A space for conversations in a time of global disruption
I don't know if this year's DM festival needs a theme (other than 'why is it kiccking off everywhere?') why not remember 200 years of the Luddites?
That started kicking off in November 1811 in Nottinghamshire and at one point their were more soldiers protecting factories than fighting Napoleon.
Much misunderstood, the Luddites weren't Primitivists, but opposed machinery 'harmful to commonality'. Their view that technology is never neutral is very resonant today.
However for activists they also pose the troubling question of when tactics become self defeating. The people of Britain in 1812 had the choice of supporting injustice or anarchy, and they chose injustice.
You often hear people say "technology is neutral". I have no idea what they mean, and can only assume that neither do they, as what they are saying is meaningless. People often say things that are meaningless; owing to the fact that they are rubbish at making sense of things.
On the topic of undisciplined thinking and being rubbish at making sense of things, I would like to drift away from Luddism here, by confessing I have drifted away from luddism lately towards anti-globalisation. It seems a more optimistic position. The reason afterall the Luddites were angry with the new technologies was simply because they threatened their way of life; which they were rather fond of. What globalisation and endless international economic competition does, is pose continuous threats, on multiple fronts, to peoples ways of life; which is why those governments complicit in globalisation bow down to the every wishes of multinational companies- it is through them, they assume, their country's ' prosperity is assured. I don't think they could be more wrong.
The Dark Mountain project turns its noses up at times to people who want to defend their way of life. I wonder if it means to- or if they do so by accident en route to giving mass consumerism a good (and surely thoroughly deserved) kick in. I have no problem with people defending their way of life, I just want people to know when a way a life is shit.
Not a bad idea Martin; if not for a theme for the whole thing then certainly as a strand running through it. We have an essay by Warren Draper in book two - forthcoming in June - about exactly this. It's a great piece of historical rescue. Perhaps we need an event at the festival on this theme. Would you be up for being part of it?
Daniel - I would suggest that 'anti-globalisation' is simply a continuation of the Luddites' struggle, and I touched on this in my book on the movement (One No, Many Yeses) years ago. Same shit, different century, as it were.
I'm not sure we turn our noses up at people as you suggest. I understand people defending hard-earned ways of life. It's perfectly natural that people do that. What I object to is people defending their privilege when they know the damage it is doing. But perhaps that's perfectly natural too.
So Paul you'd like me to do a crash course on the Luddites before August? Maybe. I started "The Making of the English Working Class" a few years ago. I suppose I ought to finish it.
I'm not going to promise though until I know where and when Unciv. II is going to be.
Ah, well I assumed you were an expert, Martin, as a result of the above summary ;-)
But it is an option if you're interested. Unciv looks like being in the second half of August. We expect to announce the full details next week.
I can appear as an expert in many things! As long as a real expert doesn't turn up I usually get by.
If I'm able to attend the do Im willing to be part of something Luddittie.
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