i also dont want to come across as yet another one of those curmudegoenly old men from "that generation"who dont or cant shift into the new technologies as easily as sme,often if not mostly,those younger than myself.
i dont just want to moan about it...but i do want to raise some questisn about what i at least see and experience as the social changes associated with it.
let me start with an image ,a characaterisation of someone like myself.i am NOT a luddite.that is a stereotype that with all stereotypes is innaccurate in at least 2 ways.one is it gives an innaccurate picture of people like myself adn for me more importantly it missappropriates whatever term it uses and converts it into a term of abuse.in this case it dishonours the tradition of the luddites.briefly,the luddites were machine breakers from the early 19th century in britain-groups of workers who broke and smashed machines,not for the sake of it but where the owners of the machines had not come to terms with the workers in the area in which the machines were to be used.it is grossly innaccurate to see those who signed themselves as ned ludd or captain swing in their propoganda as simply harking back to old times,better times,times that never were.they were self-consciously aware that whilst they could not hold back progress,they wanted to put the brakes on it,or rather conditions in defence of workers conditions and jobs.this was largely in times when trades unions were themselves struggling to be born and indeed were mostly treated by the british state/ruling class as criminal enemies.ep thompson amongst others shw in their writing that the luddites were self-conscious class warriors,who fought for their class against the appalling opression of a careless rulling class,who did not consider the social consequences and cared nothing about them.sabotage is not reducible to mindles violence.it has a fine history,though sometimes they reflect acts of desperation and sometimes they are symbolic acts of rage and indignance at the way masses of people are just disregarded in so-called social development.sometimes such dstruction shows some aspects of mindless violence,although the underlying hurt and rage and alienatiin should never be disregarded.the luddites and captain swing chsoe their targets!long live their example,for like it or not our"ameliorated conditions"are built on those struggles as well as those the apologists of reformism and labourism are more comfortable.
so i ask,where are the luddites and captain swings now in relation to this wave of new technologies?do the hackers etc fit,in any way?and in what way?
what about julian asange and the other groupings that appear in the internet?im wary of linking them directly because they may not want or see themselves as being linked.and actually,history shows that things are not always so neat and tidy along say legal/illegal lines.im aware for example of the links between political resistance and contested legality.in a different arena im aware certain music has ben banned in mexico because it is seen to praise drug cartels and dealing...andyet i suspect that there is an element,an aspect of this which is partly,if not equally about resistance to imperialism and capitalism.in a symposium of articles on violence for example,socialist register in 2009 included at least 2 articles that discussed the relationship of political resistance,communal solidarity and criminal/delinquent subculture.there is no neat,clear line.why should there be,especially when those who rule over us,have more of the"carsd"and despite their laws,still have unclear lines to it all such as the blatant subterfuge and criminality of teh security forces and those of so-called law and order.
my view of the functioning of capitalism is that whilst it can be as a single co-ordinated block,in many societies it is not.i surmise that within the most complex and developed forms the forces of capitalism in its various forms are very fractured-so that they do not neccessarilly all operate together all the time,nor in the same direction,and it will NOT
neccessarily result in the best,the most efficient,effective,or rational decisions and that those decsions may not even reflect a weight of"democracy"amongst their own class.for eample,in these times,it still seems to be the case that despite all the problems engenedered by finance capital,its is finance which has a possibly disproportionate impact within the any and indeed many economies,and that someties that effect is related to the very"lack of roots or commitments"which some aspects of finance appear to have.industrial plant cannot move with the same velocity or speed within and economy as money/finance.this can demonstrate the very flightyness and irresponsibility of the latter.
phenomena within any culture or economy,do not however have to have a sharoness or precision to operate and to be effective.ideaology seems to operate like tgis,and so particular ideas within in.i suggest notons of common sense and reasonableness operate in such a way.so that dissent whilst it might well include some ideas which are plainly,rationally odd or extreme,theer will be a lot more dissenting ideas that can be seen or made to look extreme or that the proponents of it are in some way or or difficult.it seems to me that whilst despite masssive and very public resistance to the iraq war,the rulling elite,or at least key sections of it were able to present their ideas as reasonable and the ideas of the mass opposition as not.a lot was made of the good faith of the rulers,the conscience of tony blair,his religiosity,"that was then,this is now".we in the resistanec can always be made to seem like we are unreasonable or"plain nuts"!
everything seems to me to operate paradoxically,dialectically.this seems to me true at the most obvious and superficial levels inrelation to the new technologies.as a user,operating at a subjective and admittedly relatively suerficial level.i find this sometimes really galling,but believe there are depths behind those initial,superficial and perhaps curmudgeonly responses.today and yesterday,i opened up my daily emails from the world socialist web site,which is an international news location connected to the 4th internatiinal.ive been subscribing for about 18 months and recieve daily bulletins which i find useful in my own thinking and writing.i do this every day.yet these last 2 days the emails are mareked as highly suspicious and pop ups and other material is blocked.i tell it to open up the content-to find that the contentious material is what-the strap line heading...
oh great!now thats really what i pay for a security rogramme for.if only it were true not that the content was suspicious and dangerous but that the 4th international or better still this network(the iln)were regarded as dangerous because ratioally we could bring down the whole stinking system.....
i have alot more to say and to question but for now,i'll say i look forward to the day when those adventurers and pilots and innovators in cyberspace(is that the generic term?)can really turn their deas and skills into a new,thriving,genuinely fully open and democratic technologies that we,the majority can use easily and cheaply as part of building a world which is a real conmmon wealth for sharing amongst us all,and is not for example used to save costs and shift labour internationally to the lowest wages and conditions-making computers in china with labour which is not just exploited in the marxist sense but effectively imprisoned and sometimes driven to sucicide or dependent call centres in india to seel train tickets in britain!im aware for examle that my own recent prrchase of a computer was from a us based international company,where i dealt with a salesman who sounded american but had never been to the usa,in india and where the computer arrived from poland.i want in saying this to say i really liked the man who took my order and the service he gave me,within the current way things operate-trying to treat each other like real people is a good start,and at one level it all sounds good.but i want us,all of us to use our skills and talents and technologies internationally in adifferent way,not to exploit others or to undermine labour conditios here or there or indeed everywhere but to make real and effective and meaningful a different kind of internatonalism where we can make reality that worldwide we are all brothers and sisters helping ecah other lead better and more fulfiled lives.technology itself is not evil,but we need to be in control collectively,that is serves us all and is not another tool with which to beat us
one small lesson for the world internationally is not just the history of those who"invented"our technologies but of those who fight to make them subservient to human need.we stand on the shoulders of ned ludd and captain swinga nd indeed those many courageous workers around the world who continue to organise in defence of our brothers and sisters around the world,as i write.and indeed bring in the all too terrible reminders that the struggle is long,arduous and difficult...but then we have a world to win! .