Sometimes living in the Bay Area, the home of Dreamforce, is like sleep walking through life. Mostly because you want to fall asleep when a nearby stranger starts talking about their new startup idea or how cryptocurrency is definitely not a pyramid scheme.
Bob Black published his essay The Abolition of Work in 1985, though it is as prescient as ever. You can find it freely available at The Anarchist Library. As you might anticipate, it is a critique and criticism of work. The first sentence of the essay is “No one should ever work.” — a sentiment I fully endorse and which I suspect the careerist workaholics in Silicon Valley will shun as sacrilege.
Peter Kropotkin wrote and first published The Wage System in La Revolte in 1888. It was translated for Freedom newspaper in 1889. Surprisingly, the essay is not available at The Anarchist Library. However, you can find it in Why Work? Arguments for the Leisure Society, a collection of essays (re)published by PM Press. The essays focus on dissecting “work”, its form under capitalism, and the possibilities for an alternative society.
After the second worst fire season ever recorded, we are now facing unprecedented disastrous storms in California. I was watching reports last night from various local Bay Area news stations. In one segment, a reporter casually mentioned that police would be doing extra patrols to prevent looting. The same thing happened in Louisiana. Don’t let them loot, they said, as their streets became rivers.
Over the past few years, Apple seems increasingly willing to cooperate with authoritarian governments, uninterested in protecting its own users, and unwilling to actually standup for human rights in broad terms, as often portrayed by its marketing department or direct statements from CEO Tim Cook.
After reading my recent satire piece, a good friend of mine (and tech worker) asked if I had a list of books or other resources to learn more about labor history and capitalism in the United States, and how the tech industry operates in this broader context. I had been meaning to write about this, and I figured others would likely be interested, too. So, if you are interested in these topics then this is post for you!
Dear COMPANY NAME team:
Hello employees — or should I say independent contractors?! (More on that shortly.) I’m writing to you from my second mansion located in ECONOMICALLY DESTABILIZED COUNTRY IN THE GLOBAL SOUTH EXPLOITED BY UNITED STATES IMPERIALISM! I see the poor children here, and it just reminds me how privileged all of us are to live in a virtuous place like Silicon Valley (at least when I’m there, lol) where we pretend homeless people simply don’t exist. And if they do, it’s because they didn’t try hard enough to do a startup or they didn’t have enough generational wealth to do financial crimes.
You know, the thing that is actually most disheartening, disappointing, frustrating, and plainly sad about Apple’s surprise announcement today is that we will not receive any sort of response to our collective dismay. There will be no public acknowledgment, much less an apology (not that it would help much). Only silence.
I’m currently reading Marquis Bey’s Anarcho-Blackness: Notes Toward a Black Anarchism. These are some reflections on and excerpts from the fourth chapter, titled Unpropertied. This post comes against the backdrop of continued protests and uprisings here in Oakland and the rest of the Bay Area in solidarity with Minneapolis, Kenosha, and the broader fight against police violence.
I am infuriated. Yesterday morning I woke up to the news that in my hometown of Louisville, KY Breonna Taylor was murdered by the police while she was sleeping. Because she was Black. She was shot 8 times. I do not need to list the names of every innocent and unarmed (or sleeping!) Black human being who has been murdered on the streets or in their own homes by the police in this country. You already know them. This has happened so many times before, from the lynchings in the 1800s to LA in 1992 to Louisville today.
The Bay Area Council Economic Institute recently released a report titled Bay Area Homelessness: A Regional View of a Regional Crisis. Unfortunately, I did not have time to read the entire report, but the executive summary contains some interesting bits. If you have time to read at least that, I’d recommend it.
As some of you may know, I recently quit my job in San Francisco to pursue personal projects, freedom (sort of) from our collective capitalist nightmare, and self-determination. But I’ll write more on that later. This post is about dealing with health care as an independent software developer in the United States.
I intend to start a new series of posts called Reading Notes where I publish notes, excerpts, and thoughts on what I’m currently reading. My goals are to better document my notes and thoughts on what I’m reading for my future self, and give myself a reason to write more blog posts (in general, but also more non-technical ones). I also hope to inspire you, dear reader, to read some of these books and essays.
The mayor of San Francisco called out feces on the sidewalks as a core problem to address in the city and wants homeless folks to “at least have respect” and “clean up after themselves”. It’s an unfortunate response, but I’m sure a lot of folks agree with the sentiment. No one relishes walking through the dirty streets in this city and it certainly is a concern, but this kind of rhetoric is actively harmful. It deliberately shifts responsibility for the problem onto the victims and away from the system that produced it. Homeless folks are among the most vulnerable in our society. In addition to their lack of housing, persistent precarity, mental health issues, and emotional struggles, the city is now going to ask them for respect and cleanliness?