"Tonight We Riot" is a brutal 8-bit side scroller about worker liberation

There's a lot of overlap between the friends of mine who are fervent video game enthusiasts, and those who are the most belligerent anarcho-syndicalists / anarcho-communists / other Revolutionary Leftist sects — and they have all been singing the praises of "Tonight We Riot," the video game that even Variety calls, "an unapologetically political, socialist game about worker liberation in the face of overpowering capitalism." The official description reads:

A revolutionary crowd-based retro brawler

In a dystopia where wealthy capitalists control elections, media, and the lives of working people, we’re faced with two choices -- accept it or fight for something better.

Tonight We Riot doesn’t have just one hero. Instead, you play as a movement of people whose well-being determines the success of your revolution.

Essentially, it's a retro 8-bit throwback to games like "Streets of Rage," he game is the brainchild of Pixel Pushers Union 512, a worker-owned video game cooperative out of Texas. Except instead of controlling one character with a melee weapon and a limited life, you get a chance to control the entire rioting crowd as they work together to lob molotov cocktails at the bootlicking mechs sent by the evil capitalist overlords determined to quash their solidarity.

I'm not much of a gamer myself, but I might have some free time on my hands soon with this quarantine, and this looks pretty damn delightful to me. You can check it out on Nintendo eShop, Itch.io, Steam, or Good Old Games. Read the rest

What the late, great James Connolly got right about socialism and oligarchies

I've written here before to mention that I perform lengthy sets of Irish folk music around St. Patrick's Day*, and there are quite a few of those popular pub songs that include (well-deserved, IMHO) shout-outs to James Connolly, a stalwart champion of workers' rights who was executed by British soldiers after the 1916 Easter Rising. As I get older, I haven't found myself getting more conservative, like the Boomers told me I would; instead, I find myself realizing more and more that James Connolly was right about a damn lot of things.

One of my favorite writings of his — which I find I reference in casual conversation more than I should probably admit — is this piece on the differences between "state monopolies" and "socialism." Originally published in the June 10, 1899 issue of Workers’ Republic, this short essay impressively articulates the differences between centralized government control of a society, and what it means to actually put that ownership into collective public hands.

Socialism properly implies above all things the co-operative control by the workers of the machinery of production; without this co-operative control the public ownership by the State is not Socialism – it is only State capitalism. The demands of the middle-class reformers, from the Railway Reform League down, are simply plans to facilitate the business transactions of the capitalist class. State Telephones – to cheapen messages in the interest of the middle class who are the principal users of the telephone system; State Railways – to cheapen carriage of goods in the interest of the middle-class trader; State-construction of piers, docks, etc.

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Library Socialism: a utopian vision of a sustaniable, luxuriant future of circulating abundance

SRSLY Wrong is a "research-based comedy podcast" run by a pair of Canadian fellas with a background in radical politics, occupy, and the Pirate Party; in a three part series, hosts Aaron Moritz and Shawn Vulliez; in a series of three long podcast episodes (1, 2, 3), the pair elucidate and elaborate a utopian vision for the future that they dub "Library Socialism." Read the rest

A poor, Trump-voting Florida town opened a government grocery store to end its food desert, but it's "not socialism"

68% of the 1600 residents of of Baldwin, Florida -- where the median income is $44k/year -- voted for Trump in 2016, and in the years since, they've lost their only grocery store, which has been a particular hardship for the large number of seniors who live there, many of whom are no longer able to drive. Read the rest

Peak billionaire: a billionaire tries to purchase a party nomination to outflank anti-billionaires so he can run against another billionaire

The past two years have seen a tremendous shift in the public perception of capitalism and socialism, the character of philanthropy as reputation-laundry rather than generosity, and the nature of wealth as an indicator of sociopathy, not virtue or cleverness. Read the rest

New photo book gives rare glimpse inside North Korea

Inside North Korea collects Oliver Wainwright's gorgeous photos of the striking public aesthetic of a brutal dictatorship. Read the rest

Paypal blacklists payments for a World Socialists pamphlet about the Iranian opposition

The Struggle Against Imperialism and for Workers' Power in Iran is a $3.50 pamphlet by Keith Jones of the Socialist Equality Party of Canada; published by Mehring Books and distributed by the World Socialist Web Site. Read the rest

Most Americans under 30 "do not support capitalism"

A Harvard University survey found that among adults between 18 and 29 years of age, 51 percent "do not support capitalism." 42 support it, reports The Washington Post. A third say they support socialism as an alternative.

The survey is "difficult to interpret" due to the simplicity of choices and their lack of definition, say pollsters.

Capitalism can mean different things to different people, and the newest generation of voters is frustrated with the status quo, broadly speaking. All the same, that a majority of respondents in Harvard University's survey of young adults said they do not support capitalism suggests that today's youngest voters are more focused on the flaws of free markets.

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Lenin and Stalin still have a posse

REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov

A Russian communist holds placards with portraits of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin during a rally to celebrate International Workers' Day, or Labor Day, in Moscow on May 1, 2012. Related: our large photo gallery of May Day demonstrations around the world. Read the rest