[Pga_europe_process] Industrial society (text for the reader)

ikkyu at altern.org ikkyu at altern.org
Fri Jul 16 23:59:44 CEST 2004

Here is an introduction of the anti-tech debates proposed by the CUL (comite universitaire de liberation). To be used as basic text for the reader.
Please contact them at culcul at no-lo.org




Shall we play Rage against the machine?

“The world revolves in silence”. As the global economy roars, as the spectacular goes on in politics , as social movements moan
discontinuously. Silently, technical development goes on, spreading the rumour that Progress is taking place. Our ability to produce industrially what we need might allow us to live better than before. We don’t spend long laundry hours; we don’t walk miles for water… So much time spared to do the rest.
As if [ Progress=for the best]
As if [ Having more time for leisure, of any kind= for the best]
As if [ Working to buy what we need= for the best]
But…seasons are altered, the food’s appalling, borders are guarded by biometric identification controls, natural resources are controlled by gigantic companies…so what do we do? Shall we go back to the old
hunters-pickers time, wear masks to perform extatic dances and watch the fauna mate at dawn? Or shall we crash computers down with barbaric shrieks? Or regain the means of production and lapidate firm-owners with their own machine-bolts?
Is the question: what is best between now and before? Is the problem: industrialisation and progress, good or bad?
The answer would be fairly simple: each one of us should decide, it just depends on the point of view. “Yes, but not exactly”. Some might say: “without technological advance, we’re fucked, and we might be even further behind the USA, and Nescafé is damn good.” And other might say: “ Can’t you see that we’re running straight towards an ecological disaster, that the planet is just dying, that the atomic bomb and CO2….”. In fact, the same sort of people often are the ones to switch from the first point of view to the second.  Symptom of a deeper problem that must be tackled: you can’t refuse or accept technology altogether. The most cynical of
capitalists very well feels that polluting rivers is a problem ; the most ecologically concerned of us finds cars quite practical sometimes, anaesthesia helpful, chemotherapy humanist.

Isn’t the question more: what do we desire? What are we heading for? What power do we have?
Over-industrialised worlds, faced with their practices, fear that
technology is harming social relations, draining them down. There lies the concrete problem. It might be that their well-being complex sounds like an insult to CDSDS (Countries Durably Sunk in Deep Shit). But the fact is there: relationships loose their meaning, intimates are turned to ghosts. We have less and less the impression that being there practically makes a difference, that we have some kind of power over our social environment. Feeling stuck in the wheels of a big machine. This is why we’d like to say: “don’t follow us, don’t do like us…”. And we’d get our answer: “ We endure everyday hardships, you don’t…so fuck off. You colonised us, and now you’d want to show us the way? Again !!”
What do we desire? What power do we have? Plans for autonomy and saving what remains of intimacy. Intimacy as a sphere of freedom of choice, freedom of movement concerning the way we build ourselves and our
friendships. Autonomy as the invention of new forms of being-together, and working with our environment. Plans for countering different logics of state control, power over our lives (biopolitics), consumerism. All this we want for ourselves, as people living in a society that’s building itself. Wanting things for others would mean taking power ; but this we do not want, as something too long, too useless. We are building our world. Others might join in, or build their own.

Then, the question with technology is not with or without. It’s more: what relation to things, what practices do we want through autonomy? What techniques do we seek to refuse, not because they ruin our happiness, our health, our life, but because they hinder our desires, because they prevent certain forms of expression, because they ruin what we see is living together.
Our autonomy requires self-organisation, self-care. For our society, we want a form of self-institution that confronts the abyss, light as though dancing, without the comfort of an electronic milking-machine. With no other insurance that our personal ability to meet the unforeseen. We are not guided by Mao, nor by an instinct of conservation, nor by the idea of a prodigal and generous nature. Not by mummy either (although…).
Self-organisation means: neither experts nor specialists;  techniques that we can share, understand, which are ours and everyone’s. No guide means: no technology should be prohibited from the start, because technology is to be chosen according to our desires and our power to decide over it.

The constant ticking of power games, fears being solved in useless functioning, structures constantly planning the norm, urbanism building the “nothing-happened”.
One easily feels technology’s bipolarity ; it does not belong to us. We’ve been separated from it from the start. Secluded from what is practically economical, normalising-medical, mechanical power ; police regulations. All these which tend to widen the gap between ourselves and the inventors. Which arise the expectation of  new technical stuff coming out. That eventually only develops technology for power relations : what good will bio-nano-technologies do apart from control, broadcast, population adding-and-dividing, human-group management, individual management? Refusing a certain technology is only refusing certain ways-of-life: GPS parental guidance, full-employment, a 2 months addition in our

For anti-industrialism to remain as a relevant issue, we wish to submit these concrete thoughts to the debate:
-	Unravel our consumerist-mystical approach to technologies by a precise understanding of the way they work. Learn to do odd jobs, reshape and subvert things.
-	Always consider meaning before utilization. Ask: what do I want to do?, before asking: what do I need?
-	3 options towards control technology: 1° Ignore. 2° Subvert. 3° Sabotage. -	Reflect on technology using ways-of-life as ultimate criteria.
-	Cease to think that industry might have an objective positive side because it produces work and wealth, considering that those types of work and wealth are definitely not what we want. Cease to view society as a large company to be managed.
-	If food, clothing and accommodation according to the
industrial-consumerist model eventually harms our freedom, we have to think on the long term on how to build an autonomous counter-world. Using our own methods, techniques and networks.
-	Create workshops for sharing theoretical and practical knowledge. -	In our behaviours and reactions, seek to give up a machine-like
attitude. Favour spontaneity and risk.

-	Historical presentation of various anti-industrialist critics: Ludittes, Unabomber & neo-ludittes, Gunther Anders, Arendt, Bill Joy, J.M. Truong, Adorno.
-	Through Castoriadis and Illich’s theories, try to re-think and criticize those latters.
-	Confront those theories to everyday experiences of different groups and individuals

* A brochure enclosing a selection of relevant passages will be distributed.

Paris, 14th july 2004,
Comité Universitaire de Libération (C.U.L.) : Association of Students Sedition (A.S.S.)

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