I imagine that the PRISM news put a bit of a dampening on the opening weekend box office of The Internship, as it didn’t even clear $20 million. Much as I imagine a film extolling the virtues of the South African government would have suffered a hit at the box office if it opened the week of September 12, 1977. Upon reviewing The Internship (for the record, I tried to torrent it, but like hell was it getting my money), Owen Glieberman of Entertainment Weekly said that “A lot of the film is devoted to showing how the cult of technology and the human element don’t need to be opposed; they can, and should, work hand in hand.”  Whether he knows it or not, what Senor Glieberman is describing is the technological singularity, also known as the Terminator moment, as prophesied by Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering at Google. What he left out in that prophesy is that the singularity, indeed the whole “cult of technology”, is also a project of US imperialism.

I will use Google search approximately 78 times in the course of writing this blog post. The links that help me write this, and almost anything else on this blog are all repositoried on a Gmail account, or in a Google Drive document. My Android phone sits next to me. But none of that nullifies this central thesis: that Google and the rest of the Silicon Valley power elite officially constitute a system of oppression, and that system must go the way all oppressive systems must go.

Now, there are a great deal of misconceptions going around about PRISM, but like most stories that tear up the media, the truth is actually more harrowing than the legend. In this instance, the big revelation is not that the PRISM program is used to spy on Americans; it’s that it’s used to spy on the rest of the world. All data that runs through the US servers of Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, YouTube, Skype, Facebook, Apple, AOL, and PalTalk is subject to real-time monitoring by the NSA, who will then share their information with all the other federal agencies. That includes the Facebook that is supposed to be the liberator of all brown-skinned oppressed peoples over the world. Indeed, Facebook had been on Team PRISM a full 18 months before the Arab Spring even happened.

But even more insidious than the revelation of PRISM is the way the US government/media is steadily conflating access to to American “tech” companies with the concept of Internet freedom itself while at the same time, those companies, especially Google and Facebook  spread into the developing world by having them access the Internet exclusively through their services (when Eric Schmidt talks rapturously about the next 3 billion people to gain Internet access, he has a pretty significant idea as to who will give it to them). Taken together with PRISM, what you have is a colonial imperial project of staggering proportions. Whole continents of people whose every actions on the Internet will be caught in the NSA’s dragnet, as all to the tune of profit for American multinationals. So when Iran says that YouTube and Gmail are Western imperialist tools designed to undermine the regime,

I want to be clear here. This is not cyber-colonialism, where tech companies take over the digital developing world, or some other euphemism that makes it seem as though there are no consequences IRL. Communications/Internet infrastructure are the new railroads in terms of powerful and essential industries, but ole’ Leland Stanford never tried to go global. America’s soft and hard control over the Internet is a real power projection. And more than that, did you forget that Apple, Google, and Microsoft also make operating systems? So these motherfuckers are all up in the world’s computer guts. Did I mention that a weaponized virus co-developed by the US government called Flame can disguise itself as Windows Update?

But indeed, none of this is new. Silicon Valley has always been BFF with the military/national security-industrial complex, contrary to the mythology of plucky upper middle class turning the world on its head through a sheer combination of grit and brilliance. As per this PBS documentary, the integrated circuit, the fundamental basis for the modern computer, was created specifically to guide ICBMs. The Internet started out as a research project for the Department of Defense (hence them calling it ARPAnet). The the companies that Google bought in order to make Google Earth were created by the CIA’s venture capital firm. Today we have Palantir, Silicon Valley’s favorite data-mining defense contractor, founded by former employees of Facebook.

Would enough that Silicon Valley were just yet another tool of US imperialism, but it also has the dubious honor of being the primary engine of postindustrial shitty-ass capitalism, aka the one that destroys the middle class. What do you think the whole cult of disruption is about? It’s about putting millions of people out of work so an exponentially smaller amount of people can make billions. George Packer gets into the Google-bus-splashing-puddles-on-homeless-people levels of inequality created by Silicon Valley in his rather well-researched article, but he stops short at getting at the root of the problem, which is the conception of the technology industry itself. As long as we accept the paradigm that a specific power center has a monopoly on technological progress, we will always imagine ourselves helpless to combat it.

But let us take a moment to imagine a world without Google. There are other email clients out there, other directions software (or you could just look at a goddamn map), other search engines, other web-based word processors, many of them freeware. Root your phone and run Linux. And those that don’t exist could easily be created. Above all, it’s a gotdamn lifestyle change. And yet we act as though our lives would be destroyed if these companies went away, as though humanity didn’t get by for the first 10,000 years of civilization without these companies’ existence.

I mean fuckin’ seriously y’all, are we that pathetic? “Yeah, the global surveillance state sucks, but like, you want me to actually remember the url for the San Francisco Giants’ website?” The irony of anti-capitalist struggles is that they can largely be brought about through consumer activism, but people are just too lazy to do it.

I’ma do this Batman Begins-Ken-Watanabe style: The company has become a breeding ground for suffering and injustice. It is beyond saving and must be allowed to die. Google (and the rest of the Silicon Valley elite) must be destroyed.

How must Google be destroyed? Well, considering that the NSA is watching, it would not behoove me to get into details, but none of it is that hard if people are committed.

Look, fuck everything you’ve heard; technological progress at the hands of a certain set of capitalists is not inevitable. There are an infinite amount of possible futures that will happen. Google is betting on one, but all of us can just as easily bet on another. History is a function of will.

The whole world is counting on us; y’all realize that right? The American people are the most reliable, meaningful check there is on American imperial power. The chattering class and the corporations whose services you think you depend on are already hard at work trying to convince you that the PRISM revelations are not that big a deal, that the American government and America’s greatest corporations are just Marvel Teaming Up to keep this nation safe. The dirty secret of corporate America is that for all the griping they do about government overreach, they are mad jelz. The prospect of being enlisted by the national security apparatus in order to protect America is still cool to these motherfuckers, especially being enlisted in a program that that is so secret, they can’t even acknowledge that it exists. All the claims about desiring transparency are PR, pure and simple. These corporate people are American Patriots.

So where does that leave the rest of us? I dunno. Where do we want to be? Do we want to be forever prostrate because the prospect of wearing a search engine sounds cool? Are we OK with a global panopticon because it’s a panopticon that runs really efficiently and has cool smartphone integration?

Smash the machines. There is beauty in those words. Far from being a helpless act of desperation by those already written out of the next chapter of history, resistance against capital is one of the most significant acts a person can take. If we want to stop the engines of “progress”, the engines have to actually stop. The whole reason I have this blog, the whole reason I affect this rhetorical posture, is for moments like this.

We’ll rise nigga, change lives nigga, break ties from the everyday lies nigga. It’s not time, until it’s our time. This is beginnig to feel like the bolt busted loose from the lever. This shit is not over.

Welcome to RealTekThoughtz After Dark. Ain’t no eloquence to be found.

No relationship better exemplifies the concept of “bout it bout it” than silicon valley and the whiteboard. It’s metonymy ‘n a moherfucker. But why? What the fuck is it about dry erase boards that are so integral to the Silicon Valley identity? We dishin’ below:

1) they white. Blackboards are too scary

2) you still get kinda high from sniffing the markers. I mean they non-toxic but still

3) them shits is kinda cool. Like, I fucks wit drawing penises and immediately erasing them over and over.

but more importantly

3) the writings/graphs on whiteboards operate in a communal realm, but are run by one person. They are put out in public for everyone to see, in a way they are community ideas, but they are the product of the one motherfucker holding the pen. People don’t take turns in a whiteboard sesh. Put another way, they allow one person to set the terms of the discussion before anyone else even shows up. This is right up Silicon Valley’s alley, what with its fetish for private spaces masquerading as public ones. Facebook is the new town square. Nigga please. Not unless it’s publicly owned. Or how they want to innovate government by privatizing it.

But even more importantlier

4) you get notebooks to fill up, notebooks contain remnants of the past, which can pile up and give you unpleasant reminders of the past. Whiteboards are wiped clean every day (though I seen some dirty-ass offwhiteboards in my day). The past is irrelevant, only the tabula rasa on which to innovate. And if your innovation don’t work, then just wipe it off and innovate anew. Nothing is permanent. Everything is ripe for creative destruction by ideas simple enough to fit on a small whiteboard. Ain’t no treatises necessary.


Flashback to November. Operation Pillar of Cloud is in full effect, and I am glued nigga, checkin’ that #gazaunderattack hashtag like I’m waiting for a response from a crush I just texted in 10th grade. Maybe it was the lurking, roiling anti-Semitism that lies in the hearts of all those who desire justice in Palestine (kidding!), maybe I was just on my male period. Most likely it was that I had never seen a war/siege of a city live-tweeted before. Either way, they were some of the realest tweets of all time, and for four days I was unable to sleep, unable to focus on anything except a twitter feed full of destruction. Gaza might have been the most extreme example, but in general whenever there was a hashtag to follow for social justice, I was on that shit, and yet when the news came about Turkey…meh.

The cause is legitimate enough. It would appear that Istanbul has yet to discover the New Urbanism. The prospect of zero green spaces in a city 14 million seems rather jarring, but I guess it didn’t pop, you know? The hundreds brutalized and tear-gassed just didn’t stand out in today’s attention economy. I mean, this demonstration comports with Western values enough to fall in with the Global Solidarity Movement For Freedom or something. I saw some Guy Fawkes masks in the pictures. But still, apathy reigned.

I checked it out briefly, but it still didn’t inspire. Tweets in English weren’t coming from the front lines, and as I closed the tab, it struck me how there is violence inherent in the whole “this revolution brought to you by Twitter” paradigm. Chiefly, there’s the language issue. In order for any movement/protest to be global, and by global we mean attract a critical mass of people in the United States, there requires a sufficient amount of English-speakers with charged smart phones that get service to be in the front lines. Because when those activists/citizen journalists tweet in English, they’re not doing it for their own networks; they’re doing it precisely for us. And really, the whole “vox populi” aura of Twitter is fake. Every real-ass tweet is surrounded by 10 more that come from professional media outlets.

When I say this process is inherently violent, this is what I mean: In a world where movements are defined by their media coverage, where perception is reality, we passive English-speaking Internet users have the power to make and destroy these movements through our irrational whims. If I don’t look at that Twitter feed, then that movement might as well not exist. And if enough people like me do the same, which is let’s face it the vast majority of people on this block the vast majority of the time, then for all intents and purposes for the global hegemon, the movement doesn’t exist. And that process of getting people to care is still mediated by the professional media establishment (indeed, this is why they call it the media). I would not have known about the protests at all in the first place if not for a story on Gawker.

The business of civil affairs and protest, of revolution and direct action is rather messy. And yet on Twitter, even the photos of bloodied bodies are delivered in a clean format. The result is that you can get the vicarious thrill of actually being present in whatever movement while still retaining the safe, cold distance that allows the preservation of the status quo. Perhaps this is not that different than other forms of media, and it still is preferable to remaining ignorant. What’s different this time though, is that we’ve moved from “the medium is the message” to “the medium is the movement,” and I wonder what that does to our thinking.

One comment that stuck with me from my Twitter binge back in November was something along the lines of “Dozens of children are dying via bombs, but at least #GazaUnderAttack is trending.” While any claims about social media “democratizing” world affairs or anything are laughable on their face, I do think that traditional power relations have altered a little bit, but what that change has exposed seems to be just as ugly as what existed before.


Yahoo/Tumblr update

Still gettin’ brain from a thang ain’t shit changed.

Link  —  Posted: May 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

We parsin’ through that New Yorker article like its the lyrics to the a new beyond-the-grave Tupac album, but I first I wanted to stop off with a little gem that show exactly what I be talkin’ about.

This week, the late Steve Jobs’ wifey was the subject of an NYT profile that put a lie to the notion that the Jobses were treatin’ their money like a chair and sittin’ on it. When in fact, they give like so much money you guys, they just do it anonymously, and here’s how:

“We’re really careful about amplifying the great work of others in every way that we can, and we don’t like attaching our names to things,” Ms. Powell Jobs said in an interview for a profile that Peter Lattman and I wrote in The New York Times last week.

One of the main ways she is able to do that is because of the way she has structured her organization, Emerson Collective. It is an LLC, like a small business, instead of a tax-exempt 501(c)(3), like a charitable organization or foundation. That means that Emerson can make grants, for-profit investments and political donations — and does not have to publicly report its donations as a foundation does.

That strategy is becoming more common, as people seek flexibility, freedom and anonymity in their investments, said Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, who teaches philanthropy at Stanford, runs her own philanthropy and is a close friend of Ms. Powell Jobs.

“The beauty of having an LLC in today’s world is No. 1, you have the ability to act and react as nimbly as need be to create change, and you have the ability to invest politically, in the for-profit sector and the nonprofit sector simultaneously,” she said.

“And the reality is,” she added, “we are now seeing a blurring of the lines between the sectors in a way that was not even discussed 10 years ago. The way that we are going to solve social problems is by working with multiple different types of investing.”

You read that right, Ms. Jobs channels most of her philanthropy through a corporation, and said philanthropy includes for-profit ventures. That’s how much Hayek and Friedman (both Thomas and Milton) and Rand have burrowed their way into the minds of Silicon Valley. Read this shit again:

“And the reality is,” she added, “we are now seeing a blurring of the lines between the sectors in a way that was not even discussed 10 years ago. The way that we are going to solve social problems is by working with multiple different types of investing.”

Philanthropy is not investing people. Andrew Carnegie might have been a ruthless capitalist of the highest order, shootin’ strike workers and erry’thang, but even he understood the difference between philanthropy and capitalism and practiced either exclusively one or the other. The motherfucker didn’t need a holding company to provide “flexibility” in building libraries; he just built libraries.

Because you know who also needs flexibility and anonymity in their “philanthropy”? The Koch Brothers. And there’s less difference between them and the Family Jobs than you might think. A quick visit to the Emerson Collective website reveals that one of their biggest priorities is education “reform” dedicated to ending that plague on America’s children known as teacher’s unions. But when your philanthropy involves politically controversial issues and for-profit investments it ceases to be philanthropy, and starts to become corporations-are-people-style activism. Maybe a little more vanity would get them back on a library-building type grind and less on a shadowy-manipulation-of-American-politics type grind.

Maybe, but not because the Gates foundation attaches its name to everything it does and engages in even more questionable philanthropy from busting teachers unions to partnering with Monsanto to get the developing world hooked on their crack-seeds to additional for-profit investments.

So instead, what we’re left with is Philanthropy 2.0, where the staid inefficient charity sector is disrupted by for-profit investments, where multinational corporations are the new humanitarians. Bleeding heart neoliberals. Aren’t you happy these guys are the tertiary power center of the global hegemon?

P.S. Yes, I’m sure Mrs. Jobs spends a lot of her time doing admirable work for good causes, as she fuckin’ should considering how much money she has. That doesn’t negate the issue.

*disclaimer: I’m not criticizing anyone’s specific organizing efforts. Any and all efforts to resist global capitalism are quite well appreciated. Just pointing out a larger trend*

Last Satiddy, depending on when I finish this) was that worldwide March Against Monsanto, and rest assured I was there in spirit. It went alright, or at least as well as global days of action against institutionalized power tend to go, and like all global days of action against institutionalized power in the 2010s, this one was organized primarily on the Internet, chiefly that great tool for liberation known as Facebook (all praises due to Comrade Zuckerberg, true friend of the people). USAToday got them technological determinist details:

The ‘March Against Monsanto’ movement began just a few months ago, when founder and organizer Tami Canal created a Facebook page on Feb. 28 calling for a rally against the company’s practices.

“If I had gotten 3,000 people to join me, I would have considered that a success,” she said Saturday. Instead, she said an “incredible” number of people responded to her message and turned out to rally.

“It was empowering and inspiring to see so many people, from different walks of life, put aside their differences and come together today,” Canal said. The group plans to harness the success of the event to continue its anti-GMO cause.

And indeed, it could have been organized by Pitbull, cuz it was worldwide no doubt. But what be drawin’ my attention is: what type of worldwide was it? Indeed, what numerical kind of #worldproblems was March Against Monsanto addressing?

Two nights before, on a half-drunken lark, I looked up the list of actions, and I noticed somethin’ pecuniar: it seems that rich countries are the ones that really hate Monsanto, while the developing world seems pretty chill about the whole thing. Witness: New Zealand had 9 demonstrations, while of the five African nations that are engaging in a “Colonialism-is-such-an-ugly-word-you-guys” partnership with Monsanto, only South Africa is turning out into the streets. It appears then, that the people of Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania have spoken, and they are down like a clown about the prospect of their agriculture becoming completely dependent on an American multinational, and having to buy seeds from said multinational every year, and getting sued if they don’t.

Some’n ain’t right here.

An interesting narrative undercurrent back when Occupy was doin’ it toin’ it, was that instead of being a part of some sort of leftist resistance in America, Occupy was part of a worldwide solidarity movement that somehow had a direct link to the Egyptian revolution as well the Indignado protests in Spain and the Chilean student movement. The only way such a concept could extend beyond the occasional “shout out to ____” at a rally is the emergence of an Internet-centric model of organizing (which, curiously enough, doesn’t organize).

The answer, of course, as to why Africa didn’t get the memo about the march against Monsanto is that it’s not online. The digital divide is in full motherfucki’ effizzect. This means that any attempt at a worldwide solidarity movement organized primarily through the Internet will inevitably leave behind most in need of solidarity. In other words, the march against Monsanto is more about people who don’t want GMOs in their food than it is about the people growing the food in the first place.

“But MGunn, that’s not our problem. They’ll be online soon enough. Why should we have to do anything different?” And who’s going to bring them online? Who are the people talking about the enormous market potential of bringing the next 3 billion people online? Google and Facebook. Y’all internet-centrists need to check yourselves then. Our global solidarity resistant movement against neoliberal capitalism is dependent on infrastructure work done giant American corporations (I mean I assumed the global solidarity resistance movement was against capitalism, but I guess it could also be against goblins)?

Look y’all, I’m not about to act like the coordinating through the Internet, or even for-profit social networks, doesn’t have a valuable role in organizing, but there are some basic niggaz out there who wouldn’t know the principles of direct action if it stabbed them in the dick going around talking about how the Internet, and Facebook especially, have fundamentally changed the principles of organizing for social movements, that the old rules of activism no longer apply. Those same people are not paying attention to those who are getting left behind. The inclusiveness of a movement can’t be projected 10 years into the future.

The sad part is that though African governments may not wow you with their democratic responsiveness, pushing back against Monsanto seems like a pretty easy get for local governments in the region if there’s any movement toward that in the streets. But how would you even achieve that? I’m not gonna front, I have no idea, but I know it’s not gonna get done through a Facebook page, and if we ever want to get serious about this whole global solidarity thing, we can’t make the mistake of thinking that it will.

Though I ain’t an active member of the tumblr community, I do believe it is not inappropriate to say that this shit is a land grab. Let me explain.

Yahoo’s acquisition of tumblr was just another day in Silicon Valley, where upstart programmers get VC money to build companies that aren’t profitable, 9 times out of 10 with the goal of getting bought by one of the behemoths, cashing out, and gettin’ that “you know what’s cool” money. But for the millions of users who quite literally depend on tumblr, for their own mental health, dirt done been did.

The omniscient gentlemen of the news media, as be they wont regarding anything that teenagers care about, was condescendin’ n a motherfuck, but as always, they’re missin the point. While admittedly some of the outcry is “Yahoo? More like Yah-EW!”, there is a very real sense of ownership in the tumblr community because tumblr provides some real shit, and herein lies the tragedy of late capitalism.

There is now a long proud history in America of the outcasts of society coming together to form spaces and movements, those movements and spaces rising in popularity by people discontented with the inherently shitty system before finally being co-opted and commodified by the interests of capital. Ostensibly, the acquisition of tumblr is yet another chapter, but upon closer analysis, we see the game for what it is, how we’re all caught up in it, and precisely why this whole thing we call the Internet needs to be torn the fuck up.

Despite the narratives we tell ourselves, growing up in America/the developed world is not a safe process for everyone. Communities can be repressive. And furthermore, the twin devils of consumerism and suburban development have eroded those existing communities in an effort to replace them with things, which works just fine because you can’t organize and resist around things. We’re all bowling alone. The central existential quest of 21st-century middle class America is the search for belonging. And in that quest, many of us turn to the Internet.

Far more than just being a reliable repository of porn GIFs, tumblr is a place where people can turn to discuss issues that are not fit for polite society, and tumblr specifically because of it allowed anonymity but still benefited from the network effect, and also because of the lack of ads. The lack of ads is crucial; people won’t feel comfortable opening up about their eating disorders when surrounded by photoshopped models. The tumblrs devoted to deconstructing privilege, pansexuality, and even otherkins draw ridicule for the recursive, sometimes absurd to outsiders, nature of their content, but they perform a vital function. People need safe, free places to undergo the process of self-discovery. For those with mental illnesses questions about their sexuality, this is quite literally a life-or-death issue.

The worry then, is that tumblr will, such as with Facebook and Twitter, be assimilated into dominant society and become a social network filled with ads and one’s bosses and parents and troubled teens (and teenagers at heart) will be back on that Israelite grind, wandering the desert to find another place to get kicked out of. Marissa Mayer understands these concerns, which is why she promised “not to screw it up.” But the interests of capital are pros at this shit, so they’re not going to show their hands too early. More likely, ad penetration will be achieved through attrition, but whatever happens, y’all need to know that tumblr was never safe to begin with.

The founder of tumblr is David Karp, a scion of privilege and high school dropout who is staying on as CEO, and like all the other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs out there, he came singing in the same siren song about how he wasn’t like all the other capitalists, that it wasn’t about the money for him, that he just wanted to make us happy, and we the internet-using populace, like the female protagonist of a country music song, believed him no matter how many times we’ve been lied to before. But men like him are all the same, and the process of monetization was coming, especially since he was about to be broke in six months.

On the subject of ads, here’s what this nigga has to say:

So much of the internet today isn’t really about making customers; it’s about grabbing you at the moment that you’re ready to buy. When you’re ready to buy your iPod, I’m going to try to get you and go over here for my deal on an iPod. When you’re looking for an asbestos attorney, Google’s got all of these paid search results for all of the serious asbestos law firms, right? So that is so much of what advertising is on the Internet is today, all of these hyper-targeted little blue links. But if you look at all of the advertising before that, it was designed to tell a story, it was designed to inspire you, you know, those BMW commercials made me want my driver’s license when I was a kid; the kind of stuff that really moves people and creates customers. There is so little, if there is any of that on the Internet today. It’s just so not what anybody’s building for. The opportunity that I see in Tumblr because we are such a media network, we are so much about content and attention and creativity, creative content. The opportunity I see is to allow marketers, advertisers to once again make awesome content and put it in the mix with other awesome content.

To clarify, he when he says “Mad Men” quality ads, he means going the BuzzFeed strategy of “native advertising” or creating ads that are indistinguishable from traditional “editorial” content. This is absolutely what David Karp was going to do, and now he has Yahoo money to do it, and in terms of its effect on our psyche, this concept is far worse than just throwing up a shit ton of AdSense, because the process of “making customers” is the process of burrowing deep into our subconscious, isolating the insecurities, and exploiting them. This prospect is doubly horrifying when you consider that it’s targeting a bunch of kids who aren’t even sure if they’re supposed to be human. And so when I say that tumblr was never safe, this is what I meant. The community was always going to get sold out by the dude that brung it, because the game is the game, and the game is capitalism. David Karp’s got shareholders to think of. The slope on the profit vs. time plot has to always be positive, no matter how many communities get wrecked in the process. If he didn’t do so, he’d get sued for negligence.

In a way, it reminds me of turf wars. Kids grow up looking for a sense of belonging, and they find it in a gang or on their block. They get so attached to their hood that their willing to die and kill for it, while all the while none of them own a square inch, and the fate of that block is being discussed by a bunch of old (mostly) white dudes in suits who are assessing how it fits into their “redevelopment” strategy for that neighborhood.

And yet, this shit was a land grab. Because David Karp didn’t create the community whose existence, as grotesque and incomprehensible as it may be to journalists, saves lives. That community belongs to the users, and it will be taken from them, no matter what lip service is paid by that member of the Wal-Mart Board of Directors (side note: is this shit not heartbreaking? Free yourselves from neoliberal feminism, y’all). And this fuckin’ dynamic, along with the online colonization of the developing world, is why I’m on the shit that I’m on, because no matter what the initial goal of the Internet was, all this shit’s owned by capitalists. When will the people truly have a space they can truly call their own? Perhaps when the Global Square is finished, but why wait for somebody else. Why not prosumer-owned cooperative social networks and blogging platforms? Like seriously, why the fuck not? If we want to ever bowl together again, we have to radically rethink the way we approach services on the Internet.

Look y’all. This shit ain’t that hard. Building a social network isn’t that code-intensive a project. We have the tools, and we have the folk. All we need is the will; all we need is people who are out to build projects that are actually for the people instead of just using them as a rhetorical patronus against accusations of exploitation. But then again, maybe I’m just unhappy because I don’t have the latest iPhone. It’s hard to say.

This gon’ indubitably be a recurring-ass series.

Larry Page wants a tech Burning Man, or so the headline goes:

“There are many, many exciting and important things we can do but we can’t do because they’re illegal or not allowed by regulations,” he said, adding that it might be good to designate an experimental zone reminiscent of the annual “Burning Man” art and technology festival where many social rules are suspended.  ”As technologists we should have safe places where we can try out new things and figure out the effect on society and people without having to deploy into the normal world.  People who like those kind of things can go there and experiment.”

This shit don’t make sense for a multitude of reasons. Number one is that Burning Man is tech Burning Man. Larry Page knows this, seein’ as he go every year. What Larry Page really means is that he wants Google to be above the law. But there are tons of islands out in the Pacific that Larry Page could buy up and carry out his Dr. Moreau singularity experiments. No doubt Google has the money. The problem is that Larry Page needs human subjects and he’s too much of a pussy to do the colonization necessary to carry out his 21st century don’t-call-it-imperialist project. Plus, the act of actually buying an island in the Pacific for secret experiments would reveal how fuckin’ crazy Google’s ideas actually are. Therefore, he channels his inner 14-year old Randian and starts whining about the government and all its rules man. Indeed, how sad that rich white men don’t societal Petri dishes in which they can play God anymore.

Also, “technologist” ain’t no goddamn word.

Hell to the yes, y’all. I know it’s not appropriate to celebrate others’ misfortunes, but I’ma dance on this one cuz fuck technocrats.

For those who ain’t know, a month ago dat nigga Z-Buck founded his front organization called FWD.us, designed for one reason and one reason only, to bring in more of those precious, precious indentured servants that also happen to computer program, which shouldn’t be that much of a problem because Silicon Valley owns that whole Pennsylvania Avenue block, but it is because Obeezy was all like “I can’t give y’all visas and leave my Mexican homies out to dry. We put it in.” and so Z-Buck and his boys was all like “Oh we got to wait for the Mexicans to get theirs too? Don’t this nigga know we own all his email and photos? Time to quit talking and actually disrupt politics y’all”

A month later, and the only thing disrupted is Mark Zuckerberg’s stomach. What had happened was, whatever political consultant they hired had seen too many episodes of House of Cards and decided to go full Machiavellian on comprehensive immigration reform, setting up ideologically opposite money-funnelling groups in order to run ads, one called “Council for American Job Growth”, but more importantly one called “Americans for a Conservative Direction” which proceeded to drop a cool milli on ads that praised motherfuckers such as Lindsay Graham for supporting Keystone and ANWAR drilling, at which point liberal environmental groups were all “You gon’ learn today”.

Proceed to calls for boycotts of Facebook from CREDO Mobile and MoveOn, and two Silicon Valley heavyweights kickin FWD.us to the curb.

But why you may ask is Z-buck’s embarrassment worth getting hype over, other than just pure haterade-infused dopamine? Because these motherfuckers thought they could do it. Now I’ve never actually studied computer science, but I’ve been in the room when it’s been discussed to understand that what it’s basically about is getting trillions upon quadrillions of obedient, very stupid people to do what you want to do in rapid succession. Almost all of the power players in Silicon Valley come from that background. Which means, their approach to everything is technocratic and suffers from epistemic closure. Witness, this instructive-ass quote from Tim O’Reilly, the guy who came up with “Web 2.0” and the “open source movement” (and y’all really should read the whole essay. My boy Ev-Jen Mor-zov is on fucking point)

 I remember having a conversation with Nancy Pelosi not long after Google did their Panda search update, and it was in the context of SOPA/PIPA. . . . [Pelosi] said, “Well, you know, we have to satisfy the interests of the technology industry and the movie industry.” And I thought, “No, you don’t. You have to get the right answer.”

The problem here is that engineers believe that there is only one right answer to any problem, while the whole function of politics is to take people with diametrically opposite ideas of what is right and to get them to work together. For many in the Valley, this idea is literally beyond their comprehension, which is why they called us humanities majors “fuzzies” as a pejorative.

But technocracy ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. I mean have y’all seen Greece? Countries are burning down over a gotdamn Excel spreadsheet error.

I introduce this shit because FWD.us was straight up playing a politics inspired by computer science. These niggaz don’t understand that this is a democratic republic. However you feel about immigration reform, the people that are against got voted in by a democratic majority of their constituents precisely to oppose it. Z-buck was like “But look at all this money. We can’t get NOTHIN for it?” And Congress was like “it’s complicated.” And here’s how they done fucked up: they treated the American people like a bunch of transistors to turn on and off when it suited them through spending millions of dollars on political ads, but politics don’t work like that. Meanwhile, Silicon Valley done forgot why we let them be our future overlords in the first place. Yeah, what they doin ain’t all that different from our favorite supervillains in Washington (oil companies, pharma, and the delightfully ineluctable military-industrial complex), but the whole legitimacy of their regime is based on the idea that they’re different from those evil capitalists of the past. Yeah, it’s pretty much all PR, but PR fuckin’ matters. I get the MoveOn emails, these niggaz were like abused puppies. They felt betrayed. But what is betrayal? Just a much colder form of education, and it’s always a cause for celebration when people are led out of ignorance and into the light.

To all of you ignorant motherfuckers out there, to those who treat Google press releases like they’re fuckin’ fatwas for your Wahhabi-followin’ ass, to those who wonder why anyone would want to start a socialist Luddite blog, this one’s for you. Yes, this word smegma is a few weeks old (though it doesn’t have a date on it, because the future doesn’t have a time, man), but it’s instructive-ass shit. (I was finna put this into a downfall video, but I figured y’all adhd niggaz need more words in your lives). This, this shit right here, is the subject of my discontent. Read it: http://www.fastcoexist.com/1681839/the-world-needs-18-billion-jobs-but-what-if-they-already-exist

OK, if coming back from that, your brain didn’t suddenly feel the need to create a brand new category of stupid, while simultaneously being horrified that someone got paid to write this and a blog for a national magazine with a circulation of over 750,000 (and only read by rich people), and also just straight up wanting to punch this nigga for suggesting that the answer to global systemic poverty is Facebook and Google, then listen up.

The question of full employment is one that socialism has always been seeking to address, and not just socialism, full employment was seen as an important part of any successful society by almost all prominent economic theorists for most of the 20th century. It was a large part of the rationale behind all those big government agencies and programs that sprung up then. Motherfuckers needed jobs, real jobs that people could live off of, and capitalism wasn’t giving it to them. It was working pretty well, but the rich white people were upset, because it wasn’t working very well for them. But then, in the 1970s, a wise old sage/pied piper came to town.

His name was Milton Friedman and he was selling a magical potion called neoliberalism. He promised that it would solve all that inflation brought on by the oil crisis, among a whole damn myriad of causes, that was making all the money they were hoarding worth less. He promised that it would alleviate all those problems coming about due to desegregation, but most importantly, for the purposes of this blog, that structural unemployment was totally chill, necessary to fight inflation (he called it the NAIRU, which sounds like a combination between Nation of Islam and Piru and works pretty much in that manner too). Some people drank that potion, and it made them crazy vampires. These vampires then went around infecting other vampires until we wound up with nations crazy enough to elect Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Fast forward two financial crises and the IMF’s structural adjustment world tour, and full employment sounds like the name of a band that’s never going to make it out of Muskogee.

The real answer to the world needing 1.8 billion (actual) jobs is for us to end the neoliberal project, stop re-colonizing Africa, institute fair labor and livable wages in Bangladesh-style sweatshops, for workers to organize and own businesses, and for the US to engage in massive development projects it has/is currently bombing with the understanding that these aren’t humanitarian projects, but projects of national security (a la the Marshall Plan). How-eva, none of those options are going to help grifters like Alvis Brigis have a career selling technofuturist boys bands to the River City Iowas of the world, and so we get the triflinest of triflin shit to ever have been trifled with. Witness:

“But what about the 1.8 billion jobs that people need now? In one sense, they’re already here. Facebook’s 1.1 billion users, YouTube’s 1 billion monthly users, Google’s 1 billion monthly users, all exchange their data for access to structured content.”

“These developments are expanding the market for data that can be more easily applied across industries and converted into money, which in turn is increasing the demand for prosumers that can input, sort and output this data.”

“The billions of people on Earth have and will continue to find it in their interests to centralize information into an “Everything Map” (which Google is already consciously building), a much needed social tool and critical central component of accelerating change.”

“I can imagine $100 per prosumer per network by 2018. But as extraordinary, revolutionary wealth is generated, as convergent accelerating change suggests, those numbers could grow quickly, perhaps exponentially.”

This Negro needs 50ccs of Evgeny Morozov stat because he’s got a classic case of solutionism, but it’s worse than that. I don’t think y’all realize how insidious this shit is. He starts off noting one of the most important trends of the developed world in the 21st century (the way structural inequality has moved into full “fuck you” mode), then moves on to the biggest cause of social unrest around the world and solves both by suggesting that two of the biggest companies in the world will somehow magically deign to pay people for the data they’ve already been getting for free.

Now, y’all might say “But MGunn, why the outrage? It’s just somebody spouting stupidity on the Internet” Cuz nobody can be that stupid. There is no way Mr. Brigis believes all of the things he’s arguing, it doesn’t make any sense, so he’s clearly hustling, selling reassurance to the capitalists of the world that haven’t successfully strangled their conscience that if we leave Google and Facebook alone, global structural unemployment will solve itself. What you have then, is ad copy in place of political discourse, and nobody has to engage with the actual incredibly hard work to bring about global full employment, and this shit makes it all the way up to the top, as Larry Page and Eric Schmidt have Obama’s personal ear, and late capitalism continues unmolested.

Even Suge Knight be like, that’s some cold-blooded shit right there.