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Capitalism

“The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones.” - Karl Marx

§ About

This section is where I write/link resources about Capitalism and how to fight it. It’s impossible to free our society without a huge revolution, but we can create small-utopia, freeing ourselves and the people close to us.

§ Hacker vs Vectorialist

We are living new times. The Capitalist class may be subject to a new one. The Vectoralist. They don’t need the means of production (as in industries), they have the intellectual Property in their hands. Source.

§ Hacker

(from wikipedia) For Wark, hacking begins with what she defines as an “abstraction”, the construction of different and unrelated matters into previously unrealized relations. Hackers produce new conceptions, perceptions and sensations hacked out of raw data. Everything and anything is a code for the hacker to hack, be it “programming, language, poetic language, math, or music, curves or colourings” and once hacked, they create the possibility for new things to enter the world. What they create is not necessarily “great”, or “even good”, but new, in the areas of culture, art, science, and philosophy or “in any production of knowledge where data can be extracted from it.”

Wark argues that (new) information comes from the hack. It doesn’t matter if you are a computer programmer, a philosopher, a teacher, a musician, a physicist, if you essentially produce new information - it’s a hack. In this sense, hackers are creators and they bring new ideas into the world. The aim of the book is to highlight the origins, purpose and efforts by this emerging hacker class, who produce new; concepts, perceptions, and sensations out of the stuff of raw data.

§ Commodification of information

The commodification of information is about how information that was free is appropriated by the vectoral class. McKenzie claims that free information is not a product, but a condition of the affective allocation of resources. There are many public and gift economies based around free information that keep the question of property open.

According to McKenzie Wark when information becomes a commodity it means we will only be able to see the information produced by the vectoral class. This is because they are the ones whose profits depend on the scarcity of information. So when information becomes intellectual property we are bound to repeat the same commodity form, because this is what the market decrees. She states that the “hack” which monetizes information introduces the “vectoralist” class.

It is the hacker class that produces new information, free from the restrictions of a property form. This however is then used by the vectoral class, who own and control the means of production of information on an industrial scale and mediates connections and access to information (Paolo Pedercini, the founder of the radical games project Molleindustria cites companies like Google, Uber or Airbnb as typical representatives of the vectoral class). The hacker and the vectoral class aren’t always at odds with each other. They can compromise on the free flow of information and the extraction of wealth from this information to fund its development. Think of the open source movement, Reddit and Wikipedia. McKenzie Wark believes that the hacker class should ally themselves with the other producing classes so that they together don’t have to answer to the vectoral class anymore.

§ Vectoralist Class

The hacker’s main opposition to creating a world where information is free, and free of scarcity, is what Wark denotes as the “vectoralist” class. Named for their control over vectors (i.e. various pathways and networks over which information flows), the vectoralist class are the modern day dotcom corporate giants, the transnational turbo-capitalist regime, who own the means of production and thus monopolize abstractions. They maintain control by waging “an intensive struggle to dispossess hackers of their intellectual property”, enforced by a series of patent and copyright laws that are used to separate the hacker class from the fruits of their labor.

§ Classes?

Central to the question of class is the category of property. Class is no mystery. It’s a simple relation of possession or non-possession of the means of production. If you don’t own the means of production, you work for those who do, and you will receive less than the value of what you produce in return, and you will have no control over the production process in which you are obliged to labor. Hence farmers confront a pastoralist class, which owns land and extracts rents from farmers. That’s the class struggle in most of the world. And hence workers confront capitalists who extract profits from their ownership of industry and pay workers in wages. So for example there are 80 million industrial workers in China now. If there are two axes of class conflict in the world then why not posit a third? Hackers produce new information, but do not own the means of realizing the value of what they produce. We have to sell our labor to a vectoralist class, which owns the means of realizing the value of new information. - Source

§ Intellectual Property

§ What is digital colonialism?

Under classic colonialism, Europeans dispossessed native peoples of their land, exploited their labour, exercised extraterritorial governance, and perpetuated dependency and plunder through strategic underdevelopment. Corporations like the East India Company played a pivotal role in this process. In their pursuit of profit and power, Europeans took ownership and control of critical infrastructure, including ports, waterways, and railroads.

Under this arrangement, imperial powers designed railways for plunder by foreign empires: They bypassed the villages of the indigenous populations and linked up commercial and military outposts to the sea ports. Native peoples were exploited to extract raw materials, which were sent back to Europe for manufacturing. Surplus European products would then flood the colonies, undermining the indigenous population’s ability to develop its own local industries. Colonial powers deployed this infrastructural domination across their vast empire.

Similar to the technical architecture of classic colonialism, digital colonialism is rooted in the design of the tech ecosystem for the purposes of profit and plunder. If the railways and maritime trade routes were the “open veins” of the Global South back then, today, digital infrastructure takes on the same role: Big Tech corporations use proprietary software, corporate clouds, and centralised Internet services to spy on users, process their data, and spit back manufactured services to subjects of their data fiefdoms.

(quote from Digital Colonialism is threating the Global South)

§ Alternatives

§ solidarity-economy

§ Related pages

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