Conversation on the Networked Labour Mailing List

Bob Haugen - Maybe we could write something together? I’m thinking about social graphs from a couple of angles. Unfortunately, got nothing funny - or even pithy - yet. Both of the angles have at least two sides. Probably more. One angle is the creeping creepiness of being globally networked by forces beyond our control, who do not have our best interests at heart, if they have hearts at all. The side of that that most people focus on is the creepy side. Both Facebook and Google want to BE the Internet. And the NSA is intertwingled with both of them. So I totally understand the paranoia. Or, it ain’t paranoia if they are really out to get you.

TPP and stuff like that is the current global government-by-corporation at work. But those are already the old guard. FB, Google, NSA and the algorithmic stock traders are all part of the new guard. The global corporate government of the future. Just like the current corporate government, it is not monolithic, but a class coopetition.

The other side is the increasing socialization of labor, of which the social graphs are part. If you believe like Marx did (and I do) that the increasing, global, socialization and coordination of labor is preparing the human race for something new, then this is all necessary. I’m thinking here of the global supply chains, the global communication networks, the software and hardware than runs them, and all of the labor that makes them work, down to the miners of rare earth minerals.

We collectively built and run all that stuff. Including all the software than FB and Google run, almost all of which was not invented by them, much of which is open source, and the stuff that was invented “by them” was actually invented by people who work for them, who took all of their ideas from predecessors, etc. So FB and Google just expropriate the collective intelligence, the General Intellect. That should all be public property running a better political-economic system. I include Walmart in there, too. Not sure how to get that to happen, but those are the possibilities.

The other angle is about strategy and tactics. Do we use FB and Google for subversive purposes? Or create alternatives? Or both? I’d guess both, but I’m not good at the former.

Lídia - I completely agree with the perspective of the Social Graph as a tool for governance, a foucauldian technology of power which effectively objectifies the subject by charting his/her interpersonal/non-personal (with brands, companies, political parties, etc) relationships and general well-being with the purpose of organisation, surveillance and value extraction. I have also come to think of it as the architecture of the ‘social factory’, decentralised yet under control. And here I also agree that we should provide a link to the material conditions which allow for social networking cognitive labor.

Bob Haugen - Yes, thanks for reminding me. I should have included Amazon and the voter databases pioneered by the Obama election organization. I recently seem to have landed on the Elizabeth Warren mailing list. Could be worse, I guess.

Örsan Şenalp - You did put it in a dialectical plane Bob thanks :) Thinking of these as two core modules of, kind of, a networked map of a complex and systemic class warfare(s) going on, probably it is good to see the both at once to figure out the chance for the win: both social network map, or graph of alternative and radical inter-networking of good people, their struggles, creativities, productions, emancipatory forces and energies, and the social graph of the elite and oppressive counterparts..