An urgent shift away from visible organizers is the only way to avoid scene death.

Autozone logo edited to read “Autonomy” with a subline “Notes from within and without.”
Autozone logo edited to read “Autonomy” with a subline “Notes from within and without.”

On September 16th, an autonomous action popped up in immediate response to a whistleblower leak that ICE is performing mass hysterectomies at a facility in Georgia. The action was at Foley Square, the heart of NYC’s federal buildings, and no one knows who organized it — but that didn’t stop people from showing up that Wednesday. Or the next day. Or the day after for a clout-chasing press conference organized by a grifter cult (RefuseFascism) that wasn’t even there. …

It was the best of scenes. It was the worst of scenes.

The NYC protest scene is dividing into two factions: One on the surface which features a slew of camera-happy groups and individuals looking to cash in. The other, a burgeoning underground of people sick to death of the scene’s dominant faces.

Before diving into the two factions that have begun formulating, I want first to discuss the perspectives held by people entering the scene.

There are at least three dominant ‘topics’ that draw people into the protest space:
1. Anti-racism
2. Anti-capitalism
3. …

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[image text: Frank Sinatra mugshot]

After feds were deployed to (unsuccessfully) quell the protests in Portland, OR., the NYC protest scene started wondering if the same fate would come here and that rumble of uncertainty continues.

When Trump teased the possibility of sending them here a few weeks ago, Gov. Cuomo and Mayor DeBlasio had their near-ritualistic pissing contest of each scrambling to say “no thank you” more powerfully than the other. Trump threatened to send in the feds again on Monday if the mayor can’t “stop the bloodshed” (???). All told, it seems Trump wants to deploy feds here just for the hell of it. Whether Cuomo and DeBlasio stop their petty boy fighting remains to be seen. Maybe DeBlasio will let the feds come here as retribution for Cuomo getting a book deal. Maybe Cuomo will ask them to come to prove how inept a leader DeBlasio is. …

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I’ve said it multiple times that my focus reporting on the NYC protest scene isn’t just to take a temperature check and dip out. It’s to track and document how the scene is developing and changing over time, which necessitates being fully immersed in the scene and getting to know the textures of the environment. This often presents itself by buttoning action threads with an overview observation. One recent example:

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Yesterday I wrote a general overview of the NYC protest scene as well as a warm-up of what to expect from my coverage. You can read that right here.

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I’ve relaunched my Patreon to supplement my work reporting on the NYC protest scene. I am doing this work direct to social media — no editors, no clickbait, no paywalls — to document how the activist space is growing and changing. I’ll sporadically publish analysis on the various contours of the scene (like this general overview) but overall the Patreon will serve as general support for content shared on Twitter.

Subscribe on Patreon, follow along on Twitter, party everywhere you go 🕺

And hopefully we’ll remember our value as everyone else forgets.

I saw another post asking for feedback from grocery store workers who “are working on the frontlines of this pandemic.” It pissed me off. While it’s valuable to uplift marginalized (and often degraded) voices, the surge for content seems focused on beating a drum that makes us temporary heroes, forgetting our worth once this is all over.

Even amid the surge there’s still the occasional Karen who mocks the despair of grocery work with something like “So what? Nurses and doctors are suffering too!” Obviously these comments ignore a big issue: Grocery store workers didn’t get this job to save the world. We got the job because it’s a job. We didn’t go to school for 6–8 years to master bagging groceries or facing product. We don’t have protective gear and, unlike hospital workers, many of us don’t have health insurance (n.b., I’m on unpaid medical leave because I have a history of respiratory illness and no health insurance). More importantly, though, it speaks to what’s to come. Everyone is eager to return to Life As It Was. …

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This is going to be a long read. No, this part isn’t included in the count. At some point, you will want to give up. You’ll wonder what the hell my point is, why you’re reading this, and lastly, why you are alive. It will be self-indulgent, as any 10,000-word piece on a topic is bound to be. But I hope you’ll stick with me, despite my inconsistent use of contractions and my somewhat shaky noun/verb agreement and my frequent use of sentences that list three examples of a thing because for some reason I feel that “wraps it up neatly.” I hope at the end of this, if nothing else, you will applaud me for writing 10,000 words and defying the cishet men who insist that only men can do it. I will admit that in writing this, I definitely hit a few points of realizing that 10,000 words is far too indulgent for any topic that isn’t the first three chapters of a whole fucking book. And without editors, I’m afraid some parts of this are going to wander and snake — not unlike the pipes that chug your shit from your ass to a sanitation plant. This is going to be messy. …

It happened again. Women screamed, raged, begged and laid bare their wounds to the world in the hopes that maybe this time, the question of whether women are people would be answered with a full-throated “Yes, you fucking oaf.” And again, that collective plea went unheard — or, rather, it was bogged down and muted from being heard by people forcing us to stop halfway through detailing our pain to explain how our pain is valid.

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Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

It’s worth noting right now that this is going to be scattered because I’m pulling a lot of different levers attempting to put into words something that for many is an unspoken knowledge. I’m also pulling from the Kavanaugh hearings specifically to discuss this because it’s easier to name one recent example than list out every single transgression. But know that this dynamic and these problems are far more pervasive than just the Kavanaugh hearings. …

Or: an explainer for what I’ve been going on about since Friday.

UPDATE — Sept. 24, 2:21pm. A previous version of the following update alluded to an unnamed site. I can now confirm that site was, which has partnered with Modern Rogue in the past.

Brian Brushwood of the Modern Rogue released a statement clarifying that John Cheese has been severed completely from the site and his pieces unpublished. Brushwood also apologized for his behavior and said MR would be holding an emergency staff meeting to address urgent concerns about the workplace’s environment. This is due in part to what is outlined below, but I believe additionally due to, …


talia jane

comedy • writing • obligatory third thing

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