Dan Hind Profile picture
23 Sep, 5 tweets, 1 min read
Just caught up with this excellent interview on everyone's favourite tech podcast. The point @doctorow makes in it about the urgent need to stop using private sector operators to deliver public goods is absolutely spot on.
This applies very obviously in the tech sector, where we are leaving key elements in the systems of political communication and material distribution in private hands, instead of acknowledging their constitutional significance and creating public institutions.
(Much the same can be said of the traditional media, where the state has given private sector institutions a privileged position to describe the political and they have exacted a horrendous piece for the service they provide.)
The point applies, less obviously, to the capitalist market itself, which, in Christine Desan's words, is "a matter of constitutional design, a political and legal creation ... a governance project all the way down, starting with its money."
I cannot recommend Desan's Making Money: Coin, Currency and the Coming of Capitalism highly enough btw.

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More from @danhind

17 Oct
There's lots of "should I stay or should I go?" on my timeline at the moment re. Labour. It's important to bear in mind that the new arrivals in 2015 form part of a large, floating constituency of people who grasp the implications of the 2008 crisis, the climate crisis and ...
... were drawn to direct action (UK Uncut, Occupy) and electoralism (remember the Green surge?) at various times. Labour's establishment left the door open to these people and they rushed in to support Corbyn, along with existing left members, and re-joiners.
This floating constituency includes a number of different traditions - red, black and green. But if it has a core commitment it is to democracy, however that's glossed. It doesn't identify with Labour necessarily and seemed to treat Corbynism as something else to try.
Read 7 tweets
21 Sep
The Tory shires are Tory for much the same reason: the working class were driven out of them faster than they could organise electorally. PR would make things better in the US, as here, of course. But their written constitution is every bit as stupefying as our non-existent one.
The vision - labour intensive, technologically sophisticated co-operative food production - is intensely appealing. But to stand a chance it must be tied to a broader vision of democracy itself as a cooperative endeavour, characterised by communication between equals.
It's this vision - tying reform of the state directly to reform of the economy - that can unify diverse popular constituencies, and provide a template for radically democratic initiatives below the level of the national state.
Read 6 tweets
9 Sep
The key question - the hard question - is the one @jemgilbert has asked elsewhere: why were Labour likely to lose in December, regardless of its position on Brexit?
You can argue that we could have held onto the 2017 position with some tweaks. But it's a wild leap to claim that that was a winning proposition by last December. It wasn't even persuasive to many members of the Party by then.
Labour's problems run much deeper than the Brexit issue. It still seeks to be the sole competitor with the Conservatives in a FPTP system when electoral geography almost guarantees that they will remain as junior partners in such a system.
Read 5 tweets
8 Sep
Fond memories of canvassing for Labour in East Kent last year, and being told by people with money that, while it was true that they were for remain and leaving was very unfortunate, in the end they were Conservatives and that was more important.
And being told by older working class voters that they just wanted Brexit over with, and Johnson had a plan if he had a majority. And what had become of Labour, anyway? So, while they weren't usually Conservatives, that was enough for them.
And people in the 20s, almost unanimously able to see through the lies about Corbyn and Labour, and the Brexit psychodrama, telling me, beaming, that they were all registered and ready - often for the first time - to vote, and to vote for change.
Read 5 tweets
6 Sep
This piece notes that elected representatives don't think enough about how public subsidies to science and technology play out as real world innovations. But then it says they should. But they don't. Why will they, just because someone says they should? project-syndicate.org/commentary/pol…?
It is a bit like saying "crime is bad, so people who do crimes should stop doing crimes." Like, sure, but what mechanism do you propose for changing the behaviour? And one sees this over and over in liberal complaints about the delinquency and incuriosity of representatives.
The state is structured in a way that rewards some behaviours and punishes others. TDGAF about monetary policy, or technological innovation, or democratic media reform, because at the moment doing so is at best a distraction, at worst a career-ending act of self-sabotage.
Read 6 tweets
4 Sep
Now that @coopuk have been banned from advertising in the Spectator, maybe we take seriously the idea of apply "Preston Model" principles to the co-operative movement. At the moment the co-ops give at least some of their money to media operations that oppose co-operation.
This is justified on the grounds that they have to reach potential customers. But there is another way, that embeds the co-operative sector in the media sphere - with all the implications that has for workers in it - and builds public understanding of the co-operative model.
The co-op takes the portion of its marketing spend it currently gives to rightwing media operations and put it into a 'co-operative media fund'. Members of the co-op then to decide vote how that money is distributed to journalists' co-operatives.
Read 9 tweets

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