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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Location: Northwest Arkansas, United States

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Reality as Subversion

More Rushkoff.

We can take charge of the real reality they left behind. I mean the world we’re actually living in. The yards and streets and fingers and tongues. Let’s build bike lanes and barbecues, after school programs and AIDS care networks, places to play music and playgrounds for kids. They’re so busy monitoring the airwaves for signs of treason against the market or state that they’ve lost track of what’s happening between real people. Turn off your cell phone and speak to that guy sitting next to you on the bus. That’s about the most subversive thing you could do.

Instead, like well-meaning Pied Pipers, we play our tunes hoping the children might follow us instead of the other guy taking them off the cliff. But when we enter into that competition, we’re no better than the tune we can muster at that moment. If ours is more hypnotic or captivating than theirs, we win for the time being, and keep the kids believing our version of things until the next round.

And in entering that pissing contest, we deny ourselves the home field advantage. We live here, after all. If we can learn to sit still for a moment rather than following any of those phantoms, we can take over real reality, instead. It’s right here for the taking.

The technofascists, with Echelon, RFID chips, public surveillance cameras, and the like, have us under tighter surveillance at home than we could have imagined a generation ago; they have the globe under the closest thing to an unchallenged hegemony that's ever existed in history. In their wildest dreams, the PNAC types probably imagine a network orbital laser battle stations capable of incinerating ships and armed formations on the surface. Indeed, Ken Macleod depicts something like that as the basis of the US/UN Hegemony in The Star Fraction. But in Macleod's story, that Hegemony was overthrown in the end by asymmetrical warfare, fought by a loose coalition of insurgencies around the world. Their fluid guerrilla tactics never presented a a target for the orbital lasers; and they kept coming back with one offensive after another against the New World Order, until the cost of the constant counter-insurgency wars bled the U.S. economy dry.

I suspect that all these high-tech lines of defense, against would-be military rivals and against subversion at home, are a modern-day analog of the Maginot Line.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The truly maddening thing is that, for all this surveillance, anyone who really thinks about it knows we're not safe from the enemy. The more they clamp down, the more loopholes there are to exploit, and the more they clamp down. It's a really ugly cycle, and it's not going to get better any time soon.

- Josh

February 22, 2006 10:08 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Arguably, one reason nobody "connected the dots" was the sheer volume of information to be processed. So what's the solution? More layers of bureaucracy, and several orders of magnitude more information to process from all the new surveillance.

It's a lot like the publik skools using the prevalence of illiteracy, among all the kids they process, as an argument for more money to the publik skools.

Of course, while all the surveillance probably won't be any better at tipping the government off about an impending attack, it will make it a lot easier for them to harass and spy on people they ALREADY KNOW they don't like, in the event the feds reenact St. Woodrow's Red Scare.

February 22, 2006 1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The more they clamp down, the more loopholes there are to exploit, and the more they clamp down. "

Or as Princess Leia said, "The more you tighten your grip (Lord Vader), the more star systems are going to slip through your fingers."

February 28, 2006 10:32 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Well put, Anon. I'll probably be doing a post soon pointing to an analogous phenomenon in the workplace. The more management tries to cope with disgruntlement and direct action through internal surveillance and tracking, the more disgruntlement rises. It's a lot easier to shift one's sabotage efforts to the least effectively monitored areas than it is for management to play the whack-a-mole game. As worker disgruntlement rises, it's much more costly for management to create and adapt surveillance systems than for workers to evade them. It's a classic example of asymmetric warfare.

February 28, 2006 12:39 PM  

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