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Re: <nettime> The Californian Reality (from: New Geography)
Brian Holmes on Tue, 21 Jan 2014 17:48:15 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> The Californian Reality (from: New Geography)

In 2009 I had a visceral experience of the world described in this post.

As a former Californian I had long since understood that I was priced out
of my home state and would never again live in the city of San Francisco
(which anyway was losing its charms as the monoculture set it). It is a
strange experience to move through the places you grew up, those beautiful
landscapes with nature so near, and realize that to have a productive life
in your old home you would have to work for a corporation, or start
promoting yourself like mad, or sink your all in some speculative venture
for which I obviously have no taste. But hey, whatever, I am privileged, I
could always move back to the Napa Valley house that my family built with
our own hands on land that costed nothing at the time and now is protected
from impossible taxes by prop 13.

The problem, as this article points out, is what actually happened to
Californian society.

By 2009 the UC student movements had revealed the tuition and loan scam
that grew right along with the housing bubble, as the distortion, or
really, logical conclusion of the middle class desire of having it all.
While you dream that carefully fabricated dream, the oligarchy has it
rigged to rip you off. I went to CA out of enthusiasm for the movements, to
talk in universities and on soapboxes and organize stuff with the Journal
of Aesthetics and Protest. My visit to Santa Barbara at the heart of the
missile producing district (don't kid yourself that iPads are the only game
in town) revealed to me the extent of the disaster. Nested everywhere in
small dense gritty pockets among the opulent beachside consumer wealth were
the taco shacks, laundromats and survival shops of the mostly Latino
underclass, busting their asses under conditions of structural scorn to
provide the insouciance of the masters. On campus, the fiction of equality
covered vast gaps, between the tenured profs and adminstrators and
absolutely anyone else, first of all (sorry friends, but you are the upper
class and probably hypocrites to boot, though I know in reality many of you
too are deep in a trap whose details you might want to explain). Second of
all, however, on a deeper and more significant level, you realize that
military science dominates these universities and big corporate tech,
medical and entertainment money comes hard on its heels, imposing priories
that everyone else accepts as the price of their little (and maybe
illusory) piece of a pie that has lost is sweetness, substituted by some
addictive patented hook to haul you in line and sinker.

Bad news. The class hierarchy is a little more complicated than this author
makes out and it should be analyzed better, but in the same spirit. Revolts
are increasingly possible but the police are increasingly vicious.
Computers have served to create a financially driven global economy that
the missiles protect. Not only in California, but across the world there
are new oligarchies who dispose (of us) more or less as they please. Unlike
the student movements of 2009, I don't think this thing is going to fall in
some passionate spontaneous coming insurrection. The revolution has to be
planned, what's more, in the broad daylight of the NSA technologies. If my
professor "colleagues" are stung by what I have said about them, there is a
solution. Start planning.

Best, Brian

On Monday, January 20, 2014, Geert Lovink <geert {AT} xs4all.nl> wrote:

> (I got this from Thorsten Schilling, it reminded me of the recent attacks
> on the Google busses in SF /geert)
> California?s New Feudalism Benefits a Few at the Expense of the Multitude
> by Joel Kotkin 10/05/2013
> http://www.newgeography.com/content/003973-california-s-new-feudalism-benefits-a-few-expense-multitude
> California has been the source of much innovation, from agribusiness and
> oil to fashion and the digital world. Historically much richer than the
> rest of the country, it was also the birthplace, along with Levittown, of
> the mass-produced suburb, freeways, much of our modern entrepreneurial
> culture, and of course mass entertainment. For most of a century, for both
> better and worse, California has defined progress, not only for America but
> for the world.

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