Capitalism from a distant vantage point



What do you see when you look at the above picture? What do you really see?

I first started staring at “our” planet through google earth shortly after I began deliberately smoking large volumes of cannabis as an aid to enhance dialectical materialist thinking. I'd smoke as soon as I got home from work, load up earth, all labels off, and just look, really fucking look. And I could see it, I could see capitalism. Hours would go by, often I wouldn’t eat, certainly I wouldn’t cook, that would be a waste of time that could be spent trying to understand the whole damn planet.



We spend too much time thinking of the earth through maps. Maps have an agenda, maps strip out everything except what is deemed important: we see the world not as it is but through internalised political maps or worse, road maps; the earth reduced to a google street map. We lose a sense of what those maps are: selected features to simplify and accentuate understanding of one particular feature, not the earth itself. We have lost touch of what the world is.



The Science of Dialectical Materialism revolves around seeing and understanding the connectedness of all matter and the constant motion of all matter, and what better way to see anything, to see capitalism in motion than from the sky? To actually observe it. Watch it. Stare at it with righteous loathing, with incandescent rage, with a transcendent hatred so strong you think you can bring about its destruction through strength of thought alone.



I believe that if Engels and Marx had access to detailed zoom-able scrollable satellite imagery of the entire globe the would have revelled in it in the same way I do. They would have used it in the same way I do, to pummel a sense of scale into my consciousness, no matter how horrific. To conjure up disgust at the near incomprehensible volume of suffering that capitalism entails. To fill myself with extreme fear and paranoia at the shadow of violence that hangs over every human slave to capital. To send my heart-rate soaring as I understand the need for communism now, not tomorrow, not later, not when the “time is right” but right fucking now, because every second that goes by under capitalism is another second of evil at the planetary scale. Another second of oppression, death, pain, suffering, theft and rape, torture and murder, another second more of the existence of a hell constructed to cover an entire planet. Always I'm overwhelmed, often I feel sick, sometimes I cry, depending on the strain and how much I’ve smoked sometimes I have wonderful, terrifying, beautifully conscious panic attacks that render me near paralysed in paranoid terror.



Humans deal on local scales, scales relevant to their immediate material circumstances. Radiating out beyond what we can touch, hold, count on ten fingers, fit inside our field of view things becomes progressively harder to truly comprehend. The further away from these circumstances the further away we are from true consciousness of what is really entailed; the microscopic, the atomic, the planetary, the galactic, these are concepts for which our scales of reference are laughably inadequate. For us, for matter that has barely gained consciousness of its own existence, a million deaths really is just a statistic.



We relate large scales beyond our absolute conscious understanding to multiples of things at a scale we do have a conscious sense of, the much ridiculed football pitches, Eiffel towers, elephants and double decker buses. But beyond a basic consciousness of true scale of the earth there is a more important thing to see. The urban legend went that the great wall of china was the only man made structure visible from space, laughable! Every human structure is visible from space; this is a human planet, it is hard to find a place where we are not present. The earth is not a pristine blue marble falling through space, the earth is a self made Tartarus, a Coruscant in the constructing, and only through taking perspectives beyond our human limitations can we gain a truer sense of the human suffering, pain and death that capitalism inflicts on us and on the earth itself.



When you say that capital blankets the entire globe, do you really understand what that means? To a conscious Marxist-Leninist, browsing the world through Google Maps gives over seven billion reasons for the need for communism. At its best it's overwhelming in a way no individualist "true life story" ever can be. At large scales slavery and death might become just statistics, but when seen from the sky, as a whole or in a larger part, these “statistics” demonstrate their material reality.



Screen-shots don't do the process justice, you really need to play around yourself, zooming and panning, swooping and diving across the surface of the planet, an avian dialectical materialist. Nevertheless I've selected some of my “favourite” views to try and share with others the importance for communists to take the time to look at capitalism from a distant vantage point, and to try and share something that for me is one of the most powerful, transcendent experiences possible.













































And then it's late, the cannabis is wearing off, I'm tired, I have to work tomorrow, I turn off the computer, consciousness recedes, the world contracts to my immediate material circumstances, the horror fades, the fear drains away, the urgency lessens, but I know what I'll be thinking about at work tomorrow.

Discussion of Capitalism from a distant vantage point on tHE r H i z z o n E:

#1
i put this on the front page.

Edited by drwhat ()

#2
Just change all the photos of google maps to dead children and you're good to go my man
#3

Keven posted:

Just change all the photos of google maps to dead children and you're good to go my man


do you mean photos of dead children?

#4
If this is what the planet looks like after capitalism, I shudder to think what our inner selves must look like after being subjected to the internet and television for all these terrible years.
#5
#6
capital is a relationship, you cant see it from a satellite photograph
#7

MarianneSadd posted:

If this is what the planet looks like after capitalism, I shudder to think what our inner selves must look like after being subjected to the internet and television for all these terrible years.


mine looks like an idiot

#8
op did you like koyaanisqatsi?
#9

tears posted:



lmao

#10
I'd like to live in a barren desert, but i still demand grass
#11
not only on my parcel, but my freeway offramps should also have manicured grass
#12
there are probably a ton of folks who do this but instead go into joyful raptures about the power of capitalism to unleash human ingenuity and raise cities from the desert and islands from the sea and all that crap though
#13

dipshit420 posted:

not only on my parcel, but my freeway offramps should also have manicured grass



have you seen san diego?





we live in the middle of the desert and the 163 still looks like that in the middle of a drought so bad they actually started fucking with the farmer plantations in the central valley.

#14
where is this?
#15
yeah are these all usa? would like a bit of info of each, even if its just location/short descriptions
#16
How different would the world really look under communism, though? Would we see more efficient urban centers, less sprawl, less strip mining? What does communist geography look like?
#17
when I read the OP the other night I want to check out Cuba and the first thing I zoomed in on made for a pretty favorable comparison (Caibarién)



otoh you kind find a lot of stuff there that doesn't look any different. OP is cool as shit but not really sure I agree
#18
Open Google maps: type in 250 Greenwich St new York new York 10007
#19
"The abolition of the antithesis between town and country is no more and no less utopian than the abolition of the antithesis between capitalists and wage workers. From day to day it is becoming more and more a practical demand of both industrial and agricultural production. No one has demanded this more energetically then Liebig in his writings on the chemistry of agriculture, in which his first demand has always been that man shall give back to the land what he takes from it, and in which he proves that only the existence of the towns, and in particular the big towns, prevents this."

-engels, the housing question
#20

MarianneSadd posted:

How different would the world really look under communism, though? Would we see more efficient urban centers, less sprawl, less strip mining? What does communist geography look like?



if anyone posts a picture of the aral sea i swear to god

#21

thirdplace posted:

when I read the OP the other night I want to check out Cuba and the first thing I zoomed in on made for a pretty favorable comparison (Caibarién)

otoh you kind find a lot of stuff there that doesn't look any different. OP is cool as shit but not really sure I agree


imo, the only things that really stick out as uniquely capitalist developments are the preponderance of parking lots, freeways, serpentine suburban neighborhoods capped with culdesacs, land driven up for large haciendas, and disjointed enclaves of gated communities. that is, land cultivated and developed for imperialist consumption rather than industrial production, which has been the rule for a while now in america.

Edited by glomper_stomper ()

#22

littlegreenpills posted:

there are probably a ton of folks who do this but instead go into joyful raptures about the power of capitalism to unleash human ingenuity and raise cities from the desert and islands from the sea and all that crap though

Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner does a deep exploration of the colonial mythology surrounding American invasion & development of the West. The pro-development scientific consensus at the time was that if Americans went out West and planted farms and forests, rain would actually come to the land through some natural process where vegetated, human-tended areas would begin to have more favorable weather for agriculture. Speaking to the point about communist development looking different than capitalist development - I think a primary example is that under socialist planning, you would never have hundreds of thousands of farmers travel out to work in a barren desert. I guess except as GULAG

#23
i remember this short documentary on soviet housing that had this lady describing an average apartment complex, in which the small size of the rooms and proximity to others engendered good relationships between the tenants and a common interest in the community. then she was like "but it was all bullshit. i didn't have a car and i couldn't find a good cafe."
#24
the mythology of the communal apartments and Soviet tinyhouse aesthetic among my Russian inlaws is that everyone loathed each others asses and was continually backbitten and murdered over who would do the washing up or stop farting. however this is still mysteriously the case in their enormous suburban mcmansions what is going on here
#25

MarianneSadd posted:

How different would the world really look under communism, though? Would we see more efficient urban centers, less sprawl, less strip mining? What does communist geography look like?



you could compare housing developments in east vs west germany, or look at novgorod compared to ... brasilia maybe or some other captilist place.

vienna and bologna were socialist municipalities in capital countries.

i will look up some of the social housing build in my city in the 60s (a communist organiser at the time says that the city council housing policy was "each according to their abilities, each according to their need" (the city council today is fully neoliberal)) compared to the disastrous property developer free for all since the 90s here...

there is lots of housing activism going at the moment, gmaps could be useful for it...

#26
First thanks for putting this on the front page, that makes me really happy, glad some other people agree its cool

some of you, marianne, thirdplace etc seem to have missed the angle I see/wrote this from. There are two things to see here 1, the obvious: holy shit cities are ugly and we leave a big shit smear on the earth when-ever we do anything: like the herringbone deforestation pic, the south dead sea evaporation ponds etc.This is the same as any liberal guilt doesnt deforestation/soil erosion/sea disapearance suck picture with an "oh noes how do we fix this poopy planet weve made for ourselves" story attatched

buuuuut, what im really going for is 2, which I see as more important and harder to grasp: each one of those shitty little boxes in the city pics contains human souls who live as slaves. Every. single. fucking. one. Each one of those mega mansions contains a coven of vampires feasting on the labor of the proletariat, who deserves a stake through the heart for their despicable crimes.

u could take 2 identical looking cities 1 which is capitalist and 1 which is communist EDIT: <- i ment to write socialist here lol, whoops /EDIT and they are completly different. In one people live as slaves, in the other they live as free people. In the first you see the oppressed majority, in the second you see the dictatorship of the proletariat, the rule of the majority. In short the suffering is so much less because the instead of the majority being oppressed for the benefit of the minority, the minority is oppressed and the majority lives free of oppression. Class antagonisms are minescule in comparison to the former and thus sufferiong pain and horror are minescule in comparison. So while they look the same they are nothing like each other. I could probably go through and annotate each pic with a relevant quote from a cool marx-dude about what the state is, the nature of oppression, how capitalism works and it would be cool, probably, but i thought that was super up myself and probably patronising to the majority of u. Which this paragraph already is if you know shit about marxism.

The point here (point 2) is not the physical structure, its the visulisation of human suffering at an incredible scale. Think about how many of those boxes contain alcoholism, abuse, rape, violence, depression, desperation, exploitation, extreme or just "regular" poverty, despair, a life that is fucking shit. its all shit. every one of those peoples lives is shit. every single box is utter shite with 4 walls and a leaking roof, all as a direct result of a capitalism. The reason their lives are shit can and should be traced back to capitalism, its the reason our lives are shit, its the reason p much everyone you know's lives is shit. But its more than that, because capitalism doesn't just exist in what affects your physical body, it exists in your mind: as your conciousness is just a product of your material environment then your conciousness is a product of capitalism, we are so fucked in the head because of capitalism, it makes us think in certain ways and see things in certain ways that under communism just wouldnt exist. I think in english, I write in english: the language i'm typing this in is a product of capitalism (and before that feudalism), a language created by the oppressing class makes you think in a certain way - capitalism controlls peoples thoughs as much as it controls theyr physical lives and that fucking disgusts me.

And all this, all this shit is as a result of being oppressed by a tiny minority of parasitic scum who live in some of the pics i selected: houses and hotels and dumbass palm tree shaped islands quite literally built from the bones and blood of the proletariat, even if you have to trace a few connections away from the physical bricks and mortar to find the exploitation, the death and suffering.

And each one of the shitty identical repeating dusty concrete boxes is at least one person who has had the value of their labor stolen, who lives as a slave: the gaza one displays the worlds largest prison camp, but the city ones (non super rich shitsmears) are slave camps. Theres no other way to see it. And once you see that you're looking across a filing system for slaves it fucks u up majorly and u make posts like my op and wonder if ur insane.

Thats what im trying to express here, read the op again and see if i actually do a good job at explaining this because idk


other answers etc inbound when I have a moment and have calmed down a bit


e: i realise i mention the dictatorship of the proletariat existing under communism which was a mistake because i was in a rush and if u call me out on this i will fucking end u

Edited by tears ()

#27
if you have trouble seeing capitalism itself laid bare in those images then look at those improperly constructed artificial islands again, and I guess everything else.

this is what the face of earth looks like, when it is cut and shaped to maximize the wealth of an increasingly smaller group of people who are becoming increasingly disconnected with reality.
#28
there's actually a lot in these pictures that's immediately recognizable and probably more with further analysis.

This one is pretty immediate.


A peninsula of upper middle class suburbs, in the shadow of high rise buildings owned by entities that can afford the extremely high property value required for shoreside property. To the west of them is an islet which looks like a golf course surrounded by mansions. It's pretty decadent in it's utter pointlessness when you think about it. I mean the infrastructure on or around that islet isn't at all functionally necessary obviously, and the freaking golf course takes up most of it. I wonder if there are even any grocery stores on it, do those people really need to all cross that one bridge into the city to get food? That doesn't seem very smart at all. It is a bit mind blowing, how stupid, decadent, and pointless it all is and yet how so many people suffer and die because of it, and it's just a tiny piece of the big ugly picture. To the north of the islet of decadent pointlessness looks to me some upper class suburbs, for people who can more than afford a house, but not a giant friggin' mansion., maybe a McMansion.


anyways i think it would be cathartic and eye-opening for people to analyze the earth through google maps this way, or make jokes about it, or simply point out weird and fucked up shit.
#29
We Need a JG Ballard of the Left
#30
great thread, communist brown moses
#31
...what does that mean?

e:this wasnt ment to be confrontational btw, see my below post

Edited by tears ()

#32
I think they;'re referring to brown moses unparalleled power to look at a satellite photograph and see where fresh piles of dirt indicate state-run child-eating contests
#33
new posters? good threads?! I thought the revolution would never come...
#34
anyway tears have you heard of this book? you might be interested:

http://www.amazon.com/Dialectics-World-Politics-Routledge-Globalizations/dp/0415625270

shit is hella expensive but a lot of the chapters are online, which I'll go dig up tomorrow when I have library access

pre-edit: watch this post for future links
#35
ok, i know nothing about brown moses apart from that guy who was mod in d&d who isnt the dead one a but after reading his wiki page i see taht he conned 1581 idiots into giving him £50,891 to continue to produce imperialist propaganda and contriibute towards their continuing enslavement so, yeah, gulag
#36

Panopticon posted:

capital is a relationship, you cant see it from a satellite photograph



uh, not true! smoke a comically oversized joint then re-read the op and play around in google earth a bit then maybe you'll *see* it

heres some music to get u in the mood
00Aho9vpqLo

#37
frenz, swahili, and anyone else who wants to know heres where they are, as far as i can remeber: SPOILER ALERT!

NB: i didnt want to do this shit in the op cos i think it actually detracts from the post to know where they are, i wanted them to be like mcshitsville, anywhere, who the fuck cares and knows, as such some of them i dont know either i forget and didnt keep records

1. A city somewhere in SW USA, find it urself
2. UAE i think, the gulf states are my favorites for dumbass shapes. This one is literally alveoli
3. Bahrainqatar, SE of peninsula
4. LA, gated community on the hills N of the city
5. Karachi i think
6. El Paso
7. Also el paso?
8. no idea
9. Anywhere in the following states: N Dakota, S. Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma. Basically it could b anywhere before you go W enough to require irrigation
10. Dehli?
11. The mega tent city, Mecca
12. motecarlo harbor
13. no idea, possibly pakistan?
14. idaho. possibly my favorite because of the drought u can see the "skeleton" of the land underneath the fallow fields
15. this was the joker round - its actually in china lol, just a little test which u all failed!
16. gaza, obvs
17. miami beach
18. bahrainqatar again, this is fucking beautiful, i hope its never finished
19. florida keys
20. waziristan
21. keys again
22. kyoto i think, wherever it is the straight lines are gross
23. mato grosso, brazil
24. south dead sea salt works
25. sadr city, bahgdad
26. the palm, dubai
27. dubai again, like i said i fucking love the gulf states
28. dadaab refugee camp (lines for future rerugees marked out on a huge scale)
29. fallowed irrigation circles n of Riyadh after they used up all their fossil water aquifers growing and exporting wheat in the 80-90s lol
30. idaho again?

hth

Edited by tears ()

#38

tears posted:

ok, i know nothing about brown moses apart from that guy who was mod in d&d who isnt the dead one a but after reading his wiki page i see taht he conned 1581 idiots into giving him £50,891 to continue to produce imperialist propaganda and contriibute towards their continuing enslavement so, yeah, gulag



He now works for NATO.

#39
#40

tears posted:



i just assumed it was all miami. even the desert bits

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