Luther Blissett on Wed, 3 Dec 1997 21:27:11 +0100 (MET)

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<nettime> Negri & Guattari

I've just found out that Negri & Guattari's book was published in English by
Autonomedia with the crappiest title I've ever seen: "Communists Like Us".
My gosh! Anyway, the book may be useful for Richard's next re-mixes of TPOHF.

A footnote to my previous net-time posting, which was still a little bit

According to 'autonomist' marxism, every technological 'advancement' is also
a response to proletarian insurgence or, at worst, resistance, and so is the
following cultural/anthropological transformation.
Capital can't do anything by itself: it is a vampire that needs fresh blood,
it has to exploit and/or recuperate the society's energies.

The latest waves of technological innovation were the historical result of
the ongoing friction between workers' struggles (firstly fordist
mass-workers, lately post-fordist 'diffused' workers and intellectual
proletarians) & capitalist development.  Living labour was increasingly
objectified and turned into fixed capital, but the part which 'stayed alive'
got potentially uncontrollable, until the traditional dialectics of social
conflict fell apart. 

One of the reasons why the factories began to accelerate their
decentralisation/automatisation in the seventies was because the work-force
had become either openly riotous or subtly 'defeatist', unreliable. There's
a huge amount of oral history about the undetectable tactics mass workers
used to sabotage the assembly line in order to slow down production and take
some rest. From the managers' point of view, that was what a modern
operaista would call "a waste of general intellect". Such "proletarian
knowledge" might be recuperated into production. That's what Toyotism is
about: the workers are exhorted to make a 'collaborative' use of their
first-hand knowledge of the machinery. Instead of using errors and  flaws to
sabotage production, they are requested to find solutions, and are rewarded
with a rise in their salary. It is called "Total Quality".

Since the accumulation of relative surplus-value has changed the whole
society (and not only the workplace), we've got a new version of the "social
factory", that is the "information society", and obviously a
"net-production". This newest sub-mode of production is increasingly
generating new, subtler tactics of grassroots sabotage, as well as new ways
of repressing/defusing/recuperating them (even videogame-exterminating
software hunting games on the employees' computers and automatically
deleting them so that the bastards won't waste time), but this time it's
happening on a higher, non-dialectical level.


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