Automated, shared, electric: these buzzwords and the tech giants who promote them claim to shape the future of transportation. But what would a truly democratic, green, and equitable transportation system look like? James Wilt joins Team Advantage to discuss his latest book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Cars? Public Transit in the Age Google, Uber, and Elon Musk.
Faced with escalating death tolls, some reactionary figures are pushing hard to pin the blame for COVID-19 on China instead of their own ineptitude. Davide Mastracci joins Team Advantage to examine how the “blame China” narrative serves to inoculate neoliberal politicians and spokespeople from critique, while contributing to a long history of anti-communism— with important consequences for those of us seeking social and political transformation.
The Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) vaporized $4 billion last week, and has been bailing out failing oil and gas companies— as these same companies offload environmental liabilities to the public, and throw funding behind conservative political organizations. What’s going on? Duncan Kinney of Progress Alberta joins Team Advantage to discuss their recent report, Alberta’s Failed Oil and Gas Bailout.
Essential workers are experiencing a speed-up as demand for their services increases, while millions stay home— as their own sense of time, and the separation between “life” and “work,” blurs. How is it that we came to be ruled by clocks, and how did people experience time prior to industrial capitalism? Team Advantage explores the phenomenon of capitalist time-discipline, consulting E. P. Thompson, Moishe Postone, and Mark Fisher (among others) as resources.
Thanks to our central Canadian correspondent Brendan (@Neeedleseye) for joining us!
Sources for this episode: E. P. Thompson, “Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism” Moishe Postone, “Time, Labor, and Social Domination” Mark Fisher, “Cybertime Crisis Lecture” (YouTube) Ivor Southwood, “Non-Stop Inertia” Barbara Ehrenreich, “Bait and Switch” Daniel Greene and Daniel Joseph, “The Digital Spatial Fix” Jonathan Crary, “24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep”
Alberta is leaving workers without immigration status behind, excluding them from health care coverage in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Marco Luciano of Migrante Alberta joins Team Advantage to discuss the demands migrant and undocumented workers are making, as well as the role workers play in providing essential services during the pandemic.
Canada is fake, but it continues to dispossesses Indigenous peoples from the land— and communities are, in turn, organizing to to get it back. Shiri Pasternak, co-author of the Yellowhead Institute’s Land Back Red Paper, joins Team Advantage to discuss the project of reclaiming indigenous jurisdiction. What does “consent” look like if you can’t say no? What interests is Canada’s legal system designed to defend when questions of jurisdiction arise?
The last ‘modern’ pandemic occurred in 1918 as the First World War wound down— and revolution was in the air. What can be learned from what happened in 1918, and can the responses to that pandemic tell us anything about our own moment? Team Advantage assembles to discuss the relevance of 1918 in our own times.
Are front-line workers equipped with what they need to prevent the spread of COVID-19— and if not, how are they organizing to ensure the health and safety of their workplaces? Roland Schmidt, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Local 730, joins Team Advantage to discuss the conditions at mail facilities, the difference between management’s communications and actions, and the importance of workfloor organizing in getting demands met.
What would it mean to imagine a future worth living in? Recorded roughly 10 days before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Canada, Team Advantage takes a look at the range of obstacles that prevent us from imagining a desirable future, and propose some useful resources for moving forward. Featuring Fredric Jameson’s “it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism,” Mark Fisher’s idea of the “slow cancellation of the future,” the rise of conspiracy theories, Walter Benjamin, nostalgia for the future, and much much more.
Pandemic! Team Advantage convenes (while practicing Safe Social Distancing) to discuss the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has a great deal to do with capitalism. What contributed to the origins of this virus? How did it spread? In this globalized world, why do we have robust global trade and finance rules, but no equivalent global public health institutions? How does neoliberal policy —which reduced the capacity of the public health systems over decades— fare when pandemics strike? How are governments responding, and how does the incoming batch of money-printing bailouts affect demands for a Green New Deal?