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This Machine Kills

This Machine Kills

A podcast about technology and political economy /// Agitprop against innovation and capital /// Hosted by Jathan Sadowski and Edward Ongweso Jr., Produced by Jereme Brown /// Hello friends and enemies Listen anywhere that fine podcasts are distributed. Subscribe at patreon.com/thismachinekills to get premium episodes every week.

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Episodes

41. BlackRock: CEO of the World (patreon teaser)

After jumping into the abyss of indexation, we?re now smacking directly into BlackRock bottom. The world?s largest asset, which oversees $8.67 trillion, has grown at an unimaginable scale and pace?thanks in no small part to their fintech platform Aladdin on which sits at least $21.6 trillion from major clients. Those are astronomical numbers, but this episode brings their impacts down to earth. We discuss this monstrosity of finance, how BlackRock?s big black box is consuming the world?s wealth, and the plans of its CEO, Larry Fink, to solve climate change while making a hefty profit in the process. Some stuff we reference: ? Is BlackRock the New Vampire Squid? by Kate Aronoff https://newrepublic.com/article/158263/blackrock-climate-change-fossil-fuel-investments ? BlackRock?s Black Box: The Technology Hub of Modern Finance by Richard Henderson and Owen Walker https://www.ft.com/content/5ba6f40e-4e4d-11ea-95a0-43d18ec715f5 ? Larry Fink Letter to CEOs 2021 https://www.blackrock.com/corporate/investor-relations/larry-fink-ceo-letter Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2021-02-06
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40. The Boardroom of Global Capitalism

{The first 15 minutes or so of this episode is a little glitchy, but it gets better} We could have done a full episode about the GameStop affair, but there?s already so many good (and bad) explainers and analysis of that, so let?s talk about the real winners in an economy where the line just keeps going up forever: index funds and passive investment. We talk through the operations of indexation, one of the most important ? and hugely overlooked ? trends in the modern financial system, and discuss what John C. Coates calls the Problem of Twelve: ?The likelihood that in the near future roughly twelve individuals will have practical power over the majority of U.S. public companies.? This meeting of the board of global corporate capitalism is called to order. Some stuff we reference: ? The Future of Corporate Governance: The Problem of Twelve by John C. Coates https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3247337 ? Investment Firms Are the Big Winners of the GameStop Stock Revolution So Far by Edward Ongweso Jr. https://www.vice.com/en/article/y3gepx/investment-firms-are-the-big-winners-of-the-gamestop-stock-revolution-so-far Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2021-02-04
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39. Blueprints for a Better Everything (patreon teaser)

Continuing the story of the Lucas Plan, we lay out how this radical blueprint for socially useful production faced opposition at every turn by entrenched interests who saw it as a threat to their power ? and rightfully so! We then explore how the philosophy of social useful production confronts the contradictions of industrial / informational capitalism, revealing this system to be anti-human in every regard, while also providing a concrete alternative that actualizes the real potential of all people to create better technologies for a better society. When the cynical pragmatists meet your demands for radical change with that old boilerplate bullshit: ?Okay, so what?s your plan then?? You can now say, ?Hey buddy, first of all, fuck you. And second, we?ve got a plan ? the Lucas Plan!? Some stuff we reference: ? The Lucas Plan?An Idea Whose Time has Come? by Dave King: https://magazine.scienceforthepeople.org/vol22-2/the-new-lucas-plan/ ? The Lucas Plan and Socially Useful Production by Adrian Smith: https://steps-centre.org/blog/new-paper-lucas-plan-socially-useful-production/ ? A Practical Utopian?s Guide to the Coming Collapse by David Graeber: https://thebaffler.com/salvos/a-practical-utopians-guide-to-the-coming-collapse ? We Keep You Alive by Lizzie O?Shea: https://thebaffler.com/salvos/we-keep-you-alive-oshea Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2021-01-30
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38. Production for the People!

We take a deep dive into another example of a real utopian project from the 1970s, this time from the UK, which provided detailed concrete plans for how to actually do radical techno-politics. The militant labor union at Lucas Aerospace sought to democratize the means of production, giving workers autonomy over the management and purpose of industrial capacity. To achieve that goal, they created an amazing proposal ? the Lucas Plan ? for how to run factories based on the principles of socially useful production. The story of the Lucas Plan is inspiring and infuriating ? and immensely important. Some stuff we reference: ? Lucas Alternative Corporate Plan (Summary): http://www.workerscontrol.net/authors/lucas-aerospace-combine-shop-steward-committee-corporate-plan-contingency-strategy-positive- ? The Lucas Plan and Socially Useful Production by Adrian Smith: https://steps-centre.org/blog/new-paper-lucas-plan-socially-useful-production/ ? The Lucas Plan: What can it tell us about democratising technology today? by Adrian Smith: https://www.theguardian.com/science/political-science/2014/jan/22/remembering-the-lucas-plan-what-can-it-tell-us-about-democratising-technology-today ? Lucas Plan documentary (1978): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pgQqfpub-c&feature=emb_title ? Socially Useful Production by Pam Linn: https://scihub.wikicn.top/10.1080/09505438709526191 Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2021-01-27
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37. Automating the Consent Factory (ft. Riley Quinn)(patreon teaser)

We?re joined once again by co-host of TrashFuture, Riley Quinn, as we conduct further investigations into the mind of the Thought Leader. We start with a journey back to some of the Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 progenitors of the modern day big ideas bozo. From the counterculture libertarians and (allegedly) coke-addled entrepreneurs to the meme hustlers and corporate grifters. Weird how so many of them ended up flying on the Lolita Express? Anyways? nothing to see here, move along. We then consider how the Thought Leaders? jobs at the consent factory have now been automated by capital ? just another unfortunate victim of disruption. Follow Riley (https://twitter.com/raaleh) and listen to TrashFuture (https://trashfuturepodcast.podbean.com/). Of course you?re already doing both, right? Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2021-01-22
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36. Theory of the Thought Leader (ft. Riley Quinn)

We?re joined by co-host of TrashFuture ? and friend of TMK from the start ? Riley Quinn as we examine the brain of the Thought Leader. Forged in the fires of the financial crash, driven mad by Internet induced techno-optimism, brains smoothly polished by the infinite growth of a zero interest rate world ? the modern day Thought Leader is the charlatan in the court of tech capital. They spend their days promoting Big Ideas Books that contain remarkably little thinking, while asserting all the solutions to complex societal problems. But that?s okay because they aren?t really meant to be read by anybody anyways. Unless, of course, you?re Riley. Follow Riley (https://twitter.com/raaleh) and listen to TrashFuture (https://trashfuturepodcast.podbean.com/). Of course you?re already doing both, right? Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2021-01-20
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35. Neoliberal Prices /// Socialist Plans (patreon teaser)

How is a neoliberal economy planned? How should a socialist economy be planned? We parse through the ?socialist calculation debate.? First laying out the critiques of socialist state planning?and the supposed superiority of the price system and spontaneous order under the market?posed by the original theorists of neoliberal thought: Ludwig Von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Then knocking them down one-by-one as we consider what a successor of Project Cybersyn might look like. Some stuff we reference: ? The Return of Social Government: From ?Socialist Calculation? to ?Social Analytics? by Will Davies https://scihub.wikicn.top/10.1177/1368431015578044 ? The Use of Knowledge in Society by Friedrich Hayek: https://learn.canvas.net/courses/1446/files/549519 ? How to Make a Pencil by Aaron Benanav: https://logicmag.io/commons/ ? The Singular Pursuit of Comrade Bezos by Malcolm Harris: https://medium.com/s/story/the-singular-pursuit-of-comrade-bezos-3e280baa045c Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2021-01-15
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34. Let?s Get Cyber-Physical

cold open: Interview with Eden Medina on Project Cybersyn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSmQCvfT4pU We dig into one of the most interesting and exciting experiments in socialist innovation ever attempted: Project Cybersyn in 1970s Chile. There?s much to be learned from the history of how a ragtag group of revolutionaries sought to create a cybernetic system to organize and manage a democratic socialist economy. As well as from its ultimate demise at the hands of a CIA-backed military coup. While this prototype of cybernetic democratic socialism was smothered in its cradle by authoritarian neoliberalism, the lessons gleaned from this real utopian endeavor must live on today. Cybersyn is dead, long live Cybersyn! Some stuff we reference: ? Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende's Chile by Eden Medina https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/cybernetic-revolutionaries ? The Anti-Socialist Origins of Big Data by Greg Gandin: https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/anti-socialist-origins-big-data/ ? Chomsky interviewed by Denis Staunton: https://chomsky.info/2009____/ Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2021-01-13
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33. Conceptual Hit List Continued (patreon teaser)

Continuing the TMK conceptual hit list, we set our sights on more key concepts that have been, to varying degrees, corrupted by capital?s foul influence and weaponized to achieve its ideological and material goals. We pass judgement on the concepts of inclusion, tech company, smart, and artificial intelligence. Some stuff we reference: ? Terms of inclusion: Data, Discourse, Violence by Anna Lauren Hoffmann: https://scihub.wikicn.top/10.1177/1461444820958725 ? On the Moral Collapse of AI Ethics by J. Khadijah Abdurahman: https://upfromthecracks.medium.com/on-the-moral-collapse-of-ai-ethics-791cbc7df872 ? Potemkin AI by Jathan: https://reallifemag.com/potemkin-ai/ Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2021-01-09
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32. Conceptual Hit List

We?re kicking off 2021 with a different spin on the standard new year resolutions by drafting the official TMK conceptual hit list. We go through some foundational ideas in digital capitalism that we resolve to destroy. In this episode we lay out our case against innovation, disruption, entrepreneurship, and flexibility. Now is a good time to be clear about the techno-political concepts that must be put up against the wall of ruthless criticism. Consider this the first draft of a conceptual hit list that has room to grow as we confront enemies, both old and new, in 2021 and beyond. Some stuff we reference: ? The Fetish of Technology: Causes and Consequences by David Harvey: https://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1411&context=macintl ? Technology: The Emergence of a Hazardous Concept by Leo Marx: http://www.f.waseda.jp/sidoli/Marx_2010_Concept_Of_Technology.pdf ? Why Chinese youngsters are embracing a philosophy of ?slacking-off? by Jane Li: https://qz.com/1938809/why-chinese-youngsters-are-embracing-a-culture-of-slacking-off/ ? Despotism on Demand: How Power Operates in the Flexible Workplace by Alex Wood: https://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/9781501748899/despotism-on-demand Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2021-01-06
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*UNLOCKED* ? Sabotage Feels Good

We're unlocking the second half of our exploration into the techno-politics of Luddism. Let us all go forth into the new year with dreams of smashing machines and sabotaging capital. In this episode, we offer the case for a techno-politics of unmaking to combat innovation fetishism. Talk about examples of Luddism in action at Amazon warehouses and on the silver screen. And wrap up with an exciting reading series of a shockingly prescient essay from the old radical computer industry magazine, Processed World. Some stuff we reference: ? Is it OK to be a Luddite? by Thomas Pynchon: https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/books/97/05/18/reviews/pynchon-luddite.html ? Surviving Amazon by Sam Adler Bell: https://logicmag.io/bodies/surviving-amazon/ ? World Processor by Jacob Silverman: https://thebaffler.com/salvos/world-processor ? Sabotage: The Ultimate Video Game by Gidget Digit: http://www.processedworld.com/Issues/issue05/05sabotage.htm Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-12-30
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31. Toward the TMK Syllabus (patreon teaser)

With all the end of year reading lists rolling out, we decided to hop on the bandwagon and offer our own recommendations for what to read over the holidays and beyond. Sometime in the near year we plan to release the TMK Syllabus ? a live document of books, articles, and other resources that inform the TMK ethos of critical techno-politics. In this episode, we provide a preview of the TMK Syllabus by discussing some of the books that have influenced us in different ways ? the good, the bad, and the weird ? and some of the excellent new books from this year. Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-12-28
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30. Death of the Entrepreneur (ft. Veena Dubal)

We?re joined by the great Veena Dubal (twitter.com/veenadubal), law professor at UC Hastings, for a fantastic discussion about how gig work platforms like Uber have weaponized ideas of flexibility and entrepreneurship, the political / legal origins of the distinction between ?employees? vs. ?independent contractors,? and the possibilities for building worker power in the face of authoritarian neoliberalism. As Silicon Valley takes aim at other professions ? rolling out flexible exploitation, eviscerating labor rights, and turning all jobs into piecework ? the fate of gig workers is the fate of everybody. Some stuff we reference: ? Those in Power Won?t Give Up Willingly: On the Future of Organizing Under Prop 22 by Veena Dubal and Meredith Whittaker: https://onezero.medium.com/amp/p/e6eaa3ee2324 ? Wage Slave or Entrepreneur?: Contesting the Dualism of Legal Worker Identities by Veena Dubal: https://repository.uchastings.edu/faculty_scholarship/1596/ ? The Drive to Precarity: A Political History of Work, Regulation, & Labor Advocacy in San Francisco's Taxi & Uber Economies by Veena Dubal: https://repository.uchastings.edu/faculty_scholarship/1589/ ? Words Matter: How Tech Media Helped Write Gig Companies into Existence by Sam Harnett: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3668606 Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-12-23
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29. Sabotage Feels Good (patreon teaser)

We offer the case for a techno-politics of unmaking ? quite literally deconstructing capital ? to combat the innovation fetishism that masks the social relationships inherent in all technology. We also talk about examples of Luddism in action at Amazon warehouses. There?s some great tangents along the way (the acting roles that Ethan Hawke has been taking lately are surprisingly, righteously Luddish). We wrap up with an exciting reading series of a shockingly prescient essay from the old radical computer industry magazine, Processed World. Some stuff we reference: ? Is it OK to be a Luddite? by Thomas Pynchon: https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/books/97/05/18/reviews/pynchon-luddite.html ? Surviving Amazon by Sam Adler Bell: https://logicmag.io/bodies/surviving-amazon/ ? World Processor by Jacob Silverman: https://thebaffler.com/salvos/world-processor ? Sabotage: The Ultimate Video Game by Gidget Digit: http://www.processedworld.com/Issues/issue05/05sabotage.htm Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-12-18
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28. The Hammer of Ludd

At last, the Luddism episode has dropped! We dig into the actual, and massively misunderstood, history of Luddites ? not as an insult for people who are deemed ?anti-progress,? but as a labor movement who confronted the machinery of industrial capitalism. We discuss how Luddism should inform militant working class power, what lessons we can apply today for how we think about technology, and draw connections to other struggles against oppressive systems, whether in the streets or the shop floors. Think of Luddism as like Marie Kondo, but for technopolitics. Does this technology contribute to human well-being and/or social welfare? If not, take it apart and toss it away! (Listen to the end for a post-outro treat from Klobbering Klobuchar.) Some stuff we reference: ? A Nod to Ned Ludd by Richard Byrne https://thebaffler.com/salvos/a-nod-to-ned-ludd ? Sabotage by Elizabeth Gurly Flynn https://www.marxists.org/subject/women/authors/flynn/1917/sabotage.htm Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl). Thanks to Laura for voicing Klobbering Klobuchar.
2020-12-16
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27: Music and its Discontents (patreon teaser)

Folk, country, punk, rap ? these seemingly disparate genres all have deep roots in radical politics of the working class. They each emerged out of particular material conditions and, in turn, sought to create music about those conditions. And they have all been subjected to, in their own way, processes of depoliticization that have attempted to defang their social messages. To help us recover these lost histories ? and draw parallels to the ways technology has also undergone processes of being made ahistorical and apolitical ? we are once again joined by Alexander Billet, an editor at Locust Review and contributor to Jacobin, whose work provides great materialist analysis of music and culture. Check out Alex?s work http://alexanderbillet.com/ and follow him on twitter https://twitter.com/UbuPamplemousse Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-12-12
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26. Steal this Podcast! (ft. Alexander Billet)

[Oh the irony that, on an episode about music, the sound quality on this episode is a little gritty due to some recording issues ? big ups to Jereme for working production magic cleaning up the audio.] In this episode, we discuss the cultural and technological politics of music and the shadow that Spotify has cast over the industry. As exploitation in the cultural economy accelerates, it?s become radical to even recognize that artists are also workers. And, as such, we all have a stake in their struggles and solidarities against the platformization of culture. Joining us on this journey into sound, we have Alexander Billet, an editor at Locust Review and contributor to Jacobin, whose work focuses on the intersections of art, music, and politics. Check out Alex?s essay on Spotify?s exploitative streaming model: https://jacobinmag.com/2020/12/spotify-streaming-model-exploitation-class-conflict Follow him on twitter: https://twitter.com/UbuPamplemousse. Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-12-10
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25. Socialize the Eschaton (patreon teaser)

Conservative commentators used the phrase ?immanentize the eschaton? as a criticism of socialism and communism. For these stooges, who thought they stood at the end of history, any alternative to neoliberal capitalism and American hegemony was tantamount to ushering in the apocalypse. Well we?re here to tell you not to fear the end of their grand utopian project. If the rest of us experience this reality as a lived dystopia, then why not try to hasten its demise? We dig deeper into our discussion on the radical potential of real utopias, providing more examples along the way. Subscribe to hear more analysis and get premium episodes every week! patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-12-06
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24. Utopianism for Cynics

TMK is taking a break from our regularly scheduled analysis of the ongoing dystopia by pivoting to utopianism! In this episode, we take seriously the question: What would it mean to do utopianism in a way that doesn?t demand abandoning our commitments to materialist critique? We argue for why the anti-capitalist left must reassert its capacity for utopianism and outline some examples of ?real utopias? with radical potential that are inspiring our thinking about the kind of alternatives that are imminently achievable. Our discussion builds on the analytical framework detailed by Erik Olin Wright in his work on real utopianism and anti-capitalism: ? Transforming Capitalism through Real Utopias (essay) https://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~wright/Published%20writing/Presidential%20address%20--%20uncorrected%20page%20proofs.pdf ? How to Be an Anticapitalist in the Twenty-First Century (book) https://www.versobooks.com/books/3065-how-to-be-an-anticapitalist-in-the-twenty-first-century Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-12-03
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23. The Great Decoupling (patreon teaser)

We continue our discussion on Huawei by laying out the ways that network infrastructure has become a site for proxy battles as the US/UK and China pursue different agendas for national security and industrial policy. Subscribe to hear more analysis and get more premium episodes every week! patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-11-28
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22. Huawei or the Highway

Time to get into the 5G! Well, okay, the international political economy of 5G and the new Cold War with China. We trace the history and expansion of Huawei?a hugely important, but greatly misunderstood (and badly analyzed), company at the center of next-gen communication technologies?and its role in the global development of the telecom industry since the 1980s. This episode is kinda information dense, but a focused analysis of Huawei is crucial for figuring out pressure points or fault lines in the global system. 5G won?t cause covid, but will it cause communism?! (Nah, it?s state capitalism). Our discussion builds on, and fills in some gaps in, this great new essay by Evgeny Morozov on the geopolitics of Huawei: https://mondediplo.com/2020/11/10huawei Subscribe to hear the second part of conversation with Michael and get more premium episodes every week! patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-11-25
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21. Military-Civil Fusion (patreon teaser)

?Technological superiority is a prerequisite for ethical superiority.? These words by Palmer Luckey, founder of Anduril Industries, encapsulate a dangerous philosophy underpinning how the bloodless ghouls in the tech sector aim to integrate their systems and ideologies into the military-industrial complex. Michael joins us again to discuss the deep technological, ethical, and political contradictions that undermine their claims to superiority of any kind. As Luckey and his ilk create and operate the machinery of American imperialism, we must reject their claims to superiority and their ascension up the chain of command. Subscribe at patreon.com/thismachinekills to help support TMK and hear premium episodes every week! ? Read Michael?s excellent essay on the politics of drone warfare and drone witnessing: The Testimony of Drones https://sydneyreviewofbooks.com/essay/the-testimony-of-drones/ ? Follow Michael on twitter: https://twitter.com/richardson_m_a ? Check out his work: https://www.arts.unsw.edu.au/our-people/michael-richardson Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-11-21
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20. War by Other Nerds (ft. Michael Richardson)

We jump into the abyss of Anduril Industries?one of the most actually evil, yet little known, technology companies in existence today?and Palmer Luckey, its ultra right-wing founder and Peter Thiel acolyte. To help us discuss how Silicon Valley is bringing its brand of innovation and disruption to the military-industrial complex, we?re joined by Michael Richardson, a senior research fellow at the University of New South Wales and expert on the cultural politics of military technology and drone warfare. ? Read Michael?s excellent essay on the politics of drone warfare and drone witnessing: The Testimony of Drones https://sydneyreviewofbooks.com/essay/the-testimony-of-drones/ ? Follow Michael on twitter: https://twitter.com/richardson_m_a ? Check out his work: https://www.arts.unsw.edu.au/our-people/michael-richardson Subscribe at patreon.com/thismachinekills to hear the second part of conversation with Michael and get more premium episodes every week! Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-11-18
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19. Power and Politics at the Endless Brunch (patreon teaser)

We discuss the aftermath of the election, including the banner year for the tech sector, the power dynamics of a Biden/Harris administration, the dynastic conspiracy of interests in San Francisco politics, the risks of a disengaged polity, and the need for an active left. Subscribe at patreon.com/thismachinekills to help support TMK and hear premium episodes every week! Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-11-13
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18. Antitrust in the Aftermath (ft. Marshall Steinbaum)

We?re joined by economist Marshall Steinbaum for a post-mortem on the election results as we work through some critical questions: What comes next? What does a Biden/Harris administration hold for the future of technology policy, labor organizing, and the American economy? What is to be done? How can aggressive antitrust action help stop the bleeding from Prop 22 and put workers on the offensive against capital? All this and more as Marshall lays out the terrain of the uphill battle ahead of us. Follow Marshall on twitter: twitter.com/econ_marshall and check out his work: https://marshallsteinbaum.org/ Subscribe to TMK on patreon for access to premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-11-11
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17. The Final Phase? (patreon teaser)

We enter Phase 3 in our analysis of the urbanization of technology capital. Planetary platforms like Alphabet and Amazon have reached the point where they possess the power and desire to do more than just provide services or consult on managerial changes. Tech companies struggle against the last remaining binds that limit their full ascension to sovereignty. We have a future to win ? or lose. Subscribe at patreon.com/thismachinekills to hear this and more premium episodes every week! Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-11-07
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16. Who Owns the Future City?

Cold open: The Ballot or the Bullet So obviously this was recorded before the election, but our topic for this week?s episode is the exact analysis you need to understand how something like Prop 22 could pass in a landslide. We dive into the rise of smart/platform urbanism by guiding you through the urbanization of technology capital over three phases, each one grabbing more power: oversight of city governance, operation of city services, and ownership of city space. This episode builds on two academic articles Jathan recently wrote on platform urbanism. Here?s paywalled links, which you can unlock by plugging the links into https://scihub.wikicn.top/ ? Cyberspace and Cityscapes: On the Emergence of Platform Urbanism https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02723638.2020.1721055?journalCode=rurb20 ? Who Owns the Future City? Phases of Technological Urbanism and Shifts in Sovereignty https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0042098020913427 Subscribe to TMK on Patreon for access to the second part of this episode?and for premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-11-04
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*UNLOCKED* 15. The Extermination (of) Imagination

We?re unlocking the Patreon episode this week to give you a taste of that premium content. Subscribe at patreon.com/thismachinekills to hear more premium episodes every week! We continue the conversation about Aaron Benanav?s book by getting into how fictitious capital is not only breaking from, but totally consuming, reality. Accelerating us deeper into an economy built on immiseration and a society based on extermination. We have no choice but to recapture the utopian imagination from capital and reassert our capacity for socialist innovation. Come with me / and you?ll see / a world of pure imagination. Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-10-29
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14. Deus Ex Growth Machina (ft. Aaron Benanav)

We?re joined by Aaron Benanav, author of Automation and the Future of Work, to discuss his excellent and necessary analysis of what the automation discourse gets wrong, the economic history that has led us to where we are now, and the science fiction and utopian ideas that should inspire a post-scarcity world?a world which is not only possible but necessary. Grab a copy of Aaron?s book: https://www.versobooks.com/books/3717-automation-and-the-future-of-work and follow him on twitter: https://twitter.com/abenanav Subscribe to TMK on patreon for access to premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-10-27
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13. - TMK Origins (teaser)

In our first Patreon premium episode, the TMK boys get loose and personal while talking about our political origin stories. We chat about our weird and twisting paths to where we are now, drop some bombshells about how our lives could have been totally different, how we got radicalized through music and sci-fi, and why dialectical materialism always leads to the most correct takes. Thanks for subscribing! Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-10-24
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12. The E-CONomy (ft. Danielle Carr)

Cold open: Channel surfing We?re joined by Danielle Carr, who wrote a killer essay debunking the myth of Neuralink and Elon Musk, to talk about the broader political economy of shitty "science? and shittier "innovators" that have captured the collective imagination. As Danielle writes, ?Technology critique should not buy into the hyped fantasies people like Elon Musk peddle. [...] What we have to worry about is something much more disappointing?that the future will look like the present, only more so. In that way, Musk is right: the future is already here.? Check out Danielle?s essay in the Baffler: https://thebaffler.com/latest/shit-for-brains-carr and follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bathr0bespierre. And while you?re at it, read David Graeber?s classic essay, also in the Baffler, which serves as a fantastic companion piece: https://thebaffler.com/salvos/of-flying-cars-and-the-declining-rate-of-profit Subscribe to TMK on patreon for access to premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-10-21
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11. Anonymous Authority

Cold open: Crazy Currency with Jack Jammer We enter the ?parliament of extrastatecraft? and discuss the actually existing world order ? we're talking the techno-politics of standardization, the transnational institutions that establish the rules and structures for essentially everything, and the geopolitical struggle between the US and China over who will wield the technocratic power of standards setting. Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-10-14
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10. This Movie Kills: A Scanner Darkly

Cold open: What does a scanner see? Welcome to the first installment of This Movie Kills! This week we discuss the film A Scanner Darkly (2006), an adaptation of Philip K. Dick?s novel. What do you get when you shake together drug psychosis, police paranoia, distorted perception, atmospheric anxiety, and identity crisis? Bad vibes all around! Or, maybe just another day in ?a world getting progressively worse.? The story is from the seventies, the movie feels like the 90s, but the themes are all about today. Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-10-08
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9. Domination Ecosystem

Cold open: TMK x SoftBank Main show: Sure you might know all about Amazon?s extensive network of hellish warehouses, its horrendously exploitative labor conditions, its cynical partnerships with the police, military, and intelligence agencies, its supervillain of a founder? but how much do you really know about the Amazon ecosystem of surveillance and control? Have you been able to keep up with the seemingly impossible task of tracking every move of every tentacle of the everything store? Let?s get down to business. Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-09-29
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8. VC Mindset (ft. Wendy Liu)

Cold open: Bro, have you heard about this new startup called GOO_LOG? Main Show: We?re joined by Wendy Liu (twitter.com/dellsystem), author of Abolish Silicon Valley, to dissect the system of venture capital that holds immense influence over what counts as innovation, why technology is created, and who gets to reap the benefits. Chances are ? unless you have an invite to the ultra exclusive clubhouse ? it isn?t you. But here?s the thing, it doesn?t have to be that way. There are alternatives. Grab a copy of Wendy?s excellent book ? Abolish Silicon Valley: How to Liberate Technology from Capitalism https://repeaterbooks.com/product/abolish-silicon-valley-how-to-liberate-technology-from-capitalism/ Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-09-23
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7. Black Hole Son

Cold open: 1 trillion dollar glitch Main show: It?s finally time to formally introduce the king of kings into TMK canon, into the pantheon of parasites and villains who seek to control the world. We?re talking SoftBank and its founder Masayoshi Son, the only true accelerationist with the fortitude and fortune to actually force us into the post-capitalist singularity. Here?s the excellent article we discuss on data assets and meta-platforms, by van Doorn and Badger: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/anti.12641 Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-09-15
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6. Life-as-a-Service (ft. David A. Banks)

Cold open: The 79-year-old CEO of AliUber and Senator from California Elizabeth Holmes has announced... Main show: We?re joined by David A. Banks (https://twitter.com/DA_Banks), editor-at-large for Real Life and co-host of the Ironweeds podcast (https://twitter.com/ironweedspod), as we take a tour of the subscription economy where nobody owns anything, platforms control access to everything, monopoly rents are extracted everywhere, and the we have no choice but to sign up for Life-as-a-Service. Big thanks to David for writing the script to this week?s cold open and to Britney Gill, co-host of Ironweeds podcast, for voice work! David?s vivid, incisive article on the Subscription Economy: https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/software/337954/where-do-you-live/ Jathan?s article on the Internet of Landlords [pdf]: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/54c9a2e8e4b01e05842ad47e/t/5f556202fab9b365a2490794/1599431173262/Sadowski+-+The+Internet+of+Landlords.pdf Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-09-09
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5. The Palantir Reformation

Cold open: Alex Karp?s manifesto of futurism. Main show: Ring the stock exchange bell: Palantir is going public! We do a deep dive into Palantir?s S-1 filing and uncover an emerging schism in Silicon Valley. This episode gets dark as we trace the deep political and philosophical connections between Fascist Futurism and Palantir?s vision of techno-nationalism. You thought this company was evil before? Well buckle up. Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl). Some episode references: Registration Statement on Form S-1 | Palantir Technologies: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1321655/000119312520230013/d904406ds1.htm The Futurist Manifesto | Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1909): https://www.societyforasianart.org/sites/default/files/manifesto_futurista.pdf Palantir Goes to the Frankfurt School | Moira Weigel: https://www.boundary2.org/2020/07/moira-weigel-palantir-goes-to-the-frankfurt-school/
2020-09-01
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4. Zuboff is a PSYOP

Cold open: Agent Zuboff receives her mission. Main show: We politically cancel Shoshana Zuboff, author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, for advancing / mainstreaming a reactionary critique. Surveillance capitalism is not a ?rogue mutation? of a normal capitalism. Surveillance is not the scapegoat that needs to be sacrificed so we can maintain a good version of consumption and commodification. We let you in on a little secret?one that Zuboff?s work is designed to obscure?the real horrors have been coming from inside capitalism all along. Morozov?s article on Zuboff?s bad analysis of surveillance capitalism: https://thebaffler.com/latest/capitalisms-new-clothes-morozov Monthly Review article with good analysis of surveillance capitalism: https://monthlyreview.org/2014/07/01/surveillance-capitalism/ Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl). Thanks to Laura for voice work on the cold open.
2020-08-25
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3. Exploitation Über Alles

Cold open: You come at the king, you best not miss. Main show: We're locked and loaded with stacks of earnings reports. We've got Uber's finances in our sites. We take aim at the economic underpinning of this lobbyist with an app. It's time for some Uber theory, baby. Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-08-19
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2. Safeguardin' ASSets (ft. Shoshana Wodinsky)

Cold Open: A message from Mr. Clean Networks. Main Show: We're joined by Shoshana Wodinsky (https://twitter.com/swodinsky) who helps us breakdown the emerging digital cold war between the US and China. We get into the lunatics who are making policy and writing columns about the coming Chinese Cyber Imperium. Plus, we descend into the abyss of the American Mind. Read Shoshana's excellent article: https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2020/08/it-doesnt-matter-who-owns-tiktok/ Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (https://twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (https://twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (https://twitter.com/braunestahl).
2020-08-12
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1. Tech Lives Matter

Welcome to This Machine Kills! Hello friends and enemies. It's episode one and what a better way to kick things off than by diving into the policing-industrial complex. We get into the intimate crossovers between the tech sector and police departments. And the bizarre similarities between the pathetic goons who spend their days defending Blue Lives and Tech Lives. It's a big party full of the worst people on the planet! Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin), production by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl)
2020-08-08
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