August 2018Spectacle

Good Reads for August 2018

The New York Times (Aug. 2) reports in considerable detail how a fake event/organizational page on Facebook – likely from a Russian government source -- was able to engage with the organic local activist groups aiming to counter the August 12 Unite the Right Rally – and how the discovery and taking down of the page wiped out a considerable body of activist contact and organizing. Here is the coverage from the Washington Post Aug. 2.

In These Times Special Issue Explores the Future of Labor Unions After Janus. The Supreme Court’s June 27 ruling in Janus vs. AFSCME, by striking down the ability of public-sector unions to impose fees on non-members to cover the expenses of representing them in the workplace and in contract negotiations, is generally considered a disaster for organized labor in the U.S. However, the August 2018 issue of In These Times, carrying the cover title “Rebuilding Labor After Janus,” includes four separate articles exploring survival strategies for labor organizers and unions in the post-Janus environment, plus an interview with Bernie Sanders on how labor can fight the Janus ruling while moving politics to the left. The articles represent the views of labor activists Bill Fletcher Jr.; Jessica Stites and Aaron Tang; Shaun Richman; and James Gray Pope, Ed Bruno and Peter Kellman, respectively. To access this ITT issue online, click here.

On the occasion of DSA/DSOC early member Ron Dellums’s death at age 82 this week, In These Times reprinted an interview with him conducted at the time of his election to Congress in 1976. He was the first known DSA member in Congress.

From Vox, Jacobin writer Meagan Day does the walk-through explainer, reminding us that when people have an incorrect snapshot of us and our ideas, it’s not necessarily a useful idea to respond with a correct snapshot. Socialist emancipation is the work of years.

Another from Andy Feeney: Silicon Valley Elite Are Planning Seriously for Techno-Apocalypse, Futurist Douglass Rushkoff Claims in the Guardian. Douglass Rushkoff, author of some 15 books on the future of technology, writes in the Guardian online that he was invited last year to give a presentation to some of the planet’s richest technology investors at an undisclosed luxury resort. When he arrived, Rushkoff claims, he found his audience primarily interested in how to prepare for “the Event …. their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, unstoppable virus, or Mr Robot hack that takes everything down.”

In thinking about the future, Rushkoff writes, “They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from the angry mobs. But how would they pay the guards once money was worthless?”  Accordingly, rather than encouraging Rushkoff to talk about how technology can make the world better, these members of the high-tech elite were focused on “transcending the human condition altogether and insulating themselves from a very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic, and resource depletion. For them, the future of technology is really about just one thing: escape.” The original story includes a subtle plug for Rushkoff’s forthcoming book Team Human.

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