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Name: Josh Cryer
Gender: Male
Hometown: Colorado
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 61,774

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Marx predicted it, but his position on automation is iffy at best.


The commercial worker, in the strict sense of the term, belongs to the better-paid class of wage workers: to these whose labour is classed as skilled and stands above average labour. Yet the wage tends to fall, even in relation to average labour, with the advance of the capitalist mode of production. This is due partly to the division of labour in the office, implying a one-sided development of the labour capacity, the cost of which does not fall entirely on the capitalist, since the labourer's skill develops by itself through the exercise of his function, and all the more rapidly as division of labour makes it more one-sided. Secondly, because the necessary training, knowledge of commercial practices, languages, etc., is more and more rapidly, easily, universally and cheaply reproduced with the progress of science and public education the more the capitalist mode of productions directs teaching methods, etc., towards practical purposes. The universality of public education enables capitalists to recruit such labourers from classes that formerly had no access to such trades and were accustomed to a lower standard of living. Moreover, this increases supply, and hence competition. With few exceptions, the labour-power of these people is therefore devaluated with the progress of capitalist production.

This is of course totally correct, particularly with institutionalized capitalist education.

However, he scorns Proudhon (in his typically mocking way) in The Poverty of Philosophy:

The automatic workshop wipes out specialists and craft idiocy. Mr. Proudhon, not having understood even this one revolutionary side of the automatic workshop, takes a step backward and proposes to the worker that he make not only the twelfth part of a pin, but successively all twelve parts of it. The worker would thus arrive at the knowledge and the consciousness of the pin.

How else do you maintain a revolutionary workshop that is automated if you are not involved in the entire process? At this point you have a choice, you remove the hierarchical relationship created by the division of labor and educate all people on all forms of automation or you maintain the hierarchical relationship as created by institutionalized capitalist education and create a social class that only has access to automation technology while denying said technology to the rest.

Which way is it? I think that Marx lived in a time where he couldn't envision automation, the "Rise of the Robots" actually making the totality of a given thing, and that people would have to be involved in the process on some subdivided level. That is, you're not a "specialist" if you simply put one widget into a part and send the part down the line for someone else to put a part in.

Proudhon argued, even then, that one should be involved in the totality of the process, so that you put in a widget, you move down the line, put in another widget, and there you go, at the end of the line you have your product that you yourself have put together using schematics. Of course back then it was possible, though probably not as efficient as the industrial model (since all you're doing is following instructions, but you have to read each instruction as you go down the line and therefore are not doing the actions by rote).

As we move forward with automation I argue that Proudhon was correct, as technology is going to allow individuals to create the totality of an object with their own schematics, while they may not actually understand the underlying nature of said product, they will be able to specialize in the creation of products at a higher more transcendent level.

FL goes to Obama. Predicting it now.

Polls close in CA and boom, Obama is announced the next President of the United States.

Bank on it.

I'm talking about issues here.

For instance, Americans love the drone wars and even don't mind domestic drones, as long as they don't go after speeders. All the way up until the elections American's supported the Afghanistan war, and after electing a President who was going to finish it responsibly, we're going to naively think he's just going to leave immediately? Yeah, good luck with that. No politician in their right mind would do that. We're the ones who are a blood thirty nation, we're the ones who get the government we deserve.

If you look at media we have iTunes (music), Netflix (video), Amazon (ebooks), Steam (videogames).

They're all either already dominate (in the case of iTunes at least) or getting there. Netflix as it stands now does not have a distribution mechanism for self-made videos, so YouTube may be a better metric to use there. YouTube "personalities" tend to be the largest content creators there, though, commentators, reality show types or people who make comedy. They all get paid relatively well in all spheres. They all have a 70/30 royalty breakdown (it appears to be the norm though I think 99/1 would be more fair or 100:0 if we're in a rational world where the net is free). Actually that's not necessarily true in the case of YouTube because they don't have a per-view payment type thing. For video let's just skip that for now, because it's going to come eventually.

I mean you look at Blender open projects and can see a lot of people working together for something to create for society as a whole. I think that video is lagging behind music and authorship and probably even games because it's just so daunting to get into that sphere of artistry. You need expensive digital cameras, you need a crew (and have to pay that crew, too, even on a hobby level if people aren't all getting paid it can go sour for a group of friends). Once we have the toolsets to actually provide good realistic video (and if you look at the progress Blender is making with their Cycles engine I don't think it's too far off), we'll have people creating toolsets that allow them to make arbitrary films with ease. At that point the whole sphere of influence will change. We can already make highly complex musical pieces without much human interaction (I'm writing a proper front end, so watch that space, you'll be able to make any musical piece that you can conceive and it will be as easy as moving some sliders around, right now it's in a developmental state but still quite usable). Once that happens with video, that is, you sit down, imagine an environment, put in some variables, and pow the toolsets create the environment you thought of, it's all over but the crying for the hollywood movie industry.

Yes, in the end it does suck, and maybe the end of paper will suck for you, I don't know for sure, because you do say you want to offer print, but I think it's the way everything is heading, and this hegemony on media will be over for it.

I can imagine in the end that we'll have an open, free, distribution network where you can subscribe to media that people make, the makers will get paid 99% of what is paid, and everyone will benefit. And that means that in the end a show with 100k viewers or a musical piece with 100k listeners, each person pays a buck and pow, those involved get $100k per unique deliverable (TV show, musical piece, etc). It's grand, I think. Truly grand where things are heading.

Of course, I am going on a really crazy tangent here so I'll shut up now.

Yeah, except Marx invented the proletariat, lumpenproletariat and petit bourgeoisie.

The key is that he used those subgroups to explicitly pit them against one another, whereas practical progressivism tries to solve issues within subgroups because society as a whole is not going to magically change. White people aren't suddenly going to refuse the privileges that they have based upon their cultural place in society. I'm not going to, for example, tell the cashier to check my $20 bill after having just checked the $20 bill of the colored person in front of me. I'm going to sigh as they put the $20 bill in the register without even giving it a second thought and maybe hate myself a little for noticing that and not using it as an opportunity to teach a lesson, because the cashier probably wouldn't even know what they did, and I'm timid in real life.

Obama just won Colorado again. Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act Qualifies for 2012 Ballot:

Residents of Colorado will have the opportunity to vote in favor of ending marijuana prohibition this November. Today, the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act” was approved for the ballot by Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler. With this confirmation, Colorado now joins Washington as one of two states where measures specific to legalizing cannabis will appear on the electoral ballot.

Backers of the initiative had previously turned in over 160,000 signatures. However, the Secretary of State’s office on February 3 responded that petitioners still needed an additional 2,500 valid signatures from registered voters to place the initiative on the ballot. On February 17th, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted an additional 14,000 signatures, well in excess of what was required to meet that threshold. Today’s approval from the state cements their placement on this fall’s ballot.

The Colorado initiative seeks to allow for the limited possession and cultivation of cannabis by adults age 21 and over. The measure would further amend state law to establish regulations governing the commercial production and distribution of marijuana by licensed retailers.

The measure is supported by a broad coalition of reform organizations, including NORML, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, SAFER, Sensible Colorado, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), the Drug Policy Alliance, and the Marijuana Policy Project.


All he has to do is make meager overtures and it will be pretty epic.

I'm not trying to undermine Chomsky or anything he has to say.

I disagree that Debord is not "speaking to the same thing," as Chomsky is here. Chomsky is applying it to what you call "neo-imperialism" but in the end the concept is the same.

I used that link of an iPhone cover that says NOAM and is a homage to Chomsky as an example, because to me it exemplifies what Chomsky says is, "offering) people something to pay attention to that's of no importance, that keeps them from worrying about things that matter to their lives that they might have some idea to do something about." (Quote from the video in the OP.) I was trying to build a narrative there, which I clearly failed to do. The famous list so often displayed to deflect criticism of said technology just shows the disconnect, and shows mass diversion in all its glory.

Debord sums up the spectacle as, "the concrete inversion of life the autonomous movement of the non-living." That iPhone cover completely renders the iPhone itself something else, it is, as Noam says in the video, "a way to build up irrational attitudes to the submission of authority." Yes, I do consider it irrational to place a Noam Chomsky cover on a piece of equipment built by slave labor. It indeed, keeps people from worrying about things that matter to their lives that they might have some idea to do something about.

As Debord writes in the Society of the Spectacle, "Under the shimmering diversions of the spectacle, banalization dominates modern society the world over and at every point where the developed consumption of commodities has seemingly multiplied the roles and objects to choose from." (Thesis 59.)

This criticism, both from Debord, and Chomsky, is 100% correct. It's indisputable. Consent is certainly manufactured in every way of our life, sports is but one way that is done.

My objection to this is that, ultimately, consent is manufactured because, again as Chomsky says in the video of the OP, "If you look closely at these things I think that they typically do have functions, that's why energy is devoted to supporting them." Sports has a function for the reasons I elucidated, an iPhone cover, likewise, has a function, and being able to print an iPhone cover with NOAM on it has a function.

Where I diverge from Debord goes deep. My main objection isn't about the spectacle (again, he and Chomsky are correct on that count), and that's where the whole "technologist" view comes in. Debord argues that industry requires specialization, a rather uncontroversial opinion at the time he wrote his stuff, but in modern times it is too abstract to really matter. Rather than go off on a tangent, I will simply pose two situations.

Why would I buy an iPhone built by slave labor? Why would I then go and buy an iPhone cover that has NOAM on it? I might buy the iPhone because it's the "trendy thing to do," and indeed, it, for me, creates a "social relationship between people that is mediated by images." I watched ads on TV, with trendy, cool people. I saw my friends with awesome setups, neat ear buds, pretty colorful gadgetry. They showed 'em off, I bought 'em. Our social relationship is mediated by the mass imagery that creates the narrative. And oh buddy does it sell so well. When I was a kid I loved new gadgets, but we were poor, and I never was able to get them. Thankfully. I probably would've drank the cool aid a long time ago and defended mass capitalist consumerism as so many do.

That process is undoubtedly authoritarian propaganda. I, who I consider a decent guy, would be going off and buying a nice slave produced labor object, and then, because of the propaganda, because of the diversion, I would lack any sort of "idea to do something about it." But I don't, which brings us to the other situation.

If, instead of an iPhone, we had an open hardware phone, that we either 1) built ourselves or 2) had a collective which built and sold them? Well, we wouldn't have the slave labor. But how or why would anyone want that phone? I posit, that if we are to be successful as the horrific and deplorable iPhone, we must embrace, and utilize the spectacle. We can channel it so that we can share ideas to do something about it.

As Chomsky says (again, OP video), mass media gets people "away from things that matter, and for that it's important to reduce their capacity to think."

As Eben Moglen says:

The most important unchangeable reality about human societies heretofore is the every human society since the beginning, whenever that was, has wasted almost all the brains it possessed.

It is, of course, something so natural to us that it strikes us as an odd aperçu when we meet it, but of course we know that it is true. We know that it is true, and that there wasn’t any way to prevent it from being true, even as we know that it’s an injustice. A deep injustice.

So let’s begin by recognizing, as Laura Nader was urging us to do, that one of the great problems about injustice is that, like power, it is most effective when it can succeed in remaining invisible. And one of the best ways of being invisible is to be something that everybody knows, but you can’t do anything about it, so you might as well forget. And so we forget – as we tend to forget every day when the newspaper isn’t headlined with the 50.000 children who starved to death yesterday – we forget that one of the fundamental characteristics of human societies heretofore has been their wastage of human brains. And I go around, and I say to people “How many of the Einsteins who ever existed were permitted to learn physics?”. And people think “Well, maybe one, maybe two – maybe Isaac Newton was another Einstein…” but of course the answer is “Almost none”; so few, in fact, that we know the names of them.

Which, had we educated all the Einsteins in the world, in physics, since the beginning, we couldn’t do, because there would be so many of them. And what we think of as the extraordinary characteristics of genius are primarily merely the selection function applied to human diversity, through radical injustice in access to the ability to learn. Which means, of course, that we know that – smart guys as we all are – we are really only the fraction of the smart guys in the world who’ve been allowed to learn anything, in a world where there are six billion people, most of whom will never be able to go to school. And their brains will starve to death.

By using the spectacle, by sharing technology, and by embracing mass publicly created media, I posit that, while Chomsky and Debord are and were correct, we have within us the capacity to make it so that people do think when they buy, acquire, build, or create a product for mass consumption. So, we enjoy TV shows, we enjoy listening to music, we enjoy playing with gadgets. Who cares, right? The institutional media (Manufacturing Consent) needn't be the root of that media, in fact, we should be able to kill it. If some kid pops on YouTube, I think that's wonderful, if that kid has a following, and it creates more media, that, to me, is brilliant. There's no institution behind it, it's, in effect, reversing the spectacle as Debord defines it. We would then have more social interaction, and less "thing worship."

You go down to a local community maker center, and you want a cell phone, a new, super cool cell phone that we have designed using open and public methods. Others in the center greet you, shake your hand, give you a little bit of information about the center, and how the technology works. You spend the entire day there, talking about technology, using your brain, eating everything up. Pow, you're not there to "have" the cell phone, you're there to be another human being who just so happens knows how to make and design one with the tools that are available. You'd still have "mass media," because people would still be placing sign-age out to get people to come to their maker center, there would be networks where people share their multimedia, be it music or their own self-created shows or whatever. There would still be independent media, news, and such. There's a more recent term to describe this, though it's been somewhat muddled, it's called the Prosumer. Basically we wouldn't have mere consumers anymore, but producer-consumers, where people share in open spaces the things that are important to them.

How does that play into sports? Well hell, we'd probably still have sports, as Chomsky said, it serves a useful function (if only entertainment). But would we have institutionalized media selling us professional sports? I doubt it very much. I couldn't see it going further than a college level, and I think that with the destruction of institutional media it will be impossible for mass institutionalized media to take hold in that arena (no pun intended).

OWS is the Single Most Relevant Movement to Change Politics in America for the Better

It's simple. They've already done so, they have already opened up dialog about the 1% and how the 1% manipulates the entire country. Already, the Republicans are talking about Wall Street. Already, Obama plans to turn the anti-Wall Street sentiment against the Republicans. Already both parties are flying the anti-Wall Street banner.

What more is there to say? That a few kids acting autonomously after having their comerades razed by police, with tear gas, rubber bullets, and hundreds detained via illegal and unconstutional means are, themselves, going to marginalize the movement? Because, frankly, emotions were very high and people were not behaving rationally? I highly doubt it.

There have been numerous flag burning incidents in Occupy. One at Occupy Chicago, small scale, paper flag. One at Occupy Denver. Three at Occupy Oakland port closure. One Occupy Oakland City Hall. Two at Occupy Charlotte. This most recent incident is merely being hyped as a way to marginalize Occupy by the media. Why? Because if the Occupy narrative is allowed to continue, the Republicans have no leg to stand on. The media needs the narrative to be "close." If it's not "close" then there's nothing to talk about. There's no "down to the wire" coverage. As soon as FL polls close in Nov. the media will have to call it for Obama, and that'll be the end of it. How can someone like Romney (not to even mention the idiot Newt) pretend to even have anything in common with anti-Wall Street views? How can anyone even take that with a grain of salt? Even the most ardent Republicans know that is total bullshit. Hell, the consistent 30% of conservatives who vote for the fascist time and time again aren't even that stupid.

Finally, I leave you with a book entitled "Flag burning: moral panic and the criminalization of protest." You can get a link here: http://books.google.com/books?id=s5btT1HO60kC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

You can read the introduction on Google Books for free. I emplore you to read the entire overview of the movement, and this extra overview of the book: http://www.professormichaelwelch.com/flagburn.html

Truly, moral panic is the pure definition of what is happening here. And it's almost entirely fabricated, because, as I said, this not the first time it's happened, it will not be the last time it happens, and all in all we're just eating our own over trivialities. OWS has already changed the narrative, and as the summer comes around (and as they become introspective and start to oust those who make bad PR decisions; but there will always be someone who does something stupid), it will only get stronger.

You should not chastise a movement, a group, or a society on the actions of a few in said movements, groups or societies. To do so shows a complete lack of perspective or proportion.

LOL! 111th United States Congress vs 112th United States Congress

111th United States Congress
January 29, 2009: Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-2
February 4, 2009: Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (SCHIP), Pub.L. 111-3
February 17, 2009: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), Pub.L. 111-5
March 11, 2009: Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009, Pub.L. 111-8
March 30, 2009: Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-11
April 21, 2009: Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, Pub.L. 111-13
May 20, 2009: Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-21
May 20, 2009: Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-22
May 22, 2009: Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-23
May 22, 2009: Credit CARD Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-24
June 22, 2009: Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, as Division A of Pub.L. 111-31
June 24, 2009: Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009 including the Car Allowance Rebate System (Cash for Clunkers), Pub.L. 111-32
October 28, 2009: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, Pub.L. 111-84
November 6, 2009: Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-92
December 16, 2009: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010, Pub.L. 111-117
February 12, 2010: Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act, as Title I of Pub.L. 111-139
March 4, 2010: Travel Promotion Act of 2009, as Section 9 of Pub.L. 111-145
March 18, 2010: Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act, Pub.L. 111-147
March 23, 2010: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Pub.L. 111-148
March 30, 2010: Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, including the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, Pub.L. 111-152
May 5, 2010: Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-163
July 1, 2010: Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-195
July 21, 2010: Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Pub.L. 111-203
August 3, 2010: Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-220
August 10, 2010: SPEECH Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-223
September 27, 2010: Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-240
December 8, 2010: Claims Resolution Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-291
December 13, 2010: Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-296
December 17, 2010: Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-312, H.R. 4853
December 22, 2010: Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-321, H.R. 2965
January 2, 2011: James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-347, H.R. 847
January 4, 2011: Shark Conservation Act, Pub.L. 111-348, H.R. 81
January 4, 2011: Food Safety and Modernization Act, Pub.L. 111-353, H.R. 2751


112th United States Congress
April 15, 2011: 2011 United States federal budget (as Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011), Pub.L. 112-10
August 2, 2011: Budget Control Act of 2011, Pub.L. 112-25
September 16, 2011: Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, Pub.L. 112-119, H.R. 1249



I link the main Wiki page for both Congresses, you can scroll down to see the actual stuff that was enacted. Generally these are the more "important" acts from both Congresses, if you click the 112th acts page you will find a lot of pointless drivel, and no substance.

It speaks volumes.

Yes, the 112th Congress is only halfway through, but let's be honest, they'll continue diddling and there's no way in hell that they do nearly half as much in the next year.

(Note: not agreeing with all the stuff passed by the 111th Congress, I just find this very fascinating how the Republicans basically are do nothing twirps.)

Your iPhone Was Built, In Part, By 13 Year-Olds Working 16 Hours A Day For 70 Cents An Hour

One Foxconn worker Mike Daisey interviewed, outside factory gates manned by guards with guns, was a 13-year old girl. She polished the glass of thousands of new iPhones a day.

The 13-year old said Foxconn doesn't really check ages. There are on-site inspections, from time to time, but Foxconn always knows when they're happening. And before the inspectors arrive, Foxconn just replaces the young-looking workers with older ones.

In the first two hours outside the factory gates, Daisey meets workers who say they are 14, 13, and 12 years old (along with plenty of older ones). Daisey estimates that about 5% of the workers he talked to were underage.

Daisey assumes that Apple, obsessed as it is with details, must know this. Or, if they don't, it's because they don't want to know.

The Business Insider link covers all the details, but if you want the emotional impact, I encourage you to listen. If you don't want to listen you can read a transcript here. I just finished with it and I am completely taken aback.

I know that this show was posted here before (in the other Apple-centric threads), but this Business Insider overview is the best one I could find that covers the whole thing.
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