How I accidentally became a blogger and blogged the #28c3

TL;DR:  I’ll probably show up at stammtisch a little early today, say 8pm or so. People still in town after the CCC are encouraged to come by! Hope to see you all for another drink before you sail off to your various hacker lairs. http://bit.ly/buchhandlung

 


Well, #28c3 has come and gone.

I’m not sure how it happened, but after all these years on the internet, It looks like I’ve somehow become a blogger.

I never really wanted to be a blogger, after all the most exciting thing about the Internet has always been the ability for users to interact on neutral turf. Yet, the web, even when it has social features, is always home-court for somebody or another.

The definitive technology of the Internet to me was always UseNet, a worldwide distributed discussion system, and this was where I first began to express and discuss political issues, where the worlds of political activism and media art intersected with my life as a computer programmer, and drew me into ideas and projects and communities I would otherwise have had no connection with.

I didn’t start out thinking about what I was doing as “publishing” so much as fishing, posting not so much so people would read my texts, but so people would respond to them. Their responses give me new ideas, insights, and more leads to better understand these topics I could now begin to access, byway of the Internet.

UseNet was an ongoing multiparty dialogue.

When people started blogging I couldn’t see the point. Why post something on just one website, instead of millions of news servers all around the world? Why force people to use dodgy webforms to leave comments, instead of slick news reading software? It seems so retrograde, so hierarchical, privileging one writer as the blog’s “author” with everyone else reduced to “commentators,” under the tyrannical moderation of the blogger, meaning that the presence of opposing views, that made UseNet groups so vibrant, was absent.

A personal website seemed to me no more useful than as an elaborate .plan file, a kind of online brochure, good for a CV and Contact info, maybe even a archive of what you had really posted online (meaning on UseNet), but certainly no way to reach any community.

Sadly, UseNet has become increasingly obscure, for reasons that I have discussed at length, as part of the Capital-financed enclosure of the peer-to-peer Internet with centrally controlled client-server technologies.

As a result for years I’ve been lost in wilderness, making my contributions on web-boards like Autonomedia’s InterActivist, mailing lists, etc, and even *gasp* “Social Media,” Eventually being published by Mute Magazine, and other websites, leading to the Telekommunist Manifesto being released by the Institute for Network Cultures.

In an effort to co-ordinate my use of these disparate platforms, somehow a blog emerged.

So here we are. I’ve accidentally become a blogger.

Last week the #28c3 occurred in Berlin, and it served as the point of departure for the last  six texts that I’ve written. For completeness, I’ve collected links to all of them below.

 

When a place becomes too crowded, things like getting in, getting a table, getting service, etc, become more competitive and thereby difficult. Some of the original regulars become crowded out and stop going, eventually the others stop too, “because nobody goes there anymore.”

Only places that suck can really have a continuous community, because if nothing about the place sucks, it will attract more and more people until it sucks because of crowding. So if you want a continuous, closely knit community, something about the venue or event must suck, your only choice is what should suck or how it should suck.

Expressing outrage that enemies of the US and it’s allies are using the technology being developed by the west also seems misplaced, and rests on regressive exceptionalist view that privileges western states as being somehow noble enough to be trusted with the ability to survey their citizens, but  not sinister foreign powers.

It is not ignorance, nor even genuinely the needs of law enforcement that is driving the war against general computing and a general network. It’s too simple to understand this war as simply tyrannical law enforcers and paranoid music execs duping clueless legislatures into locking-down cyberspace to save Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. Rather this war is simply a consequence of the fact that our technology industry is funded by finance capital, and finance capital requires profit as a return.

Certainly the freedom-loving free markets will punish peddlers of tyranny and domination! No doubt ethically minded investors will move their investments to the virtuous firms of list A, leaving the B listers starved of Capital. Justice conscious consumers will immediately dump B’s products and take up the A list! Politicians, eager to please their constituents,  will kick the B listers to the curb and shower the A listers with all the lucrative governments lucre. The sinister B-list companies will collapse and the bold and brave A listers will take their market share and refuse to implement censorious or freedom-denying features into their products, and certainly not enable sinister foreign powers to oppresses their people. Cackling foreign despots and their bumbling mad scientists are now foiled for good by the freedom loving actors on the glorious free market system!

 So long as we have an economic system that allows an owner/lender class to exploit a worker/borrower class, we will have communications systems and social institutions that are controlled of the owner/lender classes and structured in their interests, and against the interests of the worker/borrower class, for the simply reason that since the owner/lender class will aways be able to retain earnings and accumulate while the worker/borrower class can only earn enough to service their bills and debt.

 

I’ll be at Buchhandlung as usual this evening, all are welcome to come along for a drink.

 

 

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