A friend and I were playing Starcraft (o.g. Brood War) the other day. We were chatting with some strangers on multiplayer, and here’s what we found:
No more spamming of slurs. Seems like either Blizzard’s filters have finally caught up, or all the idiot teenagers are no longer playing a 20-year old game.
A lot of players (even in US leagues) are from south america, or Korea.
One comparatively longer conversation online was with a guy who said he couldn’t wait for the pandemic to be over. Cheekily, we said something like, “why? more time for starcraft”. He answered that he was a single dad working 60 hours a week. That dampened that conversation.
The people who play starcraft these days are really, really, good at it.
My first experience with antisemitism was through starcraft. In the cloud of slurs (anti-gay, anti-black, etc), was weirdly the word “jew”. It was clear from the context that it wasn’t meant as a compliment, or even anything specific. Just another way to insult someone you’ve never met before.
It’s kinda nice to finally be able to play this game without running into it any more.
Except, slowly, over my lifetime, that’s changed. The big “day without an immigrant” strike of 2006 kicked it off. The slow buildup of left organizations starting to march and celebrate it over the years. Occupy gave it a kick in the pants, too.
Happy International Worker’s Day. Happy labor day. Happy socialist day. Happy strike day. (Like all good holidays, it contains several different meanings).
There’s a lot to say. About the importance of labor unions. Of worker militancy. How “solidarity” is a term with a ton of meaning and power, too-often cheapened by easy use. About the situation of capitalism, of the bosses and 1%, and so on.
Too much, to say. So let’s talk about the celebration itself.
Every May Day, I take the day off work and go marching. And, in the last few years, it’s been fantastic. So much energy. All the signs! All the different groups, showing themselves off, meeting each other, building energy.
A good May 1st march can give you enthusiasm and energy to last for months.
Here’s a sense of what it could be like. May 1, 2014.
In my last year of college, our big musical extravaganza, Springfest, hit on May 1st. I spent the first half of the day stuck in my room, playing the Internationale at full blast, and doing my best to memorize the lyrics. Only after I could belt out La Marseillaise from memory (and the first few stanzas of the Internationale), did I go out into the sun and enjoy the beautiful day.
I think about it from time to time. I was a weird kid. But maybe, while we’re stuck here in our homes, memorizing a few classic labor songs doesn’t sound like a bad way to celebrate.
Here’s a new favorite:
This world looks like a chain of heavy broken hearts It chains my brothers and sisters all apart Link after link it clatters thru my land This long heavy chain of broken hearts
Selfish pride is one link in this chain And you better drive it out of your heart Brother and sister when you do it’s then that you’ll get loose From this long heavy chain of broken hearts
It’s this long heavy chain of broken hearts It’s this long heavy chain of broken hearts You gotta find your union before you can get free From this long heavy chain of broken hearts
Fear is a link in this chain Of sorrow and trouble and pain Drive out your fear and you will break apart This long heavy chain of broken hearts
Jealousy is a link of the worst A worry, a blister and a curse Join our union band and break with your hands This long heavy chain of broken hearts
This long heavy chain of broken hearts This long heavy chain of broken hearts You gotta find your union before you can get free From this long heavy chain of broken hearts
It’s when you are free from this chain Love will come and fill you up again Show your friends and neighbors how to break away From this long heavy chain of broken hearts
Yes this long heavy chain of broken hearts This long heavy chain of broken hearts You gotta find your union before you can get free From this long heavy chain of broken hearts