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Re: <nettime> How Silicon Valley’s CEOs
d . garcia on Fri, 31 Jan 2014 13:48:34 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> How Silicon Valley’s CEOs

Re: The Techtopus: 
How Silicon Valley?s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers?
By Mark Ames


This story reinforces the need to focus more analytical energy and imagination 
on the wider problem of how to re-connect political activism to some form of  
re-booted labor movement able garner credibility from the workforce in these 
van garde creative economies exemplified by Silicon Valley.

Mass movements of civil disobedience however important are never sufficient 
to create structural long-term change without the additional power to organise 
and to withdraw labour en mass.

In the wider world nothing has proved more effective in raising the life 
chances of the mass of people, than the leverage afforded them by the 
ability to go on strike. And the increasing gulf between the 
1% and rest can be traced back directly to the erosion of labor movement 
and labor power. The symbolic (as opposed to actual) beginnings of which 
can be traced back, in the US, to Reagan's victory over the air 
traffic controllers discussed in an earlier nettime post which unfortunately 
became bogged down in arguments about safety records, when the implications 
of this struggle went far wider. 

In a discussion in 2012 with Paul Mason at the LSE, Manuel Castells argued 
that the new industries would take time to evolve a new kind of labor 
movement with many trials and many errors ?It took 20-30 years from the 
arrival of mass industrialization to the point when the union power and the 
labor movement became part of political institutions?[?]. ?It is a long 
journey from the minds of people to the institutions of society.? However 
much we may disagree with Castells's implied faith in networks as the teleogical 
solution at least his arguments have implications suggesting the need to revive 
the connection between labor power, networks, political activism. 

The meaning and historical consequences of directly connecting new forms of labor 
power to a re-energised democracy seems to be lost at least in Britain as we see the 
labor party leader, Ed Milliband, currently engaged in a process of 
'transforming' (read seeking to further weaken) the structural connection 
between the UK's union movement and the political labor party. His equivalent to 
Blair's famous clause 4 moment!

Milliband has had to bow to (or worse internalise) the public perception that the 
power of organised labour is no longer able to innovate and transform 
individual and collective life chances, unable to re-imagine and re-position 
themselves in ways likely to attract the support of foot soldiers in the 
van-garde creative economies exemplified by Siliicon Valley. Let alone 
address the need for the wider majority of the labor force to find ways to 
participate in the creative and material benefits of digital industries and cultures.

Maybe some workshops or focussed discussions from INC's Money Lab team 
could help suggest some new ways to make progress on these questions ? 


d a v i d  g a r c i a

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