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Re: [ox-en] Re: Marxists and Anarchists, was: Re: [AktiviX] Reading on politics of free software

Benj. Mako Hill wrote:

On Wed, Jan 21, 2004 at 01:23:30PM -0500, Art McGee wrote:
More importantly, the less "controlled" nature of the FLOSS
development process is something that Anarchists grasp

Except of course the Luddite or semi-Luddite anarchists. There are many
-- but don't expect them to chime in on this list!

Ahem! You're re-iterating the old stereotypes about Luddites. We [1]
followers of General Ludd are firm believers in the use of techne to
improve the lot of the worker - but are absolutely opposed to those
technologies that dehumanise.

You want software writing? Give people computers, shelter, food, coffee,
basic medical care, network access and electricity. Leave them alone. If
there was any real reason to write the software, it'll get written.
Marxists, on the other hand, due to their tendency to want top-down
control, only tend to theorize about Open Source and Free Software
in the abstract, but are less likely to be the ones getting their
hands dirty or actualizing the open principles of the movement into
areas outside of software.

I'd be interested to see any sort of research or numbers that support
this. Working on FLOSS in non-profit and social justice areas, I tend
to run into a large number of FLOSS developers with a particular type
of politics. When I see a political topic brought up on a large
explicitly non-political FLOSS project (like Debian) I'm given lots of
reasons to rethink any generalizations my initial experiences may have
led me to.

There's the obvious "california libertarian" ideology that appears in
technological elites which has many similarities with (is?)
right-Anarchism. Call it Mondo2000-Anarchism[2] to discriminate. Whilst
it is possible to train in technology and acquire a social conscience in
the process, as long as Universities regard teaching ethics as the least
important thing they can do, we will continue to find that most people
who are involved in technology regard[3] politics as something that can
and should be kept separate from it. This is a great trick that has been
played on us.

cheers, rich.


Benjamin Mako Hill

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[1]  Yes, I'm a luddite, no-work anarchist and company director. Keeps the old
     mind limber.

[2]  I was going to call it Wired-Anarchism, but that's mostly a
     RandCorp propganda paper these days :->

[3]  Regard - or have been trained to think. Probably the latter.

rich walker | technical person | Shadow Robot Company | rw
front-of-tshirt space to let     251 Liverpool Road   |
                                 London  N1 1LX       | +UK 20 7700 2487

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