McKenzie Wark on Sat, 25 Sep 2004 17:30:26 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> a hacker manifesto 001-006

-- from the uncorrected page proofs.
For the book, see:

A Hacker Manifesto 001-006
McKenzie Wark

001.	A double spooks the world, the
double of abstraction. The fortunes
of states and armies, companies and
communities depend on it. All
contending classes, be they ruling
or ruled, revere it -- yet fear it.
Ours is a world that ventures
blindly into the new with its
fingers crossed.

002.	All classes fear this relentless
abstraction of the world, on which
their fortunes yet depend. All
classes but one: the hacker class.
We are the hackers of abstraction.
We produce new concepts, new
perceptions, new sensations, hacked
out of raw data. Whatever code we
hack, be it programming language,
poetic language, math or music,
curves or colourings, we are the
abstracters of new worlds. Whether
we come to represent ourselves as
researchers or authors, artists or
biologists, chemists or musicians,
philosophers or programmers, each of
these subjectivities is but a
fragment of a class still becoming,
bit by bit, aware of itself as such.

003.	And yet we don't quite know who
we are. That is why this text seeks
to make manifest our origins, our
purpose and our interests. A hacker
manifesto: Not the only manifesto,
as it is in the nature of the hacker
to differ from others, to differ
even from oneself, over time. To
hack is to differ. A hacker
manifesto cannot claim to represent
what refuses representation.

004. 	Hackers create the
possibility of new things entering
the world. Not always great things,
or even good things, but new things.
In art, in science, in philosophy
and culture, in any production of
knowledge where data can be
gathered, where information can be
extracted from it, and where in that
information new possibilities for
the world produced, there are
hackers hacking the new out of the
old. Hackers create these new
worlds, yet we do not possess them.
That which we create is mortgaged to
others, and to the interests of
others, to states and corporations
who monopolise the means for making
worlds we alone discover. We do not
own what we produce -- it owns us.

005.	Hackers use their knowledge and
their wits to maintain their
autonomy. Some take the money and
run. (But one cannot run far.) We
must live with our compromises.
(Some refuse to compromise.) We live
as best we can. All too often those
of us who take one of these paths
resent those who take the other. One
lot resents the prosperity it lacks,
the other resents the liberty it
lacks to hack away at the world
freely. What eludes the hacker class
is a more abstract expression of our
interests as a class, and of how
this interest may meet those of
others in the world.

006.	Hackers are not joiners. We're
not often willing to submerge our
singularity in any collective. What
the times call for is a collective
hack that realises a class interest
based on an alignment of differences
rather than a coercive unity.
Hackers are a class, but an abstract
class. A class that makes
abstractions, and a class made
abstract. To abstract hackers as a
class is to abstract the very
concept of class itself. The slogan
of the hacker class is not the
workers of the world united, but the
workings of the world untied.

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