“WOULD ANY SANE PERSON think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?
Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption—changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much—and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet? Even if every person in the United States did everything the movie suggested, U.S. carbon emissions would fall by only 22 percent. Scientific consensus is that emissions must be reduced by at least 75 percent worldwide.
Or let’s talk water. We so often hear that the world is running out of water. People are dying from lack of water. Rivers are dewatered from lack of water. Because of this we need to take shorter showers. See the disconnect? Because I take showers, I’m responsible for drawing down aquifers? Well, no. More than 90 percent of the water used by humans is used by agriculture and industry. The remaining 10 percent is split between municipalities and actual living breathing individual humans. Collectively, municipal golf courses use as much water as municipal human beings. People (both human people and fish people) aren’t dying because the world is running out of water. They’re dying because the water is being stolen.
…Personal change doesn’t equal social change.”
— Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Changes Does Not Equal Political Change
Even if every Guy Fawkes mask were made at Foxconn itself, a boycott wouldn't do anything to the working conditions. Teens would still purchase them based on the movie (or, heaven forbid, the actual comic book). What is necessary is restructuring the world to make Foxconn impossible.
Now what kind of fucking straw man is this?
Corporations and economic growth are directly responsible for the possibility that this discussion is happening: the internet, cheap and powerful computers, etc
Or even better: https://twitter.com/Kasparov63/status/391943773963304960
The British government is directly responsible for the possibility that this discussion of "taxation without representation" is happening; colonization, trade, etc.
Sometimes when you stand on the shoulders of giants, you realize that the old ways were lousy. America as it is today wouldn't exist without slavery and Native American genocide.
I'm not comparing Capitalism to Genocide, but I am saying the form of argument you used is ridiculous, because I can use the same argument to defend awful things.
If you stop and listen for one minute, people like me are saying, "Maybe the current system is TOO excessive, and should be reigned in, in some ways." We think laws should help fight the excesses of unchecked capitalism.
We're not proposing the "share everything" that Kasparov ridicules, and posing our argument that way is an absurd straw man.
That said, I don't represent a united front of people who believe identically to me, but your argument is so absurd that I think it might practically be targeted at only a tiny minority of people currently saying anything negative about corporations and our current means of economic growth.
Except you just used a straw man. Of course it's ridiculous then.
"America as it is today wouldn't exist without slavery and Native American genocide."
Of course not. But those things went away, and the USA is still there.
But you can't have the internet without equipment, without servers built by guess who? Corporations. Take that away: no internet.
Now you're the one strawmanning by painting it as corporations existing or not existing.
It's not a binary issue. A corporation is just an organization of people with a specific legal status. There will always be organizations of people.
However, I don't think we need to confer the rights of personhood to a corporation even though they don't have the same responsibilities or vulnerabilities. Similarly, it doesn't need to be the case that corporations should be able to extract value from the commons at the expense of the poor so that the privileged upper-middle class can have the cheapest possible gadgets.
It is definitely possible to draw a better line between individual freedom and the wholesale rape of the environment. For starters, those things aren't represented in GDP, and so it's of no real concern to those in power. What gets measured gets improved.
Good, I agree with that.
But the issue with cheap gadgets goes both ways. Chinese factories allow people in India and other 3rd world countries to have a cheap (read: affordable) mobile phone.
Yes, they could pay more and give better conditions, the profit gains coming from economies of scale would still be there.
Partially correct - we need equipment, but mesh networking is becoming a reality. No corporate involvement beyond the hardware.
have a look:
And why people in 3rd world countries cannot afford expensive mobile phones? Because corporations have robbed them the value of their labour, or the environment where they live... You just seem to be confortable with the status quo, and making excuses.
Those things have absolutely not gone away. There are between 57,000 and 63,000 slaves in the USA right now according to the Walk Free foundation:
This is a 91% decrease from the first census of 1790, in which there were 694,280 slaves. However, we are no longer a young isolated nation with limited imports. We now have access to the work of almost all the world's 29.8 million slaves. We have outsourced slavery. That's nearly a 4300% increase in available slave labor since the first census.
Native American genocide is ongoing. Communities are cut off from access to resources like water that is pumped directly through their land. They are forced into extreme poverty and unhealthy conditions that cause rampant diabetes and substance abuse. The Native American suicide rate is nearly 400% the national average, and we are cutting mental health services.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is so corrupt they had their entire Internet access revoked. They were destroying generations of records of ownership in an ongoing campaign to rob native people of their wealth. See Cobell v. Norton.
Under existing treaties, Native Americans should own an enormous amount of the country. Instead, their land is leased or sold on their behalf to government and corporations for little to nothing at the expense of native people. Government funding for native services is continually cut, particularly health care.
According to Eloise Norton, the government owes Native Americans $176 billion. They did reach the largest settlement in US history for $3.4 billion, but that doesn't nearly make up for the ongoing native extermination campaign carried out by the US government.
Did you even bother to read a single word I wrote?
I'll repeat myself: Maybe the current system is TOO excessive, and should be reigned in, in some ways
People like you, who paint reformists like myself as Communists who are anti-capitalism really, really piss me off.
I think capitalism is great, but the edges are rough and could use some attention.
However it is possible to have large corporations and growth but also do it in a responsible manner. It won't be an overnight fix but there are a lot of smart people in this world that could make it work.
And of course lots of the solutions to the problems are also vilified (nuclear is a big one) so it isn't going to be easy.
But I think the general point being made shouldn't be dismissed entirely. They are right about many of the "solutions" that are presented being sort of a waste of time, intended only to make people feel better about themselves without making any real progress towards fixing the problem.
Oh yes, most of the "personal solutions" are not really helpful (well, in a way they are, but it ends up happening over time, like using CFLs instead of incandescent lighting, etc)
See the miners filled lawsuits against the company, because weren't for capitalism their life and working conditions would have avoided a life-threatening situation.
But then again depends what you wanna do: Find the truth or find evidence - even risking ridicule - to support your beliefs.
But it is very much worth reading.
"Contracts for Dhong and the other Nepalese men set their base salaries for 12-hour shifts at about $178 per month."
(No matter how you do the math, with no more than two days off a week, that's less than a dollar an hour (edit: I mistakenly wrote day first))
"Another letter explained that the men were getting paid for the rest of January, plus a month. It was a total of about $600 each."
(Almost twice the salary listed above (obviously still peanuts))
edit/addition: "He earns $3 a day for a 12-hour shift inspecting the glue seams on shoes before they’re shipped. It’s about half of the minimum pay he’d been promised in Malaysia. He earns less than $90 per month ..."
Consistent with first statement of salary. Only the 2 months approximately equal to 600 dollars is off.
3D printers are a movement in that direction, that ends with mini factories or replicators.
Replicators will be the death kneel of the factories.
Funnily I thought it means a final blow, that breaks a back of something over the knee.
"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled." - Plutarch
The middle-class westerners have good intentions, sure. Do they really think though, but starving sweatshops to the point of closure, all the staff will walk into well paid work? No, in all probability, the lack of competition and the low budgets will mean they have to fight over even worse jobs, if not... starve.
If you really want to take the moral high-ground, you should only buy from sweat shops, because the more they profit, the more you're contributing to bettering their lives and working conditions.
Buy all the masks you need!
But if the quality is so bad that people die, or are maimed, poisoned, or otherwise injured, we have different rules. Consumers aren't good at this, they aren't experts, they don't have the right information. So they turn to regulation (or certification - a voluntary form of regulation). These ethical factors are, of course, a trade-off with the others. Sweatshops and child labor are immoral, we will not tolerate that.
You bring up the interesting point of transition, though. If we stop buying these masks, those people lose their opportunities, and we run the risk that they'll just be produced in some other sweatshop somewhere. As such I am a big fan of transitionary programs with auditing, where if bad conditions are found, the owners are incentivized to make gradual improvements or risk losing customers.
If we don't tolerate those, then we don't tolerate giving them the best alternative possible. Asking for more would make it uneconomical, and thus, economically destructive.
From there we get creative. We pay more to implement better working conditions, we provide aid to areas to send kids to school instead of to the factory, etc...
'Able' here is a complex thing; to look at just two countervailing parts, how little can employers get away with paying, but also how much can they afford to pay?
If the sweatshops do more than break even, then the employers can afford to pay more and have better conditions for their employees - but they won't if sweatshops as they are now are legal, common, and accepted. Most sweatshops do a lot better than breaking even, so if we got rid of them, a better alternative would be able to exist. (If you believe in General Equilibria, a better alternative would be forced to exist).
If so: Lat me tell you that 1) people are bad at evaluating their alternatives. Thats why we force our children to attend school as well, because our children might underestimate the long term positive effect school education might have for them, and 2) a child in a sweatshop might not have taken the decision to work for itself - it might rather work for the immediate benefit of their family, while taking the long term loss alone.
Well, if we're talking about giving away stuff, like freedom: How much could we help these people if we gave away, say 15% of the combined military budgets of the EU, Russia, China and the US?
The problem are the conditions that make sweat-shops the least worst alternative for a lot of people. It's power, money and corruption.
There is no financial gain for western corporations or governments to really solve these problems. We profit from the political and economical instability in these countries and therefore from the suffering these people have to endure. We make ugly deals using the World Bank and the IMF to destabilize their markets. We help to keep corrupt politicians in place and happily exploit natural resources in these countries.
But nobody cares.
If the least worst alternative is taken away from them, then they have only the next least worst alternative. Asking to take this away is asking to take away the best thing they have.
It's easy to write from a warm chair in a western country that people should have better job conditions considering the availability of jobs that allow for consumerism.
When it turns out they're a hypocrite, it strikes at the core of why they were elected.
Moreover, it SHOULD remind people that the guy who claims his morals are unassailable is lying to you.
Maybe it is just that the Internet is more popular than it was in the 90s. On the other hand, I think rich media offers more opportunities to be snarky, and of course we are going to take advantage of this. #smh #justsayin
So they've called out the media for using products by Foxconn, okay. What do they expect to come from that? I'm really not sure.
The main thing I got from this is that we should find another mask, or face, for Anonymous and activism/protesting in general. One that maybe holds more significant value in freedom of mankind, and one that is free of copyright. As much as I love Alan Moore, I think it's time Anonymous finds/creates an open-source mask.
They were illustrating the near impossibility of knowing the manufacturing conditions of every product you purchase, and through that illustration pointing out that the majority of consumers(The Telegraph staff included) have at some point purchased(or currently own) products which were manufactured in conditions contrary to said consumers personal beliefs.
Effectively the statement is pointing out that it's extremely difficult to not be "hypocritical"(according to Martha Gill's definition) in some manner when purchasing manufactured products and that she/they are just as hypocritical(if not more so given that the masks in question aren't produced in a sweatshop).
I don't think 'anonymous' would deny being just as guilty of 'hypocritical' purchases themselves; they're just showing the irony of The Telegraph falsely calling them out on the 'hypocrisy' that they[The Telegraph] are likely just as much a part of.
The concept behind the Guy Fawkes mask is what makes it so effective/universally adopted, and despite the royalties being paid for these masks(a pittance in the grand scheme of things) I don't see them going anywhere anytime soon.
So yeah, I have to agree; 'unfortunate' just about sums it up.
> The main thing I got from this is that we should find another mask, or face, for Anonymous and activism/protesting in general. One that maybe holds more significant value in freedom of mankind
The write-up already quotes “Wear anything you want to #MillionMaskMarch, including Guy Fawkes. We just want people to be conscious about their consumer choices.”
Do you want something free of copyright? Cut out a circle from thick paper, poke holes for eyes and nose, draw a smiley, attach a band, and wear it.
It would have been fair to mention that in the west at least 3d printers are becoming more and more common and anyone can download a Fawkes mask model and 3dprint it at home.
Or if you're feeling environmentally friendly, out of recycled cardboard. It's no rocket science really.
Or how about this one as an origami?
It took me 5 seconds to find these on Google.
Ms Gill comes across as particularly lazy and not very well intentioned.
We don't know who wrote the piece. The author is anonymous, but their words will probably reach a far, far wider audience than if they had published under their own name.
That's the way the movement works. It is decentralised. I'm sorry that you think it's pathetic.
I am not well versed in history, so I can't say if this is novel, but it is a fabulous idea.
It is clear to me that, just as thought can emerge from the movement of charge between networks of neurons so can it emerge from the chatter of a million people. The same processes are at work, you might call it 'emergence' but I suspect that our mathematics does not yet capture it's description adequately.
This is the kind of system we need to develop and enhance if we are to create a better world. Our social structure is prescriptive and too rigidly hierarchical, it has broken away from it's dynamic, organic roots and lost touch with the magic that seems to generate flexible and resilient structure out of nothing.
If you accept the isomorphism between the mind and society, then you may see that the internet is radically disruptive. It has made communication orders of magnitude faster and it has changed the topology of the network described by society. This is changing us, quickly. For better or worse remains to be seen. But I suspect the effects of the internet revolution are only now beginning.
Perhaps I'm just seeing what I want to see...
The battle outside ragin'
Will soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'
(attribution should not be needed)
Hacker: Don't tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers: the Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country; The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country; The Times is read by people who actually do run the country; the Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country; the Financial Times is read by people who own the country; The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country; and The Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.
Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?
Bernard: Sun readers don't care who runs the country, as long as she's got big tits.
(The Mirror is a leftish tabloid, the Sun a rightist tabloid, both are strident and stupid. The Guardian is a lefty broadsheet, very 'liberal media' by American standards. The Times is center-right, the Daily Mail is middle-class outrage and celebrity gossip (and outrage about our culture of celebrity gossip). The Financial Times is like the WSJ without the axe-grinding editorials; the Morning Star is now defunct but used to be a mouthpiece for the USSR communist party. The Telegraph, sometimes referred to as the Torygraph for its unflinching support of the Tory party, is basically a serious newspaper for people who are convinced the country has gone to the dogs, global warming is nefarious plot, and so on. There's also the Independent, which didn't appear until some years later, which can best be summed up as 'worthy but boring.')
Actually a documentary, as someone pointed out years ago. Great quote.
(Something else depressingly well along the way to being a documentary is Terry Gilliam's 1985 movie Brazil.)
I am not sure if that scary or a good thing...
They still sell it where I live.
If you read the Telegraph and Guardian you expose yourself to a fairly broad spectrum of political views, all backed up by serious journalistic credentials. Obviously you have to be aware of prejudice - but this does not render the content worthless.
For instance - whilst the Telegraph is undoubtedly an outlet which leans towards a Tory hymn sheet it printed a large section on MP expenses, prominently, every day, for a month. Likewise the Guardian have been harsh critics of Labours handling of the Unions.
Just because it's filed under "blogs" does not make it above refutation.
Regardless, Martha's piece is publicized and therefore open to criticism and debate.
People think "oh let's build a startup for 3d-printing model this on the cloud, blah blah blah"
Where anyone with modest skills can build this using scissors, some cardboard, or Papier-Maché or some other technique.
I just like imagining such possibilities, of course this is probably not the case, but the implications ... I guess I have been watching too many Homeland episodes lately. :)
That is all. Fuck warner brothers
Guy Fawkes was the only person to enter the houses of parliament with honourable intentions
Which makes a lot more sense. He said he was going to blow things up, he went in to blow things up.