HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » joshcryer » Journal
Page: 1

joshcryer

Profile Information

Name: Josh Cryer
Gender: Male
Hometown: Colorado
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 49,449

Journal Archives

I came to the conclusion that revolutionary class consciousness is near impossible.

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.
Go to Page: 1