Aufsätze sum Faschismus (Gossweiler, 1988)
Fascism and Social Revolution (Palme Dutt, 1934)
Ni droite, ni gauche (Sternhell, 2000)
The pre-prison writings of Gramsci, but most interesting: 'Integral Syndicalism', 'What we must understand as reaction' and 'Italy & Spain'
My other 'specialist subject' is the roots and idealist concepts of conspiracy theories but there's no real marxist counter-literature that I know of apart from 'Il Gruppo Bilderberg' by Domenico Moro
i don't think his conclusions are totally accurate but the value of the book for me personally was to illustrate the differences in approach taken by marxists as opposed to just super advanced liberals. parenti doesnt treat the prison-industrial-complex is a closed set of rational interests that has various players colluding with eachother to "unfortunate" consequences, but rather describes the development of police and prisons over the past 40-50 years as been rooted in old fashioned capitalist crisis. he connects the militarization of police logically to class conflict and specifically the state of liberal capitalism in the late 60s
i wouldnt ordinarily describe it as explicitly lenninist reading except for the fact that all other remaining forms of leftism remain firmly committed to the evil bad men theory of politics and their critiques of police and prisons tend to stay within that framework
typical of all us labor histories, it also completely disregards afrikan slave labor as labor and the destruction/assimilation of indigenous social production.
no, the actual goddamn history of the labor movement in the united states vol. 1. that book sounds good though
its yours if you want it, pm me
mostly it has a tendency to produce internet trotskyites, which is a crime that can never be forgiven
im trying to read The Rings of Saturn by W. G. Sebald in german but i have an english translation to help. i'm also going to start reading This Bridge Called My Back which should be pretty sweet
i have the same problem with sebald that i do with borges and calvino where they're really easy to get into and just the same to get out of. like i enjoy reading them but when i've put them down i never think of them again.
i have a german copy of the magic mountain that i bought several years ago as an impetus to learn to read it, but i havent..
also there was a thread about a guy who vigilante killed someone he thought molested his daughter and he was defended also, less so after it was revealed that he had the wrong guy lmao
sorry to bring you down, kiv
Myself, I am not humble enough to avoid shitposting
Edited by toyotathon ()
i tend to read every comment online as hostile. see: my last year and half of reading interests
e: the Internet is antisocial, in that we cant understand ourselves or each other here
Edited by animedad ()
"McJihad" is a term that describes this deficiency of capitalism. The word refers not to a contradiction between the logic of capitalism and the other forces and ideas it encounters, but rather to the absence of such a logic. The political violence that the United States, not alone but more than any other actor, has promoted, funded and prolonged across so many parts of the Middle East over recent decades is the persistent symptom of this absence.
the latest lrb cover story is 9000 words by John Lanchester on facebook,
... even more than it is in the advertising business, Facebook is in the surveillance business. Facebook, in fact, is the biggest surveillance-based enterprise in the history of mankind. It knows far, far more about you than the most intrusive government has ever known about its citizens. It’s amazing that (2 billion) people haven’t really understood this about the company. I’m not sure there has ever been a more complete disconnect between what a company says it does – ‘connect’, ‘build communities’ – and the commercial reality... All this information is used for a purpose which is, in the final analysis, profoundly bathetic. It is to sell you things via online ads.
Astra Taylor’s book The People’s Platform is the most popular work about this. She directed the documentaries Zizek! and Examined Life. She makes some good points about the continuity between old and new media (as part of neoliberal economic restructuring) and what new media means for culture. From the nyt review of her book,
the web never really threatened to overthrow the old media... Instead, it was the cultural industry’s middle classes that have been wiped out and replaced by new cultural plantations ruled over by the West Coast aggregators.
from her preface,
Many of the problems that plagued our media system before the Internet was widely adopted have carried over into the digital domain—consolidation, centralization, and commercialism—and will continue to shape it. Networked technologies do not resolve the contradictions between art and commerce, but rather make commercialism less visible and more pervasive.
Nick Srnicek, who you might know as an accelerationist, has also written a book on Platform Capitalism. Its dry, economic and not very in-depth; still, it's valuable and much better than his accelerationist stuff. Srnicek builds on platform theory from Benjamin Bratton’s book The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty. The wiki summary of Bratton’s argument,
The book challenges traditional ideas of sovereignty centered around the nation-state, and develops a theory of geopolitics that accounts for sovereignty in terms of planetary-scale computation at various scales. Its two core arguments are (1) that planetary-scale computation “distorts and deforms traditional Westphalian logics of political geography” and creates new territories in its own image, and (2) that different scales of computing technology can understood as forming an “accidental megastructure” that resembles a multi-layer network architecture stack, what Bratton calls “The Stack.” The Stack is described as a platform. Bratton argues that platforms represent a technical and institutional model equivalent to states or markets but reducible to neither.
Bratton’s theory is a bit ‘arty-farty’. It’s political implications haven’t been teased out but Srnicek works out the economic angle. He defines platforms as
“characterized by providing the infrastructure to intermediate between different user groups, by displaying monopoly tendencies driven by network effects, by employing cross-subsidization to draw in different user groups, and by having a designed core architecture that governs the interaction possibilities.”
Srnicek also ties in the platform economy to economic exigencies in post-2007 capitalism.
“This low interest rate environment within the global economy has, argues Srnicek, provided “a key enabling condition for parts of today’s digital economy to arise” by reducing returns on a range of assets and encouraging investors to seek higher yields elsewhere. This is the context within which platforms emerged and were readily able to find vast investment, even in the absence of profitability.”
Moving on from books to posts, John Herrman has been writing about the platform economy in NYT. He lays out his idea of platform economy here.
Uber, like so many other successful tech companies in 2017, is a “platform business,” one built around matchmaking between vendors and customers. If successful, a platform creates its own marketplace; if extremely successful, it ends up controlling something closer to an entire economy. This is intuitive in a case like eBay, which connects buyers and sellers. Airbnb, too, resembles an age-old form of commerce, connecting property owners with short-term lodgers. TaskRabbit and Fiverr connect contractors with people looking to hire them. Some of the largest platforms are less obviously transactional: Facebook and Google connect advertisers with users, users with one another, software developers with users. But while the transactions that happen on their platforms largely take a different form — taps, shares, ads served and scrolled past — the principles are essentially the same, as are the benefits. These businesses are asset- and employee-light, low on liability and high on upside. They aspire to monopoly, often unapologetically, and have been instrumental in rehabilitating the concept. (The logic is seductive and often self-evident: Facebook is more useful if everyone is on it, therefore everyone should be on Facebook.)
Comparing platforms to state capitalism,
Within a rigidly structured platform like Uber, for which the company sets prices, the economic problems are somewhat akin to those of a command economy: How low can we push the cost of a ride before drivers stop participating? (Quite low, for now.) How do we deal with sudden increases in demand? (Surge pricing, controversially.) How might new drivers be both induced to join the platform and more deeply compelled to stay? (Through the introduction of vehicle-financing programs and short-term loan services.)
Platforms are, in a sense, capitalism distilled to its essence. They are proudly experimental and maximally consequential, prone to creating externalities and especially disinclined to address or even acknowledge what happens beyond their rising walls.
a pithy summary of Kalanick’s incident with a driver in his company,
Nowhere is that ideological dimension more clear than in the Kalanick video from February. Driver and founder sat inches apart, alienated from each other by the system over which one presides and within which the other toils: the founder explaining to the driver how the platform works and must work; the driver appealing to this person for better pay. It resembles nothing more than one man remarking on the rain while the other thinks, “Don’t you control the weather?” Platforms seek total control even as they abdicate responsibility.
In an article on service economy and labour under Amazon, he says
Amazon’s grand proclamations, on the other hand, tend to focus on domination, not on providing any sort of abstract benefit to society outside the lowering of prices and the delivery of goods. The company has never put forth a rosy vision of the future of service labor. Amazon warehouse work is hard, often subcontracted and kept out of sight of consumers. According to a 2015 investigation by The Times, even at the corporate office, the work culture is unapologetically ruthless.
Amazon’s attitude toward labor is emblematic of the culture it grew out of — and an augur of the service economy that’s on the rise today. Other tech companies, in particular platforms like Uber and TaskRabbit, have helped regular consumers grow comfortable with a software-mediated system wherein jobs are sliced into an endless series of assignments, with compensation negotiated wordlessly, instantly and without room for a second thought. Even Starbucks — once a champion of compassionate capitalism — recently began experimenting with pitiless automated scheduling software to assign shifts, before backing off after public outcry.
Amazon need not bother to tell a story; in fact, its goal is to reduce the retail story to a single button, an instant, an unprecedentedly complex process taken for granted.
Mackey (of Whole Foods) sought to build a more ethical company, and to herald a more ethical mode of consumption. He sought to take the politics out of labor and the labor out of politics. Amazon, by contrast, doesn’t try to tell you yet another story about what it does and who it pays to do it. It bets — rightly, ruthlessly — that you’d be more comfortable with no story at all.
Herrman’s best work was done along with matt buchanan when ‘the gingers’, as they were collectively known, took over the awl’s editorship for a year. This first attempt at theorizing the platform economy appeared as a series of blog posts under the tag ‘The Content Wars’. it's unedited and repetitive but you can follow the chain of reasoning better. I would suggest going through these posts chronologically but some highlights are ‘platform creep’, ‘john oliver video sweepstakes’, ‘extremely public relations’ and ‘Cash and Anxiety on the Weird New Internet’.
John Lanchester has been on the tech beat for lrb for almost two decades starting with the microsoft trials. The articles are thankfully not paywalled. Apart from the new comprehensive one on Facebook, the other long and rewarding one is on bitcoins. Bitcoin itself might have failed but it demonstrated the idea of a decentralized, peer to peer cryptocurrency works in practice (look ma, no banks!). Secondarily, there are his articles on Elon Musk (in comparison with the Wright brothers) and the one on automation.
p.s - there are some more notes i could post. i fear i didn't answer your question exactly and the rest of the stuff might be even more off base.