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A thread written by @louishyman

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In my history of consumption class, I teach about #Sears, but what most people don't know is just how radical the catalogue was in the era of #Jim Crow. #twitterstorians

Every time a black southerner went to the local store they were confronted with forced deference to white customers who would be served first.

And the store would be filled with racist caricatures of black people in an effort to sell to white people.

The stores were not self-service, so the black customers would have to wait. And then would have to ask the proprietor to give them goods (often on credit because...sharecropping). The landlord often owned the store. In every way shopping reinforced hierarchy. Until #Sears

The catalog undid the power of the storekeeper, and by extension the landlord. Black families could buy without asking permission. Without waiting. Without being watched. With national (cheap) prices!

Southern storekeepers fought back. They organized catalogue bonfires in the street.

These general stores often doubled as post offices. The owners would refuse to sell stamps to black people, or money orders, to use the catalogue services.

Happened enough that sears instructed customers to evade the postmaster and directly speak to the mail carrier:
“just give the letter and the money to the mail carrier and he will get the money order at the post office and mail it in the letter for you.”

In an attempt to undermine #Sears, rumors spread that Sears was black (to get white customers to stop buying from him). Sold by mail “these fellows could not afford to show their faces as retailers”
Sears, in turn, published photos to “prove” he was white.

These rumors didn’t affect sales but show how race and commerce connected in the countryside. And how dangerous it was to the local order, to white supremacy, to have national markets.

So as we think about #Sears today, let's think about how retail is not just about buying things, but part of a larger system of power. Every act of power contains the opportunity, and the means, for resistance.

Wow. So much response! If you would like to know more about the larger history of Sears and resisting white supremacy, check out this video from our series on the history of capitalism. #thread. Also #JohnHenry and #webDubois.
 https://youtu.be/RpROUjHSijg?t=384 

You can follow Louis Hyman.
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sarcozona
10 hours ago
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satadru
1 day ago
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New York, NY
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How the Mercator Projection Distorts the True Sizes of Countries on Maps

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Data scientist Neil Kaye made this map to show how much the popular Mercator projection distorts the sizes of many countries, particularly those in the Northern Hemisphere.

Mercator Adjusted

The distortion in the animated version is even clearer. Key takeaway: Africa is *enormous*.

See also the true size of things on world maps.

True Size Map

Tags: maps   Neil Kaye
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sarcozona
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rocketo
21 hours ago
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seattle, wa
satadru
1 day ago
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New York, NY
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1 public comment
MotherHydra
23 hours ago
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Low information students forgot that map distortion was taught in school.
Space City, USA

Why Catastrophic Climate Change is Probably Inevitable Now. How Capitalism Torch...

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Why Catastrophic Climate Change is Probably Inevitable Now. How Capitalism Torched the Planet by Imploding Into Fascism.

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sarcozona
10 hours ago
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Things like climate change and inequality and fascism are not really “problems” — they are emergent processes, which join up, in great tendrils of ruin, each piling on the next, which result from decades of neglect, inaction, folly, blindness. We did not plant the seeds, or tend to our societies, economies, democracies, or planet carefully enough — and now we are harvesting bitter ruin instead.
graydon
1 day ago
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"catastrophic climate change is not a problem for fascists — it is a solution"
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What the Tea Leaves Told Me — 2018 Vancouver Civic Election

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Poll-topper Kennedy Stewart, Vancouver mayoral candidate for the 2018 civic election, has gone public with a stronger message.

I’m hoping that it’s the result of a few squadrons of analytical minds chewing away at internal polling and, well, reading the tea leaves. He certainly seems to be more confident of the potential number of voters receptive to this message.

See the poll and related material below.

The poll is from Mario Canseco’s Research Co., with 33% undecided:

  • Stewart – 36%
  • Sim – 23%
  • Sylvester – 19%
  • Bremner – 6%
  • Young – 6%
  • Chen – 2%
  • Harding – 2%

Perhaps buoyed by his continued top-of-poll position, Mr. Stewart has said (in the Globe and Mail, thanks to Frances Bula):

Vancouver mayoral candidate Kennedy Stewart says he would push for denser forms of housing in all city neighbourhoods, and would ensure any reluctant residents understood why the city must move ahead with the plan anyway . . . .

“It is a crisis, right, and you can’t just keep doing the same thing,” said Mr. Stewart, a former NDP MP who is reported to be a front-runner because of a series of polls.  . . .

Mr. Stewart said he believes that west-side neighbourhoods, which have been resistant to even modest forms of density such as townhouses on side streets or six-storey apartment buildings, are ready to accept more.

“Communities are essentially hollowing out there. Some neighbourhoods are saying, ‘We want this,’” Mr. Stewart said. “Some coffee shops on the west side are now closing a couple of days a week [because they can’t get servers who can afford to live nearby].”

He noted that even business improvement associations, which aren’t always huge supporters of the NDP or social housing, have talked to him about how much their communities need affordable housing for service workers.

As well, he stressed that denser housing needs to be spread out over the city, instead of being concentrated in just a few areas.

Perhaps Mr. Stewart has been influenced by this data, presented in graphic form by occasional PT contributor Andy Yan (the Duke of Data).

Data compiled by Andy Yan, director of SFU’s City Program, shows Shaughnessy and other West Side neighbourhoods have lost voters since 2006. Image courtesy Andy Yan.

Overall, the city’s population is up by 10%, but the traditional NPA strongholds have lost population – a.k.a. “hollowing out”.

 

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sarcozona
10 hours ago
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Rich homeowners literally driving everyone else out of their neighborhoods
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Why I can’t write a good personal essay | Tenure, She Wrote

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I wrote about how my understanding of disability has shifted from internal to external and how that’s affected my ability to get support.

A little smarts and hard work and luck can’t make my chronically ill body “productive.” Even if they did, it would only make it alright for me – and that’s not good or fair. Telling those stories for so long made dealing with the reality of living-with-chronic-illness-under-capitalism/being disabled and past traumas really difficult. As soon as I decided the problem wasn’t me, but the response of people and systems to me, I stopped getting funding. As Dr. Sara Ahmed says, “when you expose a problem, you po

Source: Why I can’t write a good personal essay | Tenure, She Wrote

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sarcozona
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Searsiously

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Sears, the Amazon of its day, files for bankruptcy. It was grievously wounded by Walmart, but e-commerce struck the killing blow.

No, wrong. It was wounded by Wal-Mart, no doubt. However, it was killed by finance and financial engineering. E-commerce was ancillary and a convenient scapegoat, just as it was with Toys ‘R’ Us.

Imagine, instead, a different future. Sears could’ve been Amazon. They had the distribution network. They had the warehouses. They had 1,500 stores — thus the space for sales and showrooms. They had the experience. Those chose not to do this and instead engage in real estate schemes and financial shenanigans.

Why does the press never report the real story in these cases? You know why. Not in their financial best interest to do so. The real story of Sears is should-be criminal financial schemes doomed them, just as was the case with many other retailers.

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sarcozona
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