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Hive Mind
Monday, August 09, 2004
 

Hakim Bey has become a grumpy old man.


From Cyborg Democracy:

Peter Lamborn Wilson (perhaps better known as Hakim Bey) claims in this interview that he tried to remain open-minded for a while about the potential of the Internet and computers - although he's never owned one. Now, though, he despises them, and - by his own admission - he's stopped even bothering to listen to the tech-positive left on this issue.

Now, I should say, I'm not sure whether Wilson is at all representative of the Luddite far left. Though being on the far left myself (as a libertarian socialist), I've only encountered only a few openly luddite leftists, and of those many still appeared to have an open mind when confronted with the many upsides of technology. (Much like the general public - many of whom were alarmed at first at, say, in vitro fertilisation, and now are mostly OK with it - in secular Europe, anyway.)

As a side-note, I'd like to take issue with Wilson's view of the mass worldwide protests of Seattle and after, and the unprecedented worldwide protests against the illegal war on Iraq (Wow, he not only dismisses IT, the internet and cellphones, he also dismisses the importance of mass anti-war mobilisations, voting Bush out of office, and virtually every kind of activism you can think of, save the good-old-fashioned [and, in this interview, woolly and ill-defined] notion of "solidarity with the working class"! Seemingly not realising that many people went to the anti-G8 protests precisely to express solidarity with the working class of the global South, and call for changes to world trade and investment rules to benefit them! Calling him a "grumpy out-of-touch old man" would be totally unfair, wouldn't it? - otherwise I'd call him that!)

He is of course trivially and obviously right to point out the importance of taking concrete steps to build a better world, not just symbolic ones - but he's wrong to dismiss and ridicule the importance and power of a diversity of approaches (as radical transhumanists probably recognise better than most, there are new avenues towards greater justice and equality opening up, which can sometimes complement and sometimes obsolete previous approaches - and even new routes leading towards the end of wage-slavery and capitalism as we know it). (Via)

Hmm.. Rather unfortunate, huh? I mean, the degree of pessimism and hopelessness apparant in the interview is overwhelming. However I still don't think this newfound reactionary luddism invalidates Bey's previous works, which I still see as being relevant to contemporary anti-authoritarian politics.
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