Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

2

[...] All around us, it seems that the political systems, movements and processes that dominated the last hundred years are no longer able to bring about genuinely transformative change. Instead, they have forced us onto an endless treadmill of misery. Electoral democracy lies in remarkable disrepair. Centre-left political parties have been hollowed out and sapped of any popular mandate. Their corpses stumble on as vehicles for careerist ambitions. [...]

I just really like the last sentence

—p.2 Introduction (1) by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 1 year, 3 months ago

[...] All around us, it seems that the political systems, movements and processes that dominated the last hundred years are no longer able to bring about genuinely transformative change. Instead, they have forced us onto an endless treadmill of misery. Electoral democracy lies in remarkable disrepair. Centre-left political parties have been hollowed out and sapped of any popular mandate. Their corpses stumble on as vehicles for careerist ambitions. [...]

I just really like the last sentence

—p.2 Introduction (1) by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 1 year, 3 months ago
2

Yet, for all the glossy sheen of our technological era, we remain bound by an old and obsolete set of social relations. We continue to work long hours, commuting further, to perform tasks that feel increasingly meaningless. Our jobs have become more insecure, our pay has stagnated, and our debt has become overwhelming. We struggle to make ends meet, to put food on the table, to pay the rent or mortgage, and as we shuffle from job to job, we reminisce about pensions and struggle to find affordable childcare. Automation renders us unemployed and stagnant wages devastate the middle class, while corporate profits surge to new heights. The glimmers of a better future are trampled and forgotten under the pressures of an increasingly precarious and demanding world. And each day, we return to work as normal: exhausted, anxious, stressed and frustrated.

—p.2 Introduction (1) by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 1 year, 3 months ago

Yet, for all the glossy sheen of our technological era, we remain bound by an old and obsolete set of social relations. We continue to work long hours, commuting further, to perform tasks that feel increasingly meaningless. Our jobs have become more insecure, our pay has stagnated, and our debt has become overwhelming. We struggle to make ends meet, to put food on the table, to pay the rent or mortgage, and as we shuffle from job to job, we reminisce about pensions and struggle to find affordable childcare. Automation renders us unemployed and stagnant wages devastate the middle class, while corporate profits surge to new heights. The glimmers of a better future are trampled and forgotten under the pressures of an increasingly precarious and demanding world. And each day, we return to work as normal: exhausted, anxious, stressed and frustrated.

—p.2 Introduction (1) by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 1 year, 3 months ago
7

[...] Such protests are registered only in the minds of their participants, bypassing any transformation of social structures. While these efforts at radicalisation and awareness-raising are undoubtedly important to some degree, there still remains the question of exactly when these sequences might pay off. Is there a point at which a critical mass of consciousness-raising will be ready for action? Protests can build connections, encourage hope and remind people of their power. Yet, beyond these transient feelings, politics still demands the exercise of that power, lest these affective bonds go to waste. If we will not act after one of the largest crises of capitalism, then when?

—p.7 Our Political Common Sense: Introducing Folk Politics (5) by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 1 year, 3 months ago

[...] Such protests are registered only in the minds of their participants, bypassing any transformation of social structures. While these efforts at radicalisation and awareness-raising are undoubtedly important to some degree, there still remains the question of exactly when these sequences might pay off. Is there a point at which a critical mass of consciousness-raising will be ready for action? Protests can build connections, encourage hope and remind people of their power. Yet, beyond these transient feelings, politics still demands the exercise of that power, lest these affective bonds go to waste. If we will not act after one of the largest crises of capitalism, then when?

—p.7 Our Political Common Sense: Introducing Folk Politics (5) by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 1 year, 3 months ago
9

[...] The recent cycle of struggles has to be identified as one of overarching failure, despite a multitude of small-scale successes and moments of large-scale mobilisation. The question that any analysis of the left today must grapple with is simply: What has gone wrong? It is undeniable that heightened repression by states and the increased power of corporations have played a significant role in weakening the power of the left. Still, it remains debatable whether the repression faced by workers, the precarity of the masses and the power of capitalists is any greater than it was in the late nineteenth century. Workers then were still struggling for basic rights, often against states more than willing to use lethal violence against them. But whereas that period saw mass mobilisation, general strikes, militant labour and radical women’s organisations all achieving real and lasting successes, today is defined by their absence. The recent weakness of the left cannot simply be chalked up to increased state and capitalist repression: an honest reckoning must accept that problems also lie within the left. One key problem is a widespread and uncritical acceptance of what we call ‘folk-political’ thinking.

basically: thinking small and not transformative (and shying away from building a complex counter-hegemony)

—p.9 Our Political Common Sense: Introducing Folk Politics (5) by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 1 year, 3 months ago

[...] The recent cycle of struggles has to be identified as one of overarching failure, despite a multitude of small-scale successes and moments of large-scale mobilisation. The question that any analysis of the left today must grapple with is simply: What has gone wrong? It is undeniable that heightened repression by states and the increased power of corporations have played a significant role in weakening the power of the left. Still, it remains debatable whether the repression faced by workers, the precarity of the masses and the power of capitalists is any greater than it was in the late nineteenth century. Workers then were still struggling for basic rights, often against states more than willing to use lethal violence against them. But whereas that period saw mass mobilisation, general strikes, militant labour and radical women’s organisations all achieving real and lasting successes, today is defined by their absence. The recent weakness of the left cannot simply be chalked up to increased state and capitalist repression: an honest reckoning must accept that problems also lie within the left. One key problem is a widespread and uncritical acceptance of what we call ‘folk-political’ thinking.

basically: thinking small and not transformative (and shying away from building a complex counter-hegemony)

—p.9 Our Political Common Sense: Introducing Folk Politics (5) by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 1 year, 3 months ago
10

Against the abstraction and inhumanity of capitalism, folk politics aims to bring politics down to the ‘human scale’ by emphasising temporal, spatial and conceptual immediacy. At its heart, folk politics is the guiding intuition that immediacy is always better and often more authentic, with the corollary being a deep suspicion of abstraction and mediation. In terms of temporal immediacy, contemporary folk politics typically remains reactive (responding to actions initiated by corporations and governments, rather than initiating actions); ignores long-term strategic goals in favour of tactics (mobilising around single-issue politics or emphasising process); prefers practices that are often inherently fleeting (such as occupations and temporary autonomous zones); chooses the familiarities of the past over the unknowns of the future (for instance, the repeated dreams of a return to ‘good’ Keynesian capitalism); and expresses itself as a predilection for the voluntarist and spontaneous over the institutional (as in the romanticisation of rioting and insurrection).

they later explain that folk politics (or at least some aspects) is "necessary but insufficient for a postcapitalist political project"

—p.10 Our Political Common Sense: Introducing Folk Politics (5) by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 1 year, 3 months ago

Against the abstraction and inhumanity of capitalism, folk politics aims to bring politics down to the ‘human scale’ by emphasising temporal, spatial and conceptual immediacy. At its heart, folk politics is the guiding intuition that immediacy is always better and often more authentic, with the corollary being a deep suspicion of abstraction and mediation. In terms of temporal immediacy, contemporary folk politics typically remains reactive (responding to actions initiated by corporations and governments, rather than initiating actions); ignores long-term strategic goals in favour of tactics (mobilising around single-issue politics or emphasising process); prefers practices that are often inherently fleeting (such as occupations and temporary autonomous zones); chooses the familiarities of the past over the unknowns of the future (for instance, the repeated dreams of a return to ‘good’ Keynesian capitalism); and expresses itself as a predilection for the voluntarist and spontaneous over the institutional (as in the romanticisation of rioting and insurrection).

they later explain that folk politics (or at least some aspects) is "necessary but insufficient for a postcapitalist political project"

—p.10 Our Political Common Sense: Introducing Folk Politics (5) by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 1 year, 3 months ago
10

[...] As the common sense of today’s left, folk politics often operates intuitively, uncritically and unconsciously. Yet common sense is also historical and mutable. It is worth recalling that today’s familiar forms of organisation and tactics, far from being natural or pre-given, have instead been developed over time in response to specific political problems. Petitions, occupations, strikes, vanguard parties, affinity groups, trade unions: all arose out of particular historical conditions. Yet the fact that certain ways of organising and acting were once useful does not guarantee their continued relevance. Many of the tactics and organisational structures that dominate the contemporary left are responses to the experience of state communism, exclusionary trade unions, and the collapse of social democratic parties. Yet the ideas that made sense in the wake of those moments no longer present effective tools for political transformation. Our world has moved on, becoming more complex, abstract, nonlinear and global than ever before.

—p.10 Our Political Common Sense: Introducing Folk Politics (5) by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 1 year, 3 months ago

[...] As the common sense of today’s left, folk politics often operates intuitively, uncritically and unconsciously. Yet common sense is also historical and mutable. It is worth recalling that today’s familiar forms of organisation and tactics, far from being natural or pre-given, have instead been developed over time in response to specific political problems. Petitions, occupations, strikes, vanguard parties, affinity groups, trade unions: all arose out of particular historical conditions. Yet the fact that certain ways of organising and acting were once useful does not guarantee their continued relevance. Many of the tactics and organisational structures that dominate the contemporary left are responses to the experience of state communism, exclusionary trade unions, and the collapse of social democratic parties. Yet the ideas that made sense in the wake of those moments no longer present effective tools for political transformation. Our world has moved on, becoming more complex, abstract, nonlinear and global than ever before.

—p.10 Our Political Common Sense: Introducing Folk Politics (5) by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 1 year, 3 months ago
14

As a result, despite everything that has been written about capitalism, we still struggle to understand its dynamics and its mechanisms. Most importantly, we lack a ‘cognitive map’ of our socioeconomic system: a mental picture of how individual and collective human action can be situated within the unimaginable vastness of the global economy. [...] For the left at least, an analysis premised on the industrial working class was a powerful way to interpret the totality of social and economic relations in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, thereby articulating clear strategic objectives. Yet the history of the global left over the course of the twentieth century attests to the ways in which this analysis failed to attend to both the range of possible liberating struggles (based in gender, race or sexuality) and the ability of capitalism to restructure itself – through the creation of the welfare state, or the neoliberal transformations of the global economy. Today, the old models often falter in the face of new problems; we lose the capacity to understand our position in history and in the world at large.

This separation between everyday experience and the system we live within results in increased alienation: we feel adrift in a world we do not understand. The cultural theorist Fredric Jameson notes that the proliferation of conspiracy theories is partly a response to this situation. Conspiracy theories act by narrowing the agency behind our world to a single figure of power (the Bilderberg Group, the Freemasons or some other convenient scapegoat). Despite the extraordinary complexity of some of these theories, they nevertheless provide a reassuringly simple answer to ‘who is behind it all’, and what our own role is in the situation. In other words, they act precisely as a (faulty) cognitive map.

[...]

[...] the argument of this book is that folk-political tendencies are mistaken. If complexity presently outstrips humanity’s capacities to think and control, there are two options: one is to reduce complexity down to a human scale; the other is to expand humanity’s capacities. We endorse the latter position. Any postcapitalist project will necessarily require the creation of new cognitive maps, political narratives, technological interfaces, economic models, and mechanisms of collective control to be able to marshal complex phenomena for the betterment of humanity.

—p.14 Our Political Common Sense: Introducing Folk Politics (5) by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 1 year, 3 months ago

As a result, despite everything that has been written about capitalism, we still struggle to understand its dynamics and its mechanisms. Most importantly, we lack a ‘cognitive map’ of our socioeconomic system: a mental picture of how individual and collective human action can be situated within the unimaginable vastness of the global economy. [...] For the left at least, an analysis premised on the industrial working class was a powerful way to interpret the totality of social and economic relations in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, thereby articulating clear strategic objectives. Yet the history of the global left over the course of the twentieth century attests to the ways in which this analysis failed to attend to both the range of possible liberating struggles (based in gender, race or sexuality) and the ability of capitalism to restructure itself – through the creation of the welfare state, or the neoliberal transformations of the global economy. Today, the old models often falter in the face of new problems; we lose the capacity to understand our position in history and in the world at large.

This separation between everyday experience and the system we live within results in increased alienation: we feel adrift in a world we do not understand. The cultural theorist Fredric Jameson notes that the proliferation of conspiracy theories is partly a response to this situation. Conspiracy theories act by narrowing the agency behind our world to a single figure of power (the Bilderberg Group, the Freemasons or some other convenient scapegoat). Despite the extraordinary complexity of some of these theories, they nevertheless provide a reassuringly simple answer to ‘who is behind it all’, and what our own role is in the situation. In other words, they act precisely as a (faulty) cognitive map.

[...]

[...] the argument of this book is that folk-political tendencies are mistaken. If complexity presently outstrips humanity’s capacities to think and control, there are two options: one is to reduce complexity down to a human scale; the other is to expand humanity’s capacities. We endorse the latter position. Any postcapitalist project will necessarily require the creation of new cognitive maps, political narratives, technological interfaces, economic models, and mechanisms of collective control to be able to marshal complex phenomena for the betterment of humanity.

—p.14 Our Political Common Sense: Introducing Folk Politics (5) by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 1 year, 3 months ago
19

[...] The critiques many of these antisystemic movements made of established forms of state, capitalist and old-left bureaucratic power were largely accurate. Yet antisystemic politics offered few resources to build a new movement capable of contending against capitalist hegemony.

—p.19 Our Political Common Sense: Introducing Folk Politics (5) by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 1 year, 3 months ago

[...] The critiques many of these antisystemic movements made of established forms of state, capitalist and old-left bureaucratic power were largely accurate. Yet antisystemic politics offered few resources to build a new movement capable of contending against capitalist hegemony.

—p.19 Our Political Common Sense: Introducing Folk Politics (5) by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 1 year, 3 months ago
19

Just as the new social movements were on the rise, the economic basis of the social democratic consensus was beginning to fall apart. The 1970s saw surging energy prices, the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, the growth of global capital flows, persistent stagflation and falling capitalist profits. This effectively ended the basic political settlement that had supported the postwar era: that unique nexus of Keynesian economic policy, Fordist–corporatist industrial production and the broadly social democratic consensus that returned a part of the social surplus back to workers. Across the world, the structural crisis presented an opportunity for the forces of both the broad left and the broad right to generate a new hegemony that could resolve it.

just a good summary

(unfortunately the "broad right" won that battle ... for now)

—p.19 Our Political Common Sense: Introducing Folk Politics (5) by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 1 year, 3 months ago

Just as the new social movements were on the rise, the economic basis of the social democratic consensus was beginning to fall apart. The 1970s saw surging energy prices, the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, the growth of global capital flows, persistent stagflation and falling capitalist profits. This effectively ended the basic political settlement that had supported the postwar era: that unique nexus of Keynesian economic policy, Fordist–corporatist industrial production and the broadly social democratic consensus that returned a part of the social surplus back to workers. Across the world, the structural crisis presented an opportunity for the forces of both the broad left and the broad right to generate a new hegemony that could resolve it.

just a good summary

(unfortunately the "broad right" won that battle ... for now)

—p.19 Our Political Common Sense: Introducing Folk Politics (5) by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 1 year, 3 months ago
20

[...] One particularly important approach was a political-economic strategy to link the crisis of capitalism to union power. The subsequent defeat of organised labour throughout the core capitalist nations has perhaps been neoliberalism’s most important achievement, significantly changing the balance of power between labour and capital. The means by which this was achieved were diverse, from physical confrontation and combat, to using legislation to undermine solidarity and industrial action, to embracing shifts in production and distribution that compromised union power (such as disaggregating supply chains), to re-engineering public opinion and consent around a broadly neoliberal agenda of individual freedom and ‘negative solidarity’. The latter denotes more than mere indifference to worker agitations – it is the fostering of an aggressively enraged sense of injustice, committed to the idea that, because I must endure increasingly austere working conditions (wage freezes, loss of benefits, a declining pension pot), then everyone else must as well. The result of these combined shifts was a hollowing-out of unions and the defeat of the working class in the developed world.

—p.20 Our Political Common Sense: Introducing Folk Politics (5) by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 1 year, 3 months ago

[...] One particularly important approach was a political-economic strategy to link the crisis of capitalism to union power. The subsequent defeat of organised labour throughout the core capitalist nations has perhaps been neoliberalism’s most important achievement, significantly changing the balance of power between labour and capital. The means by which this was achieved were diverse, from physical confrontation and combat, to using legislation to undermine solidarity and industrial action, to embracing shifts in production and distribution that compromised union power (such as disaggregating supply chains), to re-engineering public opinion and consent around a broadly neoliberal agenda of individual freedom and ‘negative solidarity’. The latter denotes more than mere indifference to worker agitations – it is the fostering of an aggressively enraged sense of injustice, committed to the idea that, because I must endure increasingly austere working conditions (wage freezes, loss of benefits, a declining pension pot), then everyone else must as well. The result of these combined shifts was a hollowing-out of unions and the defeat of the working class in the developed world.

—p.20 Our Political Common Sense: Introducing Folk Politics (5) by Alex Williams, Nick Srnicek 1 year, 3 months ago