Draft text in-progress (post being updated)
Production of revolutionary (emancipatory-liberating) subject and subject of revolutionary (emancipatory-liberating) production Continue reading
Networked Labour University is designed as an educational module to be integrated with a broader network composed of Global Networked Labour Union, Networked Labour Research unit, and networked labour coop GNLU. Tied to a greater ecology of universal, free and open access community projects, such as Faircoop, the Earth Cooperative, all our projects aim mutual empowerment at the bottom level. Unconditional empowerment of the dis-empowered, excluded, and oppressed with direct solidarity is the reason why we exist for. Our platform is designed to liberate knowledge from alienation and domination of any kind at the point of production and distribution. In order to enable money-free access to most essential cultural resources we rely on free/libre, open source software, but the platform also aims to facilitate broader solidarity economy by encouraging and enabling open-cooperative exchanges between participants.
Our invitation is an wide open one, anyone can join and contribute by offering and taking courses, moderating circles or skill shares, helping out with web design, platform development, promotion, or any other way!
Date: 7 May 2015
Time: 14.00 – 17.00 (ECT / UCT+1)
Check-ins (14:00 – 14:15)
Opening and presentation of the system (14:15 – 15:00)
Networked Labour University and Worker to Worker Study Circles
Discussion (15:15 – 16:45)
How to use cross-border communication and which digital tools to build commons knowledge, culture, politics, and economy for the classless society and from the oppressed point of view?
Closing and Check-outs (16:45 – 17:00)
Access: Participation is on-line, open and free. What you need to do to is to open an account on the website below and to selfenrol for the event before. Working languages are English/Turkish
On the Creative Question – Nine Theses
By Geert Lovink, Sebastian Olma and Ned Rossiter
‘Culture attracts the worst impulses of the moneyed, it has no honor, it begs to be suburbanized and corrupted’. ― Thomas Pynchon, Bleeding Edge
‘We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars’. ― Oscar Wilde
1. Goodbye to Creative Industries
A creepy discourse on creativity has captured cultural and economic policy. Creativity invokes a certain pharmacological numbness among its spruikers – a special sub-species entirely unaware of how far removed their version of creativity is from radical invention and social transformation. Their claims around the science of economy are little more than a shoddy con. While ‘creativity’ is increasingly seen as a main driver of economic development, the permanent reference to creative classes, creative cities, creative industries, creative innovations and so on has rendered the notion all but meaningless. Degraded to a commercial and political marketing tool, the semantic content of creativity has been reduced to an insipid spread of happy homogeneity – including the right amount of TED-styled fringe misfits and subcultures – that can be bureaucratically regulated and ‘valorized’. To this rhetoric corresponds a catalogue of ‘sectors’ and ‘clusters’ labelled as creative industries: a radically disciplined and ordered subdomain of the economy, a domesticated creative commons where ‘innovators’ and ‘creatives’ harmoniously co-mingle and develop their auto-predictive ‘disruptions’ of self-quantification, sharing and gamification. Conflict is anathema to the delicate sensibilities of personas trading in creative consultancy.
2. Welcome to the Creative Question
The creative question has replaced the social question. In the 20th century the consequences and problems of industrial capitalism found a temporary solution in the class compromise of the welfare state. In digital capitalism we have to address the social question in terms of the creative question: what is today’s source of value and who owns it? We need to turn the pompous, meaningless chatter on creativity into a debate on how to come out on the positive side of the digital pharmakon (the nuanced combination of all things good and evil). To those who tell you ‘how we are going to live twenty years from now’, shout them down with ideas of how you want to live in twenty years!
SWEATSHOPS, PICKET LINES, AND BARRICADES will bring together designers, labor organizers, theorists, social entrepreneurs, historians, legal scholars, independent researchers, cultural producers and perspectives from workers themselves to discuss emerging forms of mutual aid and solidarity.
The third in The New School’s Politics of Digital Culture Conference Series Sponsored by The New School and The Institute for Distributed Creativity.
Over the past decade, advancements in software development, digitization, an increase in computer processing power, faster and cheaper bandwidth and storage, and the introduction of a wide range of inexpensive, wireless-enabled computing devices and mobile phones, set the global stage for emerging forms of labor that help corporations to drive down labor costs and ward off the falling rate of profits.
Companies like CrowdFlower, oDesk, or Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk serve as much more than payment processors or interface providers; they shape the nature of the tasks that are performed. Work is organized against the worker. Recent books included The Internet as Playground and Factory (Scholz, 2013), Living Labor (Hoegsberg and Fisher) based on the exhibition Arbeitstid that took place in Oslo in 2013 and Cognitive Capitalism, Education, and Digital Labour (Peters, Bulut, et al, eds., Peter Lang, 2011). In 2012, the exhibition The Workers was curated by MASS MOCA in the United States. Christian Fuchs’ book Digital Labor and Karl Marx is forthcoming with Routledge.
Several events have been organized in the last few years to focus on these developments: Digital Labor: the Internet as Playground and Factory conference (The New School, New York City, 2009 http://digitallabor.org), Digital Labor: Workers, Authors, Citizens (Western University, London, Ontario, Canada, 2009), Invisible Labor Colloquium (Washington University Law School, 2013), Towards Critical Theories of Social Media (Uppsala University, Sweden, 2012), Re:publica (Berlin, 2013), and the Chronicles of Work lecture series at Schloß Solitude (Stuttgart, Germany, 2012/2013).
We would like to continue and elaborate on these discussions by raising the following questions:
via Digital Labor.
Below text is an excpert from unpublished and unedited 2012 article Another World, Now! Coming of the Transnational REvolutions and the P2P Prince.
The modern prince, the myth-prince, cannot be a real person, a concrete individual. It can only be an organism, a complex element of society in which a collective will, which has already been recognised and has to some extent asserted itself in action, begins to take concrete form. (A. Gramsci)
Italian political activist and theorist Antonio Gramsci’s core concepts like hegemony, organic crisis, historic bloc, war of position and war of manoeuvre are central to our understanding of today’s complex global capitalist system as well as the catastrophic changes that are currently taking place in it. Referring to the original concept developed by Gramsci, global political economy theorist Stephen Gill describes the 2008 global financial turmoil as the manifestation of an organic crisis at the global level.  We can also read the outcomes of the global organic crisis following another neo-Gramscian theorist Robert Cox as a mixture of three scenarios he describes. First one is a global (military) Keynesian recovery being pushed by the West. Regional wars moving from the periphery to the centre involving massive destruction of lives, cities and the nature, as we witness it happening since the 9/11. The second scenario is the rise of global fascism in tandem with the regional wars. This has also been happening, especially increasingly in the centre, since 2007; highlighting the race to the bottom caused by the strengthening of totalitarian forms of capitalism at the main contenders like China, Russia and India. Finally and the last scenario is accompanying transnational revolutions, like the uprisings in the northern Africa, Americas and Europe also happening.
What brought humanity to this point is not a secret and also made clear by many thinkers, intellectuals, and activists. The above mentioned article by Gill is only one of the public records. It is very clear however where we have to drive history as the humanity, the third option: Transnational revolutions. Again, following Gramsci and Gill, we can think of the realisation of the transnational revolutions in relation to the ‘Prince’. For his time Gramsci thought of it as the collective subjectivity which will give the moral leadership to a wider counter-hegemonic historic bloc, and shape the form and content of the communist revolution in a national context. And it was the communist part of the working class. Gill referred to the anti- and alter-globalisation movement. Continue reading
Independents Unite! – Preview Edition Now Available
The preview edition of Independents Unite! Inside the Freelancers’ Rights Movement is now available for download. This preview edition includes five chapters. Further chapters will be released in future editions of the book.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Around the world, independent workers are getting organized. No longer an ignorable minority in society, freelancers are waking up to the potential power within their growing number. They are combining through online communities, campaign groups, incorporated associations and even proto-unions to exert influence over their conditions.
Independents Unite! Inside the Freelancers Rights Movement, by Joel Dullroy and Anna Cashman, introduces the concept of the collective empowerment of freelancers. The book provides an overview of the existing elements of the freelancers’ movement, with comparisons of the organizations and campaigns currently at work and the goals they are striving to achieve. It lays out the conditions which have led to the growth of the freelancing workforce to show how the current situation has been purposefully created through political decisions, and can therefore be altered and improved by the same means.
With a foundational text in place, critical discussions on the topic of independent worker rights can continue to develop, in symbiosis with the freelancers’ movement itself.
This preview edition includes five complete chapters:
Introducing the Freelancers’ Movement
How Many? Counting Freelancers
Pushed: How Politics and Ideology Created the Freelancing Grey Zone
The Reaction Begins: How Freelancers are Getting Organized
Case Study: Freelancers Union
The book is available as a free download, in both PDF format and .mobi format for Kindle readers. Supporters may also select to pay a donation to help the authors complete their research and writing.
Download free e-book – €0.00
Supporter – download book with donation – €5.00
Big Supporter – download book with donation – €10.00
Everyday co-operation is the idea that life is underpinned by instinctive and generally unacknowledged co-operation between individuals: from tacit agreements about letting one another past on pavements or the unconscious decision not to hoard the spoons at work to the reciprocity that allows people to trust one another, lend books to one another, and so on.
Everyday co-operation is an essential part of everyday life. Many of those people studying the ‘science of co-operation’ – an area of study now encompassing evolutionary biology, game theory, economics, sociology, political science and much else besides – tell us that the reason for everyday co-operation is because people are rational and self-interested, and therefore will pursue the strategy that best realises their interests.
Short-term it might be most beneficial to hoard spoons, not return a book your friend lent you or renege on an informal agreement with a colleague. But long-term these strategies will backfire, so it makes sense to co-operate. It’s what also called reciprocal altruism and I’ve referred to as economic co-operation.*
This idea – that it’s in the long-term best interests of people to co-operate and work together – is not only an important part of the functioning of society, arguably awareness of it is also behind some recent business thinking: the increasing interest in employee ownership as a way of engaging and increasing the productivity of workers, for example, Michael Porter’s concept of businesses delivering ‘shared value’ to suppliers, customers and staff, Unilever’s ‘enlightened capitalism’ or innovations that involve customers or users in ‘co-producing’ a good or service.
Everyday co-operation is everywhere and pretty much non-controversial. It’s a good thing. It makes things run smoothly. And it makes our lives better than a world where short-term self-interest ruled all (which would probably be “nasty, brutish and short” as Thomas Hobbes put it in 1651). Few people would disagree that the world needs everyday co-operation.
Calafou is dedicated to encourage productive projects related with our ideas about ecology (environmental care, waste management, etc.), social economy, assemblies and a list of other requirements specified in this document. All productive projects are presented and coordinated through the Projects workgroup, and are then proposed for approval at Calafou’s general assembly.
Collective projects (which profits go for the colony), autonomous projects (initiatives from a person or a specific collective), and collective spaces (which enable project development or are the framework for community life) all coexist in Calafou. Some current projects are: the social center; Circe, a chemistry lab for research and production of soaps, oleates and essences; the hacklab, a place for collective work and learning; the serigraphy workshop; the collective workshop. All of them have been developed by Calafou’s inhabitants.
Among the projects for self-provision or sale we have home-made preserves, marmalades, or bread. There are also autonomous projects such as the garage “El noi del sucre“ or the MutangerLab (electronics, welding, and more).
Central shed which harbors:
via Projects | Calafou.
I have received the below open letter from someone who is very well-known by devoting his life time efforts to international and global solidarity and social emancipation: Peter Waterman. Peter, though, did put a stress on labour internationalism of which he saw that the solidarity between unions is only one and a small part in the broad picture. Coming from a Jewish family himslef he, has been openly critical of Zionism and Israel’s ever-expanding a barbaric occupation on Palestinian territory.
Peter had been actively blogging about global labour and union solidarity in his blog page on Unionbook, since 2008-9. I say he ‘had’ because, the ‘owner’ of the Unionbook and its mother project LabourStart, Eric Lee, self-claiming ‘democratic socialist’ yet who is also known with his over sympathy to the Israeli state, who is the owner and the administrator of the Unionbook did ban Waterman’s user account two days ago. Eric created the Unionbook on Ning servers, which belongs to the corporation owned by Zuckerberg’s ex-partner -also the creator of Napster. Altouhg Unionbook thought as a social network site for all the unionists of the world it did manage to attract at around 5600 international unionist as its users. Lee cut off Peter’s communication, as Israel cuts off Gazza’s roads, food and electriciry. So now Peter has no access to his acount, pages, posts etc. on Unionbook, so he can not responde this move using his own blog page.
In the below open letter Peter makes a guess about the possible reason behind this ‘occupation’ of his cybersland by Lee and invites him to discuss the issue publicly -may be a ‘two network admin solution’ (?). According to Peter Waterman the ban came right after he re-blogged Lee’s own article where Lee openly supports recent war/sate-terrorism launched on Gazza. Waterman gives details from his perspective and indicates the limits of the marriage between ideologies like Zionism, as well as other nationalisms and internationalism.
Now you can read on, as Peter always sez:
From South Africa to Brazil, from Italy to the US, in Uruguay, Greece, Norway, the UK and in many other countries, municipal councils are taking services back under public control. Public Service workers and their fellow community members are not only defending public services but are also struggling to make them democratic and responsive to the people’s needs and desires.
This report co-published by Public Services international and the Transnational Institute surveys anti-privatisation campaigns by PSI affiliates around the world. From South Africa to Brazil, from Italy to the US, in Uruguay, Greece, Norway, the UK and in many other countries, municipal councils are taking services back under public control.
Over the past 30 years, since Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan gained office, it is clear that the problems the welfare state was designed to alleviate – hunger, disease, unemployment, poor living conditions – have thrived once again, as these dogmatically pro-market politicians drove the destruction of the model. In the case of too much of the Global South, their ideology contributed to blocking attempts to build public services where they are most needed.
It is now clear that public service managers and local politicians, those taking decisions on the front line of public services, are in practice rejecting the claims of private business and their political champions. They are asserting pragmatically an understanding of ‘efficiency’ that is based on a different logic from that of private commercial accounting. Instead it is grounded in an understanding of the distant concept of ‘public value’ – the meeting of social needs – as the central criteria for efficiency in the management of public services. This turning point is drawn from their everyday experience of the failure of services delivered by private business.
How can we strengthen this pragmatic – and still modest – turn away from privatisation, to challenge the national and international institutions that continue to drive outsourciing and impose it on an increasingly disaffected public? And how can this pragmatic rejection of the private market in the sphere of public goods become a source of energy and creativity, sparking a process of improving and expanding public services to meet the new needs and desires that have emerged in recent decades? These are the questions which this booklet seeks to answer.
In an unprecedented and inspiring demonstration of workers’ solidarity, fast food workers around the world took coordinated global strike action today.
From New York to Mumbai, from Paris to Tokyo, fast food workers and their supporters picketed their workplaces. They are striking against a fast food industry – dominated by big names like McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut and KFC – that makes huge profits while keeping workers on low wages and in precarious jobs.
This may be the first time in history that workers have taken simultaneous strike action against the same multinational companies in so many different countries. It is a welcome dose of union internationalism, aided by social media. Fast food workers around the world have been spreading messages of their actions, and words of solidarity, using the #FastFoodGlobal hashtag. By late afternoon it was the number one trending topic on twitter – the most talked about thing on social media. This is the first time a trade union campaign has achieved this. It is a huge success for us to celebrate: poverty pay has been put firmly on the agenda.
When: 10:00, 14 May 2014
Preparatory and test call for planning the ‘Organizing digital labour & digital labour organizing’ workshop. The actual workshop is being planned to take place in Berlin between 23-25 May 2014, during Labour Start‘s 5. Global Solidarity Conference.
To open up the preparation process for the workshop as wide as possible and to allow those interested online participants to test and practice with the online system we will be using, we will be making several test conference calls in coming days. The first call will take place on Wednesday 14 May, between 10.00 am and 15.00 pm [UK time], so wider global participation will be possible during the day.
The draft description of the workshop, which we be taken as the starting point, can be found at ‘Union Upgrading’ Group Wiki created on Organizing Network -which we will be testing and using to document the workshop and the preperation, and to take the minutes. If you like to participate the preparatory call, and the workshop itself please add your name, affiliation, contact information, and any ideas or suggestion of yours on the wiki and click on ‘Save’. In order to be able to use all the functions of the Organizing Network, for instance the wiki, you will need to register first. Please read the user guide for the ON here.
The test call is open to all unionists, labour organizers, social justice activists, free information and knowledge [h]activists, researchers who are interested in and experienced on the topic. The call is especially set up for those who wish to actively collaborate in the preparation of the content of the workshop, and who needs to practice with the digital tools we will be using.
by Roshan Bliss, SUNDAY, 20 APRIL 2014 14:59
Earlier this month at the Labor Notes Conference, rank and file labor leaders announced for the first time the creation of the Network for Social Justice Unionism (NSJU), a new infrastructure that unionists concerned with advancing social justice beyond the workplace hope to use to organize for a shift in the way the labor movement operates.
The NSJU seeks to encourage the creation of social justice caucuses in union locals across the nation and to establish working relationships between those caucuses to be able to support each other’s struggles. Together, these caucuses hope to create an movement inside of organized labor that pushes union leaders across the country to do more to see that union power benefits not just workers themselves, but also the communities that unions are embedded in and rely upon.
Plans for the NSJU have been in the works for over a year, and NSJU members are optimistic that their work will not only be enthusiastically received by workers and social justice activists, but that it could eventually transform and revitalize an aging labor movement. The NSJU effort has its roots in recent struggles for change led by teachers, but seeks to encourage workers of all kinds to commit to lending their knowledge, resources, and influence to other ongoing struggles for justice beyond their workplaces.
This interview with Dmytri Kleiner, conducted by KMO for his C-Realm Podcast, was transcripted by Guerrilla Translation at KMO’s request. The audio was, unfortunately, unusable for the podcast because of background noise, but the resulting interview was too good to not to share. The following is re-posted from the C-Realm blog.
KMO: You are listening to the C-Realm Podcast, I am your host, KMO, and I’m speaking with Dmytri Kleiner, venture capitalist and miscommunications technologist. Dmytri, welcome to the C-Realm Podcast.
Dmytri: Thank you, but that’s “venture communist.”
Did I say “capitalist?”
It’s an easy mistake.
You know, I’ve read the phrase “venture communist” several times in the past few hours in preparing for this interview, and yeah… it just rolled out “venture capitalist,” didn’t it?
So, Dmytri Kleiner, “Venture Communist” – what does that mean?
Well, it’s sort of the name of a research project I started awhile ago. My background comes from the social justice movement of the 90s. I was part of some of the kinds of hacker groups that eventually became things like Indymedia, and stuff that we called technology affinity groups. At that time there was something going on called the dotcom boom, that you probably remember. A lot of us who were part of these hacker affinity groups supporting activist projects were working for these dotcoms.
Importantly, as Tamara Kay made clear, just because there is economic restructuring at the international level as in the case of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), this does not automatically lead to transnational solidarity between different national labour movements. Hence, some discussions at the workshop revolved around the obstacles to transnational solidarity.
Economic restructuring, rather than facilitating transnational solidarity, may actually be an obstacle in itself. Capitalism is subject to periodic crises. In order to overcome crises, there is a constant tendency towards outward expansion to integrate or re-integrate in novel forms peripheral spaces into capitalist development. This development, however, occurs along uneven and combined lines. It is combined in that peripheral development is driven by dynamics in the core and it is uneven in that the difference in development between core and periphery constantly increases. As a result, different national labour movements find themselves in rather different locations in the global economy leading to potentially different interests.
We have returned!
On 17 June 2011, I was invited to address the Syntagma Square occupation in Athens. After the talks, following the usual procedure, members of the occupation who had their number drawn came to the front to speak to the 10,000 people present. One man in particular was shaking and trembling with evident symptoms of stagefright before his address. He then proceeded to give a beautiful talk in perfectly formed sentences and paragraphs, presenting a complete and persuasive plan for the future of the movement.
“How did you do it?” I asked him later. “I thought you were going to collapse.”
“When I started speaking,” he replied nonchalantly, “I was mouthing the words but someone else was speaking. A stranger inside me was dictating what to say.”
Many participants in the recent insurrections and revolts make similar statements. My recent work addresses this stranger in me (a usual description of the unconscious), this miraculous transubstantiation shared by people in different parts of the world. 
A social network isn’t a neutral space. It is designed for a purpose, and that purpose is ideological.
Is your social network designed by techies, out of a pure love for seeing what is technologically possible? Is it designed to bring people together, to help them organise? Or is it designed to sell them things, and to collect data? Or, more insidiously, is it designed to give the illusion of bringing people together, so that it can sell things and collect data?
If it’s collecting data, what is the date being used for? Sociological research? Control and surveillance? Marketing? Or is it to help people organise politically?
All technology is political, and it’s useful to think through the politics if we are going to use it. This will help us to stay in control, and not be manipulated by subtle design elements.
So what is the politics of, say, Facebook? I guess is it essentially classically liberal – generally, it likes to give a platform for free speech, and favours the free market. It is dotcom neoliberalism, cyber hipster libertarianism, that some theorists have labelled “the Californian ideology“.
All the fists of the world are GNUniting!
First Brainstorm – Online Meeting This Sunday at 13.00 PM GMT
We are the workers whose free labour and privacy has been stolen, and sold
for greed! We have been abused, spied on and betrayed constantly. Before
this massive exploitation and surveillance machine turns into a global
apparatus in the hands of fascism, being operationalized for direct
oppression, we have to unite our fists and strike back!
This May Day is the time… How and what is not decided yet, there are
initial ideas but much is needed to put the global collective intelligence
at work to defend our and our children’s rights and dignity! Join us this
Sunday and bring your most free, creative, powerful and peaceful ideas and
dreams along… We did beat Freon, Caesars, Barons, Kings, Emperors,
Merchants, Industrial Capitalists and Nazis in the past, we can beat the
TNCs, CEOs and 1% as well!
We call all the workers, hackers, makers, farmers, artists, indignant and
outraged to GNUnite all their constructive capacity around the most
spectacular free libre and open sourced swarm to fight back and win!
Hasta la Siempre Victoria!