I missed you!

Come talk to me!

So after over six years of wishing I still had you all to talk to, I’ve decided to do something about it. Social media is exhausting, threatening, annoying and time-consuming, but interesting people are necessary and fun. Writing in an absolute vacuum is not fun and what I am writing is probably now unintelligible because I am so in my own head. So here’s my plan and it’s open for discussion.

For those who don’t know, I am writing a series of books all at once. It is kind of like being pregnant with a dozen babies at once but only being able to birth them at a rate of one every year or two. I’d give a lot to be able to speed up the process and get at least the first quartet finished and out there in months, not years. I also think I’d better start getting feedback before I hit publish on some of this.

In order to move at a reasonable speed, I need more time writing. Since my writing is (ahem) only appreciated by an exclusive audience, it doesn’t exactly pay the rent. Neither does it pay for such luxuries as decent book covers, translations, audio etc. If you’d like to help me deliver these books faster and in better form it would be very appreciated.

How I’d like to accomplish the above is by bringing back the Binding Chaos community and giving it a place to grow. I know a lot of you are very frustrated because you like the ideas but you have no one to talk to about them. A lot of you also would like to clarify some points or provide feedback and your emails and messages go unanswered far too often (sorry!).

So I am going to use a lot of the tools that Patreon now has (Discord, Discourse, WordPress limited access) and create a Patreon community where we can experiment with more open, two-way communication, where people can get involved at the level they choose but without the trolls and imaginative death threats of social media. Kind of like an epistemic community! Here it is, check it out.

I’m excited, I hope you’re excited and we can build something that really works for all of us.

Talk to you soon!

New book: The Creation of Me, Them and Us

The Creation of Me, Them and Us is available now at these locations:

Amazon: paperback or Kindle

Kobo

Barnes and Noble

Google play

Donate to support my work through Paypal. Join the discussion on reddit and Goodreads. Leave a review at Amazon and / or Good reads and / or anywhere else. Thank you!

image2 copyThe single greatest tool for making moral people commit atrocities is group affiliation. The single greatest tool for promoting global human rights and equality is to end group affiliation.

This book is an expansion of the thought above, written in Binding Chaos in 2013. In 2013, so many things seemed simple and self-evident. In 2020, the goal seems as clear as ever, but the road seems much longer and many things have to be examined in detail that were glossed over a decade ago. Like our journey, this book is more complicated than the book written almost a decade ago. It will take longer to read and longer still to debate, but like Spain’s 15-M movement used to say, we are moving slowly because we are travelling a long way.

When our quest for justice falls apart we, like Inigo Montoya, need to go back to the beginning. This book is the beginning. It is part of a series that will cover the structure of our institutions, but before we can discuss our institutions, we need to discuss who we are. This series begins by examining the nature of self, life, will, reality and power. The rest of the series looks at the societal institutions which have grown up around nations, economy, law, governance, architecture and technology. These books are all a further examination of the problems identified in Binding Chaos in 2013.

By the time we reach the end of this series, we will hopefully be back on the road to building a better world, armed with a better understanding of where and how we were derailed. I hope it is some help to each of you on your own paths.

H.


The Binding Chaos series

A look at the world – Binding Chaos

Self – The Creation of Me, Them and Us

Life – Abstracting Divinity

Reality – Shaping Reality

Will – Free Will and Seductive Coercion

Power – Great Men, Commoners, Witches and Wretches

Nation – The Fourth Age of Nations

Economy – The Approval Economy

Law – Law and Chaos

Governance – Autonomy Diversity Society

Architecture – Rethinking the Moats and Mountains

Technology – Code Will Rule

The first of the new books is live now and will be available in other formats and serialized over the next weeks.

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Comments are open for those who just want to say hi or comment on this book or series, but I am not around here much so it is not a good place for promotion or lengthy discussions of things, people and projects unrelated to the work here. I have no idea who or what is being promoted in the comments, so don’t do that. Maybe start a subreddit or whatever it is people do now for wider discussion? If people use the comments to promote other people and projects I have to shut them because I don’t have time to moderate – also this is not the place for that. If you want to start a place for a wider discussion of this book plus other things, feel free to link it below.

Yay, someone did it! Here is a reddit forum for all of you that want to talk to each other.

 

Covers, clean up and collaboration

So I succeeded in scaring myself by showing the first people what the next book is about. Publishing is actually terrifying for me, I get extreme stage fright and can only really do it when I think no one is reading anyway. But it’s started and what is done can’t be undone so that helps me stop waffling. A couple chapters are out for any patrons who want to see them and a couple more are out to my amazing epistemic community. There will be a lot more to the epistemic community in the upcoming month.

Besides that, I have also been heeding my friend’s admonition to take my own work seriously and I had the most wonderful luck in getting a brilliant designer to do the covers.

Join the Binding Chaos community!

The beginning of the end!

This month I’m going to start serializing Abstracting Divinity! 

Abstracting Divinity is not complete yet but I need to motivate myself to stop waffling with the chapter divisions and I need to scare myself with due dates so here goes! They say a painting is finished when it is sold so maybe publishing these books is the way to complete them. I am also hoping that we can have more interesting conversations if I give you something to read. Join us!

Read more with the Binding Chaos community.

Relative safety

Bill Gates and Elon Musk walked into a restaurant. That’s not a joke setup, it’s what a server at the mid-level restaurant in Vancouver told me. Apparently they wandered in for a dinner together when they were both in town for Ted talks, before Musk started posting rude memes and leaking dm’s implying that he rejected Gates’ offer to meet. 

But that’s not the point. Billionaires wander around like that every day, completely unmolested, even though they supposedly have so many enemies and ill wishers. And why should they not go unmolested? That is normal in a civilized world, right? 

Continue reading with the Binding Chaos community!

Book mitosis

Abstracting Divinity is coming soon!

As I mentioned in the first newsletter, I am working on the next three books of the ontology quartet and as I promised in the last newsletter, this post will talk about the one I will be publishing next. The first book in this quartet was The Creation of Me, Them and Us and it looked at the nature of the self and how that affected our behaviour and social structures. The next is called Abstracting Divinity and it will look at everything we know or can theorize about life and how it affects every aspect of our institutions and social structures. Some of the many questions looked at are:

  • What is life?
  • What laws govern the nature of life?
  • How do these laws affect our behaviour?
  • How do these laws, which should govern the social sciences, relate to the laws of the physical sciences?

In order to explain where I am in the timeline of completing these books, I need to explain how I work. Most people assume I start with a plan, design a framework and skeleton draft and fill it in like a normal person. Sadly, no.

Continue reading

Spring

I prefer the pain of change to the bleak despair and silence of totalitarianism. 

I’m still not sure what you all want to hear in these newsletters so please do reach out and tell me! I’ve heard from a couple of you that analysis of current events would be interesting. I don’t think it’s of much benefit for me to talk about what is going on in Ukraine in a monthly blog post though. There are a lot of other things going on that are devastating all the people I know: endless health concerns, a giant overwhelming wave of addictions and mental health breakdowns and the death and violence that brings, the equally overwhelming increase in organized crime, both in government and without, the powerful fat on Covid money and the poor desperate from social collapse – and of course the ongoing and still ignored environmental catastrophe.

But what I would like to talk about is the increasing relief I’m feeling each year. It seems very paradoxical since we seem to be watching the world crumbling but for me, it is a rotten old structure that is crumbling and it is being lifted by new growth. It feels like spring thaw – all the beautiful ice is melting and a winter’s worth of garbage is emerging into view but things are also appearing that we haven’t seen in a long time. So here is what I can see and smell in the spring air and what it looks like to me.

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The catalyst effect of COVID-19

I had hoped to have more published at this point in 2020 but life has been a little distracting. Most of what I have written that applies to the political upheavals being manifested in current events is written in Autonomy, Diversity, Society, a book which is not even next on the list to be published, so I thought I would write a short tl;dr. This is especially for those of you who have heard me go on about 2020 for ten years now and have read bits of my still unpublished work about the economy and fourth ages of nations. I apologize for taking so long to get this series out but hopefully this helps as a preview.

We are, or will be, going through the most radical transformation the world has ever seen; people are justly terrified, excited, depressed, heartbroken and hopeful, all at once. It is very tempting to stop everything and live in the moment, but some things need us to be alert, careful and creative. One thing I have been saying for years is the US, China and Russia (and others) are all headed for a major crisis in 2020 (which is here now!) and so is the world generally. While some states are undergoing terror and totalitarianism, others are seeing unprecedented opportunities for healing. The key point is that we are scaling up into a mono-empire from a system of two rival economic ideologies (cold war communism and capitalism). In terms already introduced in The Creation of Me, Them and Us, this means our two dominant authoritative endogroups are being sublated to one transcendental endogroup. There will be three major things to watch for in this transition.

One, the economy is not going to be nearly as important as it was before. This may be unimaginable to people who have been accustomed to framing all of our problems in terms of economics, but think of how religions and states faded as the dominant endogroups when new transcendental endogroups appeared. Things that appear essential to society can fade into irrelevance if they are based only on endoreality, as economics is. The crash we started the year off with will not simply produce a depression and then recovery. Instead, it will illustrate the fact that economics now is simply an abstracted power structure with no underlying support in universal reality (like all endoreality). Economics as we know it, is dead. This does not mean it will disappear completely overnight, or that it will not remain in some form in some places, but, like religions, states, families, and other formerly dominant endogroups, it will no longer be the dominant or authoritative power structure in our lives. This is explained in great detail in The Approval Economy which will be published one day.

Two, in accordance with the law of the last circle, also explained in The Creation of Me, Them and Us, places like the US, and China are going to try to fall back to old real or imagined endogroups such as those around states, religions, etc. as the economic endogroups weaken. We have already seen this in the global reversion to various forms of endogroups producing widespread nationalism, sexism, racism, religious cults and every other form of endosocial extremism. This will continue in some regions, and we are still at risk of civil wars and other endogroup atrocities from this.

Three, and this is by far the most interesting – the world is attempting to transition into a mono-empire. It is already very evident, and has been for years, that the form of this mono-empire would feature totalitarianism beyond any of our wildest nightmares. This nightmare future has a very substantial implementation problem, however. An endogroup, as explained in The Creation of Me, Them and Us, is an emergency power structure that humans instinctually create and support in response to external threat. One of the six components of every endogroup is an existential threat from external forces. Another is an identity which enables exclusive membership. An empire which includes everyone cannot be exclusive or have plausibly threatening external forces. If there is no external threat, the equally inherent human tendency to egalitarianism creates a counter force which will dismantle any endogroup power structures created in times of emergency. A mono-empire has no external endogroup to act as an existential threat and so a mono-empire cannot form or maintain its defensive structure. It dissolves even as it attempts to form. This will become increasingly apparent this year as the last vestiges of dominant economic ideology weaken. The projected and planned-for mono-empire will never be able to fully form or hold its power, although it will be dangerous as it fights to do so.

The response to the lack of an external endogroup threat has been to create, or use, anthropomorphized natural threats, similar to the recent War on drugs, War on terror or US president Trump’s anthropomorphizing of a virus into a ‘brilliant Invisible Enemy’. We are certainly all facing plenty of existential threats from corporate destruction, climate change, pandemics and more. We have definitely seen the usual suspects using all of these crises to institute more extreme totalitarianism. There is a difference that is becoming more obvious every week, however.

An external threat that is not a rival endogroup does not produce an endogroup power structure to combat it. A naturally occurring environmental threat creates widespread exosocial collaboration, as is seen in every disaster. The first thing that happens in a disaster is the breakdown of endogroups and hierarchy and the establishment of altruistic exosocial aid. This has happened around the world in response to all of our current environmental threats. Instead of helping to entrench endogroup power, these disasters are creating exosocial opportunity.

Given all of this, we have three goals we ought to pursue right now. One, consider collaboration free of trade economy norms. We don’t need cryptocurrency, or even basic income, as much as we need institutions of sharing and free services like transit, medical care, education, food and housing. Develop these ideas, even if they seem far-fetched right now – they won’t for long. We really do need Getgee – it’s a shame it received no support because it would be very useful right now. It is long past time to disrupt the Silicon Valley vapour capitalists and put collaborative economies under control of local networks.

Two, watch out for and combat the still present and very dangerous endosocial extremism arising in places of collapsing economic power, including the desperate attempts at transcendental totalitarianism. Do not confuse shared responsibility for keeping us all safe with totalitarianism. Infecting your neighbours has nothing to do with exosocial collaboration or combating tyranny. Autogenocide in the name of the old god Economy is a sign of endosocial extremism and cruelty, not exosocial connection and altruism.

Three, we have never in the history of humanity had an opportunity like we do now to be free of endosocial extremism. This is the moment I have been waiting for, and hopefully you have as well. We can prevent power structures from returning by establishing exosocial collaboration and refusing to allow autogenocidal actions like pollution to be re-normalized. It is futile to weed without planting; now is our window to plant the seeds of a better world. Here are a few of the opportunities we are being given in various parts of the world and which we can try to establish and defend in all parts.

  • The fact that pollution increases COVID-19 deaths has been used to limit vehicle traffic and reclaim city streets for physical distancing of bikes and pedestrians. Vehicle traffic has always increased deaths from pollution, not to mention the astronomical amount of deaths caused by vehicle accidents; reclaim all city streets and never give them back.
  • Pollution is so unhealthy every day that the COVID-19 shutdowns of industry have, in some regions, potentially saved more lives than were lost to the pandemic. Pollution needs to continue to be recognized and treated as a global health emergency on par with the pandemic.
  • Public transit is free in some places to reduce contact with bus drivers. Don’t ever let it be unfree again. Providing free streets for vehicles and charging for public transit is taxing the necessities of the poor for the autogenocidal luxuries of the wealthy.
  • Food banks are receiving more government funding in places; food stores ought to be free, filled with healthy, locally produced food. Think of the carbon footprint reduction, medical care reduction, and general increase in happiness and competence that would be caused by universal access to fresh, healthy food and universal ability to grow and share food locally, perhaps in the laneways and parking lots freed from vehicle traffic. Why should every child have a right to education but not food? How is free health care effective if healthy food, air and water are unattainable?
  • Evictions have been stopped in some places and those without homes are suddenly being housed to prevent COVID-19 deaths. Poverty and lack of housing has always been lethal; eradicate poverty and universalize access to homes.
  • Some people have acknowledged that releasing the majority of prisoners will create no social ill and prisons are inhumane. Some are even acknowledging the extreme mental distress and increased tendency to violence caused by social isolation. Use this opportunity to re-examine the goals and methods of archaic and cruel prison punishments and construct rehabilitative alternatives which focus on harm prevention.
  • The Canadian government and others have rejected IP protection for necessary COVID-19 treatment and supplies; abolish IP while crediting creators and we will see an explosion in creativity and scientific advancement. COVID-19 is hardly the only emergency facing the world.
  • The vital need for knowledge emanating from transparent, two-way, epistemic communities and facilitated by knowledge bridges is finally being recognized. Ignorance is lethal. Knowledge needs to be a human right. Establish protection and support for this right in all areas of social collaboration, including corporate and governance activity.
  • Health is, at least for a moment, being prioritized over industry. This is a sign of the weakening of industrial endo-idealism. This must be recognized as the moment of sublation it is; do not allow this moment of victory over industrial endo-idealism to blind us to its potential replacement by a transcendental mono-empire. Be aware of these attempts, such as Google and Apple surveillance justified by the pandemic, and instead, seize the moment to establish exosocial collaboration.
  • Transparent, collaborative knowledge with two-way epistemic communities are providing the information on health guidelines. All science needs to be open and collaborative and unfiltered through political and corporate interests. Cancer and many other diseases could also be greatly reduced with the same transparency and prioritizing of health over industry.
  • We are seeing an example of governance by epistemic communities, Knowledge regarding the pandemic is global and transparent. Policy implementation is under networked regional authority which consults and defers to regional experts informed by that global knowledge. This is the new method of collaborative governance that I described a decade ago and wrote in Binding Chaos. For this method to work, knowledge (not simply speech or information) must be a human right.
  • Tourism has all but halted. Some states, such as the US, and China, will attempt to use this to entrench totalitarianism and greatly restrict ability to move. Let’s instead try to create a new habit of slow travel; let’s forfeit the social media selfies and work on creating true links of friendship, mutual aid, trust and discovery when we are guests in other people’s communities and homes.
  • Worry about supply chains is suddenly causing questioning of international forced dependency on trade. This is a window to encourage collaboration through networked development of strength and support, not hierarchical development of enforced dependency.
  • Airbnb and others have taken a huge economic hit. This could be an opportunity to develop Getgee and networked control of our own service industries, instead of apps controlled in Silicon Valley.

These and many other opportunities for great social change are being presented where just a few months ago the same ideas were dismissed as utopian and unrealistic. These aren’t even the biggest opportunities, however. The greatest social change of the last months has been the redirection of social approval from endosocial destroyers to exosocial creators. Instead of powerful endo-ideals and men with guns, the world is looking to actions coming from caregivers. The focus on essential services has highlighted the real contributors to social health. Saving lives is finally being recognized as more valuable than ending them.

The crisis conditions highlighted now have always existed for some. It is time for the world to see and acknowledge those that are always required to live in circumstances deemed unacceptable for the majority. In Canada, the federal government provided a temporary relief payment of $2000 a month for many people. Ineligible were the majority of those who are always forced to live far below the poverty line on pensions, disability payments and social assistance. The latter are still expected to live on a payment as low as $593 a month (depending on the province). The poor are the negative image who are dehumanized every day under wealth endo-idealism. Also dehumanized are those who are victims of the industrial endo-ideal. In Korea, that is victims of Samsung, and in Canada it is victims of resource corporations. These victims are not only not compensated for their injuries, they are silenced by media and the public and ignored by government. In a world free of endosocial extremism, all have equivalent value.

The pandemic we are facing is indeed a huge disaster. It is not the reason we are seeing these great social changes, however. I have been presenting huge social disasters in the hopes that people may be inspired to social change for years, and it has never worked. The world has clearly understood for many years that we are facing extinction, Genocides and atrocities, including caging children in concentration camps and state organ trafficking, have been ignored all over the world. Everyone knows that corporations are killing people and the earth for no apparent reason. The world is finally convinced that every single institution of power is involved in atrocities towards the most vulnerable, such as child rape and trafficking. As was my worst fear, exposure simply normalized it instead of stopping it. It is not the size or horror of this pandemic that has brought social change. The change is a direct result of the collapse of endosocialism under what was intended to be a global mono-empire. A mono-empire cannot hold its shape as an endogroup, even with the support of the most extreme totalitarianism.

As long as we are trapped in endogroups, people have proved throughout history that there is no atrocity or horror they will not normalize and justify. The fact that this current pandemic is suddenly creating sweeping changes in most populations is because of the lifting of the veil of endoreality. Those who were the invisible negative image of industrial or wealth endo-idealism are finally being seen as those endogroups weaken. The most industry-worshiping states still devalue our elders and instantly cast all those who are ill as the negative image. This has produced attempted terrorist attacks on hospitals and blocking access to them which we have seen in Brazil and the United States. As explained in The Creation of Me, Them and Us, the act of falling ill is enough to cast a person as the negative image in an industrial endogroup. This has been obvious for years through the condemnation of the ill to poverty and social ostracization but it becomes more evident as hospitals are threatened with bombs and hospital workers are evicted and shunned. The violence and disinformation attacks are a domestic escalation of the attacks by foreign interests suffered by caregivers in organizations such as MSF and the White Helmets for years. The current domestic escalation is a sign of the extreme effort being expended in trying to hold the last endogroups together. Every threat to an endogroup results in increased violence towards its own weakest members, the negative image. All externally directed atrocities eventually come home to roost, including genocide.

Unfortunately, endogroups are not the only major social problem we need to contend with. We have also created a large population of people who can only exist on secondary euphoria, that obtained from destruction and the suffering of others. Exosocial collaboration greatly increases during times of disaster, but so does the feeding frenzy of those who have an overwhelming craving for the suffering of others. The shame killings described in The Creation of Me, Them and Us, and in much more detail in Abstracting Divinity, are a feature of every endogroup collapse.

Those who crave the pain and destruction of others exist freely due to the cloak of endoreality which shields them from accountability. Their actions are depicted as necessary and unavoidable instead of the simple cruelty they are. We can combat these people by naming their actions and their guilt. Those that block transparent information and try to instigate an autogenocide of as many people as possible through encouraging uninformed action are cruel for their own gratification. This applies not only to COVID-19 but to all the branches of autogenocide we are facing.

Their reflectors, those who attribute all virtue to their endo-ideal and reject all guilt by their endo-ideal will have a very difficult time attributing the correct motivation to these lethal actions and will diminish such cruelty as much as possible. We are governed by information and our belief in and acceptance of that information. Transparent, verified information and knowledge bridges are the most important tools available to us today. Endoreality, which assigns all ownership, virtue, credit and victimhood to the endo-ideal and all vice, guilt and punishment to the negative image, acts to shield the endo-ideal from their own guilt and persecute the negative image. Endoreality is the primary tool of tyranny and the means to keep the world in chains of our own creation.

We are seeing the darkest part of the night before the dawn. It helps to understand what we are seeing and the desperation driving the current extreme actions of those upholding the last endogroups. The most dangerous time in any endogroup occurs on its destruction. We are living in a time of potentially unprecedented global exosocial collaboration but also a time of great danger. We need to understand the danger but also to understand that it will pass. The world is living through a time of great pain but great pain is always a motivator for exosocial expansion. The tearing of endogroup bonds and former euphoric connections results in a global need to create new connections. We have an opportunity to create those connections with discovery, with creation and with each other, through altruistic and power-free interactions. Let’s care for each other, beware of dangers and, at the same time, plant the seeds for the new world we want to grow.

 

Most of these concepts are elaborated in the two published books in the Binding Chaos series. There is also a glossary here which may be of some help.

 

Wikileaks, Data Justice and a New Internet

An interview with Julian von Bargen of York University for an academic research project in the data justice field on the “origins, growth and transformation of the information freedom movement”.

Julian von Bargen: How did you get started with WikiLeaks?

Heather Marsh: I was asked to create a news outlet for Wikileaks as a result of my pre-existing involvement in information and internet freedom and human rights journalism. Wikileaks at that point was a massive global megaphone with very little to say beyond the leaks presented through third-party media. That left both the organization and the leaks wide open to interpretation by what was at that point an all-powerful media in service to state and corporate interests. I felt that the people who risked everything to bring information to the public deserved more support. I had already been deeply involved in attempting to challenge the corporate and state monopoly on information presentation, which was far worse in those days before social media influence reached today’s level. [1] I wanted to focus on what I attempted to define as “the information we require in order to govern ourselves” and redirect the news spotlight, which back then was fixed on men with guns, to other people that really needed it. In those days, there was both editorial disinterest and audience hostility to any news outside their normal lens.

I was the sole editor / admin, and the only one in the organization with any real interest in the news site, so I had full autonomy (and responsibility) for everything on the Wikileaks news site (not the leak site). This meant an incredible amount of extremely stressful, unpaid work but also an opportunity that was impossible for me to pass up. Between 2010 and 2012, Wikileaks was possibly the largest political megaphone in the world, and I had what was effectively an exclusive ability to provide human rights and political content to that megaphone. In 2010, there really were not many options for human rights news to be amplified globally and most news was siloed by language. Through the site, stories that I had been trying to tell for years were suddenly reaching people, globally and instantly, so I worked with people around the world to publish every single day. Through use of the Wikileaks umbrella, all of these stories were suddenly acceptable to both mainstream news editors and their audiences as part of a voracious appetite for ‘Wikileaks news’.

JB: Why did you leave?

HM: That relationship was always going to be shaky. Media spent two years posting my ideas, words and work with Julian’s face and name on top. [2] The public representation of the association was agreed to on terms decided by Julian, which were “Neither confirm nor deny.” This arrangement ended for two reasons: one, Julian’s political ideas and agenda, which had always and often strongly conflicted with mine, became more intrusive and difficult to separate from the work on the site, and two, it became increasingly clear that in crediting an organization I had no control over with my work, and the work of my writers, and other movements I was heavily involved with, I was establishing a misplaced trust that may negate any good that could come out of my use of that megaphone.

That has been evident repeatedly since I left and the organization has acted in direct opposition to what I and my writers worked towards on the site. As just a few examples, they have whitewashed (and met with, through the Wikileaks Party) a genocidal dictator in Syria, in horrifying opposition to my daily coverage of the atrocities there and my earlier work covering Assad’s cooperation with the CIA in torturing people they trafficked to Syria. Wikileaks spoke out against refugees in opposition to my years of work supporting refugee rights. They helped Trump and others deflect from my crowd sourced OpDeatheaters investigation into human trafficking and paedosadism with the decoy ‘pizzagate’ noise, very specifically targeting and attempting to counter and discredit my work. As soon as I left, they threw out all my years of meticulous work establishing the credibility of everything I published by backing obviously false and biased reporting (pizzagate as just one example). They have spoken out against both Anonymous and Occupy, despite them being credited with both movements through my work. They even conflated viral interest around a project where I was trying to create a decentralized news platform (Global Square, precursor to Getgee) with their own closed-source, IP-logging, hierarchical venture.

I do not regret using the megaphone for the years I did because there was no alternative at that point for getting these stories out or expanding the interests of news audiences and editors, but I also have no regrets about jumping when Jeremy Hammond was arrested.

JB: How did your approach to data activism change after your experiences there?

HM: To be clear, these were not new issues. In the 2010 media climate, there was no way to be widely acknowledged, not even through social media, without an established news site. It was much later before any news would be considered official or verified if it was not routed through a western man or organization. Technologically, it was impossible to create a non-hierarchical news organization, due to the sealed-well structure of the web. These three factors made it impossible for me to amplify any human rights stories or continue my primary goal, which was to broaden the Overton window of what and who was considered newsworthy, without working within these constraints. By 2012, not only had the problems with Wikileaks become too difficult but the problems with social media had lessened. I was able then to drop the Wikileaks megaphone and focus on the Anonymous and other megaphones which I had also been using. [3] This way, I could still have all my stories picked up, under the persona of what were widely presented as collectives of elite western men.

The Anonymous megaphone, as well as those created as part of the 2011 movements, were under heavy interference and co-option by state ‘cyber-armies’ however, who mimicked and co-opted all of my media strategies for their own ends and were in a constant war to intercept and divert every story. They made social media, and especially Anonymous, almost completely unusable by 2015. I practice fold when you’re beaten on the board, and that point was the end of 2015 for me on social media. That was also around the same time it was newly acceptable to write about issues without the western male lens, so the Anonymous brand was less important.

The issues around the structure of the web are perpetuated with the structure of social media, and I have been trying, quite unsuccessfully, to challenge that aspect for most of this decade and earlier. I have not yet received any support or convenient window of opportunity which will help me with that and it is not something I can do completely unpaid and independently against ridiculously well-funded opposition, as I did all of the other work. I have therefore been focusing on work I can complete without support.

JB: What does information freedom mean to you?

HM: Information freedom is the freedom to access, participate in, understand and benefit from knowledge creation. This includes access to raw data, transparent auditing processes which include both elite knowledge and complete and immediate feedback from user groups and anyone else impacted, and interpretation which flows directly from the audit without interference from coercive manipulation.

The most important and difficult part of this goal is freedom from all forms of coercion by state and corporate actors, of which censorship of information is only one aspect. Years of research and trillions of dollars annually go into redefining terms, manipulating trust and emotive responses and every other type of coercion directing how information is received by the audience. Even if we managed to establish access to information, freedom of information cannot exist under a totalitarian state or supranational empire such as we have now. No attempt to reform information access will succeed until the mafia running interference is dismantled.

JB: What does data activism mean to you?

HM: Data activism is simply human rights. Information is power. It is secrecy that maintains power at the top and violation of privacy that depletes it at the bottom. The right to define reality is the right which creates all power.

JB: Why do you think information and internet reform is necessary?

HM: Information reform is necessary because an uninformed vote is a coerced vote. The freedom to be heard and the right to knowledge are far more important than the right to vote in a democracy. Access to the information we require in order to govern ourselves is a foundational right in a democracy, even synonymous with the word. Today this belief is marginalized, along with a belief in the right to privacy, as fringe or ‘hacker’ issues but they are rights agreed to in articles 12 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, written in 1948, as the foundation of democracy or any form of consensual governance.

Internet reform is necessary because what is being created is no less than the implementation of an inescapable web of global totalitarianism and it will be very, very hard to dismantle when it is complete. It is governance by algorithm and the algorithm is based on inequality and tyranny. The general public seems as oblivious to what is happening with the internet now as they were when it was first developed. A very consistent refrain among the disinformation networks has always been that anything that happens online is unimportant and it is only ‘in the streets’ that activism is important. This has been a consistent message pushed onto activist circles, especially since 2011, for the obvious reason that the internet is by far the most important venue for challenging a global totalitarian state and there is really nothing you can do on a street against a global empire unless you are connected globally, online. The amount of state and corporate spending on interference makes its importance clear.

JB: What sorts of reforms do you think are necessary?

HM: A lot deeper reforms than most people seem to realize. That is such a big question I am currently writing an entire series of books in an attempt to answer it.

JB: How would you go about trying to achieve those reforms?

HM: See above, but as a start, knowledge needs to be recognized as a human right. Without knowledge, our actions are not our own; we are coerced to act in someone else’s interest. The right to knowledge requires more than the existing (already very insufficient) protections for freedom of speech and the press. Some other necessary components are:

Redesign the internet to allow open, information-centric collaboration. [4]

Restructure the scientific and academic communities to create open, two-way epistemic communities independent of state and corporate interests.

Abolish intellectual property and all ownership and restriction on the use of ideas and information. Credit should still be allocated to the originators, but intellectual property is rarely owned by the originators and credit does not require ownership.

Abolish state secrets. There are no legitimate state secrets in a democracy. If you think of secrets which most people consider legitimate, such as the location of police during the apprehension of a shooter, this is not a state secret. It is information withheld from a specific person or group who are an active danger to others. Everyone knows what the secret is and its purpose, it is information the public consents to being withheld and the time span is very short and specific. State secrets have nothing in common with this situation. Other state secrets widely perceived as legitimate involve state violations of personal privacy which should not be happening. The reality of state secrets is discussed in more detail in this talk at the Oxford Union, a place which bills itself as “the last bastion of free speech”. The CIA helpfully censored this talk and directed a media blackout on it in the UK, so it serves now in itself as a perfect illustration of what constitutes a ‘state secret’. [5]

Abolish trade secrets. Just look at Samsung being permitted to not tell its workers about cancer-causing chemicals they were forced to work with. Trade secrets are very rarely about competitive advantage and never in the public interest.

JB: What does the future internet(s) look like?

HM: There are two options. The first allows information-centric, global, immediate, open collaboration on knowledge creation with all personal information kept in personal devices completely separate from public information or the internet. We could have complete, transparent, participatory knowledge accessible to all, audited at every level of understanding, and protect privacy for everyone. Local governance could be both informed and autonomous and we could collaborate with a speed and accuracy that might just give us a chance to solve the problems we are facing before it is too late. Everyone would have the equal ability to make informed choices at their chosen level of understanding. We could have a universal reality, informed by information from all sources, and we could make decisions free of state and corporate coercion.

That is the option I have been working towards for years but which I have found no useful support for. Many other people, including many I have been friends with for years, are also working on components of such an internet. They are mostly free software developers and are also universally under-supported and under-funded. While a people-friendly internet is very achievable, organizations such as the EU are reacting to abuses by social media corporations by demanding that those same social media corporations take over the governance of the internet. There is no process of prior, informed consent in internet development and most people are not even aware it is happening.

Therefore, the second totalitarian option, which has received overwhelming support and promotion from major financial and state institutions and is well on track to becoming reality, will be reality. This second option has personal data stored all over the place, in permanent ledgers no less, and used as keys to gain access to any of life’s essentials. This is the internet of fingerprints and iris scans required to enter buildings or access your own devices. This internet is not built for global collaboration on knowledge, but for management of human resources as corporate product. It actively prevents any meaningful collaboration through algorithms set up to detect and block unauthorized conversations. Here are a couple scenarios which are not at all too dystopian for reality:

1. The EU is scanning all information uploaded to the internet for copyright violations. Recent (real) copyrights include letters of the alphabet (upper and lower case, all fonts), the concept of photographing a public scene, and the colour pink (all shades and intensities). How long until someone copyrights all mention of the internet or information or declares spy agencies a state secret (again)? How long until this conversation is a copyright violation which we cannot have in public or electronically? How long until they add an NDA or Internet TOS making it illegal to reveal which topics are banned and everyone forgets these topics ever existed? Or the words ‘internet’ and ‘information’ are changed to mean something else and no one can challenge that? None of this is more ludicrous than what is already happening, enabled by the concept of intellectual property and spy agency (now ‘intelligence community’) manipulation.

2. Imagine all of your ownership deeds and debts are in smart contracts, coupled with your personal information. Imagine you are at work and your child is at home listening to pirated music or your husband is at home gambling online and one of them trigger an automatic debt collection order. You look for your car, but it has driven back to the dealer. You try to catch a bus but you can’t swipe through the turnstile. You make it back home somehow and your front door is locked, the utilities are off and your social circle has been texted that you have been locked out for debt. Your neighbours won’t let you in because doing so would lower their own credit ratings. Talk to the algorithm.

3. Suppose you never got the loan in the first place because you didn’t pass the predictive policing algorithm or you were flagged as a terrorism risk in preschool. You had to get your car and home from a loan shark. That algorithm, which links to all your personal data and can track you anywhere even without a cell phone, now has an automated hit out on you and your family.

4. We know people are being trafficked and murdered for their organs, through both criminal networks and state executions (most notoriously by China and Syria, but also others). Imagine any of those networks being able to shop through their databases for a young, healthy, medically matched source with limited social ties or economic value and they can also track exactly where that person is at any time and who is with them. If they are a state, they can track this person’s personal information, find or create a crime and legally execute them. Imagine populations which corporations want removed (the Rohingya in Myanmar, indigenous communities in the Amazon or anywhere else, Central Americans in the US) being even more efficiently marketed for pharmaceutical testing or corporate product (the Retin-A testing on US prisoners or the human collagen from Chinese prisoners, for two examples of an endless number). There are currently large and longstanding concentration camps full of people, including children, in Australia, China, Myanmar, the US and others unacknowledged. Many refugee camps and prisons are close to being concentration camps. People are product. The new internet is intended for efficient inventory of that product. People who are not programmers tend to forget that IBM made its fortune helping Hitler establish databases of his victims.

There are many other planned features, such as an unbridled reputation economy which will act as a financial eugenics program, replacing fixed prices with a perfect vehicle for wealthy demographics to rate people according to their own bigotries and blackmail the most vulnerable in all the usual ways. Income inequality and privacy inequality will soar as advertiser access is a source of passive income to those who spend the most and privacy is unaffordable for the most vulnerable. The wealthy will be protected and the poor will be monitored and monetized in a vastly greater disparity than now. The wealthy will receive education and information while the poor will receive state and corporate manipulation. This is already extremely evident in social media advertising which targets the emotionally and mentally vulnerable. Greater coercion will result in less democracy and more consumption. It gets worse as you factor in all the other capabilities of mind-reading technology, virtual reality and autonomous drones the size of insects. Just use your imagination.

This is before even looking at the well-researched environmental disaster that proof-of-work blockchain, emf pollution and data storage are causing. Isn’t it strange that no one is asking the developers of this nightmare who will pay for it all or pointing out the complete infeasibility of developing this further?

[1] https://georgiebc.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/toronto-star-coverage-of-omar-khadr-since-his-trial-week-oct-25-2010/

https://georgiebc.wordpress.com/2011/03/19/2011-03-19-the-guardian-redacting-censoring-or-lying/

[2] https://www.smh.com.au/technology/assange-can-still-occupy-centre-stage-20111028-1mo8x.html

https://www.networkworld.com/article/2185864/activist-backed-online-collaboration-platform-due-for-release-in-march.html

https://roarmag.org/essays/bbc-outriders-the-global-square-heather-marsh/

[3] https://www.dailydot.com/society/anonymous-oprohingya-burma-myanmar-twitter/

https://books.google.com.vn/books?id=sRsxDQAAQBAJ&pg=PT164&lpg=PT164&dq=opdeatheaters+marsh&source=bl&ots=VqXGUHnzht&sig=ACfU3U07X8RF8LRIP9NzTmRSaNghuzTI_Q&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjal5XSjtXiAhVR7WEKHYzGBPQQ6AEwCHoECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=opdeatheaters%20marsh&f=false

https://georgiebc.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/metoo-timesup-and-all-that-but-also-opdeatheaters/

[4] https://georgiebc.wordpress.com/2017/05/09/the-evolution-of-democracy/

https://georgiebc.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/transcript-of-keynote-at-rmll/

https://georgiebc.wordpress.com/2017/04/14/mastodon-getgee-and-the-decentralized-data-movement/

https://georgiebc.wordpress.com/2018/04/07/democracy-vs-cambridge-analytica-and-facebook/

https://georgiebc.wordpress.com/2016/04/25/transcript-from-talk-about-getgee/

https://georgiebc.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/getgee-tools-for-self-governance-part-1/

[5] https://georgiebc.wordpress.com/2018/05/31/transcript-of-whistleblowing-panel-censored-by-oxford-union/

Free speech, censorship and the Oxford Union

I was invited last year to speak at the Oxford Union, and the event, held last February, perfectly illustrates the current faux debate between hate speech and free speech. The Oxford Union is the self-proclaimed “world’s most prestigious debating society” and “last bastion of free speech” and it rides on a who’s who list of past speakers such as the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa, Malcolm X, Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein. Membership is open only to Oxford students, and lifetime membership includes a very large selection of the world’s politicians and media moguls. Past Union presidents who went on to lead states include Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, and UK Prime Ministers Heath, Asquith and Gladstone. The current UK cabinet has more former presidents of the Oxford Union than it has minority ethnicities. This platform is as far as you can get from the egalitarian access of social media.

The Oxford Union serves as a safe space where powerful men who do horrible things can go to speak and be appreciated. Despite the protestations that a platform at Oxford Union is meant to allow unpopular views to be challenged, it doesn’t happen. Speakers ranging from O.J. Simpson after his trial to Oswald Mosley, who led the UK Fascist Party until it was banned in 1940, are welcomed on their own terms. This is the free speech that Boris Johnson (former Oxford Union president) and Jacob Rees-Mogg (current Oxford Union trustee and son of former Oxford Union president) are fighting for. The UK has recently passed a law against Union members or other students exercising their own free speech and expressing opinions on who comes to speak at their club, threatening fines against universities who refuse platforms to those assumed to have a right to one. At the same time, UK lawmakers and media have been fighting against free speech access on every more egalitarian platform. The misogynists who upskirt teenagers on the pages of British tabloids deplore the misogyny of social media. The lawmakers who refuse to conduct a competent inquiry into UK child rape cover-ups by politicians imprison accusers instead. The Official Secrets Act, libel and ‘intellectual property’ laws which protect only the powerful, and non-disclosure agreements available only to those who can afford them, ensure a class strata dictates who may and who may not be criticized or offended.

The Oxford Union is the public face of the Bullingdon Club and the Piers Gaveston Society and looks it, but even this last bastion of entitlement is lately feeling pressure to embellish itself with a sprinkling of darker skin and female pronouns. Identity politics provides the branch managers of tyranny. The endless twaddle of Tories and Trumpkins which usually fills Oxford Union term cards is now supplemented with occasional Serena Joys and Gileadian aunts in the name of ‘feminism’ and occasional corrupt politicians for ‘diversity’. Polite demurs from careerist NGOs and journalists paid to politely demur are occasionally presented as ‘balance’. It is in this context that I was invited. For students of a prestigious university, they have no research skills at all.

Diversity of opinion, or even irrefutable facts, are not acceptable to the “world’s most prestigious debating society”. The purified thought bubble surrounding Oxford students welcomes derision against any weaker members of society but does not permit criticism of those in power. I shared a panel with David Shedd, a former CIA operative who also held the posts of Director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency and Deputy Director of U.S. National Intelligence. The entire panel was censored from Oxford Union’s YouTube channel at his order, despite their contractual obligation to publish it there and the prior release forms signed by all involved. “It is ironic that we are censoring a Whistleblowing Panel!!” chirped their bursar, Lindsay Warne. Shedd’s objection was not to anything he said, but what I said – a third-party censorship demand which has been granted and upheld by three successive Oxford Union presidents: Laali Vadlamani, Gui Cavalcanti and Stephen Horvath. Those names will no doubt be found in UK parliament and media in five or ten years, drafting even more draconian laws to protect the powerful against speech.

The speech of tyranny is always upheld by tyrants as free speech. The speech of anyone in opposition to tyranny will always be silenced by every means possible. Harmful speech has never in history meant anything other than speech which offends the powerful and it does not today. From the Malleus Malleficarum through to the upskirting tabloids, media controlled by the powerful has existed to uphold the powerful and persecute, threaten and control the weak. It has never been subjected to censure over this. Indeed, protection of the media has been a fundamental pillar of advocates of free society since media was invented and that only increased with the invention of the Internet as a place to stalk and humiliate women and children. Suddenly, this has changed, and I think I can put a date on when it changed.

In 2012, Gawker (before it was permanently silenced by billionaire Peter Thiel) published a story on Michael Brutsch, aka reddit moderator Violentacrez. In 2012, reddit was a cesspool that reflected the free speech of powerful men at the expense of the human dignity and privacy of anyone weaker, and Violentacrez was its most prolific bottom feeder. In the words of journalist Adrian Chen, “His specialty is distributing images of scantily-clad underage girls, but as Violentacrez he also issued an unending fountain of racism, porn, gore, misogyny, incest, and exotic abominations yet unnamed.” Brutsch moderated hundreds of the most predatory sub-reddits, including Creepshots, Jailbait, Chokeabitch, Beatingwomen, Picsofdeadjailbait and even worse, to the glee of reddit users, who voted the child predator site Jailbait as 2008’s “subreddit of the year”. Four years later (as part of a growing reaction) he was outed by Chen, and reddit exploded in outrage, banning all Gawker links from the traffic generating behemoth. The privacy of a man to anonymously violate the privacy of women and children was itself violated, and the balance of power on the Internet was never the same again.

The Internet become a place where, for the first time since the printing press was invented, women and other marginalized people could fight back and get overwhelming results. It was the place where Pax Dickinson, CTO of Business Insider, lost his job for misogynist tweets and was followed by so many others. It was the place where #takedownjulienblanc first created global awareness of the toxic internet manosphere which has spawned such movements as incels, PUAs, MRAs and more. It was the place where victims of sexual assault have rallied again and again, from the #DelhiGangRape to #paedobritain and #opDeathEaters to #MeToo and #Cuéntalo. And it was the place where the powerful libertarian men who controlled all the international media, academia and speaking forums, first decided that free speech should have limitations. This newly commended censorship is presented as a measure needed to protect ‘the marginalized’ even though it was the powerful and their media who marginalized ‘the marginalized’ in the first place and the censorship is directed solely at the forums accessible to ‘the marginalized’. The new censorship, combined with forced public acceptance of platforms for the powerful, is meant to ensure the continuation of the freedom of speech that powerful people have always enjoyed and more easily enforce immunity from the social consequences of either their speech or their actions.

Does anyone really think the current howls for censorship of social media will include censorship of the NY Times writers excusing incel violence or the Atlantic writers who want women to be hung for exercising bodily autonomy? Social media is the only reason these writers are challenged now – censorship of social media will remove all opposition to them. The business model of Facebook and Google is to enable states and corporations to coerce public opinion for the powerful. Tech CEOs are now being ordered to decide which speech and which people are socially acceptable. Does anyone think billionaire tech CEOs will defy their funders and enablers to defend the powerless or censor the powerful? Powerful men who have sadistically raped, tortured, trafficked and murdered women and children are unironically presenting themselves as victims of a witch hunt. Free speech for victims of powerful men is not a witch hunt. A witch hunt was when powerful men and their exclusive access to media inspired a genocide of up to a million women and indigenous people and terrified community and land caregivers into centuries of silence. Today’s social media campaigns are the accused witches finally fighting back, countering the media which called them all ‘crazy’ with sheer numbers.

All genocides and all bigotry begin with hate speech. Hate speech is countered by open communities and communication, never by one-way powerful platforms and definitely not by state or corporate control and manipulation of dialogue. Nazis and fascists in the street are countered by community rejection, never the states which instigate and profit from hate and division. If there was any doubt that this is conscious state policy, that doubt should be removed by the relentless state and corporate campaigns currently sowing hate and division on social media.  Civility and the institutions of civility were invented to control voices opposing the powerful just as the institutions of justice were invented to control defence against the powerful. It is always the voices of women and the lowest classes that civility demands be kept well-modulated and profanity-free.

Identity politics has played a crucial role in the new fight against egalitarian speech. An endless parade of female pundits have been given bylines and panel seats to insist that social media silences them. Censorship is being marketed with the faces of women and children. Now that we finally have a megaphone, we are told it is more than our weak selves can handle. The women who are acceptable to places like the Oxford Union tell the world that the rest of us can’t handle free speech and must be protected by gatekeeping bastions such as … well, such as the Oxford Union. If “the last bastion of free speech” will censor what I said, they will censor anyone who draws outside the lines. Community and land caregivers will be told they are represented by identitarian tokens parroting the words and agenda of fascists, a rainbow of totalitarians silencing all diversity of views. The next time women feel inclined to accept censorship on the only somewhat egalitarian platforms we have had since the invention of the printing press, remember what you will be left with: corporate media musing whether women should be publicly hung for exercising bodily autonomy or required to provide ‘redistribution of sex’ to men who want to kill them, and representation of us all by Ann Coulter and Marine Le Pen.

Anyone who seeks to represent you will be your tyrant. Your own voice is the only one that can represent your ideas and your ideas are the only part of your voice that matters. When you accept that women and other marginalized people are not capable of defending ourselves on the first platforms where we actually had power, you are accepting an all-powerful, patriarchal, protection racket which has never in history protected women or anyone marginalized from hate. The face of censorship is not women and children. It is Michael Brutsch and Pax Dickinson, Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

The primary problems with social media today are caused by state and corporate interference and the personality centred structure, not free speech. It is state and corporate funded social media astroturfing campaigns, libel laws, ‘intellectual property’, non-disclosure agreements, official secrets, state and corporate propaganda, and all other cloaks shielding the powerful which need to be destroyed. Egalitarian access to public platforms must be protected above all, not for identity groups but for every individual voice.

Anyway, this is what you cannot say at “the last bastion of free speech” “the safest space for punching down”. Pay attention, because this is what you will not be able to say anywhere if free speech continues to be restricted to exclusive ‘bastions’.

Here is the current Standing Committee of Oxford Union if you would like to confirm their free speech boundaries for yourself. The presidents (so far) who have supported the censorship are Laali Vadlamani, Gui Cavalcanti and Stephen Horvath. Here is Oxford Union on social media:

https://twitter.com/OxfordUnion

https://www.youtube.com/user/OxfordUnion/videos

https://www.facebook.com/pg/theoxfordunion/posts/?ref=page_internal

https://www.instagram.com/theoxfordunion/