The Means of Production
6

Who Really Owns The Internet?

Why are a tiny handful of people making so much money off of material produced for nothing or next-to-nothing by so many others? Why do we make it so easy for Internet moguls to avoid stepping on to what one called "the treadmill of paying for content"? Who owns the Internet?

The People's Platform, by Astra Taylor, was published this week. You can buy it wherever capitalism allows you to obtain books:

Metropolitan Books

McNally Jackson

Amazon / Kindle

Powell's

Previously in this interview series:

A conversation with Matt Taibbi and Molly Crabapple.

Discussing the [...]

8

What Time Is The Revolution?

There were a number of reasons to be skeptical when I arrived at a very expensive bar in Fort Greene to talk with Benjamin Kunkel about Utopia or Bust, his new collection of introductory essays about contemporary leftist theorists, ranging from the literary critic Fredric Jameson to the anthropologist and prominent Occupy personality David Graeber. The most obvious reason to be skeptical was that we were meeting at a very expensive bar in Fort Greene to talk about Marxism. “An important part of Marxism is blaming others,” Kunkel said—explaining that this bar was the suggestion of a friend. “At least, in good proletarian fashion, we’re just eating French fries.”

[...]
1

A Conversation With Matt Taibbi and Molly Crabapple

On one side of The Divide—the gap in the justice system between the rich and the poor that provides the title for Matt Taibbi’s brilliant and enraging new book—financiers and other wealthy people commit egregious crimes, including laundering drug money, and rarely face jail time. Prosecutors worry about "collateral consequences" before filing charges.

The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, by Matt Taibbi with illustrations by Molly Crabapple, will be published on Tuesday. You can order it now now now, wherever capitalism allows you to obtain books:

Spiegel & Grau / Random House

McNally Jackson

Amazon [...]

5

"Do What You Love"—Oh, But Not That! On Recognizing Sex Work As Work

Astra Taylor’s forthcoming book The People’s Platform, about who has power and who gets paid in the age of the Internet, mentions the following quote about the virtues of “open-source” (read: unpaid) labor from Internet guru Yochai Benkler:

“Remember, money isn’t always the best motivator. If you leave a fifty-dollar check after dinner with friends, you don’t increase the probability of being invited back. And if dinner doesn’t make it entirely obvious, think of sex.”

That quote, unsurprisingly, is from a TED Talk. The talk's audience chose to reflexively laugh rather than actually think about sex or about work. It doesn’t seem to occur to anyone in the audience [...]

1

How Can Unions Win?

Kevin Bacon’s new video imploring millennials to raise their 80s awareness did not mention Billy Bragg’s 1986 song “There Is Power in a Union,” but the idea that there is any power in a union probably seems as remote to many millennials as parachute pants or the White Pages. Actually, this is probably true of anyone born after about 1965. It’s been a long time since we have thought that most workers can realistically be something other than lone and lonely individuals forced to accept whatever terms of employment they can find and hope not to get fired.

Strike for America: Chicago Teachers Against Austerity [...]
13

Is Twitter Your Job? Is It Paying You? So What Are You Doing?

Rupert says he forgot meeting because it took place on his wife Wendi's boat rather than his own

— David Folkenflik (@davidfolkenflik) April 25, 2012

Who gamed a substantial number of professional news-gatherers into providing free content for Twitter?

Remember back when newspapers and other organizations doubled their employees' workload? (You should, it was only like a couple years ago.) And they were all, ha ha, now you have to blog too! Or you'll get fired like all those union guys who used to run the printing plant! So that worked out pretty well actually. Worked out real good for… some people. But everyone has taken this [...]