Keynote address at the Open Institute V2, December 15-20, Madeira

funchalI am very excited to be presenting one of the keynote addresses at this year’s Open Institute V2 in Funchal, Madeira island’s capital, Portugal. I will be speaking on the limits to mobilization. More on the event theme below.

Open in a Time of Closure

Many of the ideals around ‘open’ in the last two decades are facing dramatic retrogression. The open Internet is under threat, already lost in much of the world. Borders are closing in the West; negative impacts of the closed scientific/academic publication system are becoming clearer; public speech and transparency are suffering throughout the world. Meanwhile, states are imprisoning principled practitioners of agonistic openness like Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, and Texas native Reality Winner with a vigor not shown since the enlightenment.

How do the last few years challenge or reinforce the need for openness? Can principles of openness developed in prior decades survive closure? Are new techniques necessary?

Open Institute V2, “Open in a Time of Closure,” seeks to explore these themes with an emphasis on extreme or agonistic approaches to free/open practices.

New Publication: Crisis of Command: Theorizing Value in New Media

Communication_TheoryMy latest contribution to theorizing value in new media is now available online from Communication Theory.


Theorists of free labor have argued that users produce value directly for capital through unwaged participation in online social media platforms. I argue that this interpretation of value is misguided. I begin with a brief overview of the labor theory of value as it has been developed by political economists in the context of new media. I then use Marxian crisis theory to demonstrate the limitations of the concept of free labor. I also elaborate how value is created within media markets through a complex set of interactions among media firms, market researchers, advertisers, finance capital, and unwaged content producers. I conclude with a discussion of the consequences of free labor theory for Marxian politics.

Come join me for Surplus3: Labour and the Digital

Untitled-3I am participating in this wonderful symposium celebrating the publication of Nick Dyer-Witheford’s most recent book Cyber-Proletariat: Global Labour in the Digital Vortex. Participants will have 3 minutes to speak to a given concept. That’s faster than green grass through a goose folks. Sounds fun! See you at the Bahen Centre for Information Technology, Tuesday October 20th at 7pm.