Sunday, June 17, 2012

Let's find ways past corporate AND CONSUMER personhood

Corporate personhood is part of the problem, part of the way plutocracy unjustly dominates society in the interest of the few. Another big part of the problem is CONSUMER PERSONHOOD. Corporations got personhood and then proceeded to transform human persons (that is, PEOPLE) into "consumers." Consumers are persons whose needs, desires, everyday lives, and self-identities are constructed to produce profit within the money-makes-money, power-concentrating logic of capital accumulation. In other words, our "personhood" is commodified in the interest of plutocracy, an overclass-run system of concentrating power and increasing inequality.

Notably, like a shark, capitalism needs to keep moving (growing, producing profit) to survive -- keeping the system going depends on constant expansion, the continuous creation and colonization of new psychosocial territory.  Back in the 1980s, some media professor type noted that the product of television is viewers. Think about that -- networks make money by producing viewers that companies can buy access to.  That is a commodification of a person's time and consciousness.  The time and consciousness of viewers are captured by tv and then sold to high bidders. Now, ten plus years past the millenium, 51% of the US population is on Facebook. Facebook has been a wildly successful colonizer of American personhood for the plutocracy.  If the product of tv is viewers, the product of Facebook is "users." The point of Facebook -- the reason for its existence in the form it exists -- is to commodify people's identities and relationships -- to mine people's lives for keywords and interests and then sell targeted access to particular "consumers" based on the desired characteristics. Facebook exists to make yr identity and relationships make money for Facebook.

Here is an ongoing attempt to create a non-commodified on-line social sphere -> Diaspora. We need a whole alternative, open-source internet and -- hopefully, over time -- a related translocal community with region-oriented economic ties. One project that seems to be moving in the right direction is the Global Village Construction Set. We need more and more paths of living that are more and more off the grid of corporate consumer culture. The plutocrats and their toadies will try to distract and scare us from heading off on our own without them. But doing so -- embarking on a grand sociocultural migration, a trek into a future of true democracy where the kind of power plutocrats wield does not exist -- is our most fundamental right as Americans (see the first part Declaration of Independence).