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  • eacaraxe 4:06 pm on September 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: elite theory, , , Marxism, politics   

    #Gamergate is a Marxist movement. 

    Hopefully this will be a short post, since the point is easily made, but who knows where this will lead. I’ve discussed left-right politics before here, but I think it’s time to make a more salient point about Gamergate’s politics and the implications it has on game journalism, social media, and the industry at large.

    A lot of ado about nothing has been made by anti-Gamergate individuals about how the movement is fundamentally right-wing. I’m going to set aside the blatant falsehood of these claims as already linked, and that words such as “conservative” and “reactionary” are as much dog whistles to the left as “states’ rights” and “welfare queen” are to the right (which is actually a key to anti-Gamergate’s rhetorical strategy against the movement, but I’ll leave that to you, the reader, to discover for yourself), to concentrate on why this myth perpetuates especially in a context this is a left-versus-left battle.

    I will not concentrate too much on Marxism itself, which is well-enough elucidated here, but rather a sociological evolution of Marxism, social conflict theory. In a nutshell, it’s Marxism applied not as economic theory but as social theory; social power rests in the hands of the bourgeois, who oppress the proletariat, and so forth. This is in contrast to elite theory which deserves special mention (see also, Robert Michels’ iron law of oligarchy).

    That Gamergate is a populist movement is obvious; even anti-Gamergate acknowledges this (as exemplified in this Tumblr post). But…who is affiliated, or at least sympathizes, with Gamergate? Well, gamers naturally, journalists “outside” the mainstream, popular YouTube critics, former triple-A devs, CEO’s of software companies that (in the big picture) dabble in game dev, and news outlets on “the fringe” of the mainstream.

    Who is opposed to Gamergate? Gawker Media (KotakuJezebel), Vox Media (PolygonThe Verge), UBM (Gamasutra), Conde Nast (Ars TechnicaThe New Yorker), affiliated writers and editors, (former) triple-A devs with heavy clout in the industry, and industry association executives. That’s not to mention affiliation via sympathetic works by traditional mass media.

    Who, in this particular case, is the bourgeois and who is the proletariat should be self-evident. This should be particularly evident in “mainstream” gaming journalism’s ongoing battle against YouTube critics and LP’ers, which really ought need no reference. I’ve said before and I’ll say again this is really about money, influence, and the power that stems from their acquisition, and social justice is a convenient excuse.

    [PS, I’m keeping a running tally on any game journalist or developer opposed to Gamergate who wants to seriously answer that question, even though such behavior persists. So far, that’s zero. And as always, if anyone wants to weigh in feel free.]

    This is why Gamergate is a fundamentally Marxist movement. On one hand there is an established bourgeois (game journalists) whose vested (financial) interest is in the maintenance of the status quo (oligopoly of gaming news), who uses their social power (the bully pulpit of industry access and media influence) to marginalize and silence an established proletariat (the consumer and new entries to games criticism via social media). And, in return, the proletariat seeks to overthrow the bourgeois and seize that social power for themselves (otherwise known as the democratization of information).

    And, if that isn’t persuasive enough, take a page from the anti-Gamergate playbook and consider for yourselves the predominant color (white), socioeconomic background (middle- to upper-class), and level of education (graduate or higher) of most anti-Gamergate individuals. They’re not merely bourgeois in the social microcosm of gaming and geekdom.

  • eacaraxe 3:31 pm on February 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , call of duty, , , politics   

    An open response to Bob “Moviebob” Chipman…again. 

    …and today we see another Moviebob rant, this time directed towards Call of Duty, conservatism in gaming, jingoism, and an apparent imminent death of artistry and political statements in gaming.

    Have you even played the latest Call of Duty games, or are you basing these statements exclusively upon something someone else said about Modern Warfare 3 in combination with having watched promo footage?

    Yes, Modern Warfare 3 and Ghosts are rightfully panned, having lost the message of the dangers of nuclear proliferation, nationalism, and how soldiers are regarded as disposable, but renewable, resources by governments that informed the Modern Warfare series, and its sequels and offshoots. Those happen to be not the only Call of Duty games released in the last decade.

    World at War directly and bluntly addressed the elephant in the room when it comes to any discussion of the Eastern and Pacific fronts: the utter inhumanity of them, and the atrocities committed by both sides in the course of the war. And, Treyarch did it right in the heyday of the jingoism and topical nature of “modern military” shooters. Granted, they toned it down and didn’t even touch the worst of it (mass rapes by Soviet soldiers, Japanese war crimes against the Chinese, the treatment of POW’s), and I would bet dollars-to-donuts a good chunk of that was to avoid an adults-only rating, but it remained an honest look into two fronts of World War II that are oft-forgotten and grossly misunderstood (even misrepresented) when remembered.

    Black Ops, however implausible its plot, dealt with the dark side of the VIetnam war, the emotional toll on veterans, and the horror and paranoia of the Cold War. You, quite contrary to your stated belief, are not the only gamer who remembers it. In fact, I would say Treyarch was quite clever and subversive in how they translated that atmosphere and revulsion to a younger audience who would not remember it, had they been born prior to the downfall of the Soviet Union at all.

    Advanced Warfare is about the danger posed by the confluence of globalization, corporate personhood, and the military-industrial complex, as reflected through military privatization. Full stop. It’s not as if this is some DaVinci Code-esque secret discernible with the decoder ring only found in the collector’s edition:

    By the way, the second logo there is a real PMC. You’d probably know them by their old logo and name:

    These are games that are far from the “post-9/11 revenge-sim” as you characterize them, and really only can be construed as such by the most topical and out-of-context interpretation thereof, and are vastly more nuanced than for which you give them credit. It strikes me someone of your political leanings should be singing Advanced Warfare’s praises, not condemning it.

  • eacaraxe 12:09 am on December 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: elections, , , media, politics   

    Why the organized left needs to put its foot down on anti-Gamergate, RFN 

    I’ll be brief, as my point is short and easy to make. Which American demographic plays video games the most? Youth. The same demographic which leans left, but suffers from serious turnout issues.

    The same demographic which Democrats are in danger of losing already.

    How influential is the youth vote, one might ask?

    Some guy who no one outside hardcore political circles knew about until January, 2008, who thought the youth vote was worth marshaling.

    Pretty damn influential, as it turns out.

    Enter Gamergate, on which I won’t directly elaborate here…but did I mention that demographic already has an axe to grind with the mass mediafor many of the same grievances raised by Gamergate, and it is not a new one, check that linked article’s date of publication. The Democratic party’s and the left’s anti-videogame pedigree is well-established by this point, might I add.

    Now, if I were a Democratic donor, candidate, or campaign strategist, I’d be looking at the ESA’s numbers and wondering to myself, “what happens if so much as 1% of people who play video games get pissed off at the left enough by this they start staying home if they already voted, or start protest voting Republican as my own side has deemed fit to frame this a left-right conflict?”. Given what’s at stake in the next few elections and down the road looking at 2020, I’d probably be pretty fuckin’ nervous.

    Of course, were I a Republican donor, candidate, or campaign strategist, I’d be looking at this and thinking to myself, “who can I label the 21st Century’s Joe McCarthy first?”. Which is ultimately what this is about, because the disorganized, fringe left who comprises anti-Gamergate (and who really are the 21st Century’s answer to Joseph McCarthy) is playing with fire, in a huge way, that can have pretty damn serious ramifications for the left and the Democratic party at large if this manifests in any way in voting behavior…and the way things are going, it probably will.

    After all, we Americans take our freedom of expression, particularly when it comes to art and entertainment, pretty goddamn seriously.

    • ZenJos 12:39 am on December 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply


      The most generous estimates have GamerGate at about 200,000 supporters worldwide. That’s barely a blip on the national demographic radar, no matter how your slice it. In 2008, voters between the ages of 18-29 made up of 18% of total voter turnout, which, while not insignificant, is not the election-decider you characterize it as here. And in 2012, that demographic did grow….by one whole percent. And in both elections, we won by a much larger margin than 200,000.

      And if any of this shit is still relevant by November 2016 then there truly is no hope left for humanity.


      • eacaraxe 11:07 am on December 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        That’s 200,000 estimated vocal supporters. Throw in factors not easily quantified such as free riders and non-vocal supporters and there’s a serious problem…especially considering that if this issue takes any sort of real root in the public, considering the left-right framing and the Democratic party’s extant anti-gaming positions, the right will be extraordinarily quick to jump it (as they already have, at least within the gaming community).

        You also discount the power of the youth vote. Further reading:



        You also seem to forget that in order to participate in the 2008 general election, Obama had to be nominated first…and to do that, he had to go from being nationally unknown to by the DNC overcoming a candidate who was easily the most-entrenched, well-funded, and well-known Democratic candidate in recent history, and who for ulterior motives had the support of conservative Republicans in open primary/caucus states (Clinton). That was on the back of the youth vote.

        Yes, the youth vote IS an election decider. Not just in Presidential elections, but in Congressional elections, state elections, and mid-term elections, which in the run-up to 2020 (Democrats’ next do-or-die year) are going to be MUCH more important than whomever occupies the oval office.


  • eacaraxe 5:59 pm on October 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , politics   

    On gamergate and politics 

    Originally published via Twitter rant directed to Erik Kain, 14 Oct. 2014. Edited for legibility, content, and context.

    As a far-left gamergate supporter, I’m rather distressed by journalists’ attempts to frame this as a left-right debate. Not only does that framing dismiss the reality many supporters ARE leftists, it ignores outright political nature that IS clear in gamergate — that of the authoritarian/libertarian spectrum, not left/right. Framing gamergate as left/right is not just a smear, it’s downright insulting as the preponderance of gaming hate is from the left.

    Joe Lieberman, Hilary Clinton, Evan Bayh, and Tim Johnson, who introduced and sponsored the (failed) Family Entertainment Protection Act of 2005? All Democrats. Leland Yee, who sponsored California Assembly Bill 1179 which was the law overturned in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association? Democrat. Joe Baca (whom you might otherwise know as a co-sponsor of SOPA), who along with one Republican co-sponsored the (ill-fated) Violence in Video Games Labeling Act? Democrat.

    Dianne Feinstein, who warrants her own special little category here as not only among the first to blame Columbine on video games, but despite all evidence to the contrary continues to blame school shootings on them (most recently and prominently, Sandy Hook)? Who takes every available opportunity to rail against video game violence and attempt the censorship of video games? Democrat. It also behooves me to mention her significant San Fran ties, being a former mayor of the city and Senator who headquarters there.

    Two other Republicans (Brownback and Upton) introduced bills as well, for the sake of disclosure. Of course, one didn’t make it out of committee and the other didn’t make it to committee in the first place. Of course, as a political science wonk I’m inclined to discard those as serious attempts but rather to shore up votes as both those bills were introduced during election years with lagging demographics.

    Nearly all serious, attempted game censorship via policy is from the left. If anything politically, gamergate is a showdown between authoritarian leftists and libertarian leftists.

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