Who Were the Luddites?
They were not against all machines, only the Machine...
Maria Gilardin of TUCRadio writes, Who were the Luddites? Machine smashers of the 19th century or members of a fascinating social movement with visionary insights into the unfolding drama of industrialization?
The impact of today's technologies on social relations and the planet itself is becoming an intriguing field of inquiry. However so far the discussion of nuclear power, biotechnology, deforestation, automobiles or computers is pretty much dominated by industry and government who want us to take all this for granted.
In this context it is inspiring to remember the Luddites who questioned industrial civilization at its very beginning in England during the introduction of mechanized textile mills. They knew that the power-looms that they selectively destroyed were not just a technology but would create a whole new set of relations: Factory work, child labor, and the demise of artisan and skilled labor.
They anticipated that the new machines, that they themselves had helped build, were not the promised tool to help them in their work but would eventually become part of a machine culture with power over human life and even human consciousness.
Iain Boal is an independent scholar and historian of technology. He taught a course on the Luddites at Stanford University. This lecture was expanded into a book project, Resisting the Virtual Life, an anthology edited by Iain Boal and James Brook and published by City Lights.
Pardon any possible Marxist bias (I am not familiar with the speaker's political orientation) and hear Ian Boal on the suppressed history of the Luddites...Pt 1, and the lessons for us today; and then Part 2... As for Marxism...
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