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Different contexts behind terminology

Highlighting differences in terminology

We're starting from remarkably different contexts, so I should highlight different meanings of our shared terms:

  • markets: Chomsky explains that markets are institutionally inefficient, environmentally suicidal & solidarity-destroying. If we're fighting to organize over google's internal email system, might it be harder if google's split into 10 smaller warring secret societies?

  • corporations: Chomsky: "Corporations are totalitarian institutions. Board of directors at the top of managers give orders, everyone follows orders… At the very bottom of command, if you are lucky you can rent yourself to it and get a job, and if you are sufficiently propagandized you may even buy some of the junk they produce and so on…" In this view, corporations aren't reasonable entities turned "bad" by "monopoly dynamics and dysfunctional markets". My whole strategy with these cults is to avoid their workplace surveillance & degradations whilst obtaining enough imaginary mani ("money") points to avoid a sad end

  • the state: as Adam Smith argued, "Till there be property there can be no government, the very end of which is to secure wealth, and to defend the rich from the poor." (Personally, I suspect this isn't a true statement of history, but accurately reflects Enlightenment thinking that built contemporary European/US statecraft from China's model. Graeber & Wengrow will explain further in their upcoming book.)

  • monopolies: they do have benefits to weigh against their downsides. Chomsky remarked, "Bell Labs were able to run a great laboratory because they had a monopoly, so they could use monopoly pricing powers to set up a great laboratory. They worked on technology." iirc he further mentioned (but I can't find the source) that after Ma Bell was broken up into Baby Bells, market discipline reduced Bell Labs to shorter-term research that reliably returns profits. Blue-sky innovations don't come from markets functioning normally (as Mazzucato explains in "The Entrepreneurial State")

  • Dems: right-wing (Obama/Clinton) to economically centrist (Keynesian) party. Obama explained he's a moderate 1980's Republican

  • small business: some canonize Mom & Pop stores — but mom & pop are frequently perverted assholes. Small businesses are often more vicious to workers than big ones. (What do we expect when nervous boss-man shares closer quarters with his wageslaves, or is confronted with the existential need to dump pollutants into the river?)

Advocacy, Mobilizing & Organizing

TWC is explicitly about organizing. Assisting Elizabeth Warren with her antitrust battles is the opposite end of the spectrum: advocacy & perhaps some tiny mobilizing.

From Jane McAlevey's "No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age":

Advocacy Mobilizing Organizing
Theory of Power Elite. Advocacy groups tend to seek one-time wins or narrow policy changes, often through courts or back-room negotiations that do not permanently alter the relations of power. Primarily elite. Staff or activists set goals with low to medium concession costs or, more typically, set an ambitious goal and declare a win, even when the "win" has no, or only weak, enforcement provisions. Backroom, secret deal making by paid professionals is common. Mass, inclusive, and collective. Organizing groups transform the power structure to favor constituents and diminish the power of their opposition. Specific campaigns fit into a larger power-building strategy. They prioritize power analysis, involve ordinary people in it, and decipher the often hidden relationship between economic, social and political power. Settlement typically comes from mass negotiations with large numbers involved.
Strategy Litigation; heavy spending on polling, advertising, and other paid media. Campaigns, run by professional staff, or volunteer activists with no base of actual, measureable supporters, that prioritize frames and messaging over base power. Staff-selected "authentic messengers" represent the constituency to the media and policy makers, but they have little to no real say in strategy or running the campaign. Recruitment and involvement of specific, large numbers of people whose power is derived from their ability to withdraw labor or other cooperation from those who rely on them. Majority strikes, sustained and strategic nonviolent direct action, electoral majorities. Frames matter, but the numbers involved are sufficiently compelling to create a significant earned media strategy. Mobilizing is seen as a tactic, not a strategy.
People Focus None. Grassroot activists. People already committed to the cause, who show up over and over. When they burn out, new, also previously committed activists are recruited. And so on. Social media are over relied on. Organic leaders. The base is expanded through developing the skills of organic leaders who are key influencers of the constituency, and who can then, independent of staff, recruit new people never before involved. Individual, face-to-face interactions are key.
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