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  • Doug Belshaw 6:33 pm on September 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: anarchism, capitalism, Strike   

    Anarchism vs Capitalism 

    I spent yesterday evening reading back issues of STRIKE! magazine, which focuses on “grassroots resistance, anti-oppression politics, and the philosophies and creative expressions surrounding these movements”. Being exposed to this kind of stuff is never an easy read or a comfortable experience, but I do enjoy having my eyes opened to new perspectives.

    Today, after cheering on my wife during her first Great North Run, I wandered around the shops in Newcastle-upon-Tyne with my kids. They pretty much set the agenda, so we spent most of our time looking at toys, games, comics, and technology.

    The two experiences, separated only by sleep, were quite jarring. Here, on the one hand, was a radical collective advocating for a “total reconstitution of what’s possible” while, on the other, the stores tempted us with products that do nothing but cement the existing status quo using the chains of debt. Anarchism vs Capitalism. Fight!

    One of the places we wandered into was the Apple store, that temple to consumerism. My kids love it. Of course they do. To me, however, it’s a stark reminder of the kind of approach to life I feel that I’ve left behind. I’m not in competition with anyone else for scarce resources, and I don’t feel like I’ve got anything left to prove in life, so the body language of both the staff and customers in the Apple store almost makes me laugh out loud these days.

    I mean, of course I’m tempted by the shiny, shiny technology that ‘just works’, but when I think about it, the trade-off is too high for me. Once you’ve poked a hole in ersatz capitalist reality and seen things for what they really are, I don’t think you can’t go back. A trillion dollar company who have infantilised world through easy-to-use technology. (And, yes, I have a permanent sense of guilt about using Google’s services on a day-to-day basis.)

    Every day we’re bombarded with information and opinions. As someone who works from home in a small market town, one of the things that really hits me when I go to the city is the amount of things vying for my attention. This includes traffic, billboards, people handing out leaflets, shop windows… an endless list. The propaganda works, of course, otherwise no-one would bother with advertising. I almost bought a new television today, for goodness’ sake.

    I’ll admit that choosing something other than the path of least resistance doesn’t always make for a easy, happy life. Some may see me as being on a farcical quest for ‘authenticity’. I’d reject that, just as I reject being put into any kind of box which is created by capitalism as a segment to sell into. I’m not defined by what I consume.

    • Toby Adams 11:45 am on September 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Doug…YUP! All that loose change flinging about our high streets and on the Web….and yet…8,000 people sleep rough on our streets every single night! With such surplus resources, we have at our means more than sufficient to see everyone’s basic needs are properly catered for; but in this modern zeitgeist where ego and greed rule, these finer sensibilities get swept (like the dispossessed of our ‘selfie’ society!) under the proverbial carpet. Couldn’t agree with you more! Have you read ‘The Leaderless Revolution’ by Carne Ross? Changed my outlook completely! Regards, TyGGa

  • Doug Belshaw 1:56 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: capitalism, decentralisation, , neoliberalism,   

    The bossless, decentralized Zappos model has been proffered as a liberatory answer to the soul-crushing environments of places like Amazon. However, while Amazon’s punitive, highly-surveilled workplace indeed sounds nightmarish, it’s perhaps the new breed of bossless office that illuminates the dystopian endgame of work under neoliberalism. Imagine, in other words, a labor-extraction apparatus so well-oiled that bosses are obsolete because every worker is one; that is, willing to oversee and discipline both their own production and that of their peers in service of capital. If managers are, as economist Frédéric Lordon has described them, “strange employees, materially on the side of labor but symbolically on the side of capital,” we might also call them neoliberalism’s model worker.

    J.C. Pan
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