Radical media, politics and culture.

Technology and the Commodification of Higher Education

By David F. Noble, Monthly Review, March 2002

The following article is adapted from David Noble's new book, Digital
Diploma Mills: The Automation of Higher Education,
just published by
Monthly Review Press. Noble, a professor at York University, should
need no introduction to MR readers. For the past three decades he has
established himself as one of the great scholars and historians of
technology, demystifying the subject and placing technology in the
necessary social and political economic context. His publications
include America by Design: Science, Technology, and The Rise of
Corporate Capitalism
(1977), Forces of Production: A Social History
of Industrial Automation
(1984), and The Religion of Technology: The
Divinity of Man and The Spirit of Invention
(1997, all published by
Alfred A. Knopf).

For nearly all of that time, Noble has been a critic of the
"business-model" of higher education in the United States, an effort
to subject learning to marketing practices, bottom-line return on
investment, and capital accumulation, without regard to the demands
of learning and scholarship. As Noble points out, the use of these
techniques are all too widespread in this country's universities.
These days they feature prominently in the push for "distance
education," Noble's critique of which is central to this article and
to the argument in his book.

On the basis of his scholarly accomplishments, a search committee
selected Noble in 2001 to be appointed to the endowed Woodsworth
Professorship in the Humanities at Simon Fraser University. In
violation of every academic norm, the administration is blocking the
appointment, presumably on political grounds. Noble's criticism of
online education and the corporatization of academia in Digital
Diploma Mills brings together and crystallizes his pacesetting work
in this area.

-The Monthly Review Editors

I am not sure what to make of this post, the site it points to seems a bit loony. sort of a religious loony with a bone to pick with the religious right.
--Uncle Fluffy

Anonymous Comrade writes: A great book has just been published called Real Prophecy Unveiled: Why the Christ Will Not Come Again, And Why the Religious Right is Wrong. It clearly and thoroughly points out the error and hypocrisy of the Religious Right, exposes the spiritual ignorance of the proud and militant, and tells how the humble and the meek shall indeed inherit the earth. In fact, it tells how we shall at long last do away with divisive partisan politics, get rid of the pretender to the throne, create government of, for, and by the people, and finally share the throne as the equal joint heirs that we are according to real prophecy. This is the long-awaited message that will actually give the power to the people! Check out http://realprophecyunveiled.netfirms.com

hydrarchist writes: "Book Review: Defining Global Justice and the ILO

Defining Global Justice: The History of U.S. International Labor
Standards Policy.
By Edward C. Lorenz. (Notre Dame, Indiana, 2001. Pp.
X, 318. Index.)

Edward C. Lorenz's Defining Global Justice gives us the first attempt at
a broad overview of the history of the role of the United States in the
International Labor Organization. Based on an impressive command of a
wide variety of sources, this well organized and clearly written account
explains how the social gospel movement, progressive era reformers,
academics and attorneys, feminists and consumers, and labor unions
attempted to shape an international organization that could establish
standards to protect workers around the world.

hydrarchist writes: "The following review appeared in the first issue of The New Formulation: An Anti-Authoritarian Review of Books (Vol. 1, # 1, November 2001). The complete text of this issue is available at: http://flag.blackened.net/nf/index.htm

Another piece titled "Theory of the Anti-Globalization Movement"
by Chuck Morse is available at the infoshop

The Police/Prison Edifice

Review by Lex Bhagat

Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis
by Christian Parenti
Verso, 1999

The Perpetual Prisoner Machine: How America Profits from Crime
by Joel Dyer
Westview Press, 2000

We Were Waiting for Books Like These

In 1994, Bill Clinton's election-promised “anti-crime bill” was passed. Young people in urban America could feel its effects almost immediately, as our cities were seized by a new occupying army of soldiers in blue. A new phase of revolutionary struggle was begun in earnest: continued revolution from the Right. If the election of Nixon in 1972 amounted to a sort of Bourbon Restoration of 1814, then Democrat Clinton was Napoleon III, ready to create a new landscape.

The appearance in the coming months of so many police was like the appearance of a scaffolding—a scaffold pinned securely to the ground on either coast by California’s Three Strikes Law, and in New York by the ascension of Giuliani. As the edifice then emerged within, none of it came as a surprise: checkpoints, curfews, rampant street frisking, “Truth in Sentencing,” “Contract on America,” etc.

But, as that edifice grew, and as friends and loved ones disappeared from the streets, a generation was galvanized into political struggle against police and prisons. For many years, it was an intuitive movement—motivated by rage, and informed by first-hand experience, by Public Enemy and KRS-1, or in some cases by letters to loved ones or mentor-comrades inside. We read what we could—Cleaver’s Soul on Ice, Sykes's Society of Captives, Soledad Brothers, Assata, Marighella's Minimanual for the Urban Guerilla—and tried to apply what we learned to the current situation. Foucault's Discipline and Punish was precious water, and well-worn copies passed through many hands and opened many minds. Yet, it held a stark gray area that pointed to the originality of the current crisis, since the evidence in our guts told us that the root of our American situation was not Panopticon but the slave ship.

Chuck Morse writes: "The following review appeared in the first issue of The New Formulation: An Anti-Authoritarian Review of Books (Vol. 1, # 1, November 2001). The complete text of this issue is available at: http://flag.blackened.net/nf/index.htm

Theory of the Anti-Globalization Movement
Review by Chuck Morse

***[A Review of Naming the Enemy: Anti-Corporate Movements Confront Globalization by Amory Starr and Globalization from Below: The Power of Solidarity by Jeremy Brecher, Tim Costello, and Brendan Smith ]***

Finally, after years of disintegration and defeat on the Left, a new movement has erupted upon the political landscape. It is not organized around a single issue, identity based, or somehow “implicitly” radical. On the contrary, this movement directly attacks global capital’s economic and political infrastructure with a radically democratic politics and a strategy of confrontation. It is bold, anti-authoritarian, and truly global.

Sins of the Father

By James Ryerson

A review of Heidegger's Children

Hannah Arendt, Karl Lswith, Hans Jonas, and Herbert Marcuse

By Richard Wolin

Illustrated. 276 pp. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. $29.95

If recent history is any judge, Princeton University Press is taking a risk
by publishing this book -- a provocative and erudite study of the
affinities between the Nazi sympathizer Martin Heidegger and his Jewish
philosophy students. Ten years ago, after Columbia University Press
published Richard Wolin's last book on Heidegger, the French intellectual
Jacques Derrida denounced it as ''a sneaky war machine'' and had his lawyer
threaten to impound future editions.

Though Wolin's grievance with Derrida is not at issue in ''Heidegger's
Children,'' one can't help feeling that, indirectly, it is being reprised.
The heart of that controversy was Wolin's accusation that Derrida had
tailored his ''far-fetched and illogical'' opinions about Heidegger's
Nazism to dodge an important question:

By embracing the legendary German thinker's philosophy, had Derrida and
other radical postmodern leftists accepted the core of Heidegger's dubious
politics as well?

Deterrence as Bug Spray

A Review of Lab USA, by Kevin Pyle (Autonomedia, 2001)

Eugene Thacker


reposted from the ITWP project website

hosted by James Der Derian at Brown:

Information, Technology, War, & Peace

Paging through the "illuminated documents" of Lab USA, one cannot help but to look at current events in a different, if more sinister, light. Combining the genres of documentary research and the graphic novel/underground comix genre, Lab USA provides us with a hard looks at the genealogy of medical, psychological, and genetic experiment in America.

Exhaustively researched and patiently illustrated, Lab USA juxtaposes the graphic and illustrative dramatization of human guinea pigs with the sterile, harsh presentation of medical reports, patient testimony, legal proceedings, policy amendments, and the writings of the scientists, bureaucrats, and government officials behind the use of human beings in medical experiment. In this, it uses the strategies of the graphic novel and comix to both dramatize and reflect back upon the way that scientific-military knowledge is mediated in the public domain.

hydrarchist writes:

The Napsterisation of Everything:

A Review of John Alderman, Sonic Boom:

Napster, P2P and the Battle for the Future of Music,

Fourth Estate, London, 2001

by Richard Barbrook

"They just don't get it." During the dotcom boom of the late-1990s, this
catch phrase was a popular way of dismissing anyone who expressed doubts
about the world-historical significance of the Net. How could someone be so
out-of-touch as not to realise that this technology was transforming
everything: business, politics, culture and even personal relationships?
The future would belong to those did "get it." Yet, only a couple of years
later, such optimism about the potential of the Net already sounds dated.
How can anyone still believe that this technology will change anything
after the implosion of the NASDAQ share bubble and the collapse of so many
dotcom companies. Surely the wild times of the Net were only a temporary
aberration? As Microsoft, AOL-Time-Warner and the other big corporations
take over cyberspace, it will soon be back to business as usual. There is
no longer any necessity to "get it." The Net will change nothing.

Zinn on History

By Howard Zinn

Seven Stories Press, New York, 2001.

You may be familiar with the work of the radical American historian and
activist, Howard Zinn. It includes the witty, humane play Marx in Soho, as
well as his magnificent Peoples Histories, of the United States and the
twentieth century. During the Vietnam War it was Zinn, together with Noam
Chomsky, who helped copy, smuggle out and then edit and publish the
Pentagon Papers, official documents that illustrated the full and savage
involvement of the American ruling class in the appalling invasion and
destruction of South-East Asia.

This current volume is a collection of Zinn's essays that date from the
mid-sixties to last year, and concern themselves with broadly historical
themes÷sketches of individuals, tales of action, meditations on the role
of the academic and history in general, on Marx and "Marxism".

Saint Jacques: Derrida and the Ghost of Marxism

Review of Specters of Marx

David Bedggood


1. For the bourgeoisie, the collapse of "communism" made the world-historic
victory of capitalism seem certain. Yet the contradictions of capitalism
immediately called the new world order into question as globalisation
brought with it what Jacques Derrida calls the "10 plagues". Apologists for
capitalism are now fearful of the return of Marx's ghost. George Soros sees
the ghost in the form of the anarchy of finance capital. Anthony Giddens
sees the ghost in the rise of left or right fundamentalist ideology.
Without realising it, they pose the problem in terms familiar to Marxists:
the contradiction between dead and living labour and the rise of the dead
reclaimed by the living. But is there a way out for capitalism?