Month: July 2016

From Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, by Douglas Rushkoff, loc 3167: So they accept the hypergrowth logic of the startup economy as if it really were the religion of technology development. They listen to their new mentors and accept their teachings as gifts of wisdom. These folks already gave me millions of dollars; of […]

From Douglas Rushkoff’s Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, loc 2256: Besides, consumer research is all about winning some portion of a fixed number of purchases. It doesn’t create more consumption. If anything, technological solutions tend to make markets smaller and less likely to spawn associated industries in shipping, resource management, and labor services. Digital […]

From pg 31 of Joshua Clover’s Riot. Strike. Riot. Something has ended, or should have ended; everyone can feel it. It is a sort of interregnum. A miserable lull, backlit everywhere by the sense of declension and fires flaring across the planetary terrain of struggle. The songs on the radio are the same—awful, astonishing. They […]

From Joshua Clover’s Riot. Strike. Riot. pg 15: The strike is the form of collective action that  1) struggles to set the price of labor power (or the conditions of labor, which is much the same thing: the amount of misery that can be purchased by the pound);  2) features workers appearing in their role […]

Friday September 23rd at the University of Warwick, 9:30am to 6:00pm The culture and organisation of knowledge production are undergoing dramatic transformations. Neo-managerialist models for the management of research and teaching, the expansion of audit and academic rankings, and the recasting of universities as service providers and students as consumers are just several of the […]

From Joshua Clover’s Riot. Strike. Riot pg 2. He argues that the return of the riot reverses a long term trend observed by Charles Tilley, in which the riot had given way to the strike as the foremost tactic in socially available repertoires of contention: As the overdeveloped nations have entered into sustained, if uneven, […]

I’m broke and I’m hungry, I’m hard up and I’m lonely I’ve been dancing on this killing floor for years And of the few things I am certain, I’m the captain of my burden I’m sorry doll, I could never stop the rain Once you said I was your hero You would dance with me […]

This is the second time I’ve encountered this idea recently. How plausible is it? From Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, by Douglas Rushkoff, loc 1384: Digital technology, though, might finally give corporations the autonomy they need to make decisions without us, and even the bodies they need to execute their choices in the real […]

From Corbyn: Against All Odds, by Richard Seymour, pg 22. There’s a huge opportunity for the Labour left but also a huge risk, as momentum has built for an anti-austerity platform that might no longer be relevant: “It is not clear what will happen to the debt/speculation economy, or the ‘property-owning democracy’ where large numbers […]

In the last few months I’ve become very interested in the status accorded to coding as a labour market strategy. It’s held up as both individually rational and a viable strategy for governments seeking to grow the human capital of their citizens. However, as Douglas Rushkoff observes in his Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, […]

So Sad Today by Melissa Broder Palo Alto by James Franco Alibaba’s World: How One Remarkable Chinese Company is Revolutionising Global Business by Porter Erisman Digital Gold: The Untold Story of Bitcoin by Nathaniel Popper The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power) by Harry Browne Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics by Richard Seymour Pity the Billionaire: The Unlikely […]

I spent yesterday in London helping out with an event by the Survivor Research Network which was being supported by The Sociological Review. We were keen to profile participants at the event in a way that gave a sense of the range of people involved, as well as how this shaped what people brought to the […]

From Pity the Billionaire, by Thomas Frank, loc 2881-2896: As the nation clambers down through the sulfurous fumes into the pit called utopia, the thinking of the market-minded will continue to evolve. Before long they will have discovered that certain once-uncontroversial arms of the state must be amputated immediately. One fine day in the near […]

From Corbyn: Against All Odds, by Richard Seymour, pg 15: Adam Phillips suggests that our rages disclose what it is we think we are entitled to. We become infuriated when the world doesn’t live up to our largely unconscious assumptions about how it should be for us. What might the fury of Labour’s right-wingers, as […]

This critique by Thomas Frank, on loc 2729 of his Pity the Billionaire, applies as well to proponents of the ‘third way’ within the Labour Party as it does to the leaders of the Democratic Party in relation to whom they originally articulated the notion: Sometimes when I watch the Washington Democrats in action, my […]

An interesting analysis from Pity the Billionaire, by Thomas Frank, loc 1746-1759: And so, over the years, the movement came to affect a revolutionary posture toward the state that it might have borrowed from Karl Marx or Jean-Paul Sartre. It imitated the protest culture of the sixties, right down to a feigned reverence for anticommunist […]

From Pity the Billionaire, by Thomas Frank, loc 1380. This is a summary of the populist right’s understanding of the structure of society: America is made up of two classes, roughly speaking, “ordinary people” and “intellectuals.” According to this way of thinking, as we see again and again, either you’re a productive citizen, or you’re […]

A rapidly developing discourse which contrasts elite cosmopolitanism with insular populism should be treated more critically than is being done so at present. This interesting article by Ross Douthat takes issue with this supposed cosmpolitanism: Genuine cosmopolitanism is a rare thing. It requires comfort with real difference, with forms of life that are truly exotic relative to one’s […]

I love the phrase ‘rhetorical rapture-race’ used by Thomas Frank to describe the mobilising dynamics of the far-right resurgence in the U.S. From his Pity the Billionaire loc 960: Conspiracy theorists have always been with us. But Glenn Beck brought them into the mainstream. And so began one of the most distinctive features of the […]