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<nettime> review of N&H's Empire [Newmedia, DeLong, Henwood]
nettime's juvenile digesta on Thu, 14 Mar 2002 03:21:34 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> review of N&H's Empire [Newmedia, DeLong, Henwood]



   Re: <nettime> A review of Negri and Hardt's Empire from an anarchist perspect...
     Newmedia {AT} aol.com                                                                

   Re: <nettime> A review of Negri and Hardt's Empire from an anarchist perspective
     Bradford DeLong <jbdelong {AT} uclink.berkeley.edu>                                  

   Re: <nettime> A review of Negri and Hardt's Empire from an  anarchist perspectiv
     Doug Henwood <dhenwood {AT} panix.com>                                               



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Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 13:57:25 EST
From: Newmedia {AT} aol.com
Subject: Re: <nettime> A review of Negri and Hardt's Empire from an anarchist perspect...

Doug:

> . . . but to counter a lot of overheated perceptions of 
> postmateriality that are almost everywhere you turn, 
> whether it's to Alan Greenspan or Irish anarchists.

Remember the Hippies?  The BEATS?  What were they up to?  Living in the crux 
of a conflict between the *mechanical* and the *electronic*?  A long time ago 
. . . 

But, we never throw anything away, do we?  How long should this conflict go 
on?  Forever?

Greenspan was once one of a small handful of close disciples of Ayn Rand.  
That was his Hippie.  His BEAT.  Ayn Rand was nothing more than a raging 
conflict with the industrial (mechanical) uniformity of her Soviet past.  So, 
she (and Greenspan) became post-industrial.  Electronic.  Post-modern.  Which 
is why we hear him droning on about "technology that improves productivity" 
today.  He's post-industrial.  It's his job.

But these are old conflicts.

No matter how many times it is hoicked up again and again on nettime as the 
"anarchists of the Left" shadow box with the "anarchists of the Right," it is 
still an old conflict . . . a conflict of our youth.  

When the HARDWARE first fought with the SOFTWARE.

But, what are the new conflicts?  The CONFLICTS of the PRESENT?

Aren't you curious,

Mark Stahlman
New York City




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Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2002 10:04:01 -0800
From: Bradford DeLong <jbdelong {AT} uclink.berkeley.edu>
Subject: Re: <nettime> A review of Negri and Hardt's Empire from an anarchist perspective

>The point is not that info tech hasn't infiltrated old
>economy production - clearly it has. It's everywhere. But the
>experience of being a truck driver or an assembly line worker is not
>predominantly one of "inellectual, immaterial, or communicative"
>labor. They involve lots of mind-numbing manual work in the world of
>things. It's easy for intellectuals to forget this. In this passage,
>I also pointed out that about half of humanity lives in the rural
>Third World, where the main occupation is tilling the soil. Such
>workers barely appear in Empire, if at all.
>
>I say this not out of hostility to the book, in which I find a lot to
>admire, but to counter a lot of overheated perceptions of
>postmateriality that are almost everywhere you turn, whether it's to
>Alan Greenspan or Irish anarchists.
>
>Doug

With respect to being a truck driver or a grocery store 
scanner-driven checkout clerk, "postmateriality" shows up as your 
bosses knowing exactly where you are, or how many items you have 
scanned in the past minute. It shows up as real-time maps showing 
where you are or where you need to go, or as an enormous reduction in 
the cognitive commodity price memorization load of the job. Those are 
important changes. With respect to the rural Third World... Stan 
Fischer said in the late summer of 2000 that what struck him the most 
was that he no longer thought it weird for his phone to ring while he 
was in a canoe in the Niger Delta and for Michel Camdessus to be on 
the line, or for him to be watching the Republican National 
Convention on the banks of the Zambezi one evening, and then going in 
to the villages the following day and finding that the village elders 
had also been watching the RNC and had strong views about it.

It's not all sweetness, it's not all light, it's not the 
transformation of work into "intellectual, immaterial, and 
communicative" labor. But something is coming...


Brad DeLong


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Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2002 13:37:57 -0500
From: Doug Henwood <dhenwood {AT} panix.com>
Subject: Re: <nettime> A review of Negri and Hardt's Empire from an  anarchist perspective

Bradford DeLong wrote:

>With respect to being a truck driver or a grocery store 
>scanner-driven checkout clerk, "postmateriality" shows up as your 
>bosses knowing exactly where you are, or how many items you have 
>scanned in the past minute. It shows up as real-time maps showing 
>where you are or where you need to go, or as an enormous reduction 
>in the cognitive commodity price memorization load of the job. Those 
>are important changes. With respect to the rural Third World... Stan 
>Fischer said in the late summer of 2000 that what struck him the 
>most was that he no longer thought it weird for his phone to ring 
>while he was in a canoe in the Niger Delta and for Michel Camdessus 
>to be on the line, or for him to be watching the Republican National 
>Convention on the banks of the Zambezi one evening, and then going 
>in to the villages the following day and finding that the village 
>elders had also been watching the RNC and had strong views about it.
>
>It's not all sweetness, it's not all light, it's not the 
>transformation of work into "intellectual, immaterial, and 
>communicative" labor. But something is coming...

And something is already here. No question about that. But the first 
things you mention - knowing just where a driver is, or how many 
items a cashier has scanned - is a kind of nightmare perfection of 
Taylorism. Or to mix symbolic personages, Henry Ford would be jealous 
of this control over workers. As for Stan Fischer in the Niger Delta, 
sure he can take a call, but it's doubtful many of the peasants he 
could see (if he bothered to look) would be so positioned. For 
Fischer, it's kind of a nightmare perfection of colonialism. If Kurtz 
had had a satellite phone, he might not be dead!

Doug


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