Grain Elevators

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BNB
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Mar 29 2009 01:38
Grain Elevators

I have just self-published a "situationist" history of the American grain elevator, entitled "American Colossus: the Grain Elevator, 1843 to 1943."

This book is "situationist" because it adopts the situationists' theory of the spectacle, which posits that the spectacle is/requires/produces a built environment in which people and things are required to circulate and reproduce, but as isolated and separated commodities. According to Guy Debord, the society of the spectacle dates from the 1917, with the victory of the Bolshevik Revolution, and/or the 1930s and the rise of totalitarianism (the "concentrated spectacle"). According to T.J. Clark, the society of the spectacle (the "diffuse spectacle") was clearly being prepared in Paris in the 1860s. According to my own research, the diffuse spectacle was also clearly in preparation in the harbors of inland port-cities such as Buffalo, Toledo, and Chicago in the 1840s.

As I point out at the end of Chapter 8, page 391:

America was already a modern society in the 1840s. Nearly everything we recognize today as “modern” was already present in rudimentary form in Buffalo and Chicago in, say, 1848: high-speed communications (the telegraph); high-speed travel (the railroads); labor-saving devices and unemployment (the use of steam engines to replace laborers); political subversion (Karl Marx and the International Workers Association); abstract value-forms and financial speculation on the market (paper money, elevator receipts and “to arrive” contracts); “decadent” or extremist literature (the works of Edgar Allan Poe); free trade, price normalization, and globalization (the demand for American grain in England after the repeal of the Corn Laws); and buildings so tall they appeared to “scrape the sky” (grain elevators). As a result, nothing that took place in the country between the 1840s and the 1890s – in particular, the Civil War, the bungled Reconstruction and the acceleration of the displacement and mass murder of the remaining Native Americans in the 1870s and 1880s – can be minimized or dismissed as “mistakes” or “missteps” made by a precocious, but still immature child. America was old enough to know better.

Grain elevators weren't just tall (the "first" skyscrapers). They were also the first mechanized devices introduced into the commercial sector that were intended to replace laborers (many of them Irish immigrants) and to do work/labor that was impossible for human laborers to do (transship grain in bulk). As a result, grain elevators were both the source and location of labor strife all through the 19th century.

Took a look at my blog for the book and see for yourself:

http://american-colossus.blogspot.com
http://www.american-colossus.com

Thanks.

nastyned
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Mar 29 2009 13:13

Well that's different. They're called grain silos in British English.

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BNB
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Mar 29 2009 14:46

"Well that's different. They're called grain silos in British English."

Thanks for that, NastyNed. Have you or anyone else information on grain workers in the UK? Pictures of grain silos? Dates of strikes, etc?
Cheers, BNB

nastyned
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Dec 27 2009 10:04

DeBruce I presume?

Jason Cortez
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Dec 27 2009 12:22

YES

petey
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Dec 27 2009 12:53

no, not at all

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Dec 27 2009 13:05

I sort of wish I could be the kind of person who found this interesting. Knowing that I will never ever give a shit about grain elevators is like knowing I'll never regain the innocence I had when playing as a child (no paedo).

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PartyBucket
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Dec 27 2009 16:11

All train spotters are paedophiles, Im not sure what being a grain-silo spotter makes a person.

Boris Badenov
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Dec 27 2009 16:30

grain elevators is how the spectacle stole our foodz! fo real, read the book.

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Choccy
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Dec 27 2009 17:10

It's worth noting that 'I'm not drunk, honest!: the story of a victim who refused to be a victim after a horrific car accident' is also self-published.

Boris Badenov
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Dec 27 2009 17:17

also Mein Kampf.