Startup Workers Consciousness Raising

location The Craft Beer Co | Sometime towards the end of March or early April

An attempt to have a conversation about left wing ideas in startup culture

I love startups, and I love lots of stuff about startup culture. The energy. The possibilities. The freedom. But, I'm also a committed progressive and old fashioned liberal. I believe in equality, the redistribution of wealth and power, and the importance of collective action.

I want to try and have some kind of conversation with a sympathetic audience (to start with) about the relationship between these two different arenas of thought. I see it as a form of consciousness raising. I imagine this conversation will be stumbling and weird, initially, because its so hard to find the right words to express some of the things I want to talk to other people about, and that, I think is because of the crushing mind control that the neo-liberal perspective has on startup culture.  

Ultimately I want to try and get to some kind of new political philosophy, that brings together the utopian aspects of startup culture and left wing thought. But I'm really far away from this!

Some things it occurs to me to just try and talk about with other people are:

  • The meaning of startup culture's love of disruption and change. This seems amazing. Its another word for revolution. I love new stuff. But this change often leads to consolidation of power, or destruction of jobs. What does this mean!?
  • The way that startup culture does occasionally accelerate individuals from low status to high status. But not everyone.
  • The way that startup culture encourages meritocracy and measurement. This should be good, but it often isn't. 
  • The way that 'open' technologies and P2P stuff are often at the heart of new startup ideas. This seems almost communist. But then again, the 'sharing' economy seems to be another corporate takeover of this stuff. I love Tom Slee's writing on this 

Anyway, I'm sure there's much more. Some other stuff I'd like to think and talk about with people is:

  • What can a marxist analysis of startup culture teach us? Venkatesh Rao has some great writing on this in 'Entrepreneurs are the new labour'
  • What artefacts from left wing political culture could be useful in helping us move forward - unions? What the hell would that look like? 
  • What historical precedents can we learn from? The industrial revolution is the obvious one. What can the information revolution do better? The Economist had some great writing on this recently

There's loads more stuff. As I said, I don't know what the format will be, but I like the idea of doing it near Camberwell, the home of revolutionary thought in London, so I put down the Craft Beer Co as a venue. I think there will be groups of people talking. Maybe I'll say something to everyone at some point. Depends how many sign up we get.

As I said, this is a first attempt  to just start saying things in this area. Just trying to bring together startup culture with left wing politics is step 1. Step 2 is doing something about it.

So, if you are up for some stumbling towards the light with me, and hopefully, the ultimate development of a new digitally networked utopian political ideology built on compassion, creativity and the recognition that humanity is at its best when it acts together please sign up!


The Craft Beer Co

82 Leather Ln, London, United Kingdom

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