State of head: recently altered, as if I were restored from a "last known good backup" and reintegrated. Complex, but good. Hoping things stay like this. Also hoping I can pull the bits of my life that I've terribly neglected back into working order. I think I can manage that, at least some of it.
Concern: Port Authority's planned bus service cuts come January are very very nasty. For example, the 61A is planned to be cut entirely, the 64 and 75 won't run on Sundays, and many other routes are cut, reduced, or limited. I will likely (hopefully?) be out of here by the time the cuts happen, but the extent of the cuts make me feel that the county is effectively giving up on public transit. It doesn't make sense to do this as a response to economic hardship - this will hurt businesses, it will hurt people, there are other things one can skimp on or reform but not this. A local paper explained that the cause of this is not actually due to reduced state funding (same as it's been for awhile), it's due to ballooning healthcare costs and the old budget expecting a toll highway to be tolled more (which I think failed). I'd love to see the bus system funded through property taxes or some other means - this reliance on fares and state/federal funds is ridiculous. I suspect if I were to stay here, I would have to buy personal transportation to still have a reasonable standard of living (maybe a motor scooter like someone I know, maybe something more robust which I could use for long-distance travel, or maybe I'd just sign up for Zipcar if the math worked out right).
The Jayme Stone/Mansa Sissoko 「From Africa to Appalachia」 CD is worth checking out - it feels like appalachian, gaelic, and traditional african music got caught in a blender.
I made my way past the theory part of 「The Affluent Worker in the Class Structure」 - the chief problem around which it's arranged is whether the Marxian analysis of class antagonisms is correct. Under Marxian thought, the classes remain antagonistic, with clear social and identity distinctions. As continued development has blurred these distinctions and changed labour relations, we ask whether the Marxian analysis is outdated - the authors of the book do studies to try to understand various aspects of selected members of the working class, trying to understand "embougeoismnent" - the pressing of bourgeois values and identity onto the working class in a way that alienates them from from the class struggle. As the background notes, orthodox marxists tend to dismiss the idea of this as being a blip or illusion, while a number of other marxists, socialists, and capitalists (believers in, in this sense) accept that marxian theory is outdated, based on assumptions about the way the state acts, about the cause of capitalist crisis, his notions about the sociology of classes (and perhaps the number of and distinctions between them) and the extent to which state and corporate actors would intentionally and successfully manipulate class identity to limit revolutionary potential (and perhaps need in the marxian sense). In particular, improved technologies and shifting social relations create a new kind of class that's neither traditionally bourgeois nor working class - that of the knowledge worker (described in its infancy in the book, but now quote common - every programmer is a knowledge worker, as are most engineers. The book doesn't adequately discuss the trend of globalisation and its effects on the growth towards knowledge workers (maybe outside of its scope), but the traditional antagonism between bourgeois and working classes is not replicated between those classes as strongly, and the alienation of labour is less pronounced.
The book goes on to some studies in the town of Luton (worth noting this was published in 1969 and performed in the 60s) - not as interesting as the theory, but still good stuff.
- Is Marxian theory adequate given class changes? Was it ever adequate on this account? Is long-term forecasting of the future always a fool's task given changing circumstances?
- Must class conflict lead to cultural divides?
- Is freedom from alienation of labour possible? Would workers collective ownership of the means of production actually lessen or eliminate that alienation? If this freedom impossible, are there still benefits to struggle aiming to lessen or eliminate it?
- Is showing the possibility of embourgeoisment (or its presence in some degree when one goes looking for it) necessarily a problem for Marxian thought, or would one need to show that it's widespread?