Tom Keene on Thu, 26 Sep 2019 11:25:09 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Supreme Court Rulling consequeces

My experience of dealing with UK local authority housing managment has encountered a domain of large scale cartels with complex layers of contractors and sub-contractors in a hyper-accelerated efficiency drive. This efficiency has driven down the pay of contractors who sub-contract to an unskilled and underpaid workforce - Stuart Hodkinsons book "Safe as Houses: Private Greed, Political Negligence and Housing Policy" provides excellent commentary on the worst affects of this. Not least of which, London's Grenfell tower tragedy that saw the deaths of 72 people. The narrative that comes from Grenfell residents of being ignored and dismissed by both the political and executive arm of government in the run up to the fire, chimes with my own experience of housing managment. 

Whats this got to with Brexit or networks you might ask? Well, the administration of housing managment is facilitated by network infrastructures, database technologies, and handheld devices. This distributes decision-making and introduces ways of optimising throughput of workers and residents reporting repairs. This infrastructure eliminates housing estate caretakers  in favour of remote call centres that are separated from the ethical implications of their decisions. The focus of housing managment is now directed towards metrics of completed repairs jobs rather than the quality of those jobs and the people they affect - throughput is king. 

Faced with this housing network infrastructure, it is near impossible for the predominantly working class communities  to contest poor repairs or inadvisable decisions over refurbishment or regeneration - Grenfell provides stark example of this. It is reported that police have seized over 30 million documents in their investigation. To cope with this volume of information the police have had to introduce database technologies operating over network infrastructure.  This scale of information is clearly a product of technical systems that enable such complexity to occur. Even council officers are unclear how the technical systems they use every day operate and they certainly are not versed in the ethical or political implications of those technologies. 

What hope do residents have of fighting these systems and wall of data? What hope do residents have in a political class where predominantly labour councils are demolishing council housing (over 200 council estate in London alone) and 'decanting' their residents across the country?  What hope is there when distinction between a left and right political class no longer makes sense because the left is no longer defending communities against the excesses of a capitalism accelerated by network technologies? Its not AI we need to worry about 'right now', its the dull infrastructure of government and the intricate ways its affecting democratic processes.  

Communities have lost hope because they are being beaten  by both left and right wing politics that attacks their very homes. I'm not surprised they vote for something like Brexit (I feel I have to say I voted remain on this list which I think says quite a lot...) - some kind of change is hoped for because the promises of the left and right are meaninglessness when your home is under threat by all parties. Where were the large scale marches against Britain's austerity drive or working class communities being driven from their homes regeneration? Plenty of communities continue to cry out for help, but the lack of solidarity from predominantly middle class groups is deafening. Yet, a climate crises has gained large-scale support (and rightly so) though the lack of engagement and understanding of issues of social justice from again, predominantly middle class groups, is striking. I'm not saying working class communities are not bothered by climate change or Brexit, clearly people are. Rather, there is an tacit understanding in those communities that systems of inequality are reproducing themselves in both climate and 'brexit remain' campaigns - the network with all its components is a huge components (human or otherwise) of how those inequalities are enacted.   


On Wed, 25 Sep 2019, at 3:20 PM, tbyfield wrote:
> On 25 Sep 2019, at 8:11, David Garcia wrote:
> > Sorry nettime (press delete anyone who has a life and so is 
> > uninterested in UK politics and related constitutional/Brexit 
> > shenaningans)
> Felix and I have been thinking about shutting down nettime-l because (as 
> I'd put it, he may well differ) the list should preserve its historical 
> specificity and energy rather than devolve into yet another forum for 
> debates that are easily available in other venues. If you feel like you 
> need to open your mail with 'Sorry nettime' and tell people to delete 
> your mail, that's probably a good sign that what follows may not be so 
> productive in this context and maybe you should just delete it yourself. 
> I understand the urge to turn to the list as a 😹 semi-sane 😹 
> outlet; given how nakedly brutal politics have become, there's a good 
> chance that many others feel similar impulses. But the challenge, then, 
> is to talk about what's happening in ways that are relevant to a wider 
> range of people.
> Yesterday was a big day in the US, what with the Speaker of the House 
> committing to an impeachment process. But the avalanche of events it led 
> to that came fast and furious, and keep on coming, so the twists and 
> turns seem strangely weightless, as if everything could flip around in a 
> day or a week or vanish in a month. We could argue about what will 
> happen, but why bother? What I'd hear here would be a pale shadow of 
> regular fare on Facebook.
> That's not to say there's nothing nettimish about these subjects — 
> there could be. But if there is, I think it lies not in specific events 
> but in their generality: the emergence of transnational political 
> networks that are nakedly exploiting the creaky machinery of democracy 
> to subvert traditions, the speed with which aggressively rightist 
> national movements are leveraging each other's strategies, the fates of 
> entire nations becoming the latest bloody-minded 'season' of some global 
> infotainment franchise, the outsourcing of revanchism to hypercapitalist 
> 'makers' in ex-eastern regions, the rise of a neo–Children's Crusade 
> focused more on planetary discourses than the trite figure of the 
> 'local' as the field of action, the specter of military interventions in 
> the service of environmentalism, the ways that rampant disillusionment 
> is entangled with the self-historicizing impulses of graying radicals, 
> the transformation of cities, higher education, and the internet from 
> sites of liberation into machines of economic exploitation, the mutation 
> of art schools into retirement homes, the appropriation of squatting and 
> occupying tactics as impact-free cultural programming... That list could 
> (and should) go on, and — with a jolt of old-school collaborative 
> text-filtering — it could even bring some new energy and people to 
> this list. But stuff that smacks of remoaning – not just remoaning 
> about Brexit but remoaning about anything and everything – will just 
> waste whatever potential might be left.
> Nettime-l's info page[1] says 'no MIME-attachments,' but no one GAF 
> about MIME anymore, so maybe we should change it to something more 
> up-to-date like 'no attachments of any kind, sentimental included.'
> 	[1]
> Cheers,
> Ted
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