Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Friday, August 23, 2013

Dreams Are Real

Must start preparing for fall courses starting in the City Tuesday. What else could I possibly be doing right now instead? Wait, the bee landing on the flower cat is also a cat. It's beautiful. I know.


Esebian said...

What do you think would it take to resurrect the Luddite movement as a political action group fighting against the oppressive, precarizing abuse of avaialable technolgies by plutocratic elites and for a use benefiting the concerned public parties?

Dale Carrico said...

It is important to grasp that the Luddites are part of the history of organized labor, and that the "technology" focused narrativization of the substance of their situation, critique and activism is a falsification and distraction in the service of elites (as discussions of "technology" almost inevitably are).

To see what I mean, every time you use the word "technology" in a sentence that seems to make sense, substitute the phrase "social struggle over technoscientific changes among the diversity of stakeholders to those changes" and notice that you not only have a more gawky sentence but a sentence that forces you to engage with urgent, incredibly fraught quandaries every one of which was invisible before.

All that said, I am happy to report that there is no need to re-invent the wheel here. The world doesn't need some clever educated white boys in the "developed" -- that is to say, over-exploiting -- world who think they know it all (I castigate in that phrase any tendencies to such self-congratulation in myself first of all) to pen some neo-Luddite online manifesto and unleash a neo-Luddite movement to sweep the world and save it in the nick of time.

Environmental justice critique and the environmental justice movement kinda sorta are that neo-Luddite discourse and assemblage already in my view. Read up on their vast and indispensable scholarship, activism, and policy advocacy.

To save the world (make it more sustainable, democratic, equitable-in-diversity), embed environmental justice analysis of and organizing over developmental questions (sensitive to the raced, sexed, classed stakeholder-stratified field in which costs, risks, benefits, and sustainability of technoscientific changes must always be assessed) within the larger social democratic struggle to provide universal healthcare, including housing and nutritional security, lifelong free education and training, unemployment insurance, parental leave, and retirement/ disability security (hence providing for a scene of legible informed nonduressed consent to the terms of everyday intercourse, including providing the functional equivalent of a publicly funded permanent strike fund), paid for by steeply progressive income and property taxes (which has the added benefit of resisting anti-democratic anti-meritocratic wealth concentration), and also providing for the accountable social administration of common and public goods (governance, law, police, obviously, and, again, education, healthcare, urban ecosystem support, including sustainable polyculture to provide for public nutrition programs and foreign aid, public transportation, renewable energy infrastructure, medical and nonproprietary science research and development).

The tools to dismantle the Master's house are ready to hand. They were made and hidden in the shadow of the Master's house. Some of them were appropriated from there and became ours.

Another world is palpable.