Disrupting Distribution: Subversion & State of Supply Chains


“It is per­haps in trans­for­ma­tive alliance that works from and through dif­fer­ence, and which insists that sub­jects and groups might change, that mean­ing­ful “dis­rup­tion” occurs. The com­mon sense notion of dis­rup­tion equates it with the act or effect of dis­abling some­thing, in this case mate­r­ial cir­cu­la­tion. In this con­cep­tion, to dis­rupt is to stop the nor­mal work­ings of things for some period of time or in some space. No doubt this is an impor­tant way of con­ceiv­ing dis­rup­tion, and acts of this kind can pro­duce the kinds of effects detailed above. Yet there are other ways of con­cep­tu­al­iz­ing dis­rup­tion that have more pro­duc­tive con­no­ta­tions. Dis­rup­tion can also sig­nal a cre­ative destruc­tion that brings new pos­si­bil­i­ties into the world, as old or nor­ma­tive ways are brought to a halt. This is, in fact, a dic­tio­nary def­i­n­i­tion of the term. Indeed, as Toscano insists, “it is also pos­si­ble, and indeed nec­es­sary, to think of logis­tics not just as the site of inter­rup­tion, but as the stake of endur­ing and artic­u­lated strug­gles.”40 A vision of today’s many headed hydra as coali­tion on these terms responds directly to Tsing’s argu­ments about sup­ply chain cap­i­tal­ism as a struc­ture assem­bled through difference.
If logis­tics is essen­tially about net­works that pro­vi­sion and sus­tain both human life and the non-human ani­mals, machines, and infra­struc­tures that con­sti­tute our ecolo­gies, then it is in fact not a prac­tice, indus­try, or assem­blage that could ever be ceded to the cor­po­rate and mil­i­tary worlds that today work and fight under its ban­ner. Pro­vi­sion­ing and sus­tain­ing are also the labors of social repro­duc­tion that gen­dered and racial­ized peo­ples and social move­ments have always done. Along­side its mil­i­tary and cor­po­rate forms – in fact, pro­voked directly by these – we can see explicit take-up of logis­tics by dis­rup­tive move­ments in an alter­na­tive reg­is­ter. Now a crit­i­cal ele­ment of social move­ments from social forums to the Occupy move­ment, logis­tics is also a field that activists are actively explor­ing invest­ing in fur­ther for the future.41 Logis­tics is not only the cal­cu­la­tive tech­nolo­gies and mate­r­ial infra­struc­tures that order the global social fac­tory. Today, logis­tics also ren­ders a com­plex net­work of coali­tions through which dis­rupted futures of dis­tri­b­u­tion are assembled.”
Yeah so as you might expect I’m not a believer in “transformative” alliances but would gladly be wrong about such co-operative efforts, any examples of these sorts of things happening out there in the world in ways worth copying?
http://viewpointmag.com/author/deborah-cowen/

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