By Robert Biester
- The Myth of Disruption
- Fraudsters and “fake it till you make it”
- Woke Exploitation and Signaling
The Myth of Disruption
In the wake of the 2016 Presidential election, and the election of the 45th president Donald Trump, there was an upsurge in interest towards progressive politics, in due part from the presidential campaign of Bernie sanders (an open socialist) and the clear dissatisfaction of historically Democrat voters towards the continued inaction of the Democratic party in addressing worsening conditions in the US – something which were upstarted almost 4 years prior by the occupy movement and the great recession. Does this imply that this new progressive movement was a socialist one? In the short form it wasn’t, in the long form it was not entirely socialist, but American socialism still benefited from these newfound progressives with the Democratic Socialists of America gaining an avalanche of new members which allowed them to become the largest socialist organization in the US.
This did not only apply to membership either, as several members of the DSA were later elected to positions of power, with the most popular being Alexandra Occasio Cortez; this newfound popularity and power for the DSA had the same effect that the progressive movements newfound cohorts which is absolutely nothing, a smokescreen for the continued description of American institutions and infrastructure. What it did affect though was the general aesthetic that had started to form post 2008 within corporate America, a culture of “disruption” where the barriers of the old boardrooms and yuppie businessmen were no longer accepted, instead a new era of open floor concept office spaces with their glass windows to really push in the message of accountability, the old white men who run the company were replaced with the girl boss who doesn’t take shit from anyone.
This shift of corporate aesthetic was a very welcomed sight within a lot of progressive circles, for to them it represented the peak of reformist politics, the Bourgeois will just simple begin to socialize their workplaces for their workers because it fits with the Nordic model that the Reformists in the DSA fetishized, and so with this newfound progessive workplace came a new era of grifters and con men who saw how blindly social media would cling and promote their scams for all to see for free and bring new investors and customers by just simply saying they were “disrupting” the market that they were operating within. Now previously I stated that this was a reaction towards the progressive movement, this movement was not purely a social one though but a generational one, with the Millennial generation trying to push over the current social mold of the Boomer generation that had marked the 1980’s to the 2010’s, Modern progressivism is directly tied to the Millennials, in a generation that grew up in the internet age and were molded by its superficial values, its fake perceptions to the point where how you are seen is who you were as a person.
So the outward perception of disruption meant that for the outside viewer that it must be disruptive through and through, the concept of due diligence is a myth when the mere appearance of a corporation is the only proof you need for something to be disruptive, to be “revolutionary”. Now to their credit not every millennial fell victim to this and my usage of the generation as a category is more for scale and not as a metric to calculate the sheer amount of people who did believe the guise of Capitalism post 9-11. A business culture of cocaine fuelled nepotism and casual misogyny that had been the leading example for every office building from New York city to Los Angeles, of course any alternative to this toxicity would be gladly embraced by a generation that grew up in some of the most tumultuous era’s in American history, the first niche to embrace this cult of fake disruption was the tech-internet industry that fancies itself the greatest Innovators in America to the point where many of the grifters and huxters that I will be talking about called themselves “tech companies” when they were either not one or barely passed as one by the fact that they were focused on “pushing” the boundary of contemporary knowledge.
Disruption was not only affecting business though as the spectacle of it started to peak its way into the way sex and sexuality was seen, much like the “sex revolution” in the 60’s which is accredited for the social acceptance of feminine sexuality and the growth of the LGBTQ community within pop culture and its eventual change from a hidden subculture to the mainstream to the point where debate over whether or not an event to commemorate a riot is a family event. As with every peaceful revolution(more like a shift in perception) it was quickly commodified and twisted to the point where the genuine nature of it gave way to products created for the purpose of making money off it, the free love movement that was created to reject the restrictive bonds of the nuclear family that dominated the 50’s and hoped to return to a more mutual and freeing sexual relationship, soon turned into a excuse for blind hedonism and sex cults that exploited and coerced young women into one sided relationships with the men being dominant. Hugh Hefner who is credited with popularizing the sexual revolution used it to enrich himself and build a cult of young women who he held zero regard for and only believed in free love to shirk away any kind of responsibility on him to the women he was “liberating”.
Something similar happened during this episode of disruption and will be discussed later on but had a much more lasting effect perception wise then the backfire that occurred during the 60’s. Disruption as an identity is a double edged sword that always cuts the user who tries to wield it as if it won’t turn on them, like it will always be more than a simple word that will change the world with optimism being the key driver of this flawed vision of what will make their life under capitalism more tolerable.
WeWork is the perfect example of how disruption as a motivator and nothing else blows back on those who follow it blindly, at its core the company was simply a real estate developer and renter who would buy floors of buildings and then sublease parcels of it with the bonus that it would feel like one single office, their mission according to them is as follows.
“WeWork was founded in 2010 with the vision to create environments where people and companies come together and do their best work. Since opening our first location in New York City, we’ve grown into a global workplace provider committed to delivering flexible solutions, inspiring, safety-focused spaces, and unmatched community experiences. Today, we’re constantly reimagining how the workplace can help everyone, from freelancers to Fortune 500s, be more motivated, productive, and happy because that’s how tomorrow works.”
Founded in 2010 by Adam Neuman and Miguel McKelvey as an alternative to the dominant office space developers in New York City, able to grow rather quickly due to their model of leasing rather than buying floors and subleasing micro offices and commonspace, the help of Neuman’s wife Rebecca Neuman connection to Gwenith Paltrow(they were cousins) and his unhinged Charisma as someone who is able to dream big without actually explaining how they are different from other Real estate firms also helped him greatly in achieving the unlikely and pushing his Companies valuation to almost 40 billion dollars. How was he able to do this though? Becoming one of the highest valued real estate companies in the world in only 6 years with hundreds of locations worldwide.
The chief reasoning for this rapid growth and massive valuation is the way WeWork marketed itself, while its entire business model was based around real estate and office spaces, they never claimed to be a real estate company but rather a tech-company which confused a lot of people within that industry as there was nothing about WeWork that was involved in tech, but this didn’t stop the media from accepting this claim and portrayed them as a tech company, to an absurd point Adam was invited to Techcrunch disrupt (one of the largest tech company conventions in the US) to speak about how he was innovating the tech industry, and when pressed on how renting office space was technology Adam would give a response comparing his company to amazon and how referring to it was a book selling company would be absurd because they do much more than that, even though WeWorks only business was real estate and not shipping like with amazon.
This is not the only outlandish claim that Adam would make, starting with him referring to Wework as a stream of consciousness and not a company, this could have been influenced by his involvement with the Kabbalah center which is a woo peddler who pretend to be involved with the Jewish religious sect of Kabbalism. Advocating for the belief in spiritual healing and awakening that has a large following with celebrities who have money to throw at anything in the hopes of cleaning their soul of the guilt they feel. Woo had a lot of sway in the internal politics of Wework with upper management being forced to sit in on seminars by a Rabbi from the Kabbalah center and during their company summer camps they would have to listen to Adam Neuman talk about how they were going to build Offices on Mars and how he was going to live forever, this kind of behavior is not new for Millennial CEO’s as I will discuss later on with the Founder of Theranos and the Fyre Festival this behavior was seen as unsettling even compared to the already prominent founder personality cults within Millennial corporations.
By 2016 the company was hemorrhaging so much money that they started to layoff about 7% of their workforce with almost no sense of remorse, with management even bragging about how many people they have been able to fire with their emails being leaked to the press but almost nothing being done and their valuation continuing to climb in the billions, this was also around the time that Negotiations with the Japanese investment company Softbank started and the founders meeting with Adam going so well that after 12 minutes he gave him an almost 6 billion dollar investment and advised him to be “more crazy” which Adam took to heart to the point that he bought a wave pool company and considered it an investment in Wework even though it had nothing involved with the larger business, It is also important to mention where this money came from though. You see Softbank didn’t get that kinda money to throw around unless they had some very powerful backers and they had just that, they were being funded by the Saudi royal family and this trickled down to Adam who started defending the Actions of Saudi Arabia(including the gruesome murder of reporter Jamal Khashoggi).
The wework summer camps also became a symbol of the culture of the company with video promos being shot there showing employees drinking and having a good time interlude with adams ramblings about being a global citizen and the “we generation” which was then followed by a musical performance by Florence and the machine, the reality of this was far from idyllic though as the entire event was mandatory and every employee was required to be happy and to drink the copious amounts of alcohol that was provided by the company, there was also no solid lodging as that was dependent on your pay with higher paid employees getting entire yurts while lower paid employees were often times given a crude tent with one employing detailing the feeling of being in one and hoping it wouldnt collapse as someone was peeing on it and someone was having public sex outside of it. Not clocking in each day was also considered a fireable offense which put a lot of pressure on every employee, suffice to say there were people who didn’t want to go back but were often told that if they didn’t then they would no longer have a job.
This highlights the inherent hypocrisy within the Millennial disruption mythos, never seeing the systemic problem of why the current state of things are so terrible is not due to some aesthetic difficulty which cannot be destroyed until the very relation that creates it is destroyed, this cannot be done under capitalism as they try to do such as with WeWork who tried to create a communal capitalist workplace that ultimately lead to the founder Adam Neuman embezzling billions and walking away from the smoldering ruins of the company he ran into the ground, what kind of person is so blind to reality that they were willing to believe the sweet nothings of a Madman/no-nothing like Adam Neuman? After the collapse of wework this question was asked and as with most of the Millennial generation is prone to do, the media shirked any personal responsibility in being complicit over someone clearing exploiting their company for extreme profit and calling him a prophet, they instead deemed themselves brainwashed under the extremely charismatic salesmen who suckered them all so they are the real victims and not the employees whose lives are ruined because of their inaction (the extreme charisma of a man with a monotone dead voice and broken english is quite the recipe for not being at fault).
This is a trend within a lot of the companies that I will be discussing as the media spends years hyping the company as being disruptive they try to remove any responsibility from their shoulders as soon as they find out that the company they have promoted is guilty of fraud, and that leads us into the next section
Fraudsters and “fake it till you make it”
A name that is linked directly to fraud in Post-2010 America is the much hyped and overpriced Fyre Festival, a music festival that promised to be the next Woodstock and a groundbreaker in the merging of the Music scene with the tech app scene that had become the most dominant pop culture outlet, it is no surprise that the festival Attracted hordes of Instagram users who are labeled “influencers”(peoples whose entire livelihood is shilling for online brands and sucking the attention span of an already overly online Genzer for more likes and views). In an entirely comedic turn of events, these social parasites who wanted to use this festival to showcase their life of luxury and fortune by going to a Foreign nation for a musical gathering that’s promising the best food, the best in lodging and Musicians.
Behind this was a hollow man with an even more hollow reasoning for doing Fyre. Billy Mcfarland embodies the entrepreneur grindset of the Millennial generation, he was always promoting some grift on Fox’s Business, he first began with the company that gave him a name within the entrepreneur sector as someone who could sell you anyone, even being compared to a Used car salesmen, this is a very appropriate comparison as the company he started “magnesis”, which was a piece of stainless steel card that you could charge products on with benefits for but was nothing really different from an average credit/debit card besides the material that it was made out of. He overstate how many people were using it and how much money it was making with the overall user subscriptions being in between 5-10k members while making the claim that it was actually being in the 100 thousands which was absurdly incorrect, the main selling point for it was not the card itself or the ticket deals that Magnesis was promoting but the townhouse that they owned that was exclusive for all members, this was quickly shutdown by the landlord because the subscribers had trashed the place and voided the contract, but this did introduce Billy to his partner in crime who he would start Fyre with.
Ja Rule is an American rapper who was used as the promotional face of Fyre and Billies other ventures and their relationship was more friendship then professional as they would often be seen partying together and would use the stories from this partying to help sell the idea for their businesses to investors, this worked and they gained the attention from Oil magnate Aubrey McClendon. Who would later be found guilty of fraud and witness intimidation and would be found dead in a car explosion after his conviction(whether or not he faked his death is out their in the open), it is a shame that he wouldn’t be able to help fund billies creme de la creme of scheme. Fyre app was supposed to be the tinder of celebrity booking where any normal joe could simply send an other to a partnered celebrity and if the person likes the deal then they would accept it and the next thing you know Drake is playing at your cousin’s birthday party.
To promote this Billy founded Fyre festival which he claimed to be more then an music festival but a dream come true, where anything can happen and would be the killer of Coachella and burning man, to the Millenial this was very appealing as it was not only trying to disrupt the way we perceive music festivals but would also break down the barrier between celebrities and fans. Another aspect of this appeal to millennials was the phenomenon of FOMO(fear of missing out), to first get the word out though the Fyre team pulled out all the stops for marketing, they hired Jerry media to run their social media campaign and hired the top supermodels in the world for a massive marketing shoot in the Bahamas. Videos and promotional images were shot on private islands with one of them being the former airport island of Pablo Escobar who used it to smuggle cocaine into the US via Miami, this would later be used extensively in the promotional material for Fyre fest and would lead to them losing the rights to use the island as one of the few conditions of its lease was to not mention pablo escobar, something they did in the very first released post during their social media push.
One of the interesting aspects of this social media push was the maiden post made by Jerry media, a orange square that they had every model and influencer involved in the project post on their page that would link to the Main site, and there they would see videos of models swimming in crystal clear water and overhead shots of a white beaches and lush foliage followed by people having a grand time on jet skis and boats, it was as many commenters said “Instagram in real life” and this is a key point to say about it because as with Instagram in the clouds it was merely an illusion pretending to be something that it wasn’t, a pariah with a golden smile that sold a product that didn’t exist yet and was received well by its targeted audience which led to fyre selling out all their tickets within hours of the Festival’s announcement. The General millennial audience that were targeted bought into the marketing campaign setup by Jerry media which to their credit was an ingenious strategy.
The location played a very important role as well when it came to the selling of the general aesthetic of the Heaven that was being promoted by the organizers of the festival, the Bahama islands are of course considered one of the most beautiful islands on Earth and it’s no wonder that it was considered a bonus by those who bought into the dream of a disruptive event that would change their life forever, the islands though against the wishful thinking of the Customers minds were not the paradise that they would have wanted it to be, the Bahamas are underdeveloped besides the infrastructure built to meet the needs of the workers and guests of the many resorts that are home there. And here we see an insidious side to the scam that Fyre turned out to be, they did not only make big promises to their concert goers but to the government and the island workers as well who they said would have a steady stream of income and business that could help with the countries high poverty ratio, this did not occur of course and most of the workers were never paid (which combined would be over 1 million dollars of unpaid wages).
This story has been told a million times with much better detail into the operations of the Fyre company and many have described the chaos that followed in the wake of the revelation that everything was not what it was made out to be.
To summarize, people showed up to the concert grounds to find it wasn’t a private island but a reserved parking lot for a nearby sandals resort, the money put into the moneyless experience bracelets that would allow people to keep their cash around their hand also turned out to be a ponzi scheme that was used to help keep paying off people to perpetuate the scam of the larger festival, all the influencers and rich college students ended up trapped on the island that was hosting the event and many of the workers went on strike threatening to kidnap organizers to hold for ransom, all and all it was not the kind of Music experience that was promised by Mcfarland who was sentenced to several years in prison for fraud.
In a grander implication of things this was a very non political event, it had no motive outside the shallow usage of “disrupting” the status quo of the American Music industry, when compared to the Theranos debacle though the Fyre festival looks like a mere footnote in the Millenial ethos, the ethos of disruption which has become a the selling point for every project of the Millennial generation, progressiveness for sale for the sake of it being new while giving nothing and being more exploitive then the thing it is claiming to disrupt, the market of Millennial progressiveness is a gift that takes from you rather then being given .
A much better example and even larger fraud is the whole Theranos debacle and rather then getting into the specifics of every detail of this fraud company Theranos and its founder Elizabeth Holmes, I would rather focus on the optics that it put in the forefront of its media push to somewhat coerce the medical community(the medical sector was what theranos specialized in), generally it banked on progressive aesthetic with the buzzword of disrupt to help push its acceptance into the industry that it hoped to profit in and with a women ceo/founder she became the spokesperson and face of the company. Behind it all though there was nothing of substance and only smoke and mirrors and while it was caught it was too late for the fire to be put out as hundreds of patients were given false medical results but more to this later firstly I would like to describe the progress that they were promising
Imagine if you will a world where you could get a blood test, a drug test and 90 other tests all with only needing to give a thimble amount of blood from a small device that only pricks your figure, and what if I told you it could all be done at home and would be cheaper then any medical plan, effectively making insurance and other aspects of the big pharma crooks
This would be very appealing would it not? Playing off the very real high cost of medical attention and the broken system that perpetuates it is a very progressive thing is it not? “Of course it is shouts” the millennial progressive believing that capitalism could solve its own problems by choice and not by mistake, and oh what a mistake the millennial progressive made in believing this lie as the technology to make such a dream possible is simply impossible to do as Elizabeth holmes was told time and again by her engineers and medical experts and each time they told her they would be replace by another person in the rotating doors that was their Edison project (the device they were developing to do all these tests), and when questioned on how such a thing would work she would either lie or tell them that it was an industry secret and when Government officials came to see the device for themselves she and her cronies would fake the device to make it appear that it worked.
Fooling the government she was able to continue her scam hoping that the saying “fake it till you make it” would come true for her, and it was easy to keep the government off her back as long as she did, her board was made up of the most powerful white old men in the US with the biggest names being Henry Kissenger, Jim Mattis and William Perry. All three being former Secretaries for a Sitting US president with Henry Kissenger being a War criminal who helped orchestrate some of the Coups and Genocides that have plagued South America and the Middle East since the Nixon Administration, Which does make Elizibeth Holmes push on progressivism to advertise her company and non-existent product as she just simply pointed to herself and said “look, we have a woman CEO isnt that innovative and revolutionary, so is our machine that breaks the laws of physics which you cant see” and of course the “Progressive” media ate this up just like they did with Fyre and WeWork.
With this coverage though they had to do a complete wipe and unperson their involvement and complicity within the massive scam that Theranos was, with Tedtalk even deleting and purging all mention of Elizibeth Holmes from their youtube and other media because it just proved that it isn’t a platform for knowledge and the future but a place where pseuds can rant about anything and Tedtalk will just let about anyone do one, there is also the news sites and blogs that had to scrub her from their sites because at one point all they would talk about is how she was just an icon for girls to grow up and emulate with almost no critical thinking put into it besides that she was a woman and not that she actually broke the medical community with an innovative new device.
The device scam was somewhat tame compared to the measures the company took to help cover up their complete incompetence, later into its lifespan Theranos began offering cheap tests via Walgreens to help legitimize itself with mounting pressure from the outside to showcase its project Edison and while they delivered the cheaper tests (the tests were just cheaper then the ones offered by other testing companies) it would often outsource these tests to the very companies it was criticizing and trying to compete with because its staff was not skilled enough to do tests in house, as time went on though there began to form an anomaly with the test results until finally a staff member realized that every 3 and 5 tests that were being performed in house had faked or mixed up results that were being given to patients, which meant that the people who were getting tests to see how their health was doing (some of them having life serious conditions) were being given fake results, when this did eventual get out everything began to unravel as the other scams came into light and the stories that had been written prior to the leaks by other leaks were finally validated by the media that had been helping deny their claims.
As it stands today Progressivism is just a marketing stunt for the wealthy and privileged to get younger members of society to defend them by making vague points about the future and equality without any of the intent on doing anything, it’s the same with liberal Environmentalism and Electoralism, its an Ouroboros of lies and to be frank horseshit that breeds the very conditions as to why there have been so many Scams throughout the Millennial echelon.
Woke Exploitation and Signaling
How does this affect the workplace though? The wework grift is eponymous with how the workplace has shifted from being more overtly closed off to lower employees to one where transparency is said over and over again but is still the exact same way it has been in the past, acting like it has changed much like the other aspects of this “progressive” cultural shift that the millennial epoch talks about so much while lacking any self awareness to the fact that their progress is just the old ways but with a rainbow flag, speaking of which as the LGBTQ community has become more and more socially accepted so has its marketability and the commodification of sexuality and gender has become dominant within American society, signaling is a term coined to refer to companies and people who use signs of support to help their brand but lack any actual substance or care for the groups that they supposedly support.
Even companies who profit off death like Raytheon have began to do this with the hopes of increasing its social clout from a tool of Imperialism to an ally in the fight for sexual equality, while there is a lot of people in these communities who call out this as cynical marketing there are those who use it themselves to improve their own lives by jumping on the signaling as a way to get sponsorships and attention from the Bourgeoise media, this is most clear in movements like Black Lives Matter whose “leaders” were almost immediately co-opted into becoming lapdogs and apologists for the capitalist state and its police as their calls of reform became nothing but a slight of hands to mean more funding towards the state and demilitarization of the police(a ludicrous idea because even if they are demilitarized their role under capitalism will still be the same as strike bearers and occupyiers of Workers), this movement for justice is nothing more then a mask for the capitalists to continue to try and exert influence on the workers by evoking moralist arguments on them such as them being racist if they question the actions of black petty bourgeois leaders or oppurtunistic defenses of “good cops”.
Progressivism is nothing but a false door to the future, it gives the petty bourgeois and the uninspired youth the idea that it could reach some form of utopia by singing and holding hands with the capitalist state, it is an idealist ideology based in the pits of commodified social beings that have no real form other then the illusion of change, the progressive is no more for change then the reactionary as they both fight to preserve the capitalist state and with it the trappings that they claim to be against, there is a reason why stonewall was a riot and why so many of the members of it fought against the liberal progressive as they did the police, and now all that stands in Stonewalls memory is a rainbow colored flag for sale, during 20’s the only organization’s calling for the complete end of Jim Crow and lynching’s was the Communists like the African Blood Brotherhood, not the progressive NAACP who tried to remain professional and continue building its clout as the de facto black organization of the US and even almost 100 years later there is still the threat of racial violence and inequality because you cannot progress a car with no wheels, the Bourgeoise are not interested in change but the moniker of it, they do not seek justice or freedom but chains for the Proletariat.
The millennial era is a joke with no punchline. An era of grifts and deception highlighted not only by the amount of time the US economy has collapsed but the the significance of the Workers movement that has been snuffed out and emasculated since it has reemerged from its slumber, as the new “socialist” movement has tried to take wing but become nothing more then a haven for democrat simps and liberals with roses, nothing has changed for the better for the proletariat because these “Socialists” are almost completely separate from them, and this is by choice, because these “Socialists” are such cowards that they believe that they must be hype men and not organizers because they are so used to petty bourgeois protests and having to be put in a subservient place that they view any initiative as invasive and “silencing others voices”.
So as we stand on the precipice of the Coming world there are 2 options, we can reach out at the Millenial’s progressivism and stay in their world of delusion eventually drowning in the ecological disaster that will be left in their ineffectual wake, or we can reach out at the torch of the Revolutionary world that is to come and fight for Freedom from the state and from Capitalism.