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Humphrey McQueen: The Robots are coming! What would Marx say?

  • New International Book Shop 54 Victoria Street Carlton, VIC, 3053 Australia (map)

How many of us are on first name terms with a robot? Who is not time-poor? These questions sum up conflicting prospects for life under the rule of capital into the twenty-first century. Automation threatens paid employment while we are being subjected to the prolongation of intensified, albeit oft fragmented working periods within the same day. This contrary is more than a paradox. Its transient manifestations have sustained accumulation processes throughout capitalism’s 230-year existence.

The talk will laud Luddites for acting on their recognition that machines are weapons to intensify exploitation and destroy community. The effects of technologies are determined by social relations of production, not the other way around. Vulgar Marxians get excited about UBER and driverless vehicles without attending to the composition of capital. The dynamics for automation will be examined through the interlocking of active and reserve armies of labour. The discussion will wind towards BrainComputerInterface in the exercise of the state power and warfare.

Humphrey McQueen is a Canberra-based historian and activist at work on yet one more Marxist account of the origins of capitalism, to be titled The revolution inside capital. For access to a selection of his writings over fifty years, see His $2 pamphlet, 150 Years Young, on the sesqui-centenary of Capital is in stock.

Pre-Book tickets at link below