Afterlives of the Californian Ideology| Homesteading on a Superhighway: The Californian Ideology and Everyday Politics
When Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron diagnosed the “Californian ideology” of Silicon Valley, they outlined a macro-level political and cultural economy. This article turns to the micropolitics of everyday online life. It argues that the Californian ideology has inscribed into its products the habits of homesteading—a legacy so familiar, nostalgic, and violent in the American West—which have trained far-flung users in the practice of quotidian feudalism. Everyday experience with Californian systems has thereby contributed to hollowing out the rudiments of democratic culture, especially the skills and habits of accountable association. These systems have meanwhile aided in generating new breeds of world-historical authoritarianism. To change course, therefore, instruments such as legislation and foreign policy may be inadequate; securing a more democratic future also requires fresh attention to how online spaces organize, constrain, and enable everyday politics.