Brian Holmes on Mon, 2 May 2016 09:15:57 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Live Your Models

[ I am about to put the footnotes on this text and send it off for
publication, but I'd like to give nettime a crack at it first. It is
the impossible conclusion to that long drawn-out project entitled
"Three Crises: 30s-70s-Now," which would've ended long ago if the
current major crisis of capitalism had ever managed to conclude...
best to all, nettime's broken record (BH) ]


Live Your Models
Self-orientation and social form

Throughout the twentieth century and up to today, art has been a
prodigious creator of models. Models of the self, models of history,
models of society and technology and communication, models of the
interactions between all these. Now is the time to live your models.

Once every forty to fifty years, the core capitalist economies are
gripped by a structural crisis with repercussions on the entire world.
Think about the 1970s, or in a more dramatic way, the 1930s. Look back
further and you find another long recessionary period culminating in
the early 1890s, then still another leading up to the turmoil of 1848.
Clearly the historical periods in question are wildly different. But
what's similar about such crises is that they last a decade or more,
they are not just economic and they end with profound shifts in the
social order.

As I write in 2016, global capitalism is still embroiled in the crisis
that began in the real-estate markets eight years before. But the
shape of possible resolutions can now be seen. Which one becomes
reality is vitally important. If the dominant historical pattern
takes fresh life, it will give rise to an expansive techno-economic
paradigm and what Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello call a "new spirit
of capitalism" - yet another one, superseding neoliberalism. Everyone,
regardless of their geographic location or political orientation,
should take pause before contributing to such a "new spirit." The
artistic question is: How do you model the process of change? The
existential question is: What do you want from it?

Fifteen years ago, I was among those who offered a critical analysis
of the ways that the rebels of the last structural crisis - the
generation of 1968 - had subsequently adapted, both socially and
psychologically, to the political economy of neoliberalism. This was
part of a larger intellectual and aesthetic program, the cognitive
mapping of financial globalization. To develop a critical model of
the postmodern self I coined a deliberately ambiguous term: the
flexible personality. Here's the core idea: "The word ‘flexible'
alludes directly to the current economic system, with its casual
labor contracts, its just-in-time production, its informational
products and its absolute dependence on virtual currency circulating
in the financial sphere. But it also refers to an entire set of very
positive images, spontaneity, creativity, cooperativity, mobility,
peer relations, appreciation of difference, openness to present

Like Boltanski and Chiapello, I described these positive images
from the Sixties and Seventies as a disorienting force, acting to
cover and mask the coercive elements of the neoliberal order. Unlike
Boltanski and Chiapello, I insisted that there was no going back
from the turning-point of 1968. The welfare state had reached its
limits, society had to change. That's where the ambiguities lie. On
my view, the radical experiments of the Sixties and Seventies were
not misguided, yet they were partially absorbed into the new hegemony
of neoliberalism. That's why you have to be careful what you wish
for. Today it's time for more rebellion, society has to change again.
This time, the absorption of radical experiments will be our direct

A structural crisis means that everything changes. Right now, as
neoliberal principles are pushed to their logical conclusions, what's
happening is that everything "liberal" about the former social order
is disappearing. Welfare-state liberalities in the areas of housing,
education, culture, unemployment insurance and retirement have been
under continuous attack over the last thirty years, and today in the
majority of countries it seems that only socialized health care will
survive. Civil liberties, which were the great justification of the
Former West during the Cold War, and which were so fervently exalted
after the fall of the Former East, are everywhere being curtailed as
the long-predicted "society of control" becomes a reality. Finally,
the liberal free-trade regime itself, the cornerstone of American
policy since 1945, is now seriously threatened by the massive deficits
of many countries, by the massive trade surpluses of China and
Germany, and by the rush of all players to pursue export-oriented
strategies at the expense of their neighbors. For the people, a crisis
is measured by the lack of social welfare and civil liberties. For
capital, a crisis is measured by the inability to manage a liberal
free-trade regime.

From a popular viewpoint, the benefits of liberal societies are
waning in the face of three fundamental challenges to the 20th
century form of democracy. The first is that economic growth no
longer produces employment. The double punch of automation and
global supply chains has decimated the industrial working classes
without in any way abolishing work, and computer algorithms combined
with speech-recognition technologies are doing the same for the
middle-class professions. What's left is meaningless toil, police
repression of the poor, and super-profits for the financiers. The
second fundamental challenge is the profusion of armed conflict,
and the waves of refugees that flow from it. The breakdown of the
US-led security system after the failed wars of Iraq and Afghanistan,
combined with the desperation of Russia since 2008, has brought battle
and its consequences right up to the gateways of the European Union.
Similarly, the collapse of Mexico, Honduras and other Latin American
countries is overwhelming US borders, while the partial takeover of
the Mexican state by narco cartels creates a paramilitary threat
comparable to that of the Islamic State. And no one knows whether the
current assertions of Chinese naval power in international waters will
ultimately lead to outright war in Asia. But the third fundamental
challenge is the harshest: climate change. The growing intensity
of storms, droughts, floods and fires opens a new chapter in human
history. Those of us involved with art and philosophy have to face the
realization that technological modernity and the economic emancipation
of billions of human beings have been bound up with a basic mistake,
which is the structural reliance of industrial civilization on
fossil fuels and poisonous chemicals. The problem is fundamental,
because the modernist "solution" to basic injustices and inequalities
always involved the exploitation of non-human energies. So-called
postmodernism never dealt with this problem, but lingered instead in
its cultural disorientation. So how to imagine a way forward? How to
embark on a long journey when the path remains invisible?

From capital's viewpoint, no grand strategy to address the triple
crisis has emerged - but one undoubtedly will, and then they'll
invest. Major crises end when a new political order unleashes an
investment wave, as we know from the experience of Fordism after
WWII, and from the more recent surge of Neoliberalism after the
first Gulf War. Previous experience suggests that vanguard social
movements, forged in the depression, can make an impact on the next
upswing. That's what I showed with "The Flexible Personality." To
be significant today, such movements have to be populist, but they
also have to be radically new. They have to respond to present and
future conditions, drawing on whatever is ready to hand, but avoiding
the inertial force of past compromises and sterile cooptations. Over
the course of the next decade, such movements will have to solve the
practical problems of complex societies, and not simply provide an
aesthetic mask over a fresh economic expansion. It's obvious that for
those left without employment, stranded by natural disasters, exposed
to the perils of war or faced with dramatic influxes of refugees,
the old mantras of individual merit, intense competition and smart
stock-market bets are not going to be relevant. Yet nor is there any
chance to ressurect the Fordist strategy of the 1950s and ‘60s,
which consisted in redistributing the profits gained through the
exploitation of workers at home and the imposition of violence abroad.
That's what the American radicals of 1968 finally recognized as "the
welfare-warfare state." In a world of unified flows and a single
atmospheric system, the hypocrisy of calling on capitalist surplus to
repair just your part of what it damages has become unbearable.

In that light, the struggle against precarity by campaigns for a
guaranteed minimum income appears as a foreshortened utopia. What's
missing from this latter-day welfare-state claim is an understanding
of how to build institutional frames for local productivity, social
solidarity and ecological resilience - the three beacons on the dark
horizon of the triple crisis. Precisely because those beacons are not
yet visible amidst the gloom, I'm going to propose, paradoxical as it
may seem, that the vanguards of the today have no choice except to
actually deepen the present crisis and refuse the invocations of those
who press for its rapid resolution. By "deepening the crisis" I do
not mean the old ultra-leftist tactic of engaging in violent actions
designed to increase social tensions or destabilize power. Instead
I'm talking about durably internalizing that which is widely shared
during brief moments of social disarray: which is the perception that
capitalism is the crisis. Effective vanguards can only arise from a
powerful rejection of the societies they live in.

With that in mind I'd like to offer a quote from the American theorist
James O'Connor, who lived through the turmoil of the 1970s and
understood it as a transformational process. A decade later he wrote
these lines:

"We know that capital is racing madly through the present; it has
raced headlong into a crisis. It attempts to reduce its turnover
time compulsively and obsessively. Modernization of production,
internationalization of production and a bloated debt structure
are three sides of a single process. Whole cities and communities
are thrown away in the race to defend and expand profits. "Growth
coalitions" multiply like cancer cells, killing the normal cells of
family, religion, tradition. The frenzy of accumulation; the fear
that it will come to an end in a huge crash or an environmental or
military catastrophe; the unbelievable excesses of late capitalism
worldwide - these bear witness to the obsessive-compulsive quality of
the inner soul of capital. If we could become its inner eye, if we
could transport ourselves into its inner soul, if we could hear the
relentless beat of accumulation, we could experience as well as know
the madness of this obsessiveness - this world where capital and money
are a religious and aesthetic experience, and where power is a moral
category. When we examine ourselves, we find capital within our own
souls. We too rush through the present; we race for some victory–or
toward some unknown destination; we are governed by unlimited desire;
we stumble and fall from identity into the abyss. We create our own
personal crisis, as capital creates its own crisis."

What does it mean, to create your own crisis? Here I have to shift
from abstract theory to something very personal and localized:
self-orientation. I want to go deeper into the morass of contemporary
American class and race relations, to explore some possibilities of
social transformation.

The Two Republics of White Flight

I wasn't born in Chicago which I now call home, and it took me years
to find my bearings in the city. The suburbs remain very difficult for
me. I get lost in those places. But maybe one needs to get lost more
often in one's home city. That way you find out who else is living

Since the Great Fire of 1873, the core city of Chicago along the
shores of Lake Michigan has been surrounded by an expanding crown of
westward-stretching suburbs. A whole social world has grown up in
what used to be the hinterland. This edgeward drift accelerated when
industrial congestion reached threatening proportions in the early
twentieth century. By the 1950s, the elites who controlled the city's
destiny lived outside its borders, to the northwest, in mansions close
to the lake shore and in the verdant river valleys. There lies the
true north of power in this urban system.

More massively throughout the western and southern suburbs, the
detached home with double garage served as the basic platform of
Fordist consumption. As David Harvey wrote in Consciousness and the
Urban Condition, "A worker mortgaged up to the hilt is, for the
most part, a pillar of social stability, and schemes to promote
homeownership within the working class have long recognized this
basic fact." The strictures of the home mortgage contract served to
stabilize the rebellious populations of industrial workers whose
inner-city concentrations had furnished the key element in the
progressive coalition of Roosevelt's New Deal. When that coalition
broke apart along racial lines - through the cycle of urban riots
that culminated after the assassination of Martin Luther King in
1968 - the movement to the suburbs accelerated. "White Flight"
names the reactionary formation constituting the social base of
the neoconservative power structure that emerged under Nixon, then
consolidated all the way through the 2000s.

I should tell you that I come from the California suburbs of the
1960s. I was born with the two-car garage. That's what I've fled all
my life - escaping to the historical cities of Europe, wandering the
urban worlds of Latin America and Asia, then finally returning to an
old industrial city in the US. And it's not just me. Generations have
escaped in this way. There are not just one, but two republics of
white flight.

Before we get to the one I love, let's see how the first republic
works. What struck me, when I took the Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway
to a middle-class paradise called Naperville, is the sheer quantity
of construction going on. Naperville is what the geographer Joel
Garreau called Edge City. Along the freeway corridor, a Miesian
layer of corporate headquarters from the 1980s has been overtaken by
newer mirrored buildings embodying the two phases of the computer
boom, from the 1990s dot-com surge to the mid-2000s roll-out of the
mass-surveillance industries. The data-gathering corporation Acxiom
has a building here, as does Alcatel-Lucent and Tellabs. In this
corridor one sees many private educational facilities, which call
themselves universities although they are really business training
centers. Big-box stores - WalMart, Target, etc. - line the avenues
between the gated suburban developments, which are still springing up
in vast proliferating tracts. But the suburban areas are also dotted
with shiny, glass-skinned mega-churches, complete with associated
schools and social services. They are built in styles similar to the
corporate architecture of the freeway corridor. The church-goers in
their overgrown sport utility vehicles are the natural constituency
of the tightly integrated ruling class that Julian Assange calls
"Family America." Edge City, the parallel world that the neocons built
since 1980, is the ideal-type of neoliberal social form. September 11
cemented all its characteristics into an enduring ideology. The First
Republic of White Flight believes in its own sprawling future.

By chance I met a friendly boat mechanic who led a Boy Scout troop and
wore an eagle-emblazoned Never Forget tee-shirt. He gave me a window
to the ways in which Family America imagines the next century. It will
be prosperous, proactive, religious and cautiously optimistic. You
do not see doubt, satire, disbelief or existential anxiety inscribed
into this landscape. What you do see, or rather feel coming out of
the cracks, is overwhelming denial: the denial of climate change, of
imperial blowback, of unsustainable private debt, of dependency on
low-wage immigrant service workers, and perhaps closest to home, the
denial of the inexorably rising middle-class unemployment brought on
by the computerized industries that so many of these people work for.
It's like a boiling cauldron in a deep freeze. Whenever this republic
is threatened, as it was after September 11, another burst of G.W.
Bush-style American fascism will not be long in coming.

Solid Air

So what about the second republic? Already in the Fifties, American
bohemians were defecting en masse from what Henry Miller called The
Air-Conditioned Nightmare. They left on a long period of wandering,
through dissent, draft-dodging, drugs, sexual experimentation, etc.
But eventually they had to settle down. The Second Republic of
White Flight was launched by the "urban pioneers" of the Seventies.
Today we're talking about a full-scale resettlement of the old
industrial cores by the middle classes, in the form of young urban
professionals who no longer want to suffer endless traffic jams and
boring summer nights by the pool. The reconquest of downtown Chicago
was brought to a conclusion in the 2000s by the second Mayor Daley.
His administration beautified the downtown Loop and installed the
new brand image of the city, an artwork in form of a narcissistic
fun-house mirror, known as "Cloud Gate," or more familiarly, "the
Bean." There is much to say about the massive expropriation of
low-income neighborhoods in the wake of the real-estate crisis. But
the critique of gentrification should not cut off all access to a
generational history. An intimate history of the "near past" is the
only way to go deeply into the ambiguity of social relations.

In its most positive light, the flight from the suburbs can be
understood as the attempt to engage in relations of solidarity
across lines of class and race, by joining those whom the corporate
elites abandoned in the decaying public space of the post-industrial
city. This desire was born out of the American civil rights movement
from the late 1950s onward. It linked backward, to the cross-race,
cross-class solidarities of the Roosevelt coalition; but above all it
looked forward and outward, to the expansive emancipation projects
that arose in the course of decolonization, all across the globe.
After 1968, the desire to create a new society in the old urban cores
was given shape in countless ad hoc and institutional alternatives.
It's still an explicit and sometimes even effective political project
among politicized city-dwellers who refuse anything that smacks of
Family America. But on a larger scale, this desire to overcome the
old race and class divides remains implicit as an aesthetic, or as an
unexpressed longing, among all sorts of people who refuse to think
politically and who rarely take part in any organized campaign or
protest. Such longings are important. At the heart of the compromise
formation that I called "the flexible personality" you find a desire
for racial justice, which, as the election of Obama proved, is still a
real political force in the USA.

Of course, everything is done to discharge this desire on the
carefully reworked tourist facades of cosmopolitan exoticism, where
the cyphers of pseudo-graffitti serve up a calculated edginess to the
expats of Edge City. If the first mission of flexible capitalism is to
coordinate the worldwide movement of goods and division of labor, its
second mission is to cultivate the lushly perfumed poppies of managed
political oblivion. And it's been very successful. The collective
aspiration to racial equality is replaced by a discrete and ubiquitous
mesh of ethereal spectacle. Solidarity becomes something more like
"solid air." That's what the networked spectacle is: a landfill of
all the problematic gaps in social consciousness, so that mobility
itself, physical movement through the city, is channeled, tracked,
preempted and voided of all its potentials. History and ecology become
invisible, and the racialized other shrinks down to an electronic
image locked into a tiny little box by copyright law, for strictly
private consumption. Watch the revolution on your mobile phone.
Release your inmost self to Big Data. This is the state of psychic
desperation that has paralyzed the left, and not only in America.

But look what's happening now. After the cinders of Occupy went cold,
a new phase of the civil rights movement was launched, precisely by
cellphone videos. Those unsteady small-screen images move even white
people to a sense of horror and unspeakable rage. Unspeakable means
that despite all efforts of imagination, you refuse to speak about
what the people bearing the brunt of the violence must feel. You
don't identify, you just bear witness. In a recent collaboration,
the poet Matthias Regan and I put together a geographic database of
police killings of black people in the Midwest, between the murders
of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. Matthias wrote objectivist poems
that sift through the media accounts of the killings, revealing the
world we live in by the cut-up of its own brutal language. I placed
hyperlinked pictures of the dead on a Google map where the lakes and
rivers turn into blood. We called the map "Watersheds" and explained
our intentions in a text whose title tells the whole story: "Political
Ecology Begins When We Say Black Lives Matter."

Intensifying conflicts lend clarity to one's position in the social
labyrinth. This summer I learned to put the stakes of the present
in short words. The violent expression of racism, which forms the
molecular bond of nationalism and therefore the crucial resource of
empire, is the only distraction of sufficient emotional firepower
to make our societies forget the urgent objective Now of onrushing
climate change. The US wars in the Middle East have shown how it is
done. And the evolution of the European border system since 2011 -
with the return of outright fascist parties across the Old Continent
- leads to the exact same conclusion. Of course, if you're white, you
don't suffer in the same way from the abuse of the police. But over
the middle and maybe even the short term, the failure to revive a
political struggle for equality will leave everyone wide open to the
militarist reactions that our decaying socio-environmental systems are
already generating. Just as in the 1930s, the race question is once
again going to be the hinge of world history. Decide on which side of
that divide you want to take your stand. Not the networked spectacle,
but only fear and hatred of the other, can make our societies stick
their heads in the sand and go on preferring war for oil to any
possible future.

The New Spirit

For thousands of young leftists in search of effective politics, the
book of the year is called Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a
World Without Work, by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams. It begins with
a question: "If we will not act after one of the largest crises of
capitalism, then when?" It goes on to demonstrate the incapacity of
Occupy-style direct democracy movements to influence the development
of a complex world system. Yet it insists that the refusal of all
forms of domination - whether racist, sexist, classist, ableist,
intellectualist, or whatever - is a positive gain from the Sixties and
Seventies. I quote a representative passage:

Increasingly, multipolar global politics, economic instability,
and anthropogenic climate change outpace the narratives we use
to structure and make sense of our lives. Each of these is an
example of what is termed a complex system, which features nonlinear
dynamics, where marginally different inputs can cause dramatically
divergent outputs, intricate sets of causes feedback on one another
in unexpected ways, and which characteristically operates on scales
of space and time that go far beyond any individual's unaided
perception.... Any postcapitalist project will necessarily require the
creation of new cognitive maps, political narratives, technological
interfaces, economic models, and mechanisms of collective control to
be able to marshal complex phenomena for the betterment of humanity.

In one way, this passage fits perfectly with the notion of complex
modeling that I borrowed from Felix Guattari and used to critique the
social form of neoliberal control in my book Escape the Overcode.
Yet the point is that critique, like utopia, is not enough. What
became obvious after the failure of the left to seize the occasions
of the structural crisis, is that critical and utopian models must be
embodied in a constructive program which is itself complex, flexible
and able to integrate the aspirations of people at many different
positions within the global division of labor. But the constructive
program isn't there today. What's missing are just not broad left
coalitions, hegemonic slogans or political representation, as called
for by the populism of Ernesto Laclau, and also, at points, by Srnicek
and Williams. What's missing first of all are informed and capable
people who can understand, take apart and reassemble a technologically
managed society. This requires both a knowledge of machines and a
refusal of domination, including the domination of humanity over what
are called "natural resources." That's a civilizational challenge,
which cannot be pared down to the good old dialectical opposition of
workers and capital. Instead there really is a multitude of different
subject-positions, all threatened in different ways by the triple
crisis. How can they constitute a political force?

Srnicek and Williams are at their best when discussing what they
call an "organizational ecology." By that they mean an expanding
set of practical and pedagogical initiatives that can gradually
transform their participants through multiple vectors of engagement:
with social movements, with media, with education, with production
technologies, with scientific research, with cultural forms, with
alternative architecture, and so on. Populism is a poor word for this
process, since it has to involve many kinds of professionals and
will probably depend, for any possible success, on the formation of
a new transversalist ethos stimulated by the recognition of rapidly
advancing climate change. "Full automation" and "the end of work" are
also naive ideas, both because capitalists have always used automation
to disempower the working classes, and because a tremendous amount of
effort and discipline is going to be required for the transformative
work to be done. However, the authors do have a very good phrase for
what they are doing: inventing the future. In my view, the book marks
a watershed, where the cultural dead ends of unlimited credit and
neutralized academic critique are left behind. The next big growth
wave is on the horizon. Not just social form, but ecological form will
be constructed anew.

What surprises me most in Inventing the Future is the lack of any
reference to a major programmatic model of social change that is
now being worked out at significant scales, and is well explained
by the political consultant Jeremy Rifkin. What Rifkin sells, as a
growth package for a future investment wave, is the model of a "Third
Industrial Revolution" centered on solar power and computerized
micro-manufacturing. His first insight is that localized electric
power generated by wind mills and solar panels on everyone's property
or rented roof is only practical when it is hooked up to a centrally
managed smart power grid that can channel the surplus wherever it
is needed. So he brings a collective principle - that is, the state
- back in. In this way he combines the concerns for downscaling and
local autonomy that Srnicek and Williams snootily disparage with
the concern for upscaling, complexity and socialized infrastructure
that they ardently promote. That's an exemplary way to disentangle
some positive strands from the ambiguous snarl of a collapsing
neoliberalism. More importantly, Rifkin's strategic aim in calling
for an investment wave centered on solar power, micro-manufacturing
and smart grids is to undo the hegemony of the giant corporations,
particularly the oil companies which are directly responsible for
climate change and which also constitute the civilian component
of military imperialism. The basic idea is stunningly simple: The
generation of power by and for machines is the generation of power in
society. To change that, emancipatory forces call for the association
of autonomous producers by means of a new state form, what may be
called a "partner state," regulated and limited in view of a general
political ecology. Such a position is currently being theorized in
practice, as one can see through the syntheses offered by Michel
Bauwens and his many collaborators in the p2p foundation. Now, that's
the spirit!

Community Production

I'm deeply suspicious of the corporate consultant Jeremy Rikin, as
any intellectual should be. Only a powerful practical critique can
keep the ideals of the "third industrial revolution" from becoming
another white mythology. We must be responsible for our populist
rhetoric, since it will soon be incorporated into a new hegemony. To
speak more specifically about the creation of institutional frames
for local productivity, social solidarity and ecological resilience -
or what I called "the three beacons" - I want to end this text with
another reflection on self-orientation and social form. This time
it's about Detroit, the broken capital of Fordism, where a great
rebellion occurred in 1967 and white flight was pushed the furthest,
opening the streets for a Black Republic. Detroit is a story of real
emancipation. However, the very foundation of this republic deprived
it of an economy. The city hit rock bottom after 2008; and today, its
downtown core is in the throes of mega-gentrification. In Detroit the
cartography of class is crudely transparent: the major developer is
the CEO of a predatory lender at the heart of the 2008 crisis, called
Quicken Loans. But the metro area is huge, vast tracts are abandoned,
the scale of decay is too big for real-estate speculation to absorb.
The question that's being asked, more intensely here than elsewhere,
is how to replace a failed system?

In October 2014 I traveled with two other members of the Compass group
- Claire Pentecost and Sarah Lewison - to a conference entitled "New
Work, New Culture." There we heard a talk by Blair Evans, a black
permaculturalist and social entrepreneur who has put together a Fab
Lab called Incite Focus. The main project was to use sophisticated but
cheap computer-controlled wood- and metal-working equipment to make
an integrated house and winter vegetable garden powered by the sun.
Cost: around $10,000 if the labor is done by the future inhabitants.
These kinds of houses fit the low-density, off-the-grid conditions of
a bankrupt metropolis, and the mode of construction forges new skills
among the population. Home-made cars getting 100 miles to the gallon
are also under development, in the city that GM built. From Evans'
viewpoint, corporations make poor people sell their work wholesale and
buy their lives back retail - a losing equation, if you're allowed to
participate in the job system at all. Incite Focus seeks to develop
micro-manufacturing capacities that can meet local needs through a new
kind of labor activity, known as "community production."

For the first time in my life, I got a real taste of the constructive
imagination. What's being envisioned, and not just by Evans, is
a way to generate grassroots resilience in the face of organized
abandonment. Instead of denying the machines we live by, as
traditional environmentalism has done, the idea is to foster a social
ecology of machinic empowerment, at grips with the problems of race
and class (quite unlike most CNC technology projects). Community
production is conceived in light of climate chaos and offered as a
practical model at a time of penury and everyday disaster. Pragmatic
goals are used to measure success or failure. The project brings
racial justice issues directly to grips with the emerging forms of
industrial activity on which a decarbonized future can be founded.
This means that without betraying vital self-interest, people can
place themselves on a pathway that implies basic changes in social
relations over the middle term, notably breaking the vice-grip of
mass-manufacturing and power-generation conglomerates. This kind of
technology can become useful far beyond the United States, wherever
labor and invention power are needed to fill the gaps left by a
collapsing corporate state. On the horizon of such an experiment is
a new social form, able to provide multi-scale support networks for
productive communities.

Deep unfulfilled aspirations merge with complex organizations to take
up daily struggles. This is something more than critique or utopia.
The model of a new world is in the palm of your hand, feel it there.
It's a living picture, but also a tool for building something new.

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info:
#  archive: contact:
#  @nettime_bot tweets mail w/ sender unless #ANON is in Subject: