When Kirkpatrick Sale was finishing up Rebels Against the Future, he was interviewed by Kevin Kelly for Wired. This interview, however, became more of a debate, between a technophile and someone urging caution and limits with regard to technology – a neo-Luddite.
Kelly begins by wondering whether the Luddites accomplished anything “other than arson and a lot of vandalism.” Perhaps a brief history is in order for some of my more casual readers. Even Kelly doesn’t seem to understand the Luddites, as he claims:
The Luddite cottagers thought it was inhuman to be put out of work by machines. But what’s really inhuman is to have cloth made by human labor at all. Cloth should be made by machines, because machines make much better cloth than humans. Making cloth is not a good job for humans… Continue reading →
“I do not believe in leaks. I would execute leakers. They’re betraying our country.”
-Ralph Peters, U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel
A loosely-knit — or completely unknitted — network of hackers, called Anonymous, has pledged a protracted campaign attacking enemies of democracy. Shortly after their announcement, over a dozen hackers, said to be associated with Anonymous, were arrested for attacks on PayPal. They launched these attacks on PayPal because the website cut off the account for donations to WikiLeaks. After their arrest, the hacker group Antisec attacked over 70 servers for law enforcement departments. Part of the information they acquired includes 10GB of private law enforcement data containing mail spools of police officers from dozens of different departments; usernames, passwords, social security numbers, home addresses and phone numbers to over 7000 officers; alist of hundreds of snitches who made “anonymous” crime tips to the police; and hundreds of internal police academy training files.
The insecurity of government information, in this case the release of personal details about informants who believed to be protected by the veil of anonymity offered by police agencies, is threatening fundamental control mechanisms the state relies upon. This digital monkey-wrenching brings us one step closer to democracy.
Thoughts on Paul Hawken and Blessed Unrest by Ben Brucato, September, 2009:
One Big Movement
In Blessed Unrest, Paul Hawken discusses the history of ideas and action of “a broad nonideological movement” that “has come into being that does not invoke the masses’ fantasized will but rather engages citizens’ localized needs” (18). This movement offers “thousands of practical and useful [ideas]” and “processes, concerns, and compassion” and is “eminently pragmatic” (ibid.).
The movement that Hawken is dealing with “has three basic roots: environmental activism, social justice initiatives, and indigenous cultures’ resistance to globalization, all of which have become intertwined” (12). He explores dozens, if not hundreds, of examples of environmental destruction, human rights abuses and the decimation of aboriginal culture, some with passing comments and others with great elaboration. However, we see few mentions of particular organizations or coalitions of organizations mobilizing against a particular offender or groups of offenders with a particular single-issue campaign or as part of a broad reform or revolutionary movement. The avoidance of particulars of the movement while being particular about what they oppose is deliberate. The more he veils the conglomeration of thousands of organizations and corporations comprised by hundreds of thousands of individuals, the easier it is for him to suggest they are part of one great whole. We should, as Hawken suggests, see that “the movement’s key contribution is the rejection of one big idea,” (18) but that this is one big movement.