Posted 2 years ago

The Personal is the Political (again)

At least, as it concerns my blogs. I’ve decided to stop branching my opinions between two different blogs. While I have been thrilled with the way this blog has developed, I feel like a unified blog will ultimately be a more interesting read, and give me a more coherent way of expressing my views. I think it will also focus my writing more, so the overall content will be of a higher quality. I will be archiving this blog in the next week or so, and posts here will stop. I will, however, be resuming political content on my personal blog at AndrewFM. Currently, I post about graphic design, exercise, photography, music, general developments in my life, and various miscellany.

I’ve also just published my first long-form post in some time there, "The Neoliberal University." Hopefully, my content will no longer fall by the wayside as often as it has. Thanks for reading!

Posted 2 years ago
There is one common account which can perhaps be disposed of here; the view that other-regarding behavior is motivated by a desire to avoid the guilt feelings which would result from selfish behavior. Guilt cannot provide the basic reason, because guilt is precisely the pained recognition that one is acting or has acted contrary to a reason which the claims, rights, or interests of others provide- a reason which therefore must be antecedently acknowledged.
Thomas Nagel, The Possibility of Altruism, p. 80 (footnote #1).
Posted 2 years ago

Prison Economics Help Drive Arizona Immigration Law

NPR spent the past several months analyzing hundreds of pages of campaign finance reports, lobbying documents and corporate records. What they show is a quiet, behind-the-scenes effort to help draft and pass Arizona Senate Bill 1070 by an industry that stands to benefit from it: the private prison industry.

The law could send hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to prison in a way never done before. And it could mean hundreds of millions of dollars in profits to private prison companies responsible for housing them.

Posted 2 years ago

What Big Media Can Learn From the New York Public Library

While I don’t much care for the headline, or for the way that Madrigal constantly juxtaposes the library with media companies (it’s not a good comparison), this article is a fantastic exploration of what a non-profit organization is capable of.

Posted 2 years ago
One of the things I’ve found striking in this discussion is the tendency for people to call themselves “materialists” so long as they are committed to the claim that discursive practices are material. I guess the idea is that idealism focuses on ideas and thought, whereas materialism focuses on practices. I’m all for focusing on practices and I agree that they’re material, but I don’t think this is sufficient for claiming the title of “materialism”. I even had one respondent claim that discursive practices literally bring entities into existence. In other words, for this person no entities existed prior to discursive practices and no entities will exist after discursive practices. Wow! I fail to see how such a position can, in any possible universe, be called a materialism. Rather, to qualify as materialist I believe a position must be reject anthropocentrism and be posthumanist. The rejection of anthropocentrism refuses to grant humans any privileged place in assemblages. Humans are certainly important to humans and clearly we’ll be talking about humans quite a bit when we do social and political theory, but they enjoy no ontological privilege. The world or being exists apart from humans, existed before humans, and will exist after humans.
Posted 2 years ago

Open Source Ecology | Global Village Construction Set

Open Source Ecology is a network of farmers, engineers, and supporters that for the last two years has been creating the Global Village Construction Set, an open source, low-cost, high performance technological platform that allows for the easy, DIY fabrication of the 50 different Industrial Machines that it takes to build a sustainable civilization with modern comforts. The GVCS lowers the barriers to entry into farmingbuilding, and manufacturing and can be seen as a life-size lego-like set of modular tools that can create entire economies, whether in rural Missouri, where the project was founded, in urban redevelopment, or in the developing world.

The ideas that guide the GVCS are:

Open Source - we freely publish our 3d designs, schematics, instructional videos, budgets, and product manuals on our open source wiki and we harness open collaboration with technical contributors.

Low-Cost - The cost of making or buying our machines are, on average, 8x cheaper than buying from an Industrial Manufacturer, including an average labor cost of $15 hour for a GVCS fabricator.

Modular - Motors, parts, assemblies, and power units can interchange, where units can be grouped together to diversify the functionality that is achievable from a small set of units.

User-Serviceable - Design-for-disassembly allows the user to take apart, maintain, and fix tools readily without the need to rely on expensive repairmen.

DIY - (do-it-yourself) The user gains control of designing, producing, and modifying the GVCS tool set.

Closed Loop Manufacturing - Metal is an essential component of advanced civilization, and our platform allows for recycling metal into virgin feedstock for producing further GVCS technologies - thereby allowing for cradle-to-cradle manufacturing cycles

High Performance - Performance standards must match or exceed those of industrial counterparts for the GVCS to be viable.

Flexible Fabrication - It has been demonstrated that the flexible use of generalized machinery in appropriate-scale production is a viable alternative to centralized production.

Distributive Economics - We encourage the replication of enterprises that derive from the GVCS platform as a route to truly free enterprise - along the ideals of Jeffersonian democracy.

Industrial Efficiency - In order to provide a viable choice for a resilient lifestyle, the GVCS platform matches or exceeds productivity standards of industrial counterparts.

These are fantastic ideas.

Posted 2 years ago
Posted 2 years ago
aeraspais:

To be honest, I dislike how often discussions of racism get derailed to explain to people that the dictionary definition is out-of-date and inadequate but I feel it is a conversation we need to have.  Racism will always be more complex than a “hatred or intolerance of another race or other races”.  It is a set of practices and subconscious behaviors that continuously teaches us to default to white, where “nude” is considered to be beige, and black folks and Hispanics have higher incarceration rates than whites for the similar crimes.  By saying this I am not undermining bullying you may have received in grade, middle or high school and I am also not saying people of color cannot be prejudiced against other races themselves.  All I am saying is we, as people of color, cannot be racist since we lack the power to full on oppress you.  It is truly that simple to grasp.

aeraspais:

To be honest, I dislike how often discussions of racism get derailed to explain to people that the dictionary definition is out-of-date and inadequate but I feel it is a conversation we need to have.  Racism will always be more complex than a “hatred or intolerance of another race or other races”.  It is a set of practices and subconscious behaviors that continuously teaches us to default to white, where “nude” is considered to be beige, and black folks and Hispanics have higher incarceration rates than whites for the similar crimes.  By saying this I am not undermining bullying you may have received in grade, middle or high school and I am also not saying people of color cannot be prejudiced against other races themselves.  All I am saying is we, as people of color, cannot be racist since we lack the power to full on oppress you.  It is truly that simple to grasp.

Posted 2 years ago
There are lots of useful things we can do to rearrange daily life in the USA that would put people to work, but they would tend to defy the status quo. We could recognize that peak oil means that we have to grow our food differently and make local agriculture a more up-front piece of the economy. We could rebuild the railroads so that people don’t have to drive everywhere. We could rebuild our inland ports to move more bulk freight on boats. Notice these are very straightforward activities, unlike the manipulation of financial paper and markets. We’re not interested in focusing on agriculture and transport reform. Business and political interests are arrayed against changing anything. Something’s got to give.
Posted 2 years ago

May Day International | NEW: The Academy is the Crisis

jhnbrssndn:

“The institutions themselves are a key part of the problem. The Left must not content itself with fighting a rearguard action merely to mitigate the successive waves of educational neoliberalisation, but must reclaim the university along the lines Chomsky proposed over 40 years ago. We have the opportunity, as the final nail is driven into the coffin of the public university, to reimagine the university, as a space for genuine critical inquiry, liberated from the stifling, deadly embrace of capital. Maybe - and here’s an idea - it could take the defunders at their word, and create new universities, which may look quite unlike the impoverished institutions envisaged by capital, and are quite unencumbered by the existing corrupt, corporate regime that they are now destroying.”

My latest piece for New Left Project.