International Workers’ Day

Tomorrow is International Workers’ Day. I will be at work, my federal job, at which I am prohibited from making partisan political remarks.

I, personally, do not believe that supporting workers’ rights ought to be a partisan issue. But it is.

So I am posting this a day early.

America Needs a $15/hour Minimum Wage

Workers need the Affordable Care Act

Workers need a functional OSHA.

Workers need a real EPA.

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I understand that there are a host of marches, protests, rallies, and actions available across the country tomorrow. Go ye forth, you workers of the world.

Arise, ye prisoners of starvation!
Fight for your own emancipation;
Arise, ye slaves of every nation.
In One Union grand.
Our little ones for bread are crying
And millions are from hunger dying;
The end the means is justifying,
‘Tis the final stand.

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What have I done to resist: 100 days

The chaos does not stop coming. It is very, very hard to stay engaged and caring.

However.

When this is all over, I want to be able to meet people’s eyes without shame. I want to be able to say I did not go quietly.

So here’s what I’ve done so far.

– still giving money. This is the big one for me. I support national and local nonprofits, resistance, support, the arts, all sorts of things. I give to a number of Patreons, helping artists and creators. I give to GoFundMes and Kickstarters. I pay for things where and when I can.
– calling my MoCs. Now, since mine are pretty liberal, mostly I’m just calling to say thank you. Sometimes I castigate Klobuchar, but not even that much there.
– calling and writing local government. I am learning a lot more about local issues – state, city, and neighborhood – and I am contacting those people more.
– donating material goods. We found out this last month that our neighborhood has a wet-house, a place where chronic and untreatable alcoholics can live with dignity. We donated a bunch to them, and well as to Goodwill.
– in the last month, I haven’t marched or gone to any meetings. But there’s always more coming up.
– I am speaking out against abuse, harassment, and poor behavior in my communities of interest. Fandom, SF/F, comics, etc. I am … I am done, entirely, with cultures of silence and indirect management.

What has happened in government in the last few weeks? It’s almost impossible to keep up. The EPA has removed the webpage on climate change. Sean Spicer spoke approvingly of Hitler. North Korea is relentlessly testing missiles, and 45 may or may not be sending naval groups to engage. 45 bombed the shit out of a location in Syria. The White House is promoting 45’s businesses. The Kids are now illegal ambassadors for the U.S. The AHCA is being voted on again.

This is a long, long haul. I’m here. So are you. We’ll get through this together.

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A few preliminary thoughts on The Handmaid’s Tale series (no spoilers)

This is a show speaking to white people. Specifically, to white women.

As a feminist white woman from a middle-class professional background and currently occupying a comfortable middle-class professional life, I *AM* the target audience. I am thoroughly pleased with the show.

If you are from a different culture, you will Have Questions. Namely, “what happened to MY people because we sure as hell would not be putting up with this bullshit?!?!”

That is a real concern. I am pretty sure your questions are not going to be answered.

But if you *are* a middle-class cis white feminist, this is about you. About us.

It’s about how we often are shocked that Bad Things can happen to us. About how we don’t see or believe that the experiences of women of color, trans women, women in prison, women in poverty. About how we don’t network with allies until it’s too late. About how on some level we think we will come through just fine. It’s about how all that gets stripped away.

Ymmv, of course.

But what I, personally, am getting from the show is a renewal of the energy and anger I had in November. The anger that comes from a weird combination of fear over what I can lose, and fuck-it-all-let’s-do-this.

Fellow white feminists: please, please. Remember your allies. Don’t abandon people with different needs and causes than yours. Work for immigration reform. Work for judicial reform. Work for worker’s rights.

We are going to need *everyone* to stop what’s coming.

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Sometimes, the meme is not about you. Sometimes it is.

I saw a bunch of tweets and such going about the internets this week, talking about the Civil War and the Confederacy. One sentiment I saw was “The Civil War wasn’t about slaves, it was about money.” Another I saw was “It’s about slavery when you are the currency.”

I was reminded of how I, a white Northerner, learned about the Civil War.

– As a child, I was taught that the Civil War was fought to free the slaves. I was taught that the good Northern people invaded the South for the rights of the slaves. To free them from evil, wicked Southerners. (Note, that in this narrative, the slaves *still* aren’t people. “Southerner” is specifically defined to mean “white Southerner.” And to be Southern is to be wicked. And to be a slave is to be agency-less.)

– As a teenager I was shocked to learn that the Northerners had not, in fact, really wanted to free the slaves. That the war was fought for the selfish money-grubbing reason of national economics. That the only people who thought the war was about slavery were in the South.

– In college I learned about state’s rights. I learned about the history of the struggle between our state and national governments. I learned about abolitionists. I learned about free blacks. I learned about the social and economic strictures on impoverished white Southerners. I learned how the North benefited enormously from slavery, and had no real monetary reason to bring a halt to Southern economics.

In short, I learned it was complicated.

When I saw the tweets going by this week, I agreed with all of them. But I feel that they are not in conversation with each other. They are talking across each other to different audiences, to people who need to hear different things.

There are some [Northern white] people who still think that the North rode into the South full of a burning passion to right the wrongs of slavery and free all African-Americans. Those people need to hear, “it wasn’t about [a fight against] slavery, it was about money [that the North benefited from].” They need to learn that it was not a crusade for justice, but a war to keep the Southern economy part of the Union.

There are some [white] people who think that the Civil War was about state’s rights [and not about slavery at all, please ignore the enslaved]. Those people need to hear that the Southern economy was made of the blood and bodies of black people, and that it was definitely about slavery.

We all need to keep learning more, keep hearing more. We all need to listen to the voices of people not like us. We need to learn, to keep learning, to incorporate different views into our understanding of a complex world. *I* need to keep listening, to keep learning.

As an adult, I have learned more about the lives of free blacks. I’ve learned more about the lives of slaves in the south. I’ve learned how revered white leaders of the United States owned and abused slaves.

There’s always more to learn. Humans are complicated. And, sometimes, the things you need to hear are different from what someone else needs to hear. That other person still can benefit from a thing you already know. And you can benefit from a thing they already know.

Sometimes, the meme isn’t about you. Sometimes it is.

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I’ve been an ass about suburban development, I apologize

I have held very strong views, for decades now, about the damage suburbs, particularly exurbs, do to human communities. These views are largely based on books I read in the mid-90s, Suburban Nation and Metropolitics.

Recently I’ve been reading articles in various news outlets discussing the collapse of the service economy and how this is harming people who live in suburbs. I’ve been publicly pleased about the suburban collapse, and I’ve been an ass to friends over this. (My apologies, again, you know who you are.)

The thing is, it’s been two decades since I formed those anti-suburban views. I believe they were valid at the time, and I still hold to some tenants of urban development I learned then.

But real people live in suburban spaces. Actual humans, with families, with goals, with hopes and struggles. And I’ve been ignoring that. I’ve even, if I’m being honest with myself, sometimes mentally blamed people in exurbs for choosing their situation.

This is a dick move. I shouldn’t do it. I’m sorry.

Moreover, it’s been two decades. The more I read in articles and think-pieces, the more I am coming to understand that my comprehension of community life in suburbs is, frankly, wrong. I read portions of the Twin Cities Housing report last month (I didn’t finish, but I read a great deal) and my internal view of the Twin Cities is woefully out of date. I need to learn more, to change my thinking, before I contribute to the public conversation.

I’m going to try to do that. I care, passionately, about urban and community development. But I need to listen a lot more before I voice my views.

So, again, I’m sorry I was an ass. I’ll try to do better in the future.

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I do my callouts in public: Lars Pearson, you need to correct this.

ETA:

Here is Lars Pearson’s response. He has asked that I include his full response in my blog post, which I agree is appropriate.

Correction to DemiCon bio by Lars Pearson

As requested, I have asked DemiCon to correct my Guest of Honor bio to read that I was Editor-in-Chief of the Chicks Dig… series. I apologize that the original wording caused some concern and offense.

I am both the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at Mad Norwegian, a small press with a handful of staff. A large part of what I do would come under the banner of “editor” at a larger publisher.

That said, I did not intend to take credit away from any of the hard-working, diligent editors and contributors I’ve worked with over the years. I take great pride in the Hugo nominations Mad Norwegian books have garnered over the years, and particularly that editors Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O’Shea won for Chicks Dig Time Lords. The work was theirs, the credit is theirs (and those who contributed articles), that’s what it says in the book itself, and I never intended to imply otherwise. I’ll do what I can to correct the record.

I would ask people to look at our titles, look at how Chicks Dig Time Lords was singled out by the Sad Puppies as part of their crusade against Social Justice Warriors in science fiction, and I hope you’ll acknowledge that Mad Norwegian is, on the whole, on the side of the angels.

Thank you, Lars, for clarifying your position on the matter.

My original post follows:

I strive, in recent years, to bring my public actions in line with how I like to imagine myself. Part of that process means I have a near-zero tolerance for behind-the-scenes negotiating and back-channel communications. Now, as a professional with some work in SF/F and comics, I understand and respect keeping some things quiet until they are announced, or not revealing forthcoming works, etc. I don’t believe I have talked out of turn on those matters. But when it comes to less-than-professional behavior, I find myself moved to speak out when I know the facts.

Which brings me to Lars Pearson of Mad Norwegian Press, and his bio paragraphs.

I have worked with Lars. I am co-editor of two anthologies, Chicks Dig Comics and Queers Dig Time Lords. Lars published these anthologies, as well as other works in the Geek Girl line. Some of those books were nominated for various awards. One, Chicks Dig Time Lords, edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O’Shea, won a Hugo award for Best Related Work.

Lars Pearson is not listed as a co-editor on any book I worked on, nor is he co-editor of CDTL.

Yet, this bio piece on DemiCon’s website (highlighting mine):

does not mention any editors. It claims that Lars was the “top editor,” a role not used in publishing. If the bio said “publisher,” all would be well and we would not be having this conversation. But to claim to be the editor strongly implies that LARS won a Hugo. Which he did not. Lynne and Tara have that Hugo.

Moreover, in this article in the Des Moines Register from October 2, 2016, the following paragraphs occur:

This again seems to allow the reader to conclude that Lars won a Hugo.

His bio for CONsole Room 2017 states that he is the editor-in-chief of Mad Norwegian Press. While this may be true now, it was not true for the Geek Girl books I worked on. Lars was the publisher. He was never listed as a co-editor of mine.

I sent a quick email to DemiCon yesterday:

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Hello,

It came to my attention today that one of your GoHs, Lars Pearson, is claiming credit for work he has not done. Specifically, he states that he was “top editor” of the Geek Girl series of anthologies. I know this is not the case because I am co-editor of two of those books, and Lars was not involved as an editor. Publisher, yes! Absolutely! He was publisher of all of those books.

I expect this can be cleared up with a minor edit to his bio, perhaps changing “top editor,” a term which does not exist in publishing, to “publisher,” a term that does exist, and which Mr. Pearson has every right to claim.

I hope this can be corrected as soon as possible.

Thank you for your help with this matter.

All my best,

Sigrid Ellis

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I also tweeted at Mad Norwegian yesterday, asking them to please clear up these mistakes as soon as possible. But let me very clear, here:

Lars, your work as publisher has given many good works to SF/F. You took a chance on the Geek Girl books, and they are an act of concrete good in the world. You and Mad Norwegian have made a true difference. I appreciate that, and I thank you for it.

But please, stop allowing others to believe that you have accolades that belong to the many women, queers, and people of color whose efforts brought the books together. Do not erase the work of the editorial teams who brought nominations and awards to your company. Please, stop saying you are the “top editor” of award-winning works of which you are not the editor.

Doing so erases the work of others and it shames the work you have done.

I look forward to your public acknowledgment of this error, and its correction in future endeavors.

Sincerely,

Sigrid

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To my new Twitter followers!

Hello!

My name is Sigrid Ellis. I am a queer white liberal poly progressive feminist cis-woman. My feminism is intersectional and trans-affirming. My progressive politics are practical, long on nuance and complexity and short of divisiveness. We stand together or we fall apart.

I am an air traffic controller, and I rarely talk about my work for reasons of national security. I am a federal employee of the U.S. government, and only tweet about politics when I am not at work.

I am a freelance and part-time editor. I am an occasional writer and an erratic blogger.

I’m married. I have kids. We homeschool. My family has a lot of pets. I knit. I read a lot, fiction and non-fiction.

I am pro-science, pro-civil rights, I firmly believe that Black Lives Matter, I have doubts about late-stage capitalism but am not really informed on the topic, I love history with a vast passion, I live-tweet trips to museums, my Instagram is mostly pictures of our pets.

I likely won’t follow you back on any social media, because omg there are a lot of you. I am not on Facebook. I love Twitter and Tumblr. I won’t argue with you on social media, I’ll just mute and block you. When I live-tweet media, I gripe about side and meta issues, not the plot.

Welcome!

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