The XLT Guide To…
The Goo in the Btropolis v.2 : Surveillance Krapitalism
recommended Research / Analysis / Books / Pamphlets
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism – Shoshana Zuboff / New Dark Age – James Bridle / Efficiency and Madness – Tactical Tech Collective / The Ends of The Internet – Boris Beaude / Surveillance Valley – Yasha Levine / The Dawn of The New Everything – Jaron Lanier / the Digital Condition- Felix Stadler (Polity Press), Team Human – Douglas Rushkoff / The Ethics of Invention – Sheila Jasanoff …. more coming….
+ please send us recommendations of what you’re reading on the topic !
To begin, we are flying through tons of info every day… none of this is a deep study, unfortunately … we are just trying to give profound but quick perspective, and trying to pick out what is useful in the midst of the current battles on the ground, and for all of us beneath those gathering mega-storm clouds.
The struggles for autonomy in the local Kiez and against a globalized technodystopian industry are essentially a connected double-sided effort.
But grabbing a Goliath by its local tail or by its global headquarters are not exactly realistic options at any given moment. For example, local organizing currently has little chance of influencing the financial banking structures that allow such a transnational criminal operator like Google from stashing its billions in an offshore account. But affecting its operations in various cities where it must have bases of operation is entirely within the reach of grassroots organizing.
To understand what we are up against will require a deeper understanding of industry forces, trends and the strategies of the various entities which are shaping technologies to amass their profits and consolidate their powers.
Publishing houses and bookshops shelves are exploding with authors attempting to ride this rising need / demand to understand our rapidly shifting cyberneticly-entangled and digitally-drowning world, and the urgency to know one’s new shape-shifting corporate enemies. A few of these books are mind-boggling astute at analyzing the new treacherous territories, the new threats. Others are just soft-peddling various tech agendas + painting the new ( disturbing ) trends as the unstoppable inevitable tide of technological progress… and others may just be way too soft on an actual praxis and/or fury against the brazen plunderers.
We will try and pick a few authors that will inspire the appropriate ACTION !
1. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism – Shoshana Zuboff
Though we’ve only glimpsed its 660 pages, Shoshana Zuboff’s latest book strikes us as one of the hottest investigations ( researched over a decade) to examine one of society’s greatest new challenges ( perhaps alongside climate breakdown and the various unfolding threats of globalized fascism). She’s named the problem: SURVEILLANCE CAPITALISM.
But it’s not without its flaws and weakenesses.
Important to note already, she has a not-so-radical Harvard business school backround that seems to imagine that surveillance capitalism is some entirely new aberrant species which she calls a “rogue” capitalism. There are some compelling pictures she paints as it DOES pose specific new threats and is a game-changing horrorshow, but ultimately she imagines the tech beasts can be reigned in through government reforms (? still analyzing). We remain skeptical, and thus open to entirely different courses of strategy that will not come from Public Affairs type publishers ( a subsidiary of Perseus Books in NYC) .
In the first chapter she makes an interesting mention of both Ford and Edison as people who understood how their industries would transform capitalist production, and does so in such a way that holds all punches, all expletives and all due ripping critique for their hand in some of the 20th century’s most glaring and abominable failures. This already reveals some kind of dirty compromise with dirty day-to-day krapitalism.
Note: We don’t expect all deep-thinking and seriously-strategizing authors and comrades to take on all controversies and socio-economic complexities to get their points across in various fields… i.e. XLterrestrials have developed a short-cut technique to make some odd distinction between capitalism and krapitalism… thus not subjecting ourselves to the all-or-nothing risks that often leave a small radical and fringe left out on their own “remote chance” islands, while everything else ploughs fwd in a steady realtime mainstream flood of gruesome expansionism and domination. The XLT DO consider reformist tactics, in many cases, as viable and necessary efforts to prevent the worst and most unhinged abuses of power.
So in short, Zuboff’s approach should make us wonder if she really has many significant strategy cards to play in such a soft ride through the recent history of economic and techological and industry-enhanced terror platforms. Nevertheless the analysis of the digital calamity unfolding appears mostly solid, and her use of language and method of conveying the message is extremely compelling !
And in the first chapter, she does not hesitate to point at GOOGLE as the harbingers of this new invasive species !
HERE’s a quick easy intro/review of Zuboff’s book in the Guardian ( which mind you is currently pro-Venezeula coup by the usual imperialist aggressors), for what it’s worth, cause life is short, and activists have to do MORE than reading 600+ page books all day ;)…
to be cont.
+ + Standby for a glimpse of the more DIY reading batch ! + +
Rumors are there is an 8,000 print run of Shitstorm #3 currently flooding the streets of the Btropolis… which could become an essential antidote to the Karuna Compass “streetsheet” newspaper – one of the Goo’s new “social project” underling experiments, spreading its propaganda / PR / poison. A disgraceful act, a new ” charity” low, using the homeless to distribute its own advertising rag !