensely-
>>Piers Morgan: Tell you what I’d do, is I’d go check out some basic facts about your
hero Obama->>Ash Sarkar: He’s not my hero, I’m a communist
you idiot! I’m not pro-Obama, I’ve been a critic of Obama,
I’m a critic of the Democratic Party, because I’m literally a communist! After the revolution is complete, you do a
sort of victory lap of this little community- and as you walk around, it might be easy to
think that nothing really has changed. And largely you’re not wrong! People’s daily lives
probably won’t be affected that much once it’s all over. There’s still work that needs
to be done for the community, we still get bored and find ways to distract ourselves,
we still have to raise our community and our families, and have fun with our friends. But
there’s one specific thing that really stands out to me. Throughout the game, tarot has
been your providence, a tool deployed on desperate people to help radicalize them. But now you
see someone doing tarot for themselves. See, it’s not enough to have the knowledge, you
have to know how to spread it to other people so that they can use it for the same purpose.
Because, again, you aren’t a savior. You are, at best, a guide. The question I ask myself
when I see this is, would they really understand these tools and deploy them on their own if
we had used coded language? If we had been euphemistic about what we meant? We live in desperate times. Ours is a world
that is slowly coming unraveled. It’s time for us to recognize that the game is rigged,
the system is unjust, and those in power will do nothing to change that- unless we are bold,
brazen, and unsubtle in what we mean to accomplish. And look, I don’t know if we can do it. I
don’t know if it’s possible. I want to believe that it is. But regardless, we have to try…
and to try is to be bewitched by the dream of a revolution.

100 thoughts on “Subtlety is Dead: Communism and ‘A Bewitching Revolution’ [CC]

  1. Honestly I've been really depressed lately with the state of the world, but you helped me remember something really important. Communists have to be dreamers! Thanks Sarah! This game looks so good, I'm def going to buy it.

  2. garth marenghi?!
    great video, never heard of this game but thank you for enlightening
    if you liked that you might like this:

  3. Really great video Sarah ! It made me feel, it made me laugh, and it made me cry. Gave me a bit of much needed hope and maybe I need to reevaluate my cynicism because you're right. They want me to feel like I can't do it; that we can't do it but, I think we can. This video is an instant favorite of mine.

  4. this game is about the great Warlock Lenin.

    "In a country ruled by an autocracy, with a completely enslaved press, in a period of desperate political reaction in which even the tiniest outgrowth of political discontent and protest is persecuted, the theory of revolutionary Marxism suddenly forced its way into the censored literature before the government realised what had happened and the unwieldy army of censors and gendarmes discovered the new enemy and flung itself upon him.

    Lenin, What Is To Be Done?, “Criticism in Russia” (1901)"

  5. I might show this video to my dad. Tell him that this has nothing to do with our religious differences, that i just want him to think about politics beyond what he's been raised with.

  6. "the ones who tell the lies are the solemnest to swear,
    and the ones who load the dice always say the toss is fair,
    the ones who deal the cards are the ones to take the tricks,
    with their hands over their hearts as we play the game they fixed." – 'if it's true', hadestown

  7. "Where are the musicians, where are the poets, where are the comedians, where are the painters?"
    Many survival/management sims exist, and most of them focus around gathering, agriculture, and a tech tree. There's no shortage of mechanics around those things. But most of the higher end of the maslow hierarchy of needs, if present at all, ends up being a single abstract bar that you need to fill. It might be interesting for more games to come out that revolve around those concepts, in more detail, that are still a simulation and don't just lean on a narrative for those sorts of things.

  8. An idealistic Utopia, that demonstrably doesn't work, and where conservative people don't exist. A fun thought experiment, but unfortunately not at all useful or realistic for the society we live in, and certainly isn't going to change anyones mind. This is liberal masterbation at its finest. And i say that as an overwhelming leftist. This is a sort of fake-deep that benefits no one 🙁 u are definitely tripping off your HRT, no offense. Its worth having your perspective out there. Im not trying to discourage you. But if you want to be useful in the world we actually live in, you need to put your emotional self in check a little more, and focus on the incremental kind of progress we can actually make reality, unless you are willing (and able) to spearhead a violent revolution. 'I'm not a machine that functions on logic'….. No… No you are not… I would argue you are doing more harm than good, more than you realize, by your emotional and alternative views. Communism definitely isn't the answer. And if it is going to be anything close to that, it definitely needs to be rebranded.

  9. Real good.
    I discovered this game too recently and loved it.
    The time for subtlety has passed. The world isn't slowly coming unravelled, it's hurtling towards apocalypse.

  10. Fantastic video and I think this game looks really cool and I appreciate what they are trying to do with it. Great points on the Walking Dead btw. There was one musician guy in one of the more recent seasons but he's dead bc he was weak and overly obsessed with his instruments in a dog eat dog libertarian power fantasy. Real bummer. :/

    19:23 This point really speaks to me, but I must say that I came to that point of view from someone who called myself a communist. Nowadays I'm not that interested in labels or I simply call myself a socialist because it is the broadest and least sectarian label I can use in my estimation. I think the term "communist" and other more specific labels can often obfuscate what end goal we're fighting for, allows for our opponents to create straw man arguments, and contributes to some pretty terrible leftist in-fighting that has no place in this current time or place and state of the left. I don't want to concede the language of liberation to the right and I want people to talk more about their ideas and how it will liberate every day people rather than summing up their philosophy in one word. Not to say people can't use a word to describe themselves, just lead with the ideas first. I don't care what someone calls themselves, if they are going to work towards a future where there's no capitalists, landlords, hunger, homelessness, lack of healthcare, or imperialism I will work with them to that end. If I'm being honest I don't think we'll be storming the winter palace or manning the barricades anytime soon and for now it looks like the ballot box is where the most change can happen but that might change.

    thanks for reading my manifesto have a good one

  11. some sexy voiced communist shows up in the middle of this vid to tell you what the problem is (spoiler: it's capitalism)

  12. Thank you Sarah, colestia is an acquantaince of mine and I'm a big fan ( and inspired, i'm a gamedev myself) of his work
    I'm really happy that you made a video about his game!!!!!!

  13. I think it's also important to remember that what's realistic and logical is determined largely by the dominant order. We want to get away from that order and changing how we think is vital.

  14. The reason why no one says up front that it's time for a communist revolution, is because we all know that revolutions require the power of the gun.

  15. Your thoughts and feelings are not invalid, but the idea that communism and/or socialism are emotionally-based utopia is why I thought they were total bullshit when I was a teenager, even though I thought the idea was nice.

    Communism IS logical. Human rights ARE logical. Selfishness and egotism aren't even inherently capitalist – selfish altruism benefits the individual by empowering all of society towards progress. It was when I realised that more individualistic economic systems are a complete fucken failure and that incrementalism is extremely viable that I was radicalised.

  16. i played the game right after watching this video and i really enjoyed it! it's super cute and it also hit me right in my feelings at a couple points. thanks for sharing!!

  17. This game and its potential use as a gateway to introducing Communist Potential (as in showing how this future can in fact come about) has actually reminded me of something I've been thinking about for a bit now.

    I believe it was PhilosophyTube's video "Ben Shapiro and Abortion" that first made me notice the Alt-Right's (and, who am I kidding, the right in general) need to gamify existence in order to make it an appealing political stance and to be able to put its "concepts" (aka racism, bigotry, and fascism) into more easily digestible forms to be able to ease people into it, and between games like this and Bad News (which is a game that was launched by researchers from the University of Cambridge and is about the act of creating and spreading Fake News, and perhaps could make an interesting subject for another video…?) I wonder…could the leftist sphere do something similar to that?

    Part of me wants to think that even attempting to gamify leftist principles and concepts would be kinda antithetical to many of them (since it lacks the framework of "get get get siege siege siege destroy destroy destroy" that basically all right wing thought is founded upon), but the way this game seems to go about it in an almost puzzle-like way (since as you brought up with the case of the homeless character, you were presented with the problem of "how am I going to help this homeless person?" and you therefore had to find the solution of "break into a house and give it to them," which while not a super complicated puzzle still required a little thinking) makes me feel like it might actually be possible to do (Bad News actually does this sort of thing too albeit the puzzles in that game might actually be a bit trickier and is generally more blatant with how it's educating you).

    I don't actually know how to end this comment, so I guess just to TL;DR this: Do you (or anyone else reading this comment) think it's possible to be able to use the power of games to be able to more widely and easily spread leftist concepts, and if so, what kinds of games would be best suited to doing it?

  18. Okay, the last ten minutes of this are maybe the most effective criticism of Generation X disillusionment I have ever encountered. I say that as an actual member of the Gen X cohort. We had/have our idealists and collapsed under the “obvious” impossibility of these ideals over time. This really helps me put in context the frustration younger people have tried to communicate to me. Thank you SO MUCH for framing this so clearly through the medium of… media.

  19. Omg you’ve read warm bodies right? There’s some questionable writing at times but it’s like. The antithesis to TWD’s cynicism with love and community effort is absolutely beautiful.

  20. yay for nobody answering my calls for help in the comments 🙂 i wanna die and i want everyone else to die hahaha

  21. this video was so funny! it was really nice and allowed me to breathe. its so true! you often think something cant be done untill you see someone do it and then you are like huh, guess I was just a coward

  22. Another great communist game is "The Sea Will Claim Everything". But it's a bit longer and more adventure gamey than this one. At the start of the game I got a bit overwhelmed and a bit lost, but it's great. You can always use a guide.

  23. I feel confused by the jump from discussing witchcraft to a mention of mysticism. They aren’t mutually exclusive but they also aren’t defined the same. And wondering where the mysticism is found in capitalism – the mysticism we should be skeptical of.

  24. Hi I just want to pass by and tell you that I've found a very good leftist podcast called red menace.

    The hosts condense and discuss very important works by the revolutionaries themselves (lenin mao etc). I suggest it for EVERYBODY who can't get around reading these works.

  25. Pop for the algorithm beast.

    Keep it up, I needed this today, a nice shot of hope. I really love that line “they can shoot us all to death but they can’t shoot us back to work”

  26. Love this video – I'm slowly dropping my euphemisms over time and I'm glad to say people are receptive… there's a lot of propaganda to break through, but when faced with bare, untainted Communist ideas/principles I've found people largely receptive/understanding. Keep up the amazing work <3

  27. The problem with capitalism is the way it has over time distorted the idea of value. Giving a homeless person a place to live is *valuable*, because it solves a real human need. But it's not deemed valuable under capitalism because, maybe they cannot pay the rent. This is an example of how capitalism conflates price with value. The idea goes that if someone is willing to pay a price, then that price is the 'value' of the thing payed for. But that is all backwards! Value comes first! The value of a thing exists regardless of the price of the thing in a capitalist economy. The value of a thing exists because it solves human needs.
    IMHO, Economy 101 should not start with supply and demand, and price equilibria etc. It should start with *value*.

    Note: I'm only half way though the video. And also maybe all this about value is just obvious? Well, isn't obvious to capitalists.

  28. I regret to say it, when I feel like by design, I should feel the opposite, but I feel more anxious after watching this video than before. I feel if I played the game, it'd be an even more potent experience of anxiety.

    Nevertheless this is an important video with a lot of good ideas in it that I intend to remember. I feel I'm a better person for watching it, if nothing else to hear the word communist said so much. I'm not a communist, but people who are communists deserve a place in political discussion, and that place is harder to have when the word that communists use to identify their ideology has an association for most normies (like myself) as something mostly bad governments have identified themselves with.

    I'm sure after enough exposure to it though that instant association will fade into a muddled pile of "this word could mean any number of good or bad things" that comes when I hear words like capitalism.

  29. Small-scale, local anarcho-communism, here and now, short of a revolution, is crucial for – among other things – demonstration purposes. There's too much a sense that it is impossible, so anything to show what it would look like is a necessary answer. Beyond that, it can mean people get FED or sheltered or clothed; it can mean we have the satisfaction of DOING that; and it means testing and building that new world from here, rather than some far-off happy place after all resistance to communism is suddenly washed away.

  30. I've been thinking for a while now about demystification, on two fronts. Firstly I've been a Marxist (of some indeterminate flavour) for nearly 30 years now and I have a deeply ingrained habit of approaching political topics from oblique angles; always asking questions, trying to get people to examine the common assumptions that underpin capitalist logic but never explicitly discussing Marx or Communism. You only discuss the Big M with your anointed comrades, not with the unenlightened masses. This is a terrible habit to fall into because not only does it make you dishonest, but you can't actually live a communist life that way. I have seen so many Marxists (usually the academic ones who got paying jobs) become jaded bourgeois workers over the years. Not because they grew to like neoliberal society, but because they were living it honestly while living Marxism secretly. Now more than ever before is a time to live Marxism and speak Marxism.

    Secondly, I am profoundly struck by the parallels between the current state of the world and the Reformation period in Europe. The force which guides peoples' lives, Neoliberalism, is mystified almost exactly as Christianity was under the Catholic church. People go through the forms and make the sacrifices without fully understanding why they're doing it because they have been denied the language. The priests give obtuse answers to questions such as "why do the rich get to buy their way into heaven while the poor languish in purgatory?" and insist that it is insufficient devotion on the part of the questioner that is to blame. People yearn once again to have the mystification of the world stripped away and to be given the opportunity to find their own meaning. And as with the printing press giving voice to that desire and creating an explosion of discussion and thought, I'm seeing now an increasing interest in the demystification of capitalism spreading across the internet. There is an upsurge of good, modern literature about today's problems the likes of which I've never before seen in my lifetime. There's a genuine movement growing.

    So you keep doing you Sarah, keep speaking truth to power in your way. It matters.

  31. I LOVE YOUR WORK SO MUCH SARAH. thank you for this. I've been feeling so hopeless lately and disillusioned with leftist shit but you've reminded me why I was drawn into the hope of revolution in the first place. This was beautiful. Thank you.

  32. Thanks for this amazing video. Can't even recall the last time I've seen a dose of genuine optimism without brushing aside how fucked everything is delivered in such an effective and digestible manner.

  33. Um, humble request? Can you upload a video of just the "The problem is capitalism" bit so I can send it to… um… everyone?

  34. Awesome stuff comrade!
    Your words regarding degrees of abstraction in speech used to communicate political ideas really struck home with me! While as a tactical matter what's gonna be best to apply is gonna be utterly subjective to the surrounding context in which one wishes to exert oneself, being utterly honest, with the clarity it can more easily bring, are becoming more paramount by the moment when the times prove right for it! The capitalist class does firmly intend to rape us all to death and boil us in the shit of an ecesystemically ruined hellworld anyhow.
    Godspeed to you mam:)

  35. You should really watch the new season of The Walking Dead. It has a new showrunner and I think she might be a communist because season 9 goes so well with communist theory. The main theme of the season is evolution and a major running plot thread throughout the season is that all of the communities are trying to come together to put on a fair to promote unity and hope, but the natural threats of the world keep making things difficult and stirring up tension, showing how nature always throws us new threats and tests us but ultimately the best way for us to get through it is by working together, which they do end up doing and the season ends with all of the characters having a snowball fight. They also introduce a character who plays the violin and discusses exactly what you talk about here with the importance of art! I really think you would like it and that it might help you see the earlier seasons in a different light, as I’ve honestly always read the show as having these same ideas behind it, I just don’t think they were necessarily always well conveyed.

  36. So communists go around calling communism socialism? Fucking why? No wonder so many people can't tell the bloody difference. I'd just… I'd always assumed that was accidental to everything not capitalism getting lumped together as 'generic enemy' by the capitalist propagandists. I never imagined for a second people would be going around confounding the two deliberately. How is that okay? How did you go around doing that and thinking that's okay – is this the reason that I still have to begin every goddamned argument against an American with a preschool 101 about what words mean? FUCK! I would VERY much like to stop having to do that, please. Please stop causing that! How are you so casual about having caused that? It's a major communication problem! It's very obviously a major communication problem!

    I don't understand. I thought the point of words was to convey stuff. Why muddle them on purpose. Why cause damage to that useful functionality. I'm sorry to be harsh but this was a bit of a shock, honestly. You do realize that it's in their favour that this stuff keeps going around in circles with nobody understanding each other, right? I might not have the same political ideology as you do but I think we'd both agree that if the opportunity was there to get rid of capitalism first, and then figure out the details of what in particular should replace it, that that's at least stopping the bleeding. Right? From the open wound that all that blood is gushing freely out of. Patch that up first, worry about the type of long-term bandage afterwards. Priorities. So like, we have the same short-term goals. We're not at odds in this. Yes?

    But all muddying discussion does is keep things exactly as they are. So it's like putting your hand in the way and saying no, we don't fix this now, for… again, why even. It's… I just don't get how the notion to do that even enters someone's head! I'm genuinely flabberghasted to learn of this counterproductive strategy. When I say no socialism and communism are two different things you stupid ignorant capitalist to someone, I do tend to get laughed at like I'm picking hairs. As if it's the equivalent to one of those grammar sticklers pouncing on someone for having dyslexia or something. Laughed at, by the pleased-with-themselves capitalists, who then are bolstered not to have to bother listening to these kooky other viewpoints that are clearly only the reserve of crazy people. So like, what the fuck, communists? Seriously?

    Sorry to get so stuck on this one thing, I just couldn't believe what I was hearing and you seem to think it's no big deal or something. I had to let it be known that it is. Even from within this mire where everyone's so beaten into the fucking ground that we can't make head nor tail of whether or not this internet thing in its simultaneous stimulant / tranquilizer paradox state is genuinely the thing most of us can best do to save the bloody planet. Even from within that, at least don't put a needless additional handicap on that and make it any bloody slower to wade through than it already is!

    Still a bit in disbelief. Probably have repeated myself a lot. As you say in your video, emotions.

  37. "Talking Communist Cat" Hmmmmmm… Reminds me of a certain game who's name begins with "Night" and ends with "In the woods" All jokes aside have you heard of or played Night in the woods?

  38. I got stuck in the game, a prayer guides me to in front if the house you give to the homeless person, but nobody's there and I can't figure out what to do
    ) =

    I planted all the trees, got rid of all the war propaganda, cameras, and anti-bird spikes

  39. the most frustrating part about being a communist is knowing the power that each member of the working class holds but is oblivious to, or more accurate, oblivious to the power of when combined in solidarity

  40. The left draws its power from being a force of truth that speaks out against the suffering of mankind. Euphemism only undermines that strength. The goal should never be hushed conversations in big empty rooms it should be the roar of crowds in the streets.

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