h

There's only reason we must depend on an architecture that is financed by the entertainment and videogames industry escalating the power of the personal computer all the time whilst offering less of what the user actually needs.

The reason is that neoliberalism needs to keep building things more complex and unapproachable to protect their position, using the sacrosanct construct of "intellectual property" to defend it.

Modern software running on mainstream computing systems is insecure as fuck, wastes energy and resources, and works against the personal, social, and economic interests of most people.

It's about time we start to abandon these systems and their shackles, not just social media alone.

Eventually web browsers and mainstream PCs and mobile devices need to be seriously rethought as well.

And I don't mean just free software running on the same devices.
We need a serious rethinking of the whole modern computer ecosystem.

@dpc No. I mean far more serious and deeper rethinking. Of course there are merits to it, but p2p networks and off-the-shelf servers are a rather conventional idea nowadays.

@h
We could have urbit running bare metal on hardware if that's what you mean. I find urbit vision particularly appealing on many many levels.

@h I also think this is true, but that underlying all of the badness of the contemporary computer ecosystem lurks capitalism and the forces which it creates. So long as that remains the case I think we're going to continue to see awful business models which amount to little more than personal data theft, accumulation and then misuse.

There are probably a number of points which we might agree on, such as that users should be in control of their systems and data, but I also realize that there's not much overlap in the venn diagram of these aims and the aims of internet megacorporations. Changing the computer ecosystem will be a struggle over data and the means of producing it.

@bob As I've said before, the means of memorisation must be seized and distributed. I agree this is a war front, and it's a struggle I'll be meeting gladly.

@h @bob

I would love to see a viable equivalent of, eg, the joint stock company.

Some kind of social-benefit cooperative?

Thing is, we've *had* many, many cooperatives and communes and service clubs and social-benefit orgs before, and a lot of them either crashed and burned from inner conflicts in the 1960s-70s (the back-to-the-landers) or slowly died or got eaten in the 1980s.

Do we understand why, and how to prevent those emergent forces (interior and exterior) from just doing it again?

@bob @h

When first the Internet and then the Free / Libre / Open Source movement hit in the mid and late 1990s, I thought 'great, this decentralised self-organising group stuff MUST be the way of the future, now we need an economic equivalent of this to make it fully self-sustaining'.

But we never quite got that economic equivalent.

It's probably time to pilot it, though.

I keep thinking of Dee Hock's 'Chaordic Commons' as a model, and yet, that org couldn't even sustain itself.

@natecull @bob We don't truly understand complex systems such as social systems unless we study them from a perspective of information theory and concurrent systems design.
So the short answer is no.
The long answer is we need multi-disciplinary approaches from social sciences, management, and systems engineering. I believe it's possible, but we're not there yet.

@h @bob

Are there people who are even looking at these kind of orgs, though?

I feel like there was sort of a rush of interest in the mid 00s, and then it just... faded away.

I don't wanna blame Obama but I do think the wave of left-liberal anger that brought Obama into office kinda crested out in 2008 point. Lot of people kinda went 'oh, okay, we got our guy in to the White House, now it's back to business as usual' and just folded up the whole community organising infrastructure.

@natecull @bob @h the back-to-the-land movement is still there, they are just you know, on the land.... there are like 1000 communes in the US still. I think a lot of things we think of as "failures" are just a failure of the things not being in the media or in the news very much.

@wakest @h @bob that's good!

I'd love to see positive retrospectives on some of these groups: what worked, how they survived, what they learned, what might work in other contexts, etc.

@natecull @bob @h

check out ic.org/directory/maps/ I think one of the main "problems" of back to the landers and alt culture "dying" is that the tune out montra meant that the next generation just didn't know what was still alive etc.

@bob @h @wakest I mean my impression is that 1950s-1980s environmentalism kinda ended up with

1. Organic food as a niche luxury good (the only way the small farms could survive, but created a backlash to environmentalism as a 'self-indulgent toy of the rich')

2. 'Green capitalism' and 'sustainable development' which, other than batteries and windfarms, seems to have just enabled the current system rather than challenging it.

It's maybe better than zero, but... more 0.0000001 than 1?

@natecull @h @bob there is more organic food being produced today than ever before. The ability for a random person to go out and get everything they need to be self sufficient and off grid is more available to poor people then it has been in any other time in history.

@natecull @bob @h (full disclosure) I grew up in a commune in Wisconsin.

@wakest @h @bob neat!

I grew up in a church that had kinda dropped out of society too; went to a church school that taught organic gardening.

gave me no end of problems trying to reintegrate into mainstream culture, which is another issue, but also maybe warped my brain in a hippie-ish direction

@bob @h @wakest

Not that our group WERE hippies, in fact they saw them as the enemy, but there's a lot in common between 1970s hippie / New Age dropout groups and 1970s right Christian dropout groups. Both had a similar apocalyptic-utopian perspective on the world.

Let's just say that the M Night Shyamalan movie 'The Village' resonated VERY strongly with me. Been there, done that, got the psychic scars.

@natecull @wakest @h In the 1960s, especially after the Cuban missile crisis, it was thought that WW3 was coming soon and that much of industrial society would be destroyed. The future would belong to whoever could survive the aftermath and rebuild the world.

@bob @h @wakest Yep!

That gut-level doomsday prepper vibe still informs a lot of how I see the world, I think.

I don't particularly want it to? But it's kinda emotionally wired in there.

@natecull I think there's no position more optimistic than the one that sustains the notion that what we have is shite, that the largest part of what mainstream society is producing these days is anti-ethical, anti-natural, inhuman, harmful, and phony, and we can do much, much better.

@bob @wakest

@h @bob @wakest

I agree.

I really wanna recover the optimism that was in 2010s Occupy, 2010s Anti-Globalisation Movement, 1990s Open Source / Open Culture, 1970s/80s Punk, 1960s Counterculture.

Not the failure modes. But I'd love to access that inner conviction that there's a better way of building organisations and that we can find it.

There's so much fear and despair right now, as if 'tech and AI and the 1%' means the battle is already lost.

I want a bright vision to challenge that.

@natecull Occupy is everywhere. It doesn't need to be a protest in Zucotti Park. It needs to be every single one of us doing better things.

@bob @wakest

@natecull I think
there's a deeply ignorant and reactionary anti-tech vibe mostly in the US pseudo-left, because that kind of tech and the corporate fascist system is all they've ever known.

But thankfully that's not the whole world and not all people in the US think like that.

I'm used to live in uncertainty as most people around the world are, but it's understandable that people who were brought up with everything solved and a clear path before them will be anxious.

@bob @wakest

@natecull
I think international solidarity with whoever wants to be solidary and work hard to achieve better things, dismissing reactionary nonsense is a duty if we want to get out of this global mess in one piece.

@wakest
@bob

@h @wakest @natecull Given the current state of technology, with its increasingly extractive and controlling model, it's not surprising that there might be an anti-tech backlash.

@bob
An anti-tech backlash is absurd self-harming primitivism. Human beings are technological and they must be if they want to survive. There is no choice.
The cathartic exercise would be better employed turning against the corporations and the neoliberal systems, instead of the people who are trying to build tools to break the shackles.
Anti-tech ignorance really gets to me, it's really, really profoundly irrational, absurd, and unhinged from reality.

@natecull @wakest

@h @bob @natecull I think a lot of it has to do with tech being so intrinsically tied to capitalism and it can be really hard for people to break apart how they look at systems. It's esier for people to blame the things they can see and hold in their hands or touch then to blame this crazy global virus that is money > everything

@wakest I know, it's easier. That's why it's ignorant and lazy and must be dismissed and shown for what it is. Just wrong.

@bob @natecull

@wakest I find it the most offensive and lazy, but at the same time oddly amusing from people who portray themselves as revolutionaries and radicals of some sort, in their anti-intellectual pseudo-radical reactionary fever doing nothing, and complaining that big daddy is not giving them nice things.

If I were Santa I wouldn't even give them a sack of coal to warm themselves.

@bob @natecull

@h @bob @wakest

I understand what you're saying. But I only partially agree.

I think you're possibly confusing some people's criticisms of SOME SPECIFIC technologies with a GENERAL criticism of ALL technology.

Two important things about technology - and this is an analysis that the 'green' movement gave the world - is that:

1. There are many technologIES, not just one 'technologY'.

2. No technologY is neutral. Any given technology has a SHAPE. It defines the social relations around it.

@wakest @bob @h

For example:

If a society invests heavily in, for instance, nuclear power (as opposed to wind and solar power), then - because the SHAPE of 'nuclear power' in its current incarnation is heavily centralised - it is ALSO investing heavily in centralisation, in a 'priestly class' of engineers, in massive public works and government subsidies and potentially in crime (because, eg in Japan, crime is deeply involved in nuclear power).

None of this is value-neutral.

@h @bob @wakest

On the other hand, if a society invests in solar power, then because solar is safe to deploy on a small scale and doesn't require thousand-year protection systems, it gives that society a very different shape. It pushes generation to the edge of the network, it incentivises creating small-scale metering systems, etc, etc.

So I think just complaining that 'the left is against technology' misses a lot about WHICH technologIES *specific* sectors of the left have critiques of.

@natecull
I understand that some people exist who have that discernment.
I'm not referring to those people.
I'm specifically referring to the ignorant, lazy, reactionary anti-tech left.

Which exists, as can be witnessed here every single day.

@bob @wakest

@hattiecat I understand the fear, and I can parse all the rationalisations. But I don't accept acting upon fear against our own interest, effectively betting on our demise. Fear pre-empts thinking and makes us take the worst possible decisions. And worse, it exposes our buttons to people who know how to push them. Neoliberalism and propaganda work because we allow them to.

@bob @natecull @wakest

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social.coop

social.coop is a a coop-run corner of the fediverse, a cooperative and transparent approach to operating a social platform. We are currently closed to new memberships while we improve our internal processes and policies, and plan to re-open to new folks when that work is complete. [9/2/2018]