Democracy

Cross posting from Quitting MW/Reddit/FB/Social Media because it’s equally relevant here and I’m not sure if everyone reads both threads.

In part of this lecture Zuboff touches on the notions of unions, labour, and how that is changing in the face of a very different source of resources and capital value…

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I used to belong to the carpenters union, but I left that line of work 10 years ago and now work a white-collar job in the nonprofit sector. While I am no longer part of a union, I think union organizing is one of the most important political frontiers for the future. We laud the concept of democracy and consider it an essential part of our politics, but so many of us are willing to accept autocracy in the area where we spend the most time and has the biggest impact on our lives.

My work treats me extremely well, but I would still welcome a union and think that all workers should unionize. I think a bigger priority than white-collar workers in organizing people in the retail and service industries.

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I work in the film industry and, although I’m not in a union yet, i think it shows an example of how important unionization is in a gig economy. other industries that are moving towards non-traditional corporate structures such as largely freelancing employees need to get in the mindset of unionization despite it maybe not being historically strong in tech & design industry (this could be wrong, or america specific – just my impression, please correct me if I am!). the strength and importance of the writers union for example is really showing in the ongoing negotiations with agents – there’s no other remedy to the rampant conflict of interest issues at play (other than through law, which is obviously a huge and expensive undertaking especially when fighting against moneyed interests), not to mention that from an individual writer’s perspective they might have a wonderful relationship with their agent who may have good intentions but is still not representing their client properly due to conflicts of interest. A great example of the value of collective organizing in tackling structural issues that negatively effect a group not just individuals. The unions here have done so much for Los Angeles’ economy and making the film industry a viable career for many people!

PS a cheeky photo of my catholic worker papier mache eurorack case :slight_smile:

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I grew up with a very pro-union family. Biological dad was a high school teacher and union leader and stepfather was in the film industry - not to mention all of the family in various construction unions.

Union awareness was pretty big part of growing up (buying union made things, not watching non-union productions, helping people apprentice in and such) but the thing that really sticks with me is that my stepdad’s union had a fund to help with funeral expenses when he died. It was largely symbolic, but it made an impact.

I guess it was just a powerful moment for me, who went down a very different career path, to see something i experienced as an expression so outside of the worship of achievement, productivity and exploitation that reinforced my appreciation for what unions can be.

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been digesting the circumstances surrounding DOJ release of redacted report and am kind of stunned…wasnt sure it was possible to be shocked so profoundly by US elected officials and media outlets

there are so many things that seem odd about recent messaging from democratic reps

i hate to compare something so impactful as governance to strategic spectacle in sport but it is riveting (and confusing) to imagine what is behind certain speech and actions knowing what we now know

somehow it feels like watching a team miss a golden opportunity at a critical point in the match…i’m not sure how things will turn out but it seems pivotal/consequential

most odd to me is the popular viewpoint of presidential “accountability” shown here:

powerful counterpoint from within the party:

warren distinguishes herself here with a level of passion and conviction that seem commensurate to the evidence published in mueller’s report

there has been a singular focus, by media outlets and pols alike, on (1) how initiation of impeachment proceeding will affect dems goal to win back WH and senate (2) whether impeachment is worth the effort knowing gop may impede removal of trump by voting along party lines

what hasn’t recieved much attention is the open question: can trump actually lose the election in 2020? if he’s offered (and welcomes) such campaign assistance again…aren’t folks concerned about the integrity of the result?

sensible policies and likable candidates may not be a sufficient counterweight when the underlying system is rigged

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In a parliamentary system it’s much less of a big deal to throw an executive out.

Our system of “presidential democracy” places a lot more (too much!) power in the hands of the executive branch.

So, the race to win these presidential contests every four years ends up being covered like a sporting event (horse race!) rather than the serious act of democracy it should be.

It should be noted that presidential democracies are in the minority in terms of how democracies are structured around the world.

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I’m maybe a bit of a cynic in this thread, but I really like a good use of the “spectacle lens” whenever I’m thinking about politics. I also think it accurately captures some of the interesting valences of “messaging” and the nonrational aspects of how elections and party/ideological affiliations, and even political change work.

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Yes, every four years, we look for someone to project on and solve all our problems. And yet the most extensive and unfettered powers of the presidency involve foreign, not domestic policy, even though most voters deciding the holder of the office know very little about geopolitics.

Political journalists tend to focus on horse race politics, repeating talking points rather than assessing the right approach from policy or truth perspective, because that’s how you attract and reinforce viewers and clicks. For example, the “collusion” narrative was explicitly rejected as an investigative basis in the Mueller report.

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That is quite a first post here.

It’s hard to discuss economic policy in the face of a complete systemic breakdown and an aggressive assault on rights. On the ground, I’d say there isn’t much to support your supposition about our economy improving. I guess it depends who you are concerned about? Economic inequality hasn’t improved, and I have neither seen head nor tail of policy from the executive branch that intends to help anyone but top earners and corporate interests.

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Again, as I noted it depends who and what you care about. I think you’ll find few people here share your perspectives about what constitutes a healthy economy. If you read this entire thread, that should be quite clear. “Well that’s the way capitalism works,” is neither a useful or healthy sentiment in my experience.

Edit: Op deleted his posts. :roll_eyes:

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If this forum were bigger, this thread would get out of hand really fast.

Fortunately the forum is the size that it is.

We’ll do our level best to make sure it does not get out of hand.

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It stikes me that this forum has a lot of mechanisms in place enforce expected behavior. One day, more adiminstrative action will be required, but lines is a place people won’t want to be if they don’t like “how it is”. So long as people continue to embody their own values and the values of this place, that will go a long way to keeping it in check as it continues to grow.

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GRight now we are having an election here in Australia and man I feel lucky.
I mean, it’s probably one of the best examples of a “modern democracy” and I think that comes down to a number of things, the largest being compulsory voting
It’s essentially a 2 party centre left/centre more-right party with independents becoming more relevant
it’s crazy depressing the machinery around the whole thing - and Murdoch is everywhere ad he’s backing the liberals who are the centre right party (surprised?)

So one is offering 80 billion on services ect, the other goes to tax cuts and a flattening on the tax system…hmmmm
But we are getting sold “trickle down economics” by the liberals and it’s such a reminder of how THAT, that one thing, in my view, has done more damage to the fabric of society than anything else…

Best thread on the net btw

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another artist just sent me this link, and it’s kinda loaded…what is human? what is art? what is AI? what is creative? what is valuable?
and, it’s not part of this article, but here on lines we could also add what is music?
(rocking the midi generating sequencer on a phone)
seems like it ties into this thread about
the philosophical/religious aspects of

> single purpose computers

(maybe i’ll post my feelings over there, if i can) :slightly_smiling_face:

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I don’t think this has been linked here before so I’ll drop it here: What Is Democracy: https://www.whatisdemocracy.info/

This is (imo) a great documentary about the concept of democracy and what it’s meant over time, and seems very much in the spirit of this thread.

It’s free to watch here if you’re fortunate enough to have a library system that provides it as a streaming service (As Portland’s county library system does)

Thirty years after leaving the small conservative US town where I grew up – where unions are regarded as bloated, corrupt and oppressive – I live in a country with socialised health care and strong unions. My experiences with the two unions I’ve dealt with (due to working two part-time jobs) have been mixed: one was instantly helpful when I joined because I had an issue at work; the other accused me of trying to ‘game the system’ for joining because I needed representation in a work-related issue: they literally have a policy of not helping workers who join the union because they need help.

Both of these unions are very large and powerful for this small country. Joining the first union endorsed my socialist fantasies, and approaching the second reminded me that unions are sometimes just big fat corporations too. At their best they’re a powerful force for workers, and at their worst they’re still better than nothing.

[music’n’unions-related side-note: in the mid-90s I once traveled to NYC from Philly to see The Art Ensemble of Chicago play, whose joyful improvisations were a huge early influence on my own just-developing sound work. The opening bands played waaaay too long – one even played an encore. Finally at 10:48pm the Art Ensemble got onstage and started to play their ‘little instruments’ – gongs, whistles, small percussion instruments. Maybe their was a short bit of brass. At 11:00 they bowed and walked off the stage to thunderous applause. They didn’t come back out despite stomping, rhythmic clapping and shouting. Finally they returned to the stage and bowed, and quietened us down, and told us they couldn’t play any longer because the venue was a union shop, and the union rules said the show had to be over by 11pm. My initial response (deep brain channelling small-town attitudes) was ‘stupid union!!!1!!’ My later, more considered response was ‘stupid opening bands!!!’]

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This puts a knot in my stomach. I don’t know where to put it. I’m not suprised, but I am still upset.

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