Technophobia & Socialism

Jose G. Perez jg_perez at SPAMbellsouth.net
Sun Jun 18 03:17:26 MDT 2000


> Should we be lovers and admirers of technology?       Or
technophobes
> and Luddites?       We should realize that the situation has
> fundamentally changed since the days of Marx and Engels, and even
the
> days of Lenin, Trotsky, and Mao.
>
> Technology holds no great inspiration and hope ahead for the masses
as
> in those times.      Only the de-acceleration of technology can
bring a
> return of hope.    It has been the construction of technology
without
> reason that has brought us into this realm of ecological nightmare
that
> faces us today.
>
> Let us marxists stop being the greatest cheerleaders of new
technology.
> It is akin to how the British and US CPs were the greatest patriots
in
> World War 2.

First, my apologies to all, and especially Mark, for having called a
sudden halt to the firefight of technical arguments with about the
science of global warming.

This was due, ironically, to the relentless march of progress. At the
beginning of the week, having been promised delivery by October 15
(?!), the UPS man brought me a DSL modem, which, of course, I had to
install and begin using it.

Let us say the installation did not go smoothly. I ended up having to
reformat the hard drive and reinstall EVERYTHING, after having done
numerous back ups of the stuff on the drive.

But it is just as well, because I don't think the most important
differences lie in the scientific details, but in our stance towards
the future.

Despite the assertion by Tony Abdo that times have changes since the
second half of the 1800s and the first decades of the 1900s, people
were making the same kinds of arguments about capitalism since this
system first arose. The stance taken by Tony, Mark Jones and others is
the modern day equivalent of the reactionary feudal socialists Marx
and Engels criticized in the Communist Manifesto.

In Mark's case, at least, it is coupled with a particularly virulent
case of "communist catastrophism"  or "ultimatism," the idea that
capitalism has entered a final and irremediable crisis from which it
has no way out.

The history of the first half of the century just concluded argues
eloquently against the idea that there are such crisis from which
capitalism cannot recover. If capitalism could recover from the
virtual razing of European and Japanese civilization in World War II
and the great worldwide depression that preceded it, it can recover
from anything, given the chance.

Anyone looking out from the ruins of Europe and Japan in 1945 who
would have predicted how things actually developed from there would
have been considered crazy. I think it is foolish to forecast
irremediable crisis of capitalist accumulation and so on.

As for Mark's point that capitalism is spinning out of control, etc.,
this has ALWAYS been true. Capitalism has ALWAYS been an irrational,
unstable system. It is constantly generating all kinds of
contradictions and crisis. But none will lead to an automatic collapse
of capitalism as a system.

Jose






----- Original Message -----
From: "Tony Abode" <aabdo at webtv.net>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Thursday, June 15, 2000 11:55 AM
Subject: Re: Technophobia & Socialism


> Carrol,
>
> I think that the tone of these 'questions' firmly puts YOU into this
> block of <we> that Mark was talking about.     It really should not
be
> so difficult to figure out who is in this <we>  that Mark criticizes
for
> being unwilling to accept the seriousness of the ecological crisis
that
> capitalism has put humankind into.
>
> As for as who might be the more solid block in this <we> than just
the
> individual Carrol?       It should obviously be the gigantic solid
block
> of Social Democractic liberals in the First World countries.
These
> are the 'Leftists' that seem to only be capable of piddling around
with
> the most limited and myiopic politics......Should we vote for Nader
or
> Gore this year?
>
> Mark stresses the reinforcement of imperialism as being of dire
> necessity to prop up First Wold psuedo-democracies in the near
future.
> This big bloc of <we> are the people that want a Left that avoids
the
> issue of opposing imperialism almost altogether.
>
> This gigantic bloc of Liberal minded 'Leftists' are those that want
to
> construct a better version of capitalism.     "Alarmism' is anathema
for
> them.     They still have total faith in what they consider to be
the
> benefits of technological progress that await them just around the
next
> corner!
> If only a few small glitches can be worked out......?!.
>
> This, unfortunately, is a faith that the Marxist movement has
> historically latched itself onto.       The capitalists can't do it
> right, just us... if we can only obtain worker's power!       Mark
made
> several points illustrating the naivete of thinking that there will
be
> any material basis what-so-ever ahead for the construction of these
'new
> societies".
>
> Yes, reality looks pretty grim.     But pretending otherwise cuts
off
> the ability to deal realistically with creating a serious
opposition.
> If society is just seen to be non-urgently meandering along as
always,
> then our politics will do the same.      That's one reason it has
been
> so hard to construct an anti-imperialist movement in the First
World.
> What's the rush?
>
> Should we be lovers and admirers of technology?       Or
technophobes
> and Luddites?       We should realize that the situation has
> fundamentally changed since the days of Marx and Engels, and even
the
> days of Lenin, Trotsky, and Mao.
>
> Technology holds no great inspiration and hope ahead for the masses
as
> in those times.      Only the de-acceleration of technology can
bring a
> return of hope.    It has been the construction of technology
without
> reason that has brought us into this realm of ecological nightmare
that
> faces us today.
>
> Let us marxists stop being the greatest cheerleaders of new
technology.
> It is akin to how the British and US CPs were the greatest patriots
in
> World War 2.     It is a prescription for ideological inertia
thinking
> that there is no real emergency for the planet ahead.      What
> unwholesome timidity...... Let's just build the trade unions now,
> Comrades????    Then we can get some environmental controls
legislated.
>
> We need to deconstruct an unwholesome technology that surrounds us
> everywhere.    A technology that tears apart society and ecology.
> It's more than just a question of control.      Do we even want most
of
> this crap that makes up the fabric of our lives?
>
> Do we even want to keep a communications technology that
communicates
> non-stop?     Do we want transportation that makes us move non-stop?
> Do we want a food technology that has us eating, eating, eating?
>
> We have to de-construct this techology without end.     It's going
> nowhere, and will deconstruct itself, even if we don't take the
> necessary steps, and do it ourselves.      Capitalism has
> overconstructed new technology, over constructed new 'desires'.
> And in doing so, capitalism has eaten the planet using an ill
considered
> technology.
>
> We should be able to admit as radical critics, that the technology
we
> will inherit in the coming total chaos, is almost entirely crap that
> will be of limited value anyway.      I don't see salvation in high
> tech.     Marx, and other Marxists of his time, were in total error
in
> believing that technology was what would liberate workers and
peasants
> from drudgery and illness.
>
> Marx might have been unable to foresee this nightmare world
capitalism
> has created.      But we should not hide our heads in sand regarding
the
> magnitude of the destruction.     It won't be possible within a
decade
> or two, anyway, as Mark clearly stated.
>
> With clear analysis of the problems, we can provide some sort of
> coherent ideology to fuel the explosive resistance ahead.    And
> anti-imperialism has got to be the new mainstay of resistance within
the
> First World, as well as the rest of the world.    Building an
> anti-imperialst coalition should be the Number One Priority of all
> Leftists.      We do this out of self interest to save the planet.
>
> Tony
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>







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