Center for Media Justice home of the Media Action Grassroots Network

Community Production: The Future is Now!

How many of us grew up watching the Jetsons and Star Trek wishing we could live in the futuristic worlds they portrayed? Where humans spent the bulk of their time in leisurely pursuits and machines did most of the hard labor? Who didn’t want to live in these paradise-like worlds where there was no apparent material want and people had the time to develop themselves as they saw fit?

Well, the potential of realizing a Jetson or Star Trek-ish like world is finally here. The remarkable technological and productive advances of the Third and Fourth industrial revolutions are rapidly changing everything in the world around us (for good and bad) and making a dramatic new “post-work” world possible.

The Third Industrial Revolution (3IR), also known as the Digital Revolution, started in the 1960’s, but exploded in the late 1980’s and 1990’s, and is still expanding today. This revolution refers to the advancement of technology from analog electronic and mechanical devices to the digital technologies we have now. The main technologies of this revolution include the personal computer, the internet, and advanced information and communications technologies, like our cell phones.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (41R), also known as the Cyber-Physical Revolution, is marked by technological and knowledge breakthroughs that build on the Digital Revolution that are now fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds (including the human body). The main technologies of this revolution include advanced robotics, CNC (computer numeric control) automation, 3D printing, biotechnology, nanotechnology, big data processing, artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles.

As noted, the technologies of the Third and Fourth Industrial Revolutions are not only changing everything in the world around us, they are also changing us, culturally and physically. In and of themselves, these technologies are somewhat value neutral – meaning neither good or bad. Their value and intent will be determined by humanity. They will either aid humanity in our collective quest for liberation, or they will help further our species inhumanity towards itself and our dear mother earth. One thing is painfully clear, and that is if these technologies remain the exclusive property of the capitalist class and the trans-national corporations they control, these technologies will not be used for the benefit of the majority of humanity, but to expand the profits and further consolidate the power of the 1% that rule the world. Under their control, these technologies will lead to a crisis of global unemployment on a scale unseen in human history. The end result will be global dystopia, that is a social nightmare predicated on massive poverty, lawlessness, and state repression, rather than the potential utopia these technologies have always promised.

The only way we are going to come anywhere close to attaining anything like the utopia these technologies promise is by democratizing them and subjecting them to social use and production for the benefit of all, rather than the control and appropriation by the few. The democratization of technologies of the Third and Fourth Industrial Revolutions, which we denote as #TechDemocracy, is one of the primary demands and areas of focus of Cooperation Jackson. We struggle for #TechDemocracy first and foremost by educating our members and the general public about the promises and perils of the technology so that people can make informed decisions. Our next course of action is self-organization to acquire as much of this technology as we can, with the explicit purpose of controlling these means of production and utilizing them for the direct benefit of our organization and our community. We call this self-organization “Community Production”, and to this end, we are currently building our own Center for Community Production on W. Capitol Street, near Amite Street, and a Community Production Cooperative.

Our third course of action is organizing our community for political and economic power to expand and reinforce our self-organization or Community Production efforts to gradually make them ubiquitous or ever present in our community, with the explicit intent of gradually replacing the exploitative and environmentally destructive forms of old production. Our fourth general course of action is to utilize our self-organization and political power to make demands on the government, the capitalist class, and the transnational corporations to remove the controls they have on the technology, like exclusive patents, to free it, and for government to make massive investments in technology to make them public utilities and to ensure that the capitalists and corporations make restorative investments in these utilities for the public good.

These are the core elements of our transformative program to utilize and participate in the development of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for the benefit of our community, the liberation of the working class and all of humanity.

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This newsletter and other education efforts play a small part in the first dimension of our organizing program for Community Production. But, the core part of our present organizing program for Community Production is building the Center for Community Production and the Community Production Cooperative. The Center and the Cooperative will serve as a 3D printing factory that will specialize in on demand manufacturing jobs and producing a standard array of cooperative products for community and consumer use.

In September 2016 Cooperation Jackson launched a fundraising drive to build this Center. Our objective was and remains to raise $600,000 by the end of 2017 to purchase, build out, equip, and open the center. Thus far we have made some substantial progress in raising nearly $200,000 in donations. But, we have a ways yet to go. Our main objective now is raising $200,000 directly from our own community in Jackson. We aim to do this by recruiting 200 Community Investors who will each purchase a share in the Community Production Cooperative at $1,000 a share. Community Investors will receive discounts on trainings, first access on print jobs and the maker space portion of the Centers operation. You can help build the Center for Community Production and the Community Production Cooperative by becoming a Community Investor and recruiting others to do the same.

Join us in building the future!

To donate, please visit www.lumumbaformayor.com.

To volunteer, please contact Rukia at [email protected].

About the Author

Kali Akuno of Cooperation Jackson, Posted by Malkia Cyril

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