A Hacker Manifesto by McKenzie Wark

October 04th, 2004 | Category: Reviews

A Hacker Manifesto is the Big Picture of not only where we are in the “information age,” but where we’re going as well. Adopting the epigrammic style of Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle, as well as updating its ideas, Ken Wark establishes so-called “knowledge workers” as an unrecognized social class: “the hacker class.” Wark also updates Marx and Engels, Deleuze and Guattari, Nietzsche, and a host of others:

There can be no one book, no one thinker for these times. What is called for is a practice of combining heterogeneous modes of perception, thought and feeling, different styles of researching and writing, different kinds of connection to different readers, proliferation of information across different media, all practiced within a gift economy, expressing and elaborating differences, rather than broadcasting a dogma, a slogan, a critique or a line.

A Hacker ManifestoWark also eloborates on what he has called “the vectoral class.” That is, the owners of the vectors that control the flow of information. They need and use the hacker class to turn information into commodity through ownership and scarcity. Derrida argued against the “informatization of language, which transforms language and culture from a safe preserve into a resource that can be exploited for extrinsic purposes.” Control of this resource is where the tension between the hacker class and the vectoral class plays out.

Far from just being the story of “us versus them” class struggles, Ken Wark’s book is far more complex: It tackles many issues, historical, emergent, and emerging. Opening up new discursive spaces where none existed before, A Hacker Manifesto might well turn out to be one of the most important books of the new century.

Further Posting:

3 Comments »

  • Hacking | Roy Christopher said:

    […] suggested are A Hacker Manifesto by McKenzie Wark, Jamming the Media by Gareth Branwyn, Dark Fiber by Geert Lovink, Pranks and […]

  • The Interface and the Algorithm: Four Recent Books | Roy Christopher said:

    […] style of Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle (not unlike Wark’s previous book, A Hacker Manifesto). While its being published online has gotten more attention than the book itself, this should not […]

  • The Laws of Cool by Alan Liu | Roy Christopher said:

    […] map of the workscape of the early twenty first century. Couple this with Ken Wark‘s A Hacker Manifesto and you have a crash course in post-Marxist labor studies.Further Posting:How to Do Stuff and Be […]