On the objects of communism: a hacking panel
Johan Soderberg: Hackers and the Left: Bridging the gap / Toni Prug: The objects of Communism: State-form Hacks
Hackers and the Left: Bridging the gapby Johan Soderberg
The paper argues that the political left can learn from looking at the political conflicts which have erupted around computer technology, free software development, and file-sharing. In a time when most traditional protest movements are dispirited and lack a sense of direction, the computer underground is full of self-confidence due to the successful challenges which it has launched against entrenched interests in society. But the gap in attitudes, methods of organisation, and worldviews between the hacker movement and the traditional left is huge. The paper will investigate the difficulties in overcoming these obstacles. Hopefully hackers and radicals can be brought closer together by the one commonality which they share, namely, the desire to challenge capital's monopoly over the means of developing technology.
The objects of Communism: State-form Hacksby Toni Prug
Free-market capitalist ideology died in the financial crisis of 2008. But its zombie flesh eaters (destruction of the planet and human spirit, its wars and speculators) might linger for centuries. Unless we stop them. Dismissing the dysfunctionalism of the parliamentary capitalist-democratic framework is easy, what do we replace it with? This presentation argues that the objects of future egalitarian societies are all around us. From Free Software, Linux, Google and Facebook, to rough consensus, electronic books and financial and organizational openness - it is our task to rethink and re-purpose whatever possible. We need to become generic hackers, turning anything to our advantage, learning from capitalists who for centuries used whatever we opposed them with as a source of their own strength. Ideological mind-debilitating fears still abound - that of communism and of the strong state - can be dispelled with if we embrace new technologies and ways of collaboration as parts of a new participatory, cooperative, economico-legal egalitarian future. In Negri's recent words: we could ‘easily satisfy all the needs of all the populations in the world all that we need today is to try the possible’. Hacking is a political possibility that is here, in front of us. Its possibilities are open and yet to be determined. The State-forms of all kinds (local councils, courts, parliaments, political parties, unions, childcare, health, educational and social care institutions) await to be hacked.