this tidal shit wouldn't be so bothersome if all these motherfuckers ain't change their profile picture to turquoise blue in solidarity in the name of capitalism. where were y'all when we made our avatars black for trayvon martin. where were y'all during the walk out for mike brown and rekia boyd. #tidalforall but no #blacklivesmatter. fuck outta here.

First the rich told the poor, “You work for us because you were made to work hard,” so the poor rose up and demanded better pay for their work. 

Then the rich said, “You work for us because we’re better educated,” so the poor educated themselves.

Now the rich say “You work for us because you won’t work hard.”

Until we realize that the rich have no right to take profit from workers, they will continue to exploit us, no matter what we do.

It’s no coincidence that the commodification (and price inflation) of a university education in North America coincided with universities finally allowing women and people of other ethnicities to be admitted.

The Problem With #TidalForAll

The problem with #TidalForAll is quite visible. Presenting a system which limits access to a large demographic, all the while compounding it with the phrase “for all” resonates as an insult. Since the advent of Streaming on the internet ( or rather the advent of the internet as a whole ), we have witnessed the demise of the traditional consumer/producer relationship. A once monolithic mode of production, has since diffused, ushering in a landscape that should feel more democratic. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. The current economic landscape is bleak; inflation continues and wages remain unchanged.  This increasingly bitter reality is omnipresent and inescapable.

Streaming (and the internet as a whole) is and always has been about ACCESS.  TIDAL limits accessibility based a model that concerns itself with wealth/income.  I ask that my criticism not be conflated nor mistaken with any arguments concerning artists not deserving compensation.  I strongly advocate that all artist should be compensated for their cultural productions.  However, we must not forget that to stream an artist’s work is to access a platform in which the work is licensed. We do not own these cultural objects, we access them. As a consumer, if i am not taking ownership of a cultural object, should I not at least have some say in the cost of accessing it?

I think back to a time while living in Chicago when many of the cultural institutions were at risk of increasing entrance fees and eliminating free days. I liken my frustration at that moment with the frustration and criticism I am now directing toward TIDAL. When entering a museum I have access to a wealth of historically and culturally significant objects. Some works may be on loan from private collectors, others owned by the institution, but I am allowed access to them at a reasonable fee.  When visiting on a free day, although I may not have complete access to every exhibit, I still have access to the greater collection.

I think it is important for Artists to have a voice in dictating the market value of their work.  I am comfortable in the fact that a Francis Bacon triptych sold for $142.4 million, as the purchaser has now taken ownership over the object. I am also comfortable paying $25.99 for a My Bloody Valentine reissue, which now sits alongside many other records that I own. However, I would ask that we all take a moment to acknowledge that these exchanges come with OWNERSHIP. That is of the most importance, for with Streaming we are not owning the Artist’s music.  We are accessing said music through the process of licensing.

I find it appalling to sit and watch these artists talk as if they are curing a disease or changing the world for a greater good. The reality is that we have a group of wealthy individuals taking it upon themselves to limit ACCESS to a demographic based on wealth/income. This gesture does not further a discussion regarding the compensation of artists. It is an instance where a group of individuals are out of touch, alienating their audience while perched in their ivory towers. Forgive me if these frustrations read as overly dramatic, however I think we have some really important questions to ask (think Net Neutrality). As consumers shouldn’t we have affordable access to culture? 

Note to Activist & Organizers

Dear young and emerging (post)Ferguson-Providence activist/organizers… (or just those seeking to sharpen their social justice lens on the world)

Ella Baker, one of the most influential figures in the civil rights movement, left us a powerful reminder: “Strong people don’t need strong leaders.” Certainly no one was better positioned to understand this than Baker. As the visionary architect of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) she organized a critical mass of Black college students into perhaps the most formidable civil rights group of the twentieth century.

In the spirit of Ella Baker I have identified four essential themes for young activist/organizers into the acronym C.U.R.E.

1. COMPREHEND how crucial it is to be properly theoretically grounded. Quiet study and close reading equip us with the necessary analytical tools so imperative to our political struggle. We must be careful to heed our elders and hear our ancestors. Not because we should attempt to retrofit what they’ve done to our current moment, but because we must learn through the study of our radical history that our ancestors have bequeathed to us a robust tradition of revolutionary struggle toward liberation. And we are responsible to bear that mantle of knowledge appropriately so that we might, in due time, build upon it, then pass it on to our progeny, knowing full well that we will need use of their thoughts — herein — for the present and future world to come. Truly, as Dr. James Turner taught, “the primary responsibility of any people is the preservation of their history.”

Unsound theory often leads to dogma formation rather than ideological maturation. Dogma, like so much cotton candy, appears robust at first. But by way of close examination we soon discover that dogma is unsustainable because it is anti-dialectical. Dogma, when confronted by truth, takes only one path: ossification. That is, it hardens against facts. Whereas ideology holds the dialectical potential to incorporate new truths which serve to ultimately strengthen the ideology. I state all this to say that in order to fight a system we must be clear about what it is — and what it is not. Dr. Greg Carr, Chair of Afro-American Studies at Howard University, makes clear that “aliteracy [not illiteracy] is the contemporary crisis.” So Read, Read, Study and Read!

2. UNDERSTAND that capitalism and colonialism are western European ideas. Capitalism is now and has always been inimical to African people both on the Continent and in the diaspora. But not just Black people, in fact all working-class laborers, as well as their middle-to-upper class colonial administering counterparts. So do not imagine that we can somehow reform capitalism or modify neo-colonialism in order to make it function for all people everywhere. These sometimes mutually indistinguishable systems were not designed to render equity and thus must be completely dismantled by any means necessary. Throughout the 20th century Black radical thinkers of every stripe, from Hubert Harrison and Claudia Jones to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Assata Shakur all understood and taught this.

3. REALIZE that movement-based organizing is the fundamental avenue through which revolutionary change is created. This is in no way to suggest that a single individual through selfless acts of kindness cannot make a substantial difference in the lived experience of others. However we must remain mindful of the reality that Spiderman and Django are mythical characters.

4. EMBRACE revolution, not reform. We are contending with “spiritual wickedness in high places.” Patriarchy, misogyny, heterosexism, white supremacy, imperialism, capitalism, and the like, these cannot be reformed. They require a revolution fueled by radical ideas. The notion that human beings can actually live free from want and in harmony with each other and the environment must be a thing which you learn to embrace with your soul. In the words of M1 from Dead Prez, rise each morning, look in your mirror and say, “I Am a Revolutionary.”

Education and hard work do not bring wealth. It is obtained by:

  • The ability to claim the right to profit generated by others’ work
  • Social proximity to those with the above.

That’s it. That’s the secret. You’re welcome.

AT&T today launched its gigabit fiber Internet service in parts of Cupertino, California, but the price isn’t as good as it is in cities where AT&T faces competition from Google Fiber.

Google Fiber and AT&T’s U-verse with GigaPower compete head-to-head in Kansas City and Austin. In those cities, AT&T matches Google’s $70-per-month price for gigabit service, as long as you opt into a program that lets AT&T watch your Web browsing and serve up personalized ads.

But AT&T charges more when it doesn’t have to compete against Google. In Cupertino, AT&T said today it will offer “Internet speeds up to 1Gbps starting as low as $110 a month, or speeds at 300Mbps as low as $80 a month, with a one-year price guarantee.” Despite being $40 more than AT&T’s price for the same gigabit service in Kansas City and Austin, the Cupertino offer still requires opting in to the Internet usage monitoring.

Google has tentative plans for fiber service in nearby San Jose but hasn’t announced a decision yet.

In Dallas, another city where AT&T doesn’t have to compete against Google, it charges $120 a month for gigabit service. In North Carolina, AT&T reportedly dropped pricing from $120 to $70 after Google announced plans to expand into that state.