Joe Clement and Peter Frase talk about Kurt Vonnegut's first novel, Player Piano, originally published in 1952. The story of Player Piano is set not too long after WWII, and is about social anxieties and alienation in class society in the shadow of the machines that replaced much human labor in the United States during the war. It focuses on a soul-searching engineer, Paul Proteus, and his clandestine recruitment into a revolution against the machines. Joe and Peter discuss the novel's economic vision, how it reflects anxieties of its time and how they might still resonate today, the crisis for patriarchy technology creates and the patriarchal bias Vonnegut still has beneath his satire, the politics of sabotage and direct action in the economy, and more.
25:19 minutes (23.19 MB)
Could there be a store where everything is free? Why must every exchange be a commercial one? To question the idea that you never get anything for nothing, The Portland Free Store has been established. Its founder Karen Carr talks here with the Old Mole's Joe Clement about how it works. This is an extended web-only version of the interview in which Karen and Joe discuss the larger political questions the store hopes to raise.
The next Free Store will be held this coming Saturday, July 26, from 1 to 3 pm, at the Community Supported Everything Building at 1626 NE Alberta.
Bill Resnick and Norm Diamond discuss worker-cooperative businesses and their significance for the left. Do they prefigure the democratic production of socialism and empower participants? Or are they fragile small businesses that either become as cutthroat as other capitalist enterprises to survive, or else fail after having distracted their members from more promising mass organizing?
Norm Diamond is an organizer and sometime Old Mole, as well as co-author of The Power in Our Hands. 19:44 minutes (9.04 MB)
Bill Resnick talks with Arun Gupta about how the $15 minimum wage ordinance that was recently passed by the City Council in Seattle came to be. Arun points out how people are agitated by the bank-bailouts, the role played by Socialist Alternative and Kshama Sawant's election to the City Council, the contentiousness about and limitations to the final ordinance. They also consider what kind of organizing is or is not behind getting the ordinance passed. In this vein, they talk about "militant shopfloor organizing" vs. electoral organizing, the role played by independent media, weilding control at the "point of production, and the problem of finding solidarity as "all that is solid melts into air."
23:00 minutes (15.79 MB)