The SFFaudio Podcast #631 – READALONG: Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #631 – Jesse, Maissa Bessada, Evan Lampe, and Will Emmons talk about Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy

Talked about on today’s show:
2000-1887, utopian, 1888, its kind of disappointing, Evan doesn’t agree with Jesse, sequels and rebuttals, 3rd bestseller of its time, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Ben Hur, responses, Mack Reynolds, Equality In The Year 2000, utopias and communism, we have a problem, not enough good work, academics complaining, UBI, you can’t spend the money fast enough, a real cool problem to have, going from Dickensian horror capitalism to a theoretical utopia, horrible and ok, underwhelmed, hey Jesse, William Morris’ review of Looking Backward, News From Nowhere, everything interesting about this book is the political content, FAQs, Fredric Jameson, Evan, idiosyncratic, about the person making it, Anglo-protestant utopia, Calvinist utopia, very American, smaller firms, Jack London, an artist, upper middle class dude, the Bellamy clubs come to nothing, economic fatalism, no political actions necessary, the extra homework, they’re sermons, Christmas In The Year 2000 by Edward Bellamy, Ladies’ Home Journal, Women In The Year 2000, February 1891, the way they read, less plot than sermon, so interesting, the true spirit of Christmas, they don’t understand what Jesus’ message is, weekly reminder you’re supposed to be like Jesus, give to the food bank like Justin [Trudeau] wants us to do, a few loopholes, some people to escape, no reservation like in Brave New World, totalitarian, council of elders, everybody old runs everything, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, this is it upside down, the subscription services, Glenn Greenwald leaving The Intercept, actual journalists, Jeremy Scahill, Laura Poitras, you can’t talk about Biden and what was revealed in the Hunter Biden emails, New York Times has never apologized, the institutions of magazines all in the hands of people’s disposable income, Patreon or whatever, Substack, like Twitch for writing and journalism (the opposite of 1984), stenographers for the government, two anonymous sources tell us, a real functioning journalism, Dentists Weekly (journal), like regular free market within a UBI, how all the artists would work, go to art school vs. just do art, dental school, hair school, officiallize, before the eight hour workday, educational flexibility, child labour reduced, we’re done, education, the single most important thing, how cheap it is, we should be spending half of our gross national income on tutoring, the testing, there’s no bookstores, skin whitening salons and doggie spas, Costco grocery with pneumatic tube delivery, where Bellamy is totally right, The People’s Republic Of Walmart, The Coming Race by Edward Bulwer Lytton [that Vril book], the setup is the same, less eugenics based, a classical liberal, women will be looking at the genetics rather than the inheritance, unattractive men, an incel problem, credits for prostitutes?, cultural hangups, more cafes, more relaxed, everybody would be like Picard, organic mozzarella, Morris was essentially an artisanal anarchist, what Bellamy is writing about, nationalizing Amazon, internationalizing, other countries, two continents, three countries, empires in Africa and Asia, teaching them socialism very slowly, how China is impenetrable, seen what he’s done, okay but, better refinements, The Unincorporated Man by Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin, The Coming Race is a little longer, somebody falls asleep and wakes up in the future, Edith, the secret we didn’t want to tell you, $6 and compound interest, the only person who is not a corporation, socialism and a universal army, just neoliberalize everything, sell your shares at age 18, the most horrible intrusive, Nineteen Eighty-Four not to crush but to extract value from you, keep going until there is nothing left to privatize, apprentice yourself or go to university, no employment and no skills, no public anything, the horror inversion of this, Idiocracy (2006), The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth, a terrible terrible terrible story, a satire taken as an actual reality possibility, when George W. Bush was president, only stupid people are breeding, The Little Black Bag, a time traveling doctor’s bag, we’re going to dumb ourselves down, what people said about audiobooks back in the day, ‘audiobooks are not reading’, you’re saying blind people don’t read, push-button elevators vs. elevator operators, you need to be skilled, how to use a slide-rule, new weird diseases in Star Trek, there’s no tension, its a static society, all these other stories are stories, its a treatise, The Iron Heel by Jack London has more story, the gap between, the narrator might be a villain, Bellamy was a villain, a historical document from the future, people who live in this society, a government propaganda text, polemicizing against the labour unions, liberal elites, Trotsky said about American socialists, middle class snake-oil salesmen that are good at describing socialism to dentists, why is that?, American socialism, what happens in 1886, the Haymarket Affair, we’re really looking out for you here, suppressing continents, The Moon Maid by Edgar Rice Burroughs, socialism from the moon, also named Julian, time doesn’t exist, the socialist moon people, savage tribes in Africa and Asia, permanent dominance, Reconstruction, the scramble for Africa, reducing everything to economic questions, every class fragment is going to have an idea about socialism, the politics is a distraction, employment relationship, the woman question, Jim Crow, Rip Van Winkle, the 2nd American Revolution, a little bit dangerous, a bad bible for socialism, no strife, similar in the setup to The Dream Of Debs by Jack London, he comes from wealth, he’s at the club, his motorcar needs maintenance, general strike, our narrator is humbled, his foreman doesn’t have the labour to finish his new house, the labour of other people, a private tax, my passive income from investments is a private tax on other people’s labour, he’s upset his new wife is unable to move in with him in his new home he’s having built, the fact he’s having trouble sleeping, a hypnotist who is not a real doctor, a sleeping draught, a sealed basement room, when all of his anxiety at living off of other people’s labour, he doesn’t produce art or help to anybody, a consultant to historians, we’re all benefiting from the overall progress of humanity over the centuries, that labour has already been performed, the conversation on copyright, we’re standing on the top of this mountain, we are post-scarcity , he’s really good about post-scarcity, salesmen, styles and fashions of behaviors, no-pressure sales, Best Buy vs. Future Shop, HUGE in 1887, the employees aren’t trying to pressure you into sales?!, Counter Cultures: Saleswomen, Managers, And Customers In American Department Stores, 1890-1940 by Susan Benson, shop girl, shopping for a husband, pre-show chat, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Picard, Deep Space Nine, The Neutral Zone, a homemaker (whatever that is), a musician, a capitalist (a CEO), you don’t need money you need to improve yourself, learn to paint, when not visiting Brave New Worlds, the kids lab, stealing a bunch of children, Wesley’s hunger strike, their schools are like the Bellamy schools, really good a sculpture, the ideas from this book are incredibly powerful, the responses never seem to have stopped, the early 21st century, it was really novel, think about how big this book was, like Harry Potter, Hedwigs and Hagrids, children vs. “adults”, everybody had something to say about this book, countries have actually tried to do this, this book had fans who went on to try to do this, more to reflect on, being in the Bellamy club, equality for everybody, basic needs met, Will cried multiple times reading it, a number of really good metaphors, that umbrella metaphor, about the carriage, you can see those people on twitter, go fund me, kids raising money for their cancer ridden teacher, when Jesse talks to Americans who are not Evan and Will, outside of the mainstream propaganda, what Jesse and Maissa has, you have to pay a parking fee, I hate going to the hospital, they don’t understand, you have to go to a country and just feel it, what its like over there, how can you be bankrupted?, from this perspective, because of segregation, the Southern Democrats killed universal healthcare, an apartheid system, so obsessed with suppressing a part of the population, two main barriers to progress, a large class of small property owners, the color line, reason with them, this helps everybody, you’re set for life, private health insurance, its guaranteed money, the cancer, the stroke, the TV is a CRT from the 1980s, there are problems, the thing that nobody wants to use but has to use, such a guaranteed return and they write policy, one thing that’s never going to happen, Bellamy’s method, why nothing happens, labour problems, some incentives, the Yugoslav postal workers vacation spot, now we don’t have that system anymore, special profit being made, super easily regulable, not a lot of surprises in the postal system, enough strife at the bottom, guillotines for everybody, the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the counter revolutions, how to explain that, planning errors, where the pathos of the novel is, dreams, the Ghost of Christmas Present, you don’t have to worry about that stuff anymore, The Soul Of Man Under Socialism by Oscar Wilde, criticism of industrial capitalism in the USA, why the book is so popular, pushy salesclerks and urchins on the street, legit trying to solve things, when he’s looking backwards on the writing of this, how and why he wrote it, not fully understanding his own motivations, his attack on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, All Good Things is a retelling of A Christmas Carol, Q is the ghost of Christmas whatever, a sermon from Christmas In The Year 2000, July 4th and Christmas, Christmas has been co-opted, just such a family feast, two beggar children, a picture that typifies the age, a hard-hearted businessman who doesn’t want to give his employee the day off, what’s the solution?, a Christmas goose, all problems of society solved, Jesus was hardcore, food banks are a new thing, soup kitchens, getting out of it through Christian charity, Will’s subversive reading, soviet propaganda, production is amazing, T-34s, get to the Moon and humble us, owning, soviet public housing, no style at all, they all have their own home, that’s why they built those things, a functioning feedback system, the internet is described with the music rooms, music piped to your bed, telephones, wired radio, a streaming service, they are really lacking CyberSyn, we need more Volkswagens, the gerontocracy thing, racism was solved somehow, needs some tweaking, classes and castes, a third rail, his basic premise is not to divide anybody, an interesting system for the elite feedback, the prestige is your pay, people admire, their legal system, fewer lawyers, what you want the law to be, tutored up to that level, judges should be drafted just like juries, the supreme court shouldn’t exist, 53 people, we can hear jury cases…, judges tell how to do their job, most cases don’t go to trial, discovery, for years on end, constitutional right, lesser charges, Louisville, Kentucky, electing judges vs. appointing, sortition, say “cast” instead of “vote”, bluechks telling other, a Shirley Jackson sort of way, An American Utopia: Dual Power And The Universal Army by Fredric Jameson, Stanley Aronowitz, responses, Kim Stanley Robinson, Slavoj Žižek, the video that summarizes the ideas, dual power, create new institutions of government, colonial legislatures, Lenin, the army, universal conscription, the army does everything the economy does, a really weird youtube and internet hole, Djibouti, where the pirates are, the Gulf of Aden, naval power, failed states, China, India, United States, Italy, the reason it exists, tourists to Djibouti, its a hell hole, really horrible, the police want to issue permits to photograph things, a horrible dystopia created by a bunch of foreign military bases and geography, Camp Lemonnier, a gym, tours of the countryside, the base store, we provide air conditioning, a tour of life under the universal army (actually the navy), what life is like in the army, specialists, life under socialism, trying to give you little incentives besides pay, hot showers, to stay in, attrition, the healthcare is free (of course), dentists, on base banking, a mixed system (100% socialism), back to Star Trek, Starfleet is socialist, Sisko’s dad has a restaurant, there’s no mess, nobody knows how to cook except for Riker, Sisko, Neelix, only sex magnets, learn the trombone, that and the beard, if you’re gonna sell the united states on socialism just draft everybody, a peaceful universal army, wars of aggression, the Japanese, the hoplites, if women and slaves were in the universal army, most of the military today is not the pointy end, pull the ropes (or cables), Carrier (PBS), the Iraq War, education, get out of that shitty small town full of drugs, some people are again it, ruin your career (by getting pregnant), everybody is housed, turn the tables, a lot of terrible things, who the audience, 14 minutes of congratulations to all the professors, a useless proposal, a political program called: REVOLUTION, wizened professors, the grad students’ questions, Jameson is playing, the NDP, Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbin, thought experiments, on comic utopianism, what utopia isn’t a game, the Star Trek Communist, the people he’s trying to convert, I like anime will you join the socialist party?, triumphalism, he needs to go the the Waffle House and replicate some phasers for them, heavy stun, The Lord Of The Rings communist, branded identities, Lovecraft Country, Raised By Wolves, Lovecraft Country communist, you gotta watch this, Banshee, the Communist party is in power in China, the Banshee communist, all we talk about, corrupt that with communism, Jim Howard, take downer, fire departments are socialism, the repair of the car vs. the repairing of my body, having bridges paid for collectively, that makes sense, what do they teach in school?, a sixteen part series about social systems, zone out and not question, having the test, made China the way it is, students the way they are, whoever makes the test is in control, control what answers (and questions) are acceptable, a YouTube REVOLUTION, remember the Justice Democrats?, completely co-opted, AOC might say a few nice things, push him in office?, actual leverage, AOC is running for President, YouTube controls what you see, Google controls what you see, become a duckduckgo guy, not gonna be an Apple guy, it isn’t going to happen through academia, a popular book, instill a lack of hatred, Marco Rubio, are all Democrats are socialists?, move to a small town in Italy and live there for six months, then I’ll understand it, until someone puts it in your hand you don’t really understand it, incredible popularity, a recognition that something was wrong, selling the message to dentists, how did the Russian Revolution happen?, it was the War, the infrastructure had been built for decades, Woodrow Wilson, the Bonus Army, a joke about how it was going to help them get jobs, 15 minutes of introduction, go listen to Evan’s podcast, Evan should give Jesse an award, we’ll bootstrap, quality edification certificate, trump university sort of thing, the Willis Institute, run it through Scott, spend 7 hours in this utopia, I’ll know that town, this is what the peace corp was supposed to do, working for the Clinton Foundation, stealing resources from your own government, books can be powerful, Marx had better ideas, look fellow comrade, this thumb drive, instead of watching Star Trek watch Das Capital, scientific socialism, the merger formula, an international American choice, fellow people who read books, you replace the body of Donald Trump and replace it with the Star Trek Communist, he was sticking it to the system, if you backed it up, his personal support, stick it to the people who need to be stuck, the elites, the Rachel Maddow audience, the deep state, the elites of those bureaucracies, their fiefdoms, Homeland Security is not going away, a path forward, very despairy, how to communicate its ideas to people generally, harness the bourgeois media, the left has to find the right spokesperson, some other mechanism of reaching the people, alternative media, the means of communication, 6 corporations (soon to be 5), the need for organization, Julian West was able to ask was that one of the workers’ parties?, Lexington, tenants unions, serious barriers to progress, the importance of America in the world system, the NDP are not powerful, until the USA gets its shit sorted out, what Washington, Oregon, and California will do, we’re never gonna legalize marijuana, Jesse, the Americans wont allow it, a bunch of hoops, Justin was permited to allow us this privilege, waffling in the USA, abandon the game, the current path, keep swapping Republican for Republican lite administrations, civil disturbance for 180, fascists, white supremacists, Oregon is kinda weird, Vancouver police, the lower border for this province as a colony, 54:40 or fight, Oregon Trail, a weird countries, a whole bunch of different countries, France is relatively homogeneous, who can handle it, Canada has it, lave each other the fuck alone, only Ottawa listens, Britain’s political system is fucked up too, is that because they got Vril instead of Looking Backward, Canada doesn’t have a national utopian book, pancakes and maple syrup and loons and bears.

Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy

Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy

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The SFFaudio Podcast #603 – READALONG: The People’s Republic Of Walmart by Leigh Phillips and Michal Rozworski

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #603 -Jesse and Evan Lampe talk about The People’s Republic of Walmart by Leigh Phillips and Michal Rozworski

Talked about on today’s show:
The People’s Republic of Walmart: How The World’s Biggest Corporations Are Laying The Foundation For Socialism by a couple of dudes, Tantor Audio, that sounds great!, the chinese flag with the Walmart symbol, John Kenneth Galbraith’s New Industrial State, the US economy is planned, American Capitalism, countervailing power, Carnige and J.P. Morgan, only big corporations can manage it and run it, the Adam Smithian idea of the free market, farmer’s co-ops, labour unions, the state, Kaiju battling, a really funny book, this style of humour, they read some books, a lot of facts, this idea of cooperation, as many points for everybody, every player for himself, alliances only temporary, points scored in a cooperative game, Frisbee is a cooperative game, the game is ruined, not ruin your economy, ruin your life, we’re much better at fighting bears when we cooperate, anarchist tid-bits, P.J. Proudhon’s What Is Property, all labour is collective, cobblers, fish-poles, thought experiments, five people on an island, in nature animals do this institutionally, the lone wolf is the starving wolf, beaters, a man hunt, a human hunt, the whole things about humans is the ability to coordinate and plan, I can imagine two years from now, planning for the next day, a book about planning, Cybersyn the Chilean Internet 1971-1973, ARPA, what your goals are, a highly stratified society, you can have that, all a matter of planning, those are all options, massive stratification, YouTube Bad Empanada, explainers on South American countries, Argentina, how Cuba works, Cuba is a planned economy, their next door neighbour is really really mean, steaming from South Africa, if you stop in Havana…, consumer goods from outside of Cuba are highly expensive, if you look at the outcomes, behind the veil of ignorance, good healthcare, education, a house to live in, a job, Cuba has a big big problems, Venezuela’s planning problems are planning problems, Mike Tyson?, everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face, no plan survives contact with the enemy, the Soviet Union was not really that well planned, authoritarian political system, authoritarianism makes bad planning, I don’t need to argue anything else, “command economy”, we’re producing tanks, more tanks!, more pig-iron, melting down their cutlery to make more pig-iron, get an A.I. in charge, a weekly poll of top concerns, no politics just moving things along, Jesse’s roommate is a planner for cargo ships, this is happening all over the world, coordinating ship loading, Walmart’s a terrible evil company but they’re a planned economy, you’re going to stock the shelves, oh yeah, of course, both companies benefit (and consumers too), how Costco works, Price Club, wholesale, retailers looking for supplies for their business, a big tub of mustard, a caterer, if there isn’t a company producing a product for the price they want they make that product, the Kirkland brand, one flavour of Mustard, only Heinz Ketchup, why are their prices so low?, they’re determined to make their profit from Membership Renewal, like gym memberships, fifty different choices, Aldi, the way Amazon does it, back to the mom and pop stores, pearl clutching, protests across america, we are recording on May 31, 2020, how much are they paying their workers?, ask me how I know, climate changer, ecology, shipping from big warehouses directly to consumers, books, let’s make Amazon a public utility, the ecological cost for Amazon, a Minneapolis based bookstores, Uncle Hugo’s and Uncle Edgar’s, two bookshops, natural allies, the Amazon model killed used bookstores, PaperbackSwap, Abebooks.com, Chapters (Indigo), fashion retail with a few books, mall bookstores, Waldenbooks, small towns, high speed internet in rural areas, its evil, California, private power generation, rolling brownouts, crown corporations, ICBC, the profits arent driven into the hands of a small select set of stockholders, BC Hydro, New Westminster, Nelson, when things go wrong, COVID, economies of scale, that’s the point, mom and pop generating their own electricity, NASA products, the cellphone technologies, we attribute to Samsung, LG, and Apple, public funding of basic research, the free market for innovation doesn’t pan out, David Graeber, SCRAM jets, satellites, health care, Cuba’s health outcomes, Cuba exports doctors, what we could have had, Bell Labs, corporate tax rates, incentives, pricing companies into the ground, going public, the way Netflix’s shows go, small companies that are growing, hair and nail salons probably don’t need to be crown corporations, responsive to needs vs. to desires, every grocery store deliver, right to the door, it isn’t a question of ideology at all, what John Kenneth Galbraith talked about, oligopolies set prices, input costs, what is the natural (free) labour costs, what does a worker need to have a good life, how do we achieve that?, absence of ideology, if we want to defeat the Nazis, what should we do?, my whole goal is to survive, how will I some how get through this, default modes, a William Jamesian approach, what is true is what works, keep your back to the sea, a whole bunch of plans, the only goal is get that Chicken Dinner, SEARS story was basically like porn, Evan’s grandpa, what happened to SEARS?, applying an ideology, on Mother’s Day they had a motorbike on the cover, internal economy, libertarian ideas in economics are idiotic, why not have every single worker in a factor a free agent?, a factory has to be planned, they point to the Soviet Union, AP Economics, that’s not how it works, movies and podcasts, centrally planning podcasts, planned podcasts are pretty bad, transaction costs, if FREE TRADE is so good…, the dismal science, explainers, you’ve got this human being, getting glucose and oxygen to the right places, multicellular organism, it took billions of years for the unspoken agreements between different species to make the cooperation we see in the forest, howling puppies, coordinating and copying is basically what humans do, social ecology, liberated from many of the constraints of nature, if you’re not in favour of multicellular organisms libertarianism might be for you, not having the technology, big data, Walmart as the vanguard of the new planned economy, SEARS’ business model was broken by its directors, SEARS Catalogue, rural communities, that was their success, the model is not different, the scale and the speed, the recommendation system, early on for the web, writing reviews for IMDB.org, how was your call, giving feedback, Facebook and YouTube are exploiting their content creators, if its a public utility, making PDFs, credit in creation for the public good, MP3s and PDFs, wealth that grows, a disincentive, UBI proposal, reviewing butt plugs for Amazon to make Jeff Bezos rich, things to worry about, we should be acquiring patents as a public, Denis Diderot the encyclopedia, maybe farmers in England can learn from this, all the schematics, this is really needed, YouTube is kind of communist, millions of people uploading to help other people, to each according to their needs, helping Sergey Brin get richer, all profits are temporary, MySpace, deleting channels, archive.org, nobody thinks about this right now, the poor social historians, a new dark age for our descendants, there’s no search engine for 1998, why the Soviet System collapsed, Ronald Reagan’s spending on nuclear weapons isn’t the explanation, 15 ethnostates, The Affirmative Action Empire by Terry Martin, Stalin’s ethnic policy, beating the Nazis, the premiere space power for 30 years, disincentives caused by ideology, the consequences of failure, Twitter and YouTube videos are feedback for discontent, wearing masks in the street, remember Covid-19?, ppe products, the looting is happening on the high end, that one looter who looted a carseat and baby stuff, many people are at the end of their rope, one $1,200 cheque, $2,000 enough isn’t enough, voting for Biden is not going to solve all of these problems, funny, a shoutout for Fredric Jameson’s The Archaeology Of The Future, literary theory, a chapter on Philip K. Dick, An American Utopia: Dual Power And The Universal Army, if they don’t like it they can go back to their shit job at Walmart, conscription prevents people wanting war, Red Plenty by Francis Spufford, a Soviet book, the Soviets were ahead, based on the technology, the history of airplanes, the Wright Bros. design was ok, bicycle guys got the right size engine, James Burke’s Connections, centralized data entry, The Iron Heel by Jack London, lot of long speeches, use progress to usher in socialism, comic book stores are different, comixology, if I was in the bookstore, the same reason libraries don’t stock floppies, modern magazines, teeth whitening spas, you can’t get your car fixed through the mail, ideology is always the enemy, let’s do the reasonable thing, use best practices, government keep you hands off my medicare, we’re mad and worried about the wrong things, look at those looters, the biggest wealth transfer in the history of the universe, Reality Winner, Russian interference in the USA election, people need to know about this, the FBI transcripts, a comic tragedy, a bullshit line of argument, you have to read the actual stuff, don’t just read the news, Jonathan Chait is getting paid to tell to you lies, the violence of the everyday is not acknowledged, 40 years of Neo-liberalism is really bad for you, where you gonna fly when they come for you?, cmon man, by the time people hear this maybe Biden will have fixed everything, beautiful sight, protests, sarcasm, The Onion-style wisdom, politicians pretending to be innocent about demonstrations, the Global Times, socialism with Chinese characteristics are superior for what?, ex-pat attitudes, sucking in their own unique ways, a landmass with a legal system, let’s all federate and get on bitcoin, networks of decentralized communities, Venezuela, Iran is sending them gasoline, leaned to heavily on exports, the recent American mercenary capture, the takewaway, build more tanks, retreat to the Urals, clarifying your own thinking, my world isn’t shaken to my core if my shoes aren’t where i put them, wilful blindness, any blue will do, my country right or wrong, I will never apologize for the United States, if you don’t vote for Biden you’re not black, 20 years after The Wire, police incompetence.

The People's Republic of Walmart: How the World's Biggest Corporations are Laying the Foundation for Socialism by Leigh Phillips and Michal Rozworski

The People's Republic Of Walmart AUDIOBOOK

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!