An essay in which the author claims that “technology is the most highly perfected Materialized Ideology”; “it was not by chance that the Stalinists supported the French nuclear power program that required, for its security and operation, a powerful and centralized power, the political form of power that they have always admired”.
Technology vs. Civilization – Bertrand Louart
1. The Genesis of Technology
“Power, like a desolating pestilence,
Pollutes whate'er it touches; and obedience,
Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,
Makes slaves of men, and of the human frame,
A mechanized automaton.”
From Percy Bysshe Shelley, Queen Mab: A Philosophical Poem (1813)
A brief review of the history of the “value critique” current and its antecedents, with particular emphasis on its relation to the tradition of the critique of modernity, technology, and the ideology of progress, as well as a discussion of the capitalist recuperation of the “transgressive” cultural politics that emerged during the 1960s and 1970s partly in connection with the search for a replacement for the proletariat as “revolutionary subject”.
The Princess of Clèves Today – Anselm Jappe
ALL MUST WORK! declares the cabinet of millionaires. 'Workers not shirkers!', they implore. 'Strivers not skivers!' The divide-and-rule rhetoric trying to pit those in work against those without is as relentless as it is transparent. But what's so good about work anyway?
Junge Linke's short piece nicely skewers how attempts to mobilise resentment of claimants and the unemployed undermine even those in work who aren't claiming benefits. What I'd like to focus on is two perspectives on what an explicitly anti-work politics might look like.
A veritable catalogue of environmental and biological disasters brought to us by capitalism followed by some suggestions for their remedy: “Illnesses accumulate along with capital and their management is a fundamental part of the system…. Cancer is a metaphor for capital, which embeds itself in the social fabric and incessantly accumulates until it leads to the death of the patient…. Society is sick of capitalism and any cure must involve the eradication of the latter”.
The Sick Society – Miguel Amorós
A brief review of the parallel development of technology and the proletariat since the end of feudalism, stressing the factors that limited the scope of the class struggle in the 19th century and claiming that the successful integration of the working class into capitalist society, facilitated by technological innovations such as “the entertainment industry” that affected culture and morality, led to a “class society in the process of dissolution, a mass society” composed of “uprooted individuals, separated from any kind of solidarity or relation that is not mediated by propaganda or the spectacle” who must nonetheless “make a clean slate of the present” and reconstruct society.
Capital, Technology and Proletariat – Miguel Amorós
This chapter in Stan Weir's Singlejack Solidarity tells the history of how, from the victory in the 1934 General Strike through the first Mechanization & Modernization (M&M) Agreement in 1961, longshore workers in San Francisco had 27 years of near-total control of the labor process on the waterfront in the "largest, longest, and most successful formal experiment in workers' control ever conducted in the United States."
With the M&M the ILWU negotiated those gains away, exchanging huge individual pay-outs for containerization and a 90% reduction of the workforce. The 134-day longshore strike in 1971 was the last attempt to reverse this.
Decollectivization and recollectivization in the workplace: the impact of technology on informal work groups and work culture
A look at technologies effects on informal work groups.
An extremely valuable book about the Bombay textile workers' strike of 1982-3, which deserves to be more widely read. The strike of 230,000 workers was big and extremely determined, but nevertheless doomed, which parallels to the UK miners' strike of 1984-5. Its defeat led directly to the massive restructuring of the Indian textile industry in the following years.
I found it on the site of an Indian NGO, but very badly scanned. Here it is presented drastically spell-checked and generally cleaned up.
Presented here in PDF and Kindle format.