Luddites, saboteurs, technodystopians

Zhuangzi (part of the Taoist canon): man working the fields is offered a machine to help him do his job, turns it down saying the machine's more trouble than it's worth. cf 子贡南游.


English textile workers destroying weaving machines that were taking their jobs away.

Luddism was a working-class movement opposed to the political consequences of industrial capitalism. The Luddites wanted technology to be deployed in ways that made work more humane and gave workers more autonomy. The bosses, on the other hand, wanted to drive down costs and increase productivity.

I’m a Luddite. You should be one too

[Tech Won't Save Us podcast: Why We Need a Luddite Politics of Tech, with Gavin


Ben Tarnoff - luddite historian

"in the present" = "confront actually existing technologies and not pretend that some paradise lay in the future" (contra "myth of progress" e.g. in dawn-of-everything)

The only possible guarantee of the future is responsible behavior in the present. When supposed future needs are used to justify misbehavior in the present, as is the tendency with us, then we are both perverting the present and diminishing the future. . .



French textile (?) workers destroying machines (apocryphally, using sabots, or wooden clogs, but really, while wearing sabots. Sabots are wooden clogs worn in France)


dawn-of-everything Graeber, David, and David Wengrow. 2021. The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. Signal. ↩︎ 1