The Big Sleep

For nine days in November/December 2012, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach lay sleeping. Fifteen container vessels sat anchored off the coast. We were told that “featherbedding” will not be tolerated and the management complains of operational “nightmares”. The supply chain oneiric aspires toward an efficiency it can never obtain under capitalism, but it won’t ever be able to believe this. Instead, it intends to produce/instrumentalize more docile and flexible humans—and fewer of them.

The clerical workers of the main Southern California ports struck against this logic. According to “Bloomberg” (the man, the business organ), the workers were hurting no one but themselves. Their economic impact to industry was $2.5 billion per day — yet, “Bloomberg’s” chief concern had, of course, nothing to do with market impact—the true concern was for their beloved truckers… “They’re dying,” says the organ.

The clerical workers have arisen. They struck to protect themselves from the company axe. Management hopes to outsource or casualize the labor force in order to adhere to Lean dogma—an efficiency imperative with it’s roots in Taylorism’s scrupulous accounting of non-essential action, but made even more sadistic by the newer ‘just-in-time’ gospel of late-capitalist globalization. Essentially, value is denied whenever workers stand idle. Ironically, 800 clerks triggered a chain reaction of idleness—a repudiation of the new rhetoric of the ‘value chain’. Their picket lines weren’t crossed by their comrades on the docks—and the entry point for nearly half of all goods flowing into the U.S. was effectively at rest—asleep in the harbor.

What if this idleness spreads? Then the nightmares of management and capital will intensify. The man (quoted above) who speaks of nightmares is a logistics operative in the Southern California trade corridor. One of his specialties is the importation of hunting trophies—animals of distinction that were killed elsewhere and that must now enter the country as sculpture. This section of their website includes informative features on “hunting drones” and “hunting the pressure” created by other hunters—the technocratic management of animal death.

photos: huntingtrophy.com (a subsidiary of Coppersmith Global Logistics)

 

A Counter-Conference: Strategies for Defending Higher Education

The 2011 MLA Counter-Conference took place during the annual Modern Language Convention in Los Angeles, January 8th, 2011 at Loyola Law School.  While thousands of people were meeting at the traditional convention, this one-day event centered on discussing actual strategies for making higher education more just.  Speakers presented short papers on the death of tenure, the corporatization of the university, the possibilities of unionization, direct social action, the use and abuse of graduate students, organizing contingent faculty, and taking back shared governance.

Los Angeles: 22 Protesters Arrested During Chase Bank Foreclosure Demonstration

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — Nearly two dozen demonstrators were arrested Thursday as they blocked the doors to a downtown Los Angeles Chase bank branch to protest what they said were unfair home foreclosures.

The demonstrators, which included homeowners facing foreclosure, community advocates and labor leaders, silently allowed officers to bind their wrists behind their backs with plastic restraints and guide them into a police van.

Dozens more demonstrators chanted and marched on a nearby sidewalk holding signs that said, “Stop Bank Greed, Save Our Neighborhoods” as the 12 men and 10 women were taken into custody.

Protesters set up furniture on the property and used a bullhorn to voice their concerns.

“It’s a shame that this holiday season, bankers get bonuses — families get foreclosure notices,” said one protester.

“While waiting for them to get back to me, the home has actually sold,” another said.

Read entire article

Thanks to Zen Dochterman

Occupying Editor 02: Marc Herbst

For the next few weeks, writer, artist, and cultural organizer Marc Herbst will occupy this site. Marc works across disciplines (in Media, Social Sciences, the Arts and Academia) in order to actively research how to practically use cultural production for radical and progressive ends (and to earn money). He recently completed a comic book series that points the way toward a post-individualist fashion and includes a theoretical text by British art historian Gavin Grindon.
He is a co-editor of the Journal of Aesthetics & Protest. Though based in Los Angeles, he is currently living in Leipzig with journal co-editor Christina Ulke.

Loren Goldner in LA & SF

Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay INSANE DIALECTICAL POSSE present:

WORLD CAPITALIST CRISIS & PROSPECTS FOR A RADICAL RESPONSE

Los Angeles event:

Saturday, August 28, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.

Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Park
4800 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (directions)

Presentation by Loren Goldner, to be followed by discussion:

That world capitalism is in a profound crisis is no secret, especially in hard-hit areas such as California. But a radical response requires an understanding of the deep, “epochal” causes of the crisis, beyond now-mainstream banter about financialization or sub-prime or Wall Street bailouts and bonuses. What has happened since 2008 is merely an acceleration of the “slow motion” crisis that has been with us in reality since the late 1960’s/early 1970’s. The crisis is global, and the response to it must ultimately be global.

Loren will give an overview of this decades-long crisis and its deepening in the past three years, and discuss what must be done to avoid the obvious capitalist “solutions” to it, which are much greater austerity and possibly a major war. He will talk about some attempts to organize against the crisis, such as in Greece or California or the recent strikes in China.

Quote:
Loren Goldner is a writer based in New York. He lived in South Korea from 2005 to 2009 working on a book on the Korean working class. He is an editor of the new on-line journal Insurgent Notes.

Much of his work is available on the Break Their Haughty Power web site

To have a more focused discussion, people attending might look at these recent articles by Goldner on the crisis:

Global Leveraged Buyout or the ‘Longest Boom in Capitalist History’

The Biggest October Surprise of All: A World Capitalist Collapse

Oakland event:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010, at 7:00 p.m.

Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library
6501 Telegraph Avenue (at 65th Street), Oakland
(510) 595-7417

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Monday, September 6 (Labor Day), 2010 at 6:00 p.m.

Loren Goldner will present on his book:

Herman Melville: Between Charlemagne and the Antemosaic Cosmic Man. Race, Class and the Crisis of Bourgeois Ideology in an American Renaissance Writer, (2006). ISBN 0-9700-308-2-7. 291 p.

In Europe, after 1848, bourgeois consciousness in revolt sought a new universal in the working class but soon found itself in the orbit of the state civil service; in America, bourgeois consciousness in revolt found a new universal in what Melville called “antemosaic” reality, Queequeg, embodied in the multiracial working class, the “anacharsis Cloots deputation,” in radical antithesis to the state. Through a series of scholarly, linked essays, Goldner examines the works of Melville, the dispossessed grand bourgeois, and his treatment of race and class. The 1848-1850 conjuncture in the Atlantic world witnessed the birth of communism (Marx), modern art (Courbet, Flaubert), the end of classical political economy, and the formulation of the entropy law, or Second Law of Thermodynamics. Their simultaneity was not accidental, and Melville’s work echoes each of them. Echoing the work of CLR James, this is a majestic, multidisciplinary sweep through history, culture, politics, philosophy and art.

Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library
6501 Telegraph Avenue (at 65th Street), Oakland
(510) 595-7417