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DIY

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madashell's picture
madashell
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Oct 17 2006 10:47
DIY

I'm guessing this is a view a lot of people here would be hostile to (due to its associations with the other end of the milleu, I reckon wink), but I was thinking about the whole idea of DIY culture earlier and it's relationship to libertarian politics.

I'd argue that DIY (by which I mean anything from fixing your own plumbing to growing your own food to coding your own open source software) in itself can be empowering, in so far as it allows people to regain a certain measure of control over their own immediate environment. It doesn't bypass capitalism (you're still buying the raw materials, renting the allotment, whatever), but it depends on a different view of production, one where we directly see how the labour put into a product relates to the value of the final product to us.

I'm not saying that it is in itself a political act, just to be clear, but it's something worth thinking about, IMO.

Vaneigemappreci...
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Oct 17 2006 11:06
Quote:
DIY

works best with t-shirts

well that worked well roll eyes

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
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Oct 17 2006 11:32
madashell wrote:
I'd argue that DIY (by which I mean anything from fixing your own plumbing to growing your own food to coding your own open source software) in itself can be empowering, in so far as it allows people to regain a certain measure of control over their own immediate environment.

I'd say it's good in that it saves you money, but that's about it.

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Khawaga
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Oct 17 2006 11:57

DIY is embyonic self-management as refusing work is embryonic class struggle. It can be seen as a risk-smoothing, making yourself less prone to rely on commodities if shit happens.

IMO open source software is actually gone beyond DIY and sigifies perhaps decommodification, or a tendency towards liberation of production and consumption.

edit: some typos

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JoeMaguire
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Oct 17 2006 12:05

Not only it sometimes empowering, being able to self manage and produce, but it can also fall into sustainable living.

Caiman del Barrio
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Oct 17 2006 12:11

Quit reading Maximum Rock n Roll!

There's no real political use to DIY, let's be honest. At best, it could represent an individual solution to a collective problem. Communism is about the sharing of resources for the common good.

I guess you could argue that a necessary premise of commodities is limiting the number of people versed in a certain skill, in order that most people still need to pay money to, say, fix a toilet, and that in a post-revolutionary society, these kinda skills will be openly taught and encouraged, but I dunno if that's what you meant. wink

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madashell
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Oct 17 2006 12:41
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
Quit reading Maximum Rock n Roll!

Read it? I've never even heard of it, bloody scenesters tongue

Quote:
There's no real political use to DIY, let's be honest. At best, it could represent an individual solution to a collective problem. Communism is about the sharing of resources for the common good.

This is why I said it can be empowering, it's difficult to create a collective solution if the individuals involved don't have the skills to carry it out.

Quote:
I guess you could argue that a necessary premise of commodities is limiting the number of people versed in a certain skill, in order that most people still need to pay money to, say, fix a toilet, and that in a post-revolutionary society, these kinda skills will be openly taught and encouraged, but I dunno if that's what you meant. ;)

To an extent, but I think it's useful in the here and now as well.

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Jacques Roux
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Oct 17 2006 12:48
John. wrote:
I'd say it's good in that it saves you money, but that's about it.

I'd say its also pyshcologicaly empowering to be able to do stuff for yourself.

I'd broadly agree with madashell.

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Steven.
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Oct 17 2006 13:39
rkn wrote:
John. wrote:
I'd say it's good in that it saves you money, but that's about it.

I'd say its also pyshcologicaly empowering to be able to do stuff for yourself.

Hmmm I don't really see how. You could learn to do a whole bunch of menial tasks if you wanted to. Of course, you could never learn all of them though. And is it more empowering than say using that time to acquire other skills that other people don't already do as jobs or services (i.e. learning to speak japanese or play the guitar instead of plumbing)?

Jason Cortez
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Oct 17 2006 14:20

because no one plays guitar or using their skill in Japanese as a job :roll eyes:

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Steven.
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Oct 17 2006 14:27
Jason Cortez wrote:
because no one plays guitar or using their skill in Japanese as a job :roll eyes:

Do you pay for the japanese-speaker or guitar-player to come round to yours very often?
:roll eyes back:

Dave Antagonism
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Oct 17 2006 14:45

Hmmmm...i think DIY is just one aspect of how the class cooperates all the time to win a bit of relief from/survive the pressures of capitalism. It seems to be the best when it is expansive. It is in part the formation of communism - but communism in crap conditions. Still often beats going shoping and sitting round drinking a comrade's homebrew the otherday seemed to be a high point of liberation for the week; must have been a crap week of class struggle

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Oct 17 2006 15:18

John - but i cant lie to myself that i find it way more rewarding to fix my bike myself than take it to a bike shop. Being able to do that makes me understand the tool (bike) im using more and how to handle it.

Likewise we could do a massive (i mean MASSIVE) fundraising drive and pay pro's to do this website, but im speaking for myself in saying that i find it very satisfying to learn how to code stuff myself.

My mum loves gardening, she could easily pay someone to do it, but she would rather see the products of her own labour, not her own cash.

Doing stuff for myself makes me feel more connected to the environment i live in. Even if it sounds like hippy crap i think its true! I'd rather do all sorts of stuff (including plumbing) myself than just shell out cash all the time.

Though of course if i was a plumber i doubt i would enjoy doing my own plumbing that much, cos i would rather have someone pay me to do it!

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Oct 17 2006 15:23

i suppose in a small way DIY overcomes commodity fetishism by reconnecting labour with its product

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Oct 17 2006 15:31

I'm with rkn and Joseph K here. I think being able to do stuff for yourself and make stuff for yourself is empowering (with a small "e", you understand) purely from experience. I make or alter a lot of my own clothes, for example, and which is a skill I'm glad I've taught myself and I'm glad to have been able to teach others. It's satisfying to be able to make my own meals.

I know it all sounds silly, and I'm not for a moment saying that by making my own clothes or whatever I'm doing anything to change the world or circumvent capital or anything particularly grand, but I agree with rkn

Quote:
Doing stuff for myself makes me feel more connected to the environment i live in.

I'm not saying not doing stuff for yourself is bad or anything, but there's more to it than just saving some money.

Is that the vaguest post I have ever made? Quite possibly.

Jacques Roux's picture
Jacques Roux
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Oct 17 2006 15:34

john's just lazy and likes getting other people to do stuff for him.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
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Oct 17 2006 15:38
rkn wrote:
Likewise we could do a massive (i mean MASSIVE) fundraising drive and pay pro's to do this website, but im speaking for myself in saying that i find it very satisfying to learn how to code stuff myself.

Yeah but it would be cool to pay people in india or china to do the boring stuff though.

i think you're all hippies. I bet you all feel disempowered by tube drivers cos you'd rather do it yourselves.

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Oct 17 2006 15:40
rkn wrote:
John - but i cant lie to myself that i find it way more rewarding to fix my bike myself than take it to a bike shop. Being able to do that makes me understand the tool (bike) im using more and how to handle it.

Likewise we could do a massive (i mean MASSIVE) fundraising drive and pay pro's to do this website, but im speaking for myself in saying that i find it very satisfying to learn how to code stuff myself.

My mum loves gardening, she could easily pay someone to do it, but she would rather see the products of her own labour, not her own cash.

Doing stuff for myself makes me feel more connected to the environment i live in. Even if it sounds like hippy crap i think its true! I'd rather do all sorts of stuff (including plumbing) myself than just shell out cash all the time.

Though of course if i was a plumber i doubt i would enjoy doing my own plumbing that much, cos i would rather have someone pay me to do it!

I agree with this! DIY is very rewarding for me. I can't tell you how proud I was when I learned how to change the oil in my car, rather than take it to Firestone. While the PP is correct that it does not evade capitalism in the slightest (I still have to buy the oil and someone somewhere purchased the tools I use) it still makes me feel satisfied that I can take care of things myself rather than relying on a corporation to do it. Out of the $14.95 I must pay to get my oil changed at Firestone, how much does the mechanic on duty get?

By the way (and this is kind of veering OT here) how many girls reading this have changed their oil or worked on their car only to hear derogatory comments from men such as "Where's your man at?" My response is always, "In the house ironing my shirt, bitch." How many others have encountered misogyny during an act of DIY?

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Oct 17 2006 15:40

No, although there was this bus driver the other day...

gav's picture
gav
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Oct 17 2006 15:45

oi john, when are you gonna pay me for writing all those posts for you?

madashell's picture
madashell
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Oct 17 2006 15:50
John. wrote:
i think you're all hippies. I bet you all feel disempowered by tube drivers cos you'd rather do it yourselves.

They're oppressing me as we speak sad

Seriously though, there's a big difference between stuff anybody can learn to do over time with a little practice and things that require a lot of specialist knowledge and training. For example, knitting your own clothes is DIY, whereas home appendectomies would just be a good way to get rid of primitivists.

Also, there's no particular reason why everybody on a train needs to be able to drive it, whereas it's easier if I can fix my own plumbing, rather than ringing somebody else to do it.

ftony
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Oct 17 2006 15:54

well mrsmaintenance i did my (oh god, here it comes) masters dissertation on the 70s squatting movement in london, and a large part of that was about DIY. it turns out that there was quite a bit of manly 'let me take over because you're just a girl and don't know anything'. but after a while, there was a blurring of the boundaries between 'men's work' and 'women's work' which was quite cool. then again, they were all hippies already, so i don't know if that trend would be applicable to non-lefty DIY.

anyway, yeah madashell, i dig. [geddit??]

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Oct 17 2006 16:04

Yeah madashell good post, you have to differentiate like that.

Though that said, john, it would be fucking awesome to try driving a tube train, not havin to stop or anything, just max it out and fling it round the tunnels cool

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Oct 17 2006 16:07
ftony wrote:
well mrsmaintenance i did my (oh god, here it comes) masters dissertation on the 70s squatting movement in london, and a large part of that was about DIY. it turns out that there was quite a bit of manly 'let me take over because you're just a girl and don't know anything'. but after a while, there was a blurring of the boundaries between 'men's work' and 'women's work' which was quite cool.

shit i was at an SC once and this bir... woman was putting up a door and i was like 'er can i give you a hand?' and she was like, no mate, i'm fine thanks.

But she was well struggling.

I'm such a scumbag sad

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Oct 17 2006 16:30
mrsmaintenance wrote:
By the way (and this is kind of veering OT here) how many girls reading this have changed their oil or worked on their car only to hear derogatory comments from men such as "Where's your man at?" My response is always, "In the house ironing my shirt, bitch." How many others have encountered misogyny during an act of DIY?

I ride a bike not a car but a couple of times when I've been doing some simple side-of-the-road repair (putting a chain back on usually) some guy has come up and tried to sholder me out of the way.

There is just as much stigma in chick fixing her own bike as doing car maintenence. It's par for the course to get talked down to by a mechanic or salesperson.

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Oct 17 2006 16:32

I love doing DIY stuff. I sew and build and do geeky computer stuff. I cook all my own food and had a vegetable garden this year. I study herbalism so I can make and use my own medicine.

I am young and have a long life to live in a very unpredictable world. It seems like a smart idea to know how to do stuff, because there might not be anyone able to help me with it one day.

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Oct 17 2006 16:33

Shit. My boyfriend fixes my bike. sad

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Oct 17 2006 16:58

Oh, don't get me wrong, Tacks, I think there is a big diff. between offering a helping hand and making snide comments. "Can I give you a hand with that?" while a person is struggling is one thing. It's another thing entirely for someone to just assume that you need a man's help to do something, in the case of "Where's your man at?" or my personal favorite - I'm sliding out from underneath a truck and some guys walking down the alley go, "Wow, she's WORKING UNDER THERE!" No, I just like the smell of motor oil. Give me a break. I don't even think they realized I was a chick at first because all they saw were my jeans and combat boots.

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Oct 17 2006 17:04

yeah Tacks I wouldn't worry about that. I mean, if you saw a bloke struggling with a door, you'd offer to help him, right? So don't worry bout it.

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Oct 17 2006 17:18

I'm HAPPY when someone gets the door for me, because nine times out of ten I'm holding a squirming toddler and/or packages to take to the post office. So I always try to hold the door open for others. Male, female, tranny...

Jason Cortez
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Oct 17 2006 17:43
zobag wrote:
yeah Tacks I wouldn't worry about that. I mean, if you saw a bloke struggling with a door, you'd offer to help him, right? So don't worry bout it.

Only if he had nice tits.