[DEBATE] : Czech Young Communists Appeal Against Ban
dhenwood at panix.com
Sun May 18 20:55:53 BST 2008
On May 18, 2008, at 2:03 PM, peter waterman wrote:
> Doug: Let me confine myself to two issues:
> 1. Communication
> Let me just say that communication/culture/informatisation are
> increasingly central to capitalism and to struggles to control and
> surpass it.
I hear this claim about the role of media in capitalism all the time,
though usually without supporting evidence - since we all use
computers and most of us watch TV, who need supporting evidence,
right? But in what is perhaps the most mediated economy in the world,
the USA, the broad category of "information" - which includes
traditional publishing; TV, movies, radio, etc.; and information and
data processing - accounted for 4.5% of GDP in 2006. (It was 3.5% in
1980, so it's not exactly growing by leaps and bounds.) Its current
share is slightly less than retail trade, at 6%. The allegedly dying
manufacturing sector accounted for almost 12%. Finance, insurance,
and real estate, 21%. The hyper-fashionable "information and data
processing" subsector was 0.5%, slightly larger than wood products,
and on a par with primary metals.
Sure we have to communicate to control/surpass it, but we need actual
> The 'communication lines' of the ICFTU and friends ran via various
> gatekeepers, from base 1 to peak A, and then from peak A to base 2.
> By which time, of course, it tended to be late, if not misdirected
> or simply blocked. If and when militant and autonomous worker
> communities established direct horizontal contact (now called
> networking), this was castigated as 'strike tourism'.
Yeah, all that horizontal, peer to peer stuff sounds like fun, but I
don't think there will ever be a substitute for organizations with
actual leaders and hierarchies. They should be democratic, and rivals
should not be dispensed with using a firing squad, but all this
spontaneous networking stuff is a misleading fantasy. Where would the
Internet be without the U.S. Department of Defense, anyway?
> See writings on the Battle of Seattle, the international Zapatista
> movement, the international anti-war protest of 2003 (creating, in
> the possibly futuristic terms of a famous op-ed, 'the world's
> second super-power).
The war happened. And as Zizek as pointed out, the warmkers like all
those protests in some sense, because it gives the illusion of
deliberation and tolerance of dissent. Seattle was a lot of fun - I
was there, and reported on it too
but it has almost no lasting effect. Ditto the Zapatistas. How have
they changed Mexico, really? The country has had two right-wing
presidents. The weakening of the PRI has aided the right, not the left.
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