Where I’m Headed Next: The Green State

I will make some final observations based on reading McKenzie Wark’s Capital is Dead next weekend. The weekend after that I’ll put up a special topic lecture on Machiavelli. Starting on the third weekend of March I’ll start up on Robyn Eckersley’s The Green State: Rethinking Democracy and Sovereignty. If you’d like to follow along on that book you can get it for under $20 on Kindle or in paperback on Amazon and probably a lot of other sellers … More Where I’m Headed Next: The Green State

The Sins of the Scientists–Did They Fail Us? (Wark 6 Audio)

Thinking about Ch. 5 in McKenzie Wark’s Capital is Dead: Is This Something Worse?, I dwell on how the scientists and technologists might have been able to make the world truly better rather than more dangerous and polluted. We still look at them as our heroes and saviors. But they’ve done more harm than good, at least arguably. Who or what is responsible for their status as tools of corporate profit-seeking and national security? What light does this unorthodox view of scientists (not as our saviors but as a large part of the problem) have to say about if and how we can deal with our environmental problems. Is there any reason to think that the scientific and technical hacker class can rise to the occasion and use their latent imagination to create pathways to a better way of life? … More The Sins of the Scientists–Did They Fail Us? (Wark 6 Audio)

The Sins of the Scientists–Did They Fail Us? (Wark 6 Video)

Thinking about Ch. 5 in McKenzie Wark’s Capital is Dead: Is This Something Worse?, I dwell on how the scientists and technologists might have been able to make the world truly better rather than more dangerous and polluted. We still look at them as our heroes and saviors. But they’ve done more harm than good, at least arguably. Who or what is responsible for their status as tools of corporate profit-seeking and national security? What light does this unorthodox view of scientists (not as our saviors but as a large part of the problem) have to say about if and how we can deal with our environmental problems. Is there any reason to think that the scientific and technical hacker class can rise to the occasion and use their latent imagination to create pathways to a better way of life? … More The Sins of the Scientists–Did They Fail Us? (Wark 6 Video)

Vulgar vs. Genteel Marxists? (Wark 4 audio)

Ch. 3 of McKenzie Wark’s Capital is Dead: Is This Something Worse? explains why Wark advocates for “vulgar Marxism.” This chapter traces the historical emergence of the scientific class and how its potential via the development of thoroughly socialized labor of all kinds has gotten side-tracked by the vectoralists’ “enclosure” via intellectual property law.

More Vulgar vs. Genteel Marxists? (Wark 4 audio)

Vulgar vs. Genteel Marxists? (Wark 4)

Ch. 3 of McKenzie Wark’s Capital is Dead: Is This Something Worse? explains why Wark advocates for “vulgar Marxism.” This chapter traces the historical emergence of the scientific class and how its potential via the development of thoroughly socialized labor of all kinds has gotten side-tracked by the vectoralists’ “enclosure” via intellectual property law. … More Vulgar vs. Genteel Marxists? (Wark 4)

Dead and Living Labor: Introduction to Core Marxist Ideas

I pause to try to pick apart and better understand some key but often bedeviling Marxist terms that can get in the way of understanding McKenzie Wark and other authors who borrow from Marx’s toolkit. Dead labor, capital, surplus value, commodity fetishization, and the tendency of the rate of profit to fall (and what capitalists tend to do about that) are all touched on in this video. … More Dead and Living Labor: Introduction to Core Marxist Ideas

Dead and Living Labor: Introduction to Core Marxist Ideas (Audio)

I pause to try to pick apart and better understand some key but often bedeviling Marxist terms that can get in the way of understanding McKenzie Wark and other authors who borrow from Marx’s toolkit. Dead labor, capital, surplus value, commodity fetishization, and the tendency of the rate of profit to fall (and what capitalists tend to do about that) are all touched on in this program. … More Dead and Living Labor: Introduction to Core Marxist Ideas (Audio)

Hackers, Marx and the Tape Guy (Wark 2, Audio)

We move into Chapter 2 of McKenzie Wark’s Capital is Dead: Is This Something Worse. Wark thinks that people on the left as well as the right need to end their love affair with capitalism and summon their inner punk rock goddess and try something new. The something new entails detournement of old ideas–an irreverant use of parts and neglect of other parts in order to account for an economy that Marx would not recognize. There’s a hint that the hacker class should somehow organize by first seeing what they have in common–they do not control the information they manipulate in order to monetize it for the vectoralist class. Wark very clearly explains the connection between the current state of property law and the power of this new class of people, a class responsible for the “disintegrating spectacle” of our world, information, entertainment, commerce and therapy become so intertwined that we are constantly confused, suspicious and mentally exhausted. I comment on that phenomenon and the relative lack of reference to government institutions in this part of the book, but there is the political implication that the hacker class is potentially powerful. Should they take aim at property law? It’s too early to tell, but that’s one possibility. … More Hackers, Marx and the Tape Guy (Wark 2, Audio)