djones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Fri Sep 22 14:00:10 MDT 1995
In my previous post, I only wanted to say that from Marx's writings, we can
indeed explain why technology becomes an autonomous force, oblivious to
human need. Perhaps only Marx--not Marxists--has provided a theory of the
autonomization of technology.
Such a theory is sadly lacking in the Manifesto; we are given no clear
structural reasons for exactly why technological progress--and exactly what
sort of technological progress--has become autonomous; but perhaps the
Unabomber is looking to follow his Manifesto with a theoretical work such
as Technology: A Critique of Progress. He will have to avoid the FBI (and
carbuncles) for some time! But will the public libraries remain open?
I also raised the question, ignored by the Unabomber but central to Marx,
of the relationship between technological progress and value-based
relations of exploitation: are they internally related for example?
But what has most thrown me is the Unabomber's emphasis on power process,
small groups and the individual. I understand that the FBI has concluded
that the Unabomber was most influenced by Marx and Veblen, but as I was
reading it last night, I was reminded of a great, great anarchist critic of
Bolshevism: Simone Weil. I was deeply influenced by her before I had been
socialized by Capital! Almost in flight from myself, I have never read her
The Need for Roots.
About a decade ago, as a lower-division student, I remember reading Weil's
Oppression and Liberty and then the following week Schumpeter's Capitalism,
Socialism and Democracy. I have never been able to shake my hatred for
that great bourgeois mind.
I think that it is best for us to at least remember that despite the great
humanitarianism of people like the Webbs, Sartre, Grossmann and others who
turned to the Soviet Union-- there were others thinkers, so profoundly
human in their concerns that they turned away from modern industrial
society altogether after the horrors of imperialism, Taylorism and fascism.
Simone Weil was one of those thinkers. She repays study. But if I
remember correctly, she was a pacifist!
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