I really enjoyed this interview from Rev Left with Julia Salazar. Discusses some of the questions around the utility of engaging in electoral politics vs grassroots organising outside of the system. Reminds me a bit of some of the discussion in Jackson Rising.
The discussion touches on the “two guys in a garage” origin myth of lots of big tech, and the narrative that these new corporations are somehow better than the oil and steel monopolies of old, that they’re ‘good capitalism‘ with no violence. But there’s plenty of violence and exploitation – just hidden away somewhere in the supply chain.
They also talk about how they got where they were mainly from network effects built off of the back of research from the public sector.
The proposed solution of “online socialism” seemed a bit barebones – just focusing on organising and unionising of tech workers. Probably expanded upon more in the book, but here at least there wasn’t any mention of building or using alternatives.
Also its apparently one chapter at the end of the book. Fair enough, it’s good to have scene-setting and an evidence-base of what the problem is, but I’m more interested these days in ideas for the solution.
In the Novara interview, Seymour talks about how when using social media (controlled by social industry) you are in some ways interacting more with a machine than with other people. Likes, retweets, etc, are part of this machinery. These have become industrial abstractions of actual social relations.
Analagous in some ways I feel to how Taylorism abstracted the movements of skilled labourers into smaller and smaller discrete motions, which could then be mechanised and repeated monotonously without skill or craft.
Digital time-and-motion men have abstracted social interactions into meaningless facsimiles of real interaction, real desire or affection.
Better a social craft than a social industry I think. Small tech and social software can be part of a that I think, but re-repurposing or even breaking some of the frames that industry co-opted and mechanised.
Writing a blog post, or a considered reply to someone else’s, takes more time and emotional craft than a like. But it’s more rewarding overall. It’s hopefully less alienating.
This is a good podcast talking about views from the North-West, anywhere but Westminster really.
Summed up in the podcast as being down to a lethal mix of indifference, incompetence, and dicking about with Brexit.
Came for the IndieWeb. Stayed for the poetry.
(Learned about some nice new features in IndieWeb WordPress too – including On This Day posts, and being able to have a feed where you exclude certain post types.)