Joe Clement reads from Jason Read's review of Sleep Dealer, which he wrote for The Portland Phoenix. Sleep Dealer is a recent sci-fi dystopia in Spanish about a near future where robots are operated from afar by desperate Mexican workers. Jason writes about how he got to talk with the film's director, Alex Rivera, about the changing nature of work and the lived reality of exploitation in late capitalism.
Bill Resnick and Tod Sloan consider what consumerism is and isn't, the political-economic project that drives consumerism, how consumerism tries to compensates us for alienation and exploitation, how consumerism infects our social relations, and how to think about anti-consumerism in a world of material and political inequalities.
Jan Haaken and Mike Snedeker talk the Left and the Law with a discussion of the new documentary Citizenfour. Filmmaker Laura Poitras intimately documents whistleblower Edward Snowden’s efforts to expose the intrusive post-9/11 US eavesdropping industry. Jan recommends David Price's discussion of "The New Surveillance Normal" in Monthly Review, about the commercial as well as political motives for widespread surveillance.
[Image by EFF designer Hugh D'Andrade from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NSA-square.jpg]
Bill Resnick and Patrick Mazza discuss Naomi Klein's promising new book about capitalism and the environment, "This Changes Everything: captalsism vs. the climate". They consider the books merits, but also how it does not adequately deal with the challenges it raises against capitalism. They talk about corporate environmentalism, how Naomi ties the great social movements of the last couple centuries to environmentalism, but also her soft-pedaling on the big-business approach to sustainable energy, and the need for radically democratic solutions that devolve centralized forms of power in society, the economy, and energy grid.