Polywog

November 6, 2007

Industrialization.

Filed under: anarchism,civilization,nature,women's history — polywog @ 11:13 p11

“Industrialisation (also spelt Industrialization) or an Industrial Revolution is a process of social and economic change whereby a human group is transformed from a pre-industrial society (an economy where the amount of capital accumulated per capita is low) to an industrial one (a fully developed capitalist economy). It is a part of wider modernisation process, where this social and economic change is closely related with technological innovation, particularly the development of large-scale energy and metallurgy production. Industrialisation also introduces some form of philosophical change, or to a different attitude in the perception of nature.

The lack of a large industry sector is widely seen as a major handicap in a country’s economy, pushing many governments to encourage or enforce industrialisation through artificial means.”

–Wikipedia

~~~~~~~~~

I’m taking a course called “sisters in struggle.” We have read several books which seek out the heroins of women’s labor during the early 1900’s. Tonight in class I suggested that maybe industrialization shouldn’t have happened. I knew the reception of my comment would not be good. I did not think of it at the time, but i remembered something about environmental law which parallels the trajectory of industrialization. I cannot remember if Derrick Jenson said this or if it was someone else, but in any case, i heard it years ago. Say a hundred acres of forest exists and the forest service wants to sell a quarter of it. The people resist, lawyers fight in courts, and a portion of the land is saved. They call it a victory. Then the forest service wants to sell another quarter of the remaining land, people resist, lawyers fight, and when a portion of that land is saved, the people rejoice and call it a victory. Slowly, all the while people celebrating, the forest is cut down to almost nothing. Similarly, the histories of the industrial labor movement have been stories of victories, yet now, vastly more than a hundred years ago, the natural world and millions of its people are exploited or destroyed by industrialization. The people who live under the illusion of false victory are the ones in academia. They are the ones producing thought and knowledge consumed by many. They play their role in maintaining the thin veil of victory over deep and indelible losses. This is the danger of liberal discourse.

It is especially important to note that industrialization brings about not just physical and organizational changes in a society, but a change in philosophy and perception of nature.

When the entire class disagrees with me it is hard to not cry or concede or second guess myself. But I got the sense that my questioning industrialism didn’t belong in their classroom. The teacher asked us to “go back to the text.” One woman, who in all other cases has been deeply intelligent and amazing, said that by questioning industrialism i was discrediting the significance of the labor activists and their struggles. Where else can we question history if not in a history class? I feel alienated. I feel like the class asshole. I feel as if i am alone in a forest wrought with chainsaws and men, and i have told the liberals again and again that the forest is being destroyed, but they are too busy celebrating to notice.

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