Felix Stalder on Sun, 11 Feb 2018 14:31:40 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> John Perry Barlow R.I.P.

JPB's stance, both in this "Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace"
and the founding of the EFF, was an almost ideal-typical representation
of the Californian Ideology, which -- in retrospect -- can be understood
as "left wing" of neo-liberalism. Like all streaks of neo-liberalism it
was unable to conceive of collective action and had no use of the
institutions that make it possible (unions, political parties, social
movements, collective services, public insurances, etc).

Society here is purely an emergent property stemming from individual
actions. Hayek called this "spontaneous order" and held that it's
complexity was unfathomable for any person or institution and that
trying to act on the level of these emergent/collective properties would
lead, inevitably, to tyranny because faulty knowledge had to be imposed
by force against those who knew better. And all forms of neo-liberalism
were obsessed with individual freedom. Clearly, as Brian put it, their
question was: How do I become free?

Whereas the right-wing version of neo-liberalism held that the market,
based on property-rights and contracts, where the only vehicle through
which freedom could be achieved, the left-wing Californian ideologues
though that Cyberspace, the possibility of individuals to freely
associate, could be a complimentary mechanism, based on individual
difference and idiosyncrasies.

In as much as organized political action was deemed necessary, it was
largely conceived in legal terms, that is, as a fight for individual
rights through the court system and through lobbying for regulation that
would enhance individual rights, again, following the question about to
the become a free individual.

Whereas the left-wing version, as an ideology, is largely dead, it's
model for political agency still dominates the NGO-driven world of
activism. Here, freedom is called "empowerment", but the basic
assumption are the same.  Hence all these weird dreams of "Puertopia"
(see Cornelia Sollfrank's recent post).

So, to really spit on the grave, not of the man but the ideology, we
need to rethink collective forms of agency. As Brian put it: How we do
want to govern ourselves? And, as always, come up with a good answer to
question of who is "we".

On 2018-02-08 14:08, Hans Bernhard | UBER Laboratories wrote:
> following the logic of the text below, people like barlow (and i am
> glad that i have resisted reading his texts nor listened to the music
> he wrote) are co-responsible for the way our world deals with the
> evolution and politics of technology and why our civil society has
> been deflected and divided and as a consequence never had a real
> chance to form and establish global governing bodies that have
> leverage against skynet (transnational autonomous corporate
> ai-organisms).


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