Name: Josh Cryer
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 43,042
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 43,042
This video, like all Chomsky videos, is taking him out of context. Chomsky takes the easy path when he acknowledges his unrelenting failure to understand popular culture.
Noam Chomsky: Never heard of it. I'm pretty much out of popular culture altogether.
Jeff Jetton: Is that everyday world that most people find so fascinating ... why is it so uninteresting to you?
Noam Chomsky: I don't know, I just don't care about it. It looks to me pointless and superficial. If I had free time I'd rather read a nineteenth century novel.
Jeff Jetton: In the post-Hustler interviews, you seem to have a rabid distaste for porn, calling it degrading to women. But surely there's a deeper conversation to be had about human sexuality and erotic material. Is it just that all pornography is --
Noam Chomsky: I'm no expert on pornography. The core element of it, I think, is degradation of women, whatever else goes on. I don't think it should be outlawed, but I'm not in favor of the degradation of anybody.
Jeff Jetton: Do you know who Lady Gaga is?
Noam Chomsky: I've seen ads and stuff, but no.
This is a cop out and sadly one of Chomsky's later life failings. This attitude that a nineteenth century novel is less superficial than modern popular culture is bourgeoisie-esque, and really a problem in modern socialist thinking as a whole.
I don't disagree with Chomsky's acknowledgement of the economic relationship toward pornography. But to suggest that he intends that all pornography is bad is a failure to understand that he doesn't get pornography produced by willing individuals in a current, popular culture mindset. Kink is not Vivid, to put it simply as possible.
In the end Chomsky does suggest an understanding in that vein, as he doesn't think porn should be outlawed. Yet I am sure he would believe that child abuse should be outlawed (thus his own analogy isn't a one to one relationship with child abuse and he contradicted himself; the results of age, no doubt).
Posted by joshcryer | Fri Nov 29, 2013, 08:30 PM (1 replies)
However, I also came to the conclusion that consumer consciousness is a proven, richly valuable tool, which corporations via copy testing and polling achieve on a daily basis. With very good results (oh, and the individuals resulting from this do not sense that their options are being manipulated).
In that vein I decided that class consciousness is most easily achieved through class consumer consciousness. That is, you have consumers who, via their consumption, are taught about class and how to emancipate themselves from the class structure.
This is where I would basically disagree (while agreeing, note) with Marx (among others, as well as Chomsky and Debord). Marx (as well as Debord and Chomsky) believe that consumer culture is "alienating." I believe the precise opposite though I agree with their arguments about why consumer culture is alienating in the current capitalist mode of production. Consumer culture with individuals who are involved in the totality of the process as workers within their consumption structure would be extremely emancipating, it would be extremely socializing. There would be no alienation in any arguable way.
You go down to a local "maker factory" and make yourself a new fangled oPhone made with Open Source hardware and software and given away freely to anyone. You have no idea how the oPhone works or the machines work that make the oPhone, all you know is that everyone has one and you want one too. The first thing you do when you enter the maker factory is get greeted by someone who asks you what your level of expertise is. You say you are a complete newbie and aren't sure of how anything at the factory works. They ask you how much time you're willing to devote, and you respond all day. "Perfect!" You then spend the day talking to technicians about how to build your oPhone, the procedures used in the factory process could be completely automated or could have some sense of factory line work, either way works. This horizontal mode of production is intrinsically anti-capitalist and socialist in nature. At the end of the day you leave the "maker factory" with an oPhone and have learned a lesson in socialism and class structure, all the while you are completely part of the process and there is zero alienation whatsoever.
Why would you then go to a store like Wal-Mart, ran very much like a hierarchical socialist functioning system (their margins are less than 10% and they're one of the largest employers in the world), when you could go to the "maker factory"? You have to pay Wal-Mart, the "maker factory" would be giving stuff away for "free" (your own labor would of course be valued at the "maker factory" so that's a bit overstated). As a consumer you are going to be compelled to go to the "maker factory." Therefore consumerism is a good tool to create class consciousness whether we like it or not.
This thing about consumerism for or against reminds me of old programming debates about GOTO and how it was "considered harmful." Except GOTO was predated by CONTINUATIONS (they're essentially the same except continuations pass a value) and in fact CONTINUATIONS are an extremely powerful tool when it comes to programming. Anyway, the point of this tangent is that we got GOTO wrong, and I think Marx (and a lot of those who followed him) got consumerism wrong. And I think it hurt socialism in the long run for it.
Posted by joshcryer | Sun Sep 15, 2013, 12:38 AM (1 replies)
I think it allowed the government to set the stage as to labor disputes. Yes, Yellow Dog contracts were shit, but it was one way labor was fighting back hard. If a union man saw a sign saying "Now hiring, no unions!" he'd go in there and freaking sign up and cause all sorts of headaches for the employer. With the government basically saying "we won't discuss it" (by refusing injunctions) it killed the philosophical discussions. It killed the court rulings. It made labor passive with respect to employers (indeed labor cheered it, naively, imo).
Basically the Republicans of that time saw the world through a lens of the almighty contract. And Yellow Dog contracts were a contract that capitalists used to their favor (like the vast majority of non-immediate-transaction-immediate-transfer-based contracts). The Republicans hated the headache it was causing though because it showed a kind of contract that on its face broke the non-aggression principle and it had to be neutered.
What did Norris-Laguardia it get us? Well, where's the Wal-Mart union? It didn't serve its purpose in the long run because Wal-Mart can and will fire anyone who wants to start a union, and it's not in the contract at all! And, because the government won't form injunctions (this is in the event of a mass firing and employees suing Wal-Mart to allow them to keep their jobs), it's not discussed! It's a double edged sword.
What FDR should've realized is that labor disputes should be covered by the government, and not in some sort of set way, but rather, the government should've said "We will look at every labor dispute in a case by case basis." So, when factory workers took over a large baron's shipping company, and they did so wholesale, the discussion about whose property the factory really is would take place.\
Note: Norris-Laguardia did, importantly, say that forming unions did not equate "conspiracy," but I think that part is just common sense really (since unions are merely ones expression of free speech and association). Still, that would've been part of it I think was good.
By NLRB I meant the Wagner Act, my apologies. FDR signed it into law. This created a hierarchy within unions, limiting the power of autonomous union actions. Anyone could form a union, but they needed to select a leader, which went against the original concept of free association and autonomy. This is the "set way" I was talking about. Because all labor disputes are the same, they never actually result in much direct action or strikes or appropriation of capitalist property. It's clean. Board room dealing. And the working class is ignorant of the whole thing because they don't generally experience what labor disputes were like back in the day. Taft-Hartley was an amendment to the Wagner Act and it and other legislation ultimately legitimized stealth yellow dog contracts.
Where something like this is perfectly legal:
Posted by joshcryer | Wed Apr 17, 2013, 03:46 PM (1 replies)
The people you list appear to me to have a more ideological influence than an intellectual influence (ie, they make him want to approach the problem a certain way, but he is not ignorant of other thinkers).
Ferhout incorporates primitivist thought in his critique of centralized capitalist industrialism as do I, and would I, if I felt like going into why human civilization is probably going to survive the coming onslaught and transcend to the point of being one with the galaxy and the eventual super galaxy that shall coalesce in 100 billion years. But I don't think that's part of the discussion for this forum as human action is causing an extremely dire situation for life on this planet and there's even a possibility that we extinguish it completely.
I'll live you with this (from his rebuttal to Kurzweil, relinking just in case):
As Marshall Sahlins shows, for most of history, humans lived in a gift economy based on abundance. And within that economy, for most food or goods people families or tribes were mainly self-reliant, drawing from an abundant nature they had mostly tamed. Naturally there were many tribes with different policies, so it is hard to completely generalize on this topic -- but certainly some did show these basic common traits of that lifestyle. Only in the last few thousand years did agriculture and bureaucracy (e.g. centered in Ancient Egypt, China, and Rome) come to dominate human affairs -- but even then it was a dominance from afar and a regulation of a small part of life and time. It is only in the last few hundred years that the paradigm has shifted to specialization and an economy based on scarcity. Even most farms 200 years ago (which was where 95% of the population lived then) were self-reliant for most of their items judged by mass or calories. But clearly humans have been adapted, for most of their recent evolution, to a life of abundance and gift giving.
In my arguments with primitivists in the past, I would use this exact same argument, and it left them baffled. Because I agree with them more than I disagree. It's really a frustrating thing to be sure!
Posted by joshcryer | Fri Feb 8, 2013, 03:41 PM (1 replies)
The commercial worker, in the strict sense of the term, belongs to the better-paid class of wage workers: to these whose labour is classed as skilled and stands above average labour. Yet the wage tends to fall, even in relation to average labour, with the advance of the capitalist mode of production. This is due partly to the division of labour in the office, implying a one-sided development of the labour capacity, the cost of which does not fall entirely on the capitalist, since the labourer's skill develops by itself through the exercise of his function, and all the more rapidly as division of labour makes it more one-sided. Secondly, because the necessary training, knowledge of commercial practices, languages, etc., is more and more rapidly, easily, universally and cheaply reproduced with the progress of science and public education the more the capitalist mode of productions directs teaching methods, etc., towards practical purposes. The universality of public education enables capitalists to recruit such labourers from classes that formerly had no access to such trades and were accustomed to a lower standard of living. Moreover, this increases supply, and hence competition. With few exceptions, the labour-power of these people is therefore devaluated with the progress of capitalist production.
This is of course totally correct, particularly with institutionalized capitalist education.
However, he scorns Proudhon (in his typically mocking way) in The Poverty of Philosophy:
The automatic workshop wipes out specialists and craft idiocy. Mr. Proudhon, not having understood even this one revolutionary side of the automatic workshop, takes a step backward and proposes to the worker that he make not only the twelfth part of a pin, but successively all twelve parts of it. The worker would thus arrive at the knowledge and the consciousness of the pin.
How else do you maintain a revolutionary workshop that is automated if you are not involved in the entire process? At this point you have a choice, you remove the hierarchical relationship created by the division of labor and educate all people on all forms of automation or you maintain the hierarchical relationship as created by institutionalized capitalist education and create a social class that only has access to automation technology while denying said technology to the rest.
Which way is it? I think that Marx lived in a time where he couldn't envision automation, the "Rise of the Robots" actually making the totality of a given thing, and that people would have to be involved in the process on some subdivided level. That is, you're not a "specialist" if you simply put one widget into a part and send the part down the line for someone else to put a part in.
Proudhon argued, even then, that one should be involved in the totality of the process, so that you put in a widget, you move down the line, put in another widget, and there you go, at the end of the line you have your product that you yourself have put together using schematics. Of course back then it was possible, though probably not as efficient as the industrial model (since all you're doing is following instructions, but you have to read each instruction as you go down the line and therefore are not doing the actions by rote).
As we move forward with automation I argue that Proudhon was correct, as technology is going to allow individuals to create the totality of an object with their own schematics, while they may not actually understand the underlying nature of said product, they will be able to specialize in the creation of products at a higher more transcendent level.
Posted by joshcryer | Tue Dec 11, 2012, 08:35 PM (1 replies)
Polls close in CA and boom, Obama is announced the next President of the United States.
Bank on it.
Posted by joshcryer | Wed Sep 5, 2012, 02:52 AM (1 replies)
For instance, Americans love the drone wars and even don't mind domestic drones, as long as they don't go after speeders. All the way up until the elections American's supported the Afghanistan war, and after electing a President who was going to finish it responsibly, we're going to naively think he's just going to leave immediately? Yeah, good luck with that. No politician in their right mind would do that. We're the ones who are a blood thirty nation, we're the ones who get the government we deserve.
Posted by joshcryer | Thu Jun 14, 2012, 08:43 PM (0 replies)
They're all either already dominate (in the case of iTunes at least) or getting there. Netflix as it stands now does not have a distribution mechanism for self-made videos, so YouTube may be a better metric to use there. YouTube "personalities" tend to be the largest content creators there, though, commentators, reality show types or people who make comedy. They all get paid relatively well in all spheres. They all have a 70/30 royalty breakdown (it appears to be the norm though I think 99/1 would be more fair or 100:0 if we're in a rational world where the net is free). Actually that's not necessarily true in the case of YouTube because they don't have a per-view payment type thing. For video let's just skip that for now, because it's going to come eventually.
I mean you look at Blender open projects and can see a lot of people working together for something to create for society as a whole. I think that video is lagging behind music and authorship and probably even games because it's just so daunting to get into that sphere of artistry. You need expensive digital cameras, you need a crew (and have to pay that crew, too, even on a hobby level if people aren't all getting paid it can go sour for a group of friends). Once we have the toolsets to actually provide good realistic video (and if you look at the progress Blender is making with their Cycles engine I don't think it's too far off), we'll have people creating toolsets that allow them to make arbitrary films with ease. At that point the whole sphere of influence will change. We can already make highly complex musical pieces without much human interaction (I'm writing a proper front end, so watch that space, you'll be able to make any musical piece that you can conceive and it will be as easy as moving some sliders around, right now it's in a developmental state but still quite usable). Once that happens with video, that is, you sit down, imagine an environment, put in some variables, and pow the toolsets create the environment you thought of, it's all over but the crying for the hollywood movie industry.
Yes, in the end it does suck, and maybe the end of paper will suck for you, I don't know for sure, because you do say you want to offer print, but I think it's the way everything is heading, and this hegemony on media will be over for it.
I can imagine in the end that we'll have an open, free, distribution network where you can subscribe to media that people make, the makers will get paid 99% of what is paid, and everyone will benefit. And that means that in the end a show with 100k viewers or a musical piece with 100k listeners, each person pays a buck and pow, those involved get $100k per unique deliverable (TV show, musical piece, etc). It's grand, I think. Truly grand where things are heading.
Of course, I am going on a really crazy tangent here so I'll shut up now.
Posted by joshcryer | Thu Apr 12, 2012, 04:08 PM (1 replies)
The key is that he used those subgroups to explicitly pit them against one another, whereas practical progressivism tries to solve issues within subgroups because society as a whole is not going to magically change. White people aren't suddenly going to refuse the privileges that they have based upon their cultural place in society. I'm not going to, for example, tell the cashier to check my $20 bill after having just checked the $20 bill of the colored person in front of me. I'm going to sigh as they put the $20 bill in the register without even giving it a second thought and maybe hate myself a little for noticing that and not using it as an opportunity to teach a lesson, because the cashier probably wouldn't even know what they did, and I'm timid in real life.
Posted by joshcryer | Thu Apr 5, 2012, 11:30 PM (0 replies)
Residents of Colorado will have the opportunity to vote in favor of ending marijuana prohibition this November. Today, the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act” was approved for the ballot by Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler. With this confirmation, Colorado now joins Washington as one of two states where measures specific to legalizing cannabis will appear on the electoral ballot.
Backers of the initiative had previously turned in over 160,000 signatures. However, the Secretary of State’s office on February 3 responded that petitioners still needed an additional 2,500 valid signatures from registered voters to place the initiative on the ballot. On February 17th, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted an additional 14,000 signatures, well in excess of what was required to meet that threshold. Today’s approval from the state cements their placement on this fall’s ballot.
The Colorado initiative seeks to allow for the limited possession and cultivation of cannabis by adults age 21 and over. The measure would further amend state law to establish regulations governing the commercial production and distribution of marijuana by licensed retailers.
The measure is supported by a broad coalition of reform organizations, including NORML, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, SAFER, Sensible Colorado, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), the Drug Policy Alliance, and the Marijuana Policy Project.
All he has to do is make meager overtures and it will be pretty epic.
Posted by joshcryer | Mon Feb 27, 2012, 10:15 PM (29 replies)