The stories that enrage and sustain us.
rage \ respite
edition 05
the stories that enrage and sustain us.
The Golden Spiral, Marha Plain, Morocco via @tomorrowcreates
One of the strongest methods for upholding white supremacy is excluding black and First Nations people from the democratic process. If they can't vote, they can't vote you out. 

We saw a
gross case of this in the recent Georgia senate runoffs in the US where tens of thousands of voters, majority of them from black communities, were wrongly purged from the electoral roll, ruling them ineligible to vote. Polling booths were stationed in majority black electorates in below average numbers, leading to longer lines and an increase in likelihood that people wouldn't be able to take time out of work to vote. And some booths were simply closed up for the day while eligible voters were still waiting out the front for their turn.

Deborah Scott, a veteran voter rights activist in Georgia said during the senate runoff, "it's really depressing at times when you realise that it's systematic racism. It's not just circumstance … people have worked hard to keep people down. One of the ways that they do that is by taking away your vote."

Here in Australia, we were reminded this week that white supremacists work equally as hard to keep First Nations voters from having their political voice heard.

First Nations leaders in Arnhem Land, in the north-east of the Northern Territory, have
lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission, alleging that the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is indirectly suppressing Indigenous votes through discriminatory eligibility requirements and voting practises.

The AEC requires people to have a street number and postal address to enrol to vote, but Matthew Ryan, the mayor of West Arnhem Regional Council, and Ross Mandi, the chairman of Yalu Aboriginal Corporation in Galiwinku, believe this is discriminatory. The AEC does not accept lot numbers, community post offices or mail bags as a location for enrolment, and with many First Nations people, particularly in the Northern Territory, living in remote areas that aren't serviced by postal companies, this requirement excludes them from enrolment.

The complaint also alleges that it's discriminatory for the AEC to only provide polling booths to larger Aboriginal communities for a few days at a time during elections, throwing up further barriers to democratic participation.

Only 78% of First Nations people of voting age are registered to vote around Australia, and in the Northern Territory this drops to 68%. White supremacy thrives on silencing Black and First Nations voices, voter suppression is yet another tactic. 

For decades, Veganism has sat on the fringes of communities, one vegan at the dinner table and one vegan cafe in town. But throughout the 2010s, plant-based diets have catapulted into the mainstream as people better understand the impact of the food we eat on our health, animals and the planet.

We now know that our current food systems are unsustainable in the task of feeding billions. Oceans are on track to run out of fish, native forests are being rapidly felled to raise cattle and pesticides are wreaking havoc on air and water quality around the world. Meanwhile, scientists have dubbed living on a plant-based diet as the
number one action that a person can take to reduce their impact on the planet.

One demographic that has consistently sidelined plant-based food has been chefs and food critics. But now, Michelin starred restaurants from London to New York are taking animals off the menu and leaving dairy at the door.

After 15 months of closure due to the pandemic, one of the top names in Manhattan's elite food scene, Eleven Madison Park, is re-opening as a plant-based eatery.

Head chef, Daniel Humm says: "It is time to redefine luxury as an experience that serves a higher purpose...A restaurant experience is about more than what’s on the plate. We are thrilled to share the incredible possibilities of plant-based cuisine while deepening our connection to our homes: both our city and our planet."

Across the pond, a Michelin-star Soho chef has made the same move. After PETA activists protested outside the French restaurant Gauthier over their use of foie gras, a vile and inhumane product, head chef Alexis Gauthier made the switch to a plant-based alternative, which opened his eyes to the possibilities of plant-based food.

Despite the fear of losing loyal customers, Gauthier is determined to explore and showcase the delicious possibilities of food without animal products. "It would be unethical for me to profit from selling dead animals...I understand people feel let down...but I say, trust me, what we cook is as good as that [meat and fish]."

As more and more foodies, chefs and those who intimately work with food embrace plant-based versions, the more accessible these options become.
I'd be lying if I didn't say my absolute obsession at the moment is the resurgence of the podcast Witch, Please; a philosophical, political and sociological dive into the Harry Potter books. Are the Hogwarts houses just representations of different responses to trauma? Why do so many evil characters in the series align with racist tropes? What does the distinction between magical folk, mudbloods and muggles teach us about class politics? Hosted by two academics who are deeply passionate and yet critical of the series, you get to re-experience the wizarding world through a new lens.

This newsletter is created on the unceded lands of the Bidjigal and Gadigal people of the Eora nation. I pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging.
A newsletter by Georgia Gibson.
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