Re: Leftist project? (was: Re: [ox-en] Welcome)
- From: "I. Claude Harper" <tekell swbell.net>
- Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2001 03:45:09 -0600
in any classical sense. IMHO Oekonux is clearly an emancipatory
project - which equally clearly not all leftist / Marxist currents
have been - and it's *beyond* leftist projects in many ways.
Particularly though many of us want to overcome capitalism it's not
really anti-capitalist in any classical sense I know of. We're not
fighting anything, we are not anti-something per se.
Well that's more of declaration than a description of it's actuality. What
I am hoping to see is how what people have discussed compares and contrasts
to other theories of society for reference and perspective, not figure out
how to pigeon-hole you with a label. So far it seems more similar than
different to many things.
Are they not simply a particular manifestation of something which came
before? Such as anarchist morality - Free Association, Mutial Aid, etc.
The big difference is the necessity of morality. Free Software doesn't
need morality - it works without that. That's one of the biggest
you misunderstand me, I don't mean morality in the sense you imply. I wish
I had left out Kropotkin's phrase and spoke of them as "principles" as you
call them. I don't mean a set of ideals that dictate behavior but the
qualities of Libresoftware that naturally occur that make it work. They
seem the same as those qualities which naturally occur in people cooperative
working outside of software, such as Free Association/Cooperation, Mutial
I.e. people develop Free Software for thousands of reasons and of
course there may be moral ones like the ones above. However, as the
open source faction shows us, you *need* no morality for Free Software
to work. The principles of Free Software are *not* idealist but have
clear material advantages. That's it what does qualify them as a new
model of production.
what are the "material" advantages?
The advantages are more metaphysical, like saving money. Money is not a
Regardless, that they have advantages and thereby a non-cohercive
motivation, makes them an example of the principle of Mutial Benefit, which
is not a new model. Furthermore, we have had true material advantages, and
thereby a non-cohercive motivation to grow food, a long, long, long time
before free-software. So how's it new in anyway?
Some people liked to do it, they had the means to do it and they did.
You're relating to the means - ok. But I think there are a lot of
means already distributed among people. Why can't a group of farmers
come to similar conclusions as software developers?
Would I say it's a good idea for something similar? yes. However, there are
authorities which prevent this and perpetuate alienation. Software does not
have to deal with many of these issues and there are fundamental differences
between the two (physical and virtual) so one does not necessarily provide
an example of how the other situation would work, or that the working
systems would share identical principles.
The volume of product generated in Software, is not limited by the labor and
land necessary to create it. This makes the benefits/beneficaries of
Libresoftware unlimited, whereas the benefits of food/physical production
are always limited. Motivation to do something for free is related to
having a benefit to do so.
The nature of what is copyable (with neglible cost) is fundamentally
different than that which isn't copyable.
GPL achieves the equivalent to public/free land out of thin air. No one had
to give up private property for Libresoftware to happen and new land can be
To not be under domination of the capitalists society one (or realistically
one's community) must be self sufficient. Otherwise, within the capitalists
society large corporations can and do put you out of business and take your
land, thereby preventing you from producing food.
In the physically world bullets can kill and sufficient coercion to control
is not difficult. In the virtual world, it's an seemingly impossible task
to control behavior in a similar way, like prevent a set of bits from being
copied/moved from one place to another (in a discrimmating, legal manner).
Software isn't necessary for life. Food, water, air and other physical
And if this isn't enough fundamental differences how about this.
Unlike software, that which becomes food are living things, plants and
animals. If we are to apply the concepts of self-unfolding to plants and
animals (food production), we should consider liberating them from that
which prevents their self-unfolding. From this I would say, perma-culture
would be the best way to go.
If true, then the neo-primitivists have a point. And maybe even all
this technology can only serve to destroy the system that created it and
with it the need for us to work so much in order to produce and buy the