World War III: Pillage and plunder

A continuation of thoughts from World War III: A status update (2014), World War III: A picture (2012), and A Stateless War (2010)

Another revolution of the same wheel

The word crisis is derived from a word meaning ‘turning point’. For all the crises we think the world has been through, there is very rarely a turn. Indeed, history can appear more like an inexorably straight path with predictable periodic bumps. The tools to effect a real change are available now, but real change would require a real direction and goals. Without these, this revolution will end as all the others eventually have, with new tyrants. – Me, World War III: A picture, 2012

It hasn’t been comparatively long since World War III: A status update, but we are already in need of another update. Not only is it now irrefutably clear that what has been billed for the last few years as a new multi-polar empire will be unabashedly a Chinese feudal empire instead, it looks almost as though it is a fait accompli and the death throes of the US empire-that-never-was may be far less than I anticipated.

China’s new puppet states suddenly include not just NAM and BRICS members but also any US allies that may have been expected to oppose their expansion, including all members of the five eyes themselves. Shell and BP trade LNG to China in exchange for nuclear plants where the UK takes the risk and China receives the energy and rail lines where safety is left to the extremely unsafe Chinese firms. China’s President demands an audience with the UK queen and she is brought forth like an aged Cleopatra, her unwillingness a trophy for the ability of the new empire to bend the old to its will. Even the US, which currently stands alone in denying the new order, has signed away far more sovereignty over their resources than most of their media will admit and their heavily IP dependent economy is very vulnerable to any changes China should choose to make to IP laws and trade agreements. The US military has changed its tone from aggression to a wish for joint exercises, a tolerance of China’s spy ships and a ‘review’ of their defence agreement with Japan.

When corporations rule the world there is no need for invasions, conquest is a simple matter of mergers, acquisitions and trade agreements. There is also no need for resistance as those who own the corporations benefit either way and will sign the deal most attractive to themselves. Those world leaders supposedly in conflict are always open to negotiate and change allegiances with each other and use their media tools to redirect the people’s hatred and fear. They meet and shake hands with each other while they are too afraid to meet or shake the hands of those we call ‘their people’.

The collapse of the former global resource mafia cartel has led to the global resource mafia gang war I outlined in 2012 and it does involve the entire world as predicted. The collapse of the former power and wealth ponzi schemes in some states have led to a decentralized governance by trade mafia which looks exactly like horizontal, egalitarian, libertarian / p2p trade economy is designed to look: survival of the strongest, most tyrannical and most violent, subjection of all who build society and care for the weak. The violence, destruction and senselessness of this gang war will ensure that what will now become a global feudal structure is welcomed as a respite. It will take little reminding of the horrors of the Islamic State, Boko Haram and all the other militias to convince people for a long time into the future that self-governance is impossible.

As the revolution(s) which brought us to a global resource cartel resulted in a far more insidious, all powerful and far reaching tyranny than the military empires it replaced, this latest revolution will convert us into a state of cattle-like product with far less free will than even the current power structure. Trade rivalries are giving way to a crushing global feudal structure which controls all resources with no rivals and tolerates no dissent.

A Dutchman, an American and an Englishman met in a castle

In 1928, the founders of Royal Dutch Shell, Standard Oil (now Exxon) and the future British Petroleum met and formed a secret oil cartel. By the end of the 1960s, they had been joined by four other US based companies and were known as the Seven Sisters. This powerful cartel not only controlled 85 percent of the world’s oil reserves but they dictated governance, controlled the economy and destroyed the economic and environmental life of much of the world. Along with the international banking cartel and other resource corporations they perpetuated the old trade empire and economic slavery of most of the world.

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After various mergers, the old seven sisters are now British Petroleum, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell and today they control just 10 percent. According to the Financial Times, the new Seven Sisters are Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Aramco, Russia’s Gazprom, the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), the National Iranian Oil Company, Venezuela’s PDVSA, Brazil’s Petrobras, and Malaysia’s Petronas. The move by many oil-producing states to nationalization of resources was an attempt to combat the pillage by imperial multinationals. Unfortunately, the trade economy was left intact and decentralized resource mafia remained mafia.

Those states attempting nationalization were embargoed like Iran, corrupted like Nigeria and forced to create polar security states opposing the force of the multi-nationals. The residents of these states were left with the choice of living with corruption, militarization and bad governance within their own government or protesting their governance and leaving themselves open to occupation by the multinationals. A state under siege can justify and be allowed far greater atrocities than would ever be tolerated in a free state. If the people refused either dictatorship, they found themselves in a civil war like Sudan or with the militia and human rights horrors found in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern provinces, under de facto rule by drugged boys with guns feeding off forced labour of children. The more localized the control over resources, the less expertise is available and hand dug mines in Burkina Faso and Indonesia collapse on children working with no protection or medical or environmental expertise.

The price of security is enslavement. Resources are stolen in the name of free trade, ideas are locked in imperial vaults and ‘theft’ from your own commons is criminalized. Nigeria and Brazil swap food self sufficiency for oil and biofuel money, Paraguay and Mali sell their water to corporations from states with more than plenty, Niger poisons its land to power France, and pollution, climate change, drugs and guns devastate entire populations. The multinationals run a protection racket which, when removed, leaves the people open to a shadow trade economy mafia supplied and fed by the global governments. International laws and trade agreements are used to assert legal power over people who never consented to the laws or treaties, and representative governance is used to pretend the consent of the governing is the same as the consent of the governed. Peace in a trade economy is a crushing mafia cartel.

The resource war currently raging all over the world will only get worse as the populations of Africa and India continue to soar and the already huge populations of China and India attain middle class and demand more water, meat, fuel and other luxuries. Global water use has quadrupled in the last century and seven countries, the United States, United Arab Emirates, India, United Kingdom, Egypt, China and Israel, own 60 percent of the water acquired by corporations globally. What is far worse is the precious water resources that exist, from the Guarani aquifer in South America to the Great Lakes of North America, from the Lake Chad Basin in Africa to the Aral Sea region in Central Asia, are being pillaged and polluted by corporations of other industries such as fracking, agriculture and manufacturing. Agriculture accounts for 70% of total water usage world-wide and food production is also being moved to countries which can be locked out when a water shortage appears. The borders which prevent migration by those who need food and water do not prevent pollution and resource theft by the borderless multinationals.

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Water and the environment are multi-state shared resources being destroyed by a coercive structure that does not recognize commons property and uses fixed borders to lock out the repercussions of fluid pollution and pillage. The pressure caused by this destruction will and is becoming too great for those physical borders and military violence to contain. Instead of collaborating on solutions to all of the quite solvable crisis before us, the mafia in power have made the decision to let millions, if not billions, die and have invested in military and border security instead.

A current study on population growth projections finds an 80% probability that world population, now 7.2 billion, will increase to between 9.6 and 12.3 billion by 2100. Growth will occur primarily from nations which have suffered from trade pillaging, including aboriginal populations in the Americas. In the wealthy states, as well as the rapidly growing economies such as China, Brazil and India, an ‘epidemic of aging’ is projected instead.

The biggest industries of the shadow trade mafia are all genocidal. The weapons for populations to destroy each other with greater ease and the drugs to increase the violence and incapacitate effective resistance have been supplemented with the rapid growth of the human trafficking industry. People are bought and sold as products for militias, prostitution, marriage, slavery, organ trafficking and even ritual killings. People are tortured for ransom and charged for their passage as refugees. The shadow human trafficking industry is now vying with the arms industry as the top criminal industry in the world, and with the Australian government’s recent sale of refugees to Cambodia it has become openly a government activity as it always has been secretly.

There is also a global gender imbalance which has been caused by the femicidal actions of populations in China and India, the current and projected largest populations in the world, as well as other places. Since China and India are also two of the wealthiest economies, they can afford to spread their severe imbalance to other nations. More than ever in history, women are a global commodity.

The injustice and desperation experienced by those watching their families die, their homes destroyed and their resources stolen result in a natural resistance which is harnessed by rival gangs in the resource war. Any rebel movement of any skill begins to spread influence not by threats with guns but by hoarding and distribution of essential resources, creating need by hoarding then building loyalty and dependence with distribution. As long as there is a trade economy there will be rule by mafia, whether the mafia is local, national or global. There are alternatives to the trade economy and more could be developed if anyone were inclined to do so.

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United States: The empire that never really was

As the world knows, the United States was once part of the British empire. As control of trade and currency replaced and supplemented military occupation, the five eyes and their associates continued to act as one, sharing policy and goals. While the United States acted as the imperial military, Canada quietly acted as the imperial resource corporation and the UK and others helped continue one cohesive empire with the illusion of sovereign national states. The transfer of the seat of control from the UK to the US made no real difference to the co-operative alliances.

The primary result of transferring control of empire from the UK to the US was it enabled a very different method of empirical control. The US constitution promoted what was billed as an extreme lack of governance in the name of ‘freedom’. This was not a real lack of governance as both the institutionalized violence and the new ownership laws enabled the mafia to take control and crush all who would build or maintain the previously existing societies. Freedom and legal protection for all who were strong enough to steal from the commons and the insistence that all were equally able to care for themselves very predictably resulted in governance by mafia. Privatization of state functions extended even to intelligence and military and soon formalized into a corporate structure free to do exactly as they wished worldwide as a free roaming mafia with no effective state ties. As Blackwater founder and current mercenary to Chinese corporations Erik Prince points out, the US was founded by militias.

Canada was formerly a resource corporation known as the Hudson’s Bay Company. There is very little difference between that former corporation and a state in which every Prime Minister for many decades was financially dependent on or actually related to the principals of Power Corporation. Canada’s laws have aided the more than 75% of the world’s resource corporations registered there to avoid legal responsibility for their human rights and environmental disasters worldwide. The governments of the five eyes have never had any claim to being nations despite their violent national rhetoric. All were set up as a resource mafia cartel to control the rival gangs.

The corporate freedoms which stripped society, governance and the commons from the people and dissociated people from their interdependent nations have also neatly packaged all control of these regions into saleable entities. These countries now have very little legal recourse against their corporate free agents being collected tidily in China’s basket, and their legal protection is less every day.

The so-called US empire may historically be seen as part of the collapse of the British empire or the transition between the British and Chinese empires, between a militarized trade empire and a global corporate feudal empire.

It is hard to imagine anything worse than the US empire with its mass assassinations by robot and cultural decay, but a worse alternative would probably include mass citizen trials and thousands of pigs floating in the drinking water. Unlike the US, China does not pretend to value individual rights or freedom above the state and is open about methods of thought reform. Neither does the Chinese ruling party dissemble about their status as the new empire or their lack of admiration for the intelligence and competence of other nations.
 Unlike the US, China has concentrated on building infrastructure globally instead of military bases, but the quality of that infrastructure has too often shown corruption and a lack of concern for human life.

The binary thinking and Good Guys vs Bad Guys narrative that has been the defining theme of corporate propaganda has many thinking that any state opposing the US empire must be a saviour. China does not oppose the US. The light rivalries between the governments of the world never put them on opposite sides. The enemy of your enemy is very much the same as them and they are both working against you. The new feudal structure also has many continuing the fantasy of a multi-polar empire, but a glance at trade agreements and foreign investment is enough to show clearly that the multi-polar feudal lords have all pledged allegiance to China. It does not matter at all where the headquarters of the empire is in any case, those holding power are all allies and none of them are going to save their natural enemies, all of those below them.

The trade economy ponzi scheme has reached its natural conclusion in the new global empire. The people most likely to overthrow Chinese or global corporate rule are not the US military or any other rival state, but the Chinese people and the people of the world. In order for this to occur, the people of the world would have to accept that no messiah will save them and see the root principles of the ponzi schemes of power and wealth that enabled the empire. Most of all, for any revolution to result in actual change, there must be a new path built with new principles.

To be continued ….

Related:

Binding Chaos
Autonomy, Diversity, Society
Releasing Chaos

There are no nation states

Nation has always been a fuzzy term. Even in times when distance, mountains and rivers posed insurmountable barriers to assimilation, when nations were divided by language, dress, laws and beliefs, both the customs and the populations of these nations were constantly evolving.

States have no resemblance to nations. States are created by the highly militarized partitioning of societies into economic markets and property ownership completely regardless of who the people in those states are or how the creation of the state divides and restricts our nations.

While nations are living and fluid and variable depending on context and perspective, states are an attempt to freeze one official historical viewpoint for all time. States preserve culture to prevent it from living, keep it steeped in formaldehyde unable to breathe and grow. Nations as defined by states are inviolable, to suggest change is sacrilegious, to question perspective or boundaries is deemed intolerable.

The reality of layered and overlapping nations, of intersections, of cooperation and flexibility is denied by the rigid borders and uniformity of states. Traditions of fluid property custodianship, sharing and merging are rejected for one tradition of rigid ownership clamped down and made law for every region on earth. Ethnic and societal realities of no fixed lines between groupings are ignored for false categorizing. While nations are gathered for community, cooperation and sharing, states are imposed for segregating, competing and allocating.

Nations create Us, states create the Other.

While nations reveled in their diversity, states decree a homogenized sameness, a world where everyone wears the same grey suits, international law assures uniform belief systems worldwide, the trade economy is the one god all must serve to survive. Like agricultural crops, people are raised in the manner most efficient for industry, the same worldwide. Nations are people, states are corporations.

States insist partitions between identical blocks of people are necessary for safety. States seek to divide and categorize. Diverse nations already do live together and overlap peacefully everywhere. Nations have fought over resources many times in the past. The problems associated with trade economy are applicable whether ownership is international, national, regional or private and will only be addressed by addressing trade economy. It is no less awful for people to be killed by a foreign corporation pillaging resources than by competing local nations. States did not bring peace to these problems, they brought totalitarian rule by global resource mafia. People in different nations sometimes oppose each others values to the point they wish to shun each other. International boycotts such as the BDS campaign against Israel prove this solution does not require states and indeed, states only boycott for economic interest, not human rights.

Nations are ideas and traditions which exist across borders and generations and they cannot be killed. States are tied to the property they control and they die without militaries and coercive laws to keep them in power. States attempt to present themselves as prefab nations, as if control of property and written laws and constitutions can be applied to populations and everyone in a geographical region will suddenly become bonded with national identity. Everywhere in the world nations such as the Kurds, Kachin, Catalan and many others refuse assimilation and states such as the five eyes prove they will never be anything but corporations.

Kill the states. Let the nations breathe.

The average tyrant

Part of a series, Autonomy, Diversity, Society. Posts about our roles, relationships and governance. No article in this section is meant to stand alone, there will be a lot more coming soon that will clarify the current posts.

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For as to the strength of body, the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest, either by secret machination or by confederacy with others that are in the same danger with himself… as to the faculties of the mind, I find yet a greater equality amongst men than that of strength. – Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal – United States Declaration of Independence

The obviously false statements above have been used to design a social structure that does not and will never meet the needs of a real society. The average is held up as not only an attainable goal but also an ideal and the very existence of anything above or below average is frequently denied, especially in the design of social structures. Anything more than two standard deviations from the mean is considered either substandard or elite and great societal energy is expended in trying to merge both of these back into the centre of the bell curve. Those that cannot be merged are ostracized or treated as parasites.

The majority of society has seen nothing amiss with tying success and happiness to academic excellence, in complete knowledge that this will ensure a life of misery and failure for those unable to attain a neurotypical standard. It has been a comedy to see the same middle class who complacently watched the subjection of generations of the bottom 1% roar with indignation when they find themselves slipping to that level. We are the 99%! is the neatest summation of the tyranny of the bell curve imaginable. Mass protests occurred in 2011 not because economic disparity affecting basic human rights is occurring but because it is now happening to average people, the chosen ones. The instant cry for direct democracy was meant not to ensure human rights for all but to ensure the majority will once again dominate.

The continuing mistreatment of the less able is today’s version of eugenics. Every politician appeals to the middle class. If they intend to favour the economic top 1% they must convince the middle class it will eventually benefit them. No politician campaigns on promises to the bottom 1% where human rights disappear first. The 99% are finally suffering some of what they allowed to happen to the bottom 1% all these years. The bottom 1% has always filled jails and been denied basic essentials and the opportunity to achieve their potential and pursue happiness. The majority are only horrified when they start going as well.

All people are equivalent. All people are not equal. This is our strength not a weakness. The lie that all people are equal has been used to deny people the right to be equivalent.

There is nothing in one level of ability that makes it inherently better than another. It is the artificial valuation of jobs and the pressure for all to match the peak of the bell curve and attain the same goals that makes average competence seem an unquestionable virtue. The myth of a straight line of competence is also false. A person lower in a general cognition spectrum can still be higher in one system than a specialist from another system. Interest can drive a person to a level of higher expertise than someone with greater ability. Success in many areas requires no extraordinary ability. Many abilities such as perceptiveness, ability to communicate and obsessive attention to detail can provide great value to projects as can insight from diverse backgrounds.

If society refuses to acknowledge that some people are more capable in some areas than average, children are raised with no alternative than to perceive others as either willfully ignorant or frauds. If everyone thinks there is a level playing field, they play flat out and some get hurt and angry. If they think everyone is equal, those who achieve more must have cheated in some way or are lying and those who achieve less must not be trying hard enough. Anger, frustration and division must result from forced equality and holding that which is natural for one to be the ultimate standard of achievement for all.

Bullying by the average is easy as communication and empathy beyond two standard deviations of cognitive ability is difficult, exhausting and slow. Those outside the majority cannot discuss the communication difficulties. Anyone below average is given advice on how to become average, anyone openly above is hated and shunned. Knowledge bridges are needed for communication in both cases and in both cases those bridging will be loved and celebrated while those trying to communicate will still be despised. Their voices will be controlled by others and their links to broader society will be at the whim of those providing communication bridges.

Cognitive ability

Being outside the normative range of physical ability or beauty will bring hostility but not to nearly the same degree as being outside the normative range of cognitive ability. This may be because even though all can be tied to economic success, the range in cognitive ability is far greater and more diverse. While a top athlete’s achievements may be unattainable by the majority of the population they are at least able to comprehend them.

Normal is equated with ideal, abnormal is in some way defective or in need of a cure. It was not until recently that those who deviated from the neurotypical by any great degree in either direction were even considered the same species as neurotypical humans. This attitude can still be seen today as failure is said to make a person more human and more deserving of human respect and empathy.

As recently as 1920 Leta Hollingworth had to ask Are the defective a separate species? … It Was Formerly Assumed as a Matter of Course that the Feeble-Minded Belonged to a Distinct Mental Species. Herbart’s theory advanced so long ago, that the feeble-minded form simply the opposite extreme from genius, and differ from the normal only in degree, made relatively little impression upon current thought. It was supposed generally that the feebleminded were divided from the normal by a sharp line of demarcation, on the one side of which stood all who were not feeble-minded, while on the other side stood all who were so afflicted, — the so-called idiots. According to this view, there was also another line of demarcation, separating the normal people from the geniuses, who like the feeble-minded formed a separate species.

It is obvious that those considered not even human were also left out of the Lockean notion of equality along with women, children, slaves, etc. The importance that we see attached to iq today, in particular in the endless debate over whether it can be tied to ethnicity, sex or gender, lies in the societal acceptance which inclusion in the normative range still brings. Inclusion programs focus on kindly teaching those at the ends of the bell curve how to be average. Utopias and futuristic societies nearly always show everyone equal as an ideal we have somehow attained, something only possible by eugenics.

The smug arrogance and condescending simper of most neurotypicals explaining something to a person with relative cognitive difficulties would be deemed a socialization problem if it were directed at a neurotypical. Usually neurotypicals don’t even attempt to communicate outside their comfort zone and it is left to those at the ends to have their attempts at communication judged and found wanting. The ease of communication awarded as a birthright to neurotypicals is promoted as a virtue, as being a good team player, communicator, socially adept or simply popular.

It is completely unacceptable to call a person relative terms such as ugly, fat or stupid. It is acceptable to point out that they are, relatively speaking, disfigured, obese or learning disabled. It is only within the average ranges that relative insults are verboten. The handicapped are called handicapped despite the obvious relative meaning to the term. Neurotypicals are also handicapped compared to some but they would not tolerate the term directed at them. Even calling them average or common is deemed insulting. Average must be presented as the ideal, a normal way of being.

The self-appointed normal in society once debated eugenics to dispose of those they labeled gradations of idiots, imbeciles and morons and condemned them to childhoods facing a corner with a dunce cap on. These days are not in the past as debates over whether those at one end should be allowed to vote or reproduce continue and people are classified as having a mental age of a number correlating to neurotypical development. Neurotypicals are comparatively mentally incompetent too but they are still allowed to vote on subjects far outside their comprehension. A society concerned about equal rights for all would consider that for everyone neurotypicals consider a relative imbecile there are equivalent numbers of people who feel the same about them.

Diversity and collaboration

Neurotypicals are raised with a deep belief in their right to participate in all aspects of society at every level. It is a very common neurotypical reaction when they feel excluded from a group or activity by lack of knowledge to assume there was some sort of invitation, initiation or training which they did not receive. They then demand to be appraised of all work and discussion, through meetings, minutes, memos etc. and to have everything explained to them. Their work methods are presented as superior as there is always plenty of evidence to show that the majority of workers prefer them. They are permitted to derail working environments on the basis of inclusiveness even while they are excluding those who work better at a faster or slower level. They are convinced they have an inherent right to be included as an equal in every working or decision making forum through the democratic principle of equal votes. The sneer that a person is always right implies some quota on the number of times it is socially acceptable to be right. Know-it-all is used as an insult, implying that knowing too much is an antisocial act.

If people wish to truly promote a fully egalitarian society then everyone must be made to converse at a level easily understood by the lowest level of cognitive ability. When parents are willing to allow their neurotypical children to be educated at a level two or four standard deviations below their own, the quest for equality will have some moral ground to stand on. Until then, collaborative environments must allow discussion at all levels to provide equivalent fulfillment. Not doing so simply drives epistemic communities into back rooms and secret groups where they are not obliged to communicate with the public and their work is not transparent for everyone’s benefit.

The conceit of individual genius is condemned by proponents of the far more unlikely conceit of originality from the hive mind. It is a physical impossibility for a group to have an original idea as it has no mind. The hive does have a shared memory bank and simultaneous thought can occur if an environmental stimulus triggers a shared memory but simultaneous thought is, by definition, not original. If an idea is new, not only must it come from one mind, it must be patiently taught and debated by the originator. If it is to be generally accepted it must also be presented as coming from the hive mind, the voice of the people or whatever the euphemism of the day is. If an idea must be explained to a broad section of the public it must come from a knowledge bridge in the form of a not too intelligent western man.

The economic elite, those holding the power in the world, play to this conceit by propping up folksy politicians such as the “little guy from Shawnigan” Jean Chretien or the definitely-not-smarter-than-you Sarah Palin, while the majority of the Davos Group have no public profiles. The economic elite are those who by luck and privilege find themselves in positions of power and influence. Elite intelligence and ability did not bring us the problems in the world today, it was greed and sociopathy across all levels of society. Neurotypical intolerance of others has prevented any transparency between epistemic communities and the general public and allowed sociopaths to stand between the two and control society.

The path from elite, specialized knowledge to broad acceptance is extremely difficult to traverse. Some people enjoy being knowledge bridges and appreciate the challenge, others find it frustrating and a waste of time. Right now everyone who is not at the top of the bell curve is expected to spend huge amounts of unacknowledged time and energy communicating with the neurotypical elite and their effort is never appreciated. It is usually punished. Ideas that are important for the public to understand and accept but are undesirable to those in power are easily intercepted and replaced with more convenient truths. The majority of ideas that could benefit the public simply never arrive as the source cannot find the way to communicate their idea or a way to receive the support needed to develop it.

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All humans have the equal right to attain their full potential

We do not have human dignity when we are kept in a state below what we are capable of achieving or in a system which fails to recognize where we naturally excel. We do not have the right to associate or to refuse to associate when we are made to converse always at a level far below or above where we are comfortable. We do not have societal acceptance when we are given an impossible ideal to attain to be part of society. We do not have our basic rights when they are contingent on our meeting an ideal which is impossible for us. We are not accepted as part of society if our needs must be met by charity.

Anyone within two standard deviations of the mean cognitive ability is able to travel through life in full expectation of being able to have a conversation at precisely their level with everyone. Most people are capable of connecting with others on a topic such as the weather but societal acceptance implies occasionally being able to have connections on deeper topics. Feeling always guarded against ridicule and misunderstanding and never having a real conversation contributes to a life of extreme loneliness and frustration. This is true not just for extreme ends of cognitive ability but for atypical thinkers of all kinds, even extreme introverts.

“Hollingworth also noted the acute social problems of children with IQs over 160. Moderately gifted children, those whose IQs measure between 125 and 155, were ones she found to be emotionally well balanced. These children had what she called a ‘socially optimal’ IQ level and had no problem making friends. But those with IQs over 160 typically suffered from social isolation.” (Winner 226).

Terman studied a population of lower iq than Hollingworth (average 150) and also selected people whose ability was recognized by their family and school and who were already in a track to achieve their potential. This population cannot be compared with those who have no hope of ever achieving their potential and are surrounded by a social group hostile to what they see as an enemy elite.

And yet Even Terman admitted that children with very high IQs faced acute social problems. Terman’s subjects who scored 170 or higher on IQ tests were said to have “one of the most difficult problems of social adjustment that any human being is ever called upon to meet.”At age fourteen, 60 percent of the boys with such high IQs and 73 percent of the girls were described by their teachers as solitary and as poor mixers. (Winner 225)

Note that these talented children and adolescents seem to have problems not because of any inherent social and emotional difficulties but rather because they are so different from others. They are ‘out of synch.’ If they could find others like themselves, their social problems might well disappear.”… Academically gifted children often underperform, not only because they are underchallenged but also because they work below their level to win social acceptance. (Winner 230)

Without the ability to communicate directly with society it is impossible to achieve the recognition or approval needed to survive.

The Psychology of Subnormal Children. Contributors: Leta S. Hollingworth – Author. Publisher: Macmillan. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1920.

Gifted Children: Myths and Realities. Contributors: Ellen Winner
Publisher: BasicBooks Place of publication: New York Publication year: 1996

Heather Marsh: government as mass collaboration

Originally published on Loomio’s blog.

Heather Marsh is a human rights and internet activist, programmer, political theorist, and former Editor in Chief at Wikileaks Central, and the author of Binding Chaos, a compelling blueprint for 21st century governance. An excerpt:

Binding Chaos – book by Heather Marsh We can do better than [representative democracy]. We can govern by user groups, respect individual rights and global commons, and collaborate using stigmergy. We can belong to overlapping societies voluntarily by acceptance of social contracts. Where necessary, elite expertise can be contained and used through transparent epistemic communities with knowledge bridges while control remains with the user group.

Loomio co-founder Richard D. Bartlett had the very good fortune to interview Heather recently, as part of our ongoing interview series: Inspiring Disruptors.

I’m really excited about your concept of “stigmergic collaboration, epistemic communities and knowledge bridges”. How would you describe these ideas to my 8 year old niece? (She is pretty smart).

Stigmergic collaboration is what happens when people who don’t have to talk to each other or know each other work on the same project and build something together. There has to be one idea that everyone understands and agrees on as a goal but beyond that no one is the boss or telling anyone how to work or even if they should work.

If you go into your doctor’s office and she has a puzzle on a table that other patients have been working on that is an example of stigmergy. You don’t know who has worked on it before or after you, but you know what to do and you are free to add a few pieces if you like.

There are much bigger ideas too, like “Information wants to be free”. There are many nodes under that stigmergic idea, everything from whistleblowers, MOOCs, file sharers, projects such as Wikipedia and Telecomix, open source everything and much more. Everyone is free to further the idea in their own way, the only commonality is the goal.

Epistemic communities are a way to provide elite expertise for projects without relinquishing control to an elite oligarchy. People or ideas are peer promoted from within the user group and communities remain transparent and permeable to everyone. Acceptance or rejection of the ideas is always up to the user group to avoid an unassailable oligarchy.

Knowledge bridges are people who help disseminate information from an expert to a novice level of understanding and collectively audit what the epistemic community is doing. Besides being essential for education and auditing, this is important to avoid demagogues who have the ability and time to develop mass appeal but are not the source of expertise at the level the world needs. Epistemic communities and knowledge bridges allow elite expertise a direct path of communication to the entire user group and provide a path for anyone in the user group to achieve elite expertise if they wish.

Your niece would understand this if she has ever looked up math games on the Internet. The Internet provides many knowledge bridges which help lead her to the epistemic community of elite mathematicians and allow her to become one if she chooses to study that hard.

Where are you seeing these ideas take hold? What do you see happening in the world that gives you hope?

Anywhere information can be very rapidly disseminated, verified, audited and acted upon is fertile ground for stigmergy, epistemic communities and knowledge bridges. I love the way MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) forums sometimes act as a job seeking forum with employers and collaborators finding talent by watching people work in a real setting instead of relying on official certification, like musical collaborations used to result from jam sessions. I also love the local affinity groups and friendships created from those courses.

The progress that gives me hope is in the areas which strive to get more people connected to collaborative networks and more amplification to silent voices. Stigmergy has always been our most powerful collaborative method and stigmergy follows ideas, so efforts to bypass control by corporate media, politicians, thought leaders and other representatives and allow people to contribute ideas directly with their own voices are essential.

Your conception of government as mass collaboration has really influenced my thinking in designing for Loomio. Do you have any ideas about the practice of making this idea real for people in their everyday lives?

Governance to me is action not an organization. It is something people have to just do. It is only after governance by the people is established that politicians can be lobbied into supporting it until it makes them obsolete. My first goal is to enable every person to participate, to write software, platforms and guides and provide outreach of all kinds to help people participate wherever their interests lie.

Unofficial ministries for each system should be set up as permanent open epistemic communities regardless of what government is in power. Currently, lobby groups are sometimes formed to attempt to influence policy but what is needed are full and permanent shadow cabinets by the people. When this shadow cabinet is established and effective, there will be no need for any other. The unofficial ministries which represent the will and peer promoted expertise of the people will guide policy or the elected politicians will face the consequences. The power of the voters is in the contribution of their ideas and actions far more than their ballot vote every four years or so. Official organizations and positions can be replaced by communities which are open to all to participate in. The unofficial ministries can call their own referendums and submit their own bills to elected MP’s when needed. In many cases the involvement of elected officials is not necessary, epistemic communities can guide policy through education and participatory discussion instead of official government policy.

Binding Chaos maps out a pretty compelling blueprint for a new way of structuring society; can we iterate towards it? Do you have ideas about fertile places to start? Whose job is it?

We have to start everywhere. It is everyone’s job to fight for their own autonomy and their own freedom to participate where they feel most excited and fulfilled. The world right now is full of people breaking out of the boundaries set for them, whether they are joining plenums in Bosnia or autodefensas in Mexico, scaling borders between Morocco and Melilla, breaking into a US nuclear weapons plant like 85 year old Sister Megan Rice, making themselves personally responsible for feeding and sheltering homeless people like OpSafeWinter, or fighting for justice for another human like the Free Omar Khadr Now group. Every person who decides to conduct their lives in a way that makes better sense to them and refuses to accept the status quo is participating. Not all ideas will be good, but if we all try we can iterate towards something that is better. And if we all try we can’t be stopped.

Have you had any thoughts about tools to enable this transition? Have you seen any promising approaches?

Collaborative problem solving tools like Loomio, etherpads and many others emerging now are a great help in shaping the way we work. Our methodologies need to change, and these tools will teach the new methodologies to a great extent. We need tools which are free of corporate or centralized control, which are part of their user communities and responsive to them. Organic community cooperatives like Loomio and Lorea are wonderful examples of responsive tool development.

I talked a bit in Binding Chaos about Twitter, Klout and other social media and their tendency to replicate and exaggerate our societal tendencies towards oligarchies. Digital currencies also currently facilitate our trade economy with almost all of its flaws intact. The social influence and currency algorithms both need to be re-examined to not just replicate our old methods but create new ways of interacting and relating to each other. An expiring currency would help to create a more sharing economy. A social influence algorithm that rewarded less on attracting celebrity attention and more on boosting unheard voices would change the impact of celebrity influence. We need more experimentation with the fundamental concepts behind influence and currency.

One of the key areas I would love to see progress is in knowledge repositories as global commons. We can’t have open, permeable epistemic communities on platforms with centralized control. The news will remain as transient spectacle until we have the tools to build knowledge from that information. Wikipedia by itself is not stigmergy, it is a tightly controlled cooperative. We need innovation in data modeling tools that will scale and connect and are not under centralized or corporate control.

What do you think can be done to create safe spaces online? Where have you seen this work well?

We have a lot of work to do first to decide what our definition of safe is. There is a sliding scale between free speech and freedom from the hate speech which is paradoxically a form of censorship. It is interesting to see different populations gravitate to different tools for playing with public influence, amplification and interaction depending on their ideas of where the ideal position on the scale is. I don’t think comfort levels are ever going to be uniform for different people and applications. Diversity of options and freedom from outside spying and control are essential.

Despite the obvious issues with Twitter it is the most interesting place to watch for global political communication, the only place you can publicly see politicians and participants in wars communicating with their opponents. Watching Twitter fights between Israeli forces and Gazans, the M23 militia and the FARDC military in the Democratic Republic of Congo or Rwanda politicians and the son of the man they are accused of just assassinating pushes the boundaries of communication about as far as I can imagine. To see these conversations cut short by censorship would be a huge loss.

There has been a great deal of discussion about trolls on Twitter and elsewhere, but they are to some extent the bottom feeders that keep the pond clean and are very self correcting in a troll eats troll platform. In a platform designed around celebrity and majority influence the unpopular opinions are left to the trolls so they are essential. The worst offenders in the name of free speech are those posting child abuse and other violations of privacy and personal integrity. In a self governed and open platform they can be dealt with by either the majority or a vigilante minority with support from law enforcement where crime is committed. The vigilante aspect is quickly reversed and turned on the vigilante if the public feels it is not justified. If a society agrees that certain behaviour cannot have anonymity it won’t for long. It is possible to design a platform where proxy routing anonymity can be tied to social approval so it would not be up to centralized control to decide.

A society with extreme free speech is too uncomfortable for many so it is essential to have both quiet places to work and open forums uncensorable by anything but public opinion and existing laws against child abuse and similar. Also essential is permeability, especially to influential forums. We now have a permanent Nemesis in astroturfing campaigns and attempts to game influence, plus spam. We have to somehow detect and block all that white noise while still maintaining both anonymity and ease of entry. This is definitely one of the most challenging puzzles we have to deal with right now, both socially and echoed in our tools.

How can we support your work?

In the interest of practicing what I preach, I have tried to not trade any of my work by manufacturing scarcity or withholding effort. It is my hope that people will one day pay for value already received by using the donate buttons at the top right on my blog instead of expecting a Kickstarter type campaign or funding drives. I also hope ideas will one day travel through peer promotion and knowledge bridges, not through personal brands or corporate promotion, so I do nothing with my work besides posting it on my blog. People who donate, share my work, use Amazon to share with prisoners, talk about it, translate it and encourage others to support it, leave me free to write and are very appreciated, even more since they are actively changing the world by using the methods described in Binding Chaos.

World War III: A status update

A continuation of thoughts from World War III: A picture and earlier A Stateless War

Since the above articles in September 2012 and 2010, it has become abundantly clear that none of the world’s governments have any motivation or ability to stand up to the corporate multinational empires headquartered in the countries of the five eyes and their associates. The UN vote in support of Palestine in November of 2012 was a symbolic rebellion, but in the end only proved how ineffective that rebellion would be as Israel instantly paraded their complete contempt for the world’s opinion. As Israel and the US promised, the vote changed nothing on the ground. A relentless stream of new treaties and laws is entrenching the corporate umbrella that now has legal control over the world’s governments. Sovereignty is dead. Corporations are people and people are products.

People no longer accept, or even have any knowledge of, their governance or the laws controlling them. States no longer pretend that laws apply to them. Society worldwide is ruled purely by military coercion. The uprisings which began in 2010 were thoroughly co-opted in early 2011 and used to create unending massacres and division that terrify anyone interested in suggesting change. Government turnover is meaningless in any case as the resource corporations and their security militias and media retain power regardless of political change. We need focus.

Empire on parade

The NSA revelations, like the US state cables before them, proved that things are much worse than we even thought and resistance is more futile. This message has been drummed incessantly in the past years. Since the curtain fell and both sovereignty and governance by the people were proven to be an illusion, there is no longer any pretense of maintaining the illusion. The current propaganda seems instead bent on proving the futility of resistance.

I’ve been writing for the last several years on the empire’s military coming-out in the media and what it says about their progress. We are long past the point where any transparency about military might is intended to result in change, much less reduction or disarmament. Since Obama’s earliest speeches he has been bragging about the “finest fighting force the world has ever seen” and the expansion of its empire. These are not secrets. Like in the Republic of North Korea and every previous empire, the media parade of invincible military might is meant to impress and suppress pretenders to the throne. Julian’s long ago essay on conspiracy has been turned on the people as the NSA and others make activists terrified of voicing dissent much less acting upon it. The message is also for any pretenders from BRICS or elsewhere as the US regime forces the landing of a plane containing a head of state, strip searches a diplomat and spies brazenly on allies.

Complicit military propaganda is presented as brave and daring journalism, somehow achieved with full co-operation from the empire itself. Junta kingpin Erik Prince is not shy of journalists and not at all reticent in proclaiming his allegiance only to himself. These places are not where secrets lie. This pretense of exposing secrets covers for the lack of exposing real secrets: the unheard voices of victims of Shell Oil in the Niger Delta, Areva uranium mining in Khazakstan, Niger, Gabon and elsewhere, the myriad corporate predators of the Amazon, the Kachin and Rohingya people of Myanmar, the silence invariably present wherever the corporate mafia abuses are the most extreme. Noisy debates on government transparency cover the complete lack of debate on corporate transparency. Congratulations on the democratic permeability of circles of government power deflect from the impenetrable circle of corporate power.

When the most silent voices cannot be ignored they are represented by controlled channels through NGOs and media, claiming to speak for those they are really speaking over. With a few truly heroic exceptions, the NGOs selectively report abuses and channel funding to further the aims of their government and corporate funders and enablers. The US funded NGOs in the Amazon seek to disrupt government trade with China and other competitors and rebellious governments co-opt the message for their own NGO partners and shut down the competing voices. Meanwhile, the people affected are unheard and the corporations in one form or another continue their destruction.

As people circumvent their governments to reach past the nationalist othering and connect globally, global Thought Leaders are propped up and paraded around to direct traffic for The Revolution™. They roam the world issuing platitudes of despair and futility straight out of 1984. “They control everything. Resistance is futile. Don’t use Facebook.” ‘They‘ cannot be named as they are bankrolling both the Thought Leaders and their solutions. Ideas become ideology and ideologies are branded and polluted. Opportunists are promoted, realists are co-opted, idealists are frightened and radicals are shot, just as Stratfor taught they should be. When a billionaire as invested in the status quo as Pierre Omidyar says celebrity Thought Leaders are replacing organizations it is as much a command as a statement. Read the playbook. Don’t play.

The world needs real journalism. We are decades, even centuries, behind what we need to know about the people really in power, the corporate shareholders. They must become our new celebrities, the targets of so much gossip we will soon understand their relationships and weaknesses better than we understand those of reality TV stars. These are the people we are fighting, not the figureheads and militias they pay to stand between us.

War is Peace: The year of the aggressive peacekeepers

The 2013 War is Peace initiative saw the creation of the first ‘aggressive peacekeeping’ mandates, one in the Democratic Republic of Congo and one in Mali. It isn’t risking much to predict the same will happen in the Central African Republic and South Sudan. This carries group affiliation to the natural conclusion we saw in the 2006 creation of ‘murder by an unprivileged belligerent in violation of laws of war’ dubbed a war crime by the Guantanamo Military Commissions Act. In 2006, the US decreed that the US military could kill children, but it was a war crime for children to kill US Special Forces commandos. In 2013 the United Nations allowed UN peacekeepers to retain the protection of it being a war crime to kill them while simultaneously allowing them to initiate attacks on those they deem to be a potential (not immediate) threat. Not only has the UN put the right of all legitimate peacekeepers to protection at risk, they have established precedent by which a foreign army can invade and conquer a sovereign state and have citizens tried as war criminals if they resist. The international media has been happy to accept this with no question and obediently report the killing of ‘peacekeepers’ in both Mali and the DRC with no explanation that the definition of that word has been changed to mean its opposite.1.png

 

UNSC permanent members: United States, Britain, Russia, France, China.

A look at the UN Security Council provides a clue to the escalating violence despite UN attempts to ‘establish peace’. Peace will never be produced by those invested in war. China is the fastest growing arms exporter of the past decade. Canada’s current government was incensed at being refused a seat on the UNSC just as their arms sales soared. Arms dealers are the obvious winners in the current economy. While an international peacekeeping force used at the discretion of the assembly of United Nations may once have seemed a good idea for humanity, the UNSC as run by the global war masters is just good corporate marketing strategy, enabling endless discussions about men with guns killing other men with guns and arguments over which side needs more guns.2.png

 

Professional militias, weapons dealers and would-be kingpins have hijacked every attempt at governance reform. Particularly, the gates of Libya and Syria were opened and militias and weapons are pouring at an even greater rate into Africa as they have for years into South America. Any thought of protest against most governments is a thought of horrific civil war as drugs, guns, militias, poverty, child soldiers and extremist propaganda are joined in an explosive mix of threatened instability just below every veneer. The gun culture in the United States is greater than anywhere on earth but the military and prison systems of the most industrialized states all retained the ability to obliterate any dissidents too close to home.3.png

 

The international media and entertainment industries provide non-stop advertising for the arms industry. Every conflict, real or Hollywood, is reported as ‘good guys’ killing ‘bad guys’, an endless parade of men with guns and flashy military equipment with no time for the stories of those working for peace. Men with guns is one of the most boring topics to keep covering as they are always doing the same thing, killing people, but the entire narrative is always men with guns and politicians with an occasional stat about the number of women raped. ‘There are no good guys’ say men reporting on men with guns, apparently unable to see the people illustrating their own report. The propaganda that men with guns can only be defeated by support for other men with guns has eliminated everyone else from negotiations as generals sit down to discuss peace and refuse a seat to anyone not making war. “In Congo, war has been largely fought on women’s bodies,” but power over peace is given to the men who fought. Efforts to build society are ignored or blocked, efforts to destroy it are rewarded with power.

“Guns don’t kill people!” shrieks the industry building autonomous drones. “Drugs kill”, however. Really, it’s all about who is importing and who is exporting. The idea of disarmament for peace now seems quaint and old-fashioned in most of the world, while in the country most dependent on the weapons industry it produces hysterical rage. Militias for peace have been formed all over the world, killing people to save lives. If there was the slightest chance of these weapons disturbing real power they would be abolished immediately but these freedoms are to enable the mass slaughter of those without power. Peace once meant disarmament. Now disarmament is only mentioned as an excuse for war.

As competing corporation/governments move increasingly aggressively into all continents, all sides of corporate money and media create so-called ‘ethnic’ or ‘religious’ unrest to destabilize dissidents and competitors. Any land dispute between corporations and residents is rewritten as an ethnic dispute to distract from the real aggressors and pitch people against each other instead. Extremist ideologies inciting genocide are promoted by corporate interests. Western media reports wars in foreign countries in graphic sensationalist detail and always framed as ethnic or religious, inciting civil war instead of economic reform. Media no longer obsessively cover teen suicides or anorexia because of concern over copycats, but coverage of men with guns is exempt from the responsibility to protect. “Freedom of the press!” chant those so completely coerced by cradle to grave propaganda they have lost even the perception to know when it controls them. As we have seen, freedom of speech is only accepted when only a few are allowed to speak, it loses favour quickly when all voices are allowed. If money and media removed the focus from men with guns, the world would cease to be run by them.

For any student of history, this is the preferred formula for dealing with every uprising, the reason regimes can be flipped over and over again with no change at all in the society. The United States Constitution’s first and second amendments have been inflicted on the entire world because both have been extremely useful for keeping corporate interests in power. There is now a slight possibility to push freedom of speech to the point where it can be used by everyone if we work very hard to pull up all voices that need to be heard and give them the amplification to drown out corporate propaganda. Freedom of speech for the powerless is far more important than freedom of speech for corporate media.

The solutions to peace will be found among the people trying to raise children, grow food and build society, not men with guns. ‘Foreign aid’ has been used for decades to tip the balance of power from one group of men with guns to another. It doesn’t bring peace. If all that financial control was given directly to those in the refugee camps, there would be change. This revolution is not about men with guns vs other men with guns. It is between creators and destroyers, peaceful people and the corporate mafia controlled militias, worldwide. If someone bothered counting bodies globally instead of chanting about regional unrest, this would be more evident.

The mafia won

In 2010 I wrote “There are only two possible explanations for a sovereign nation to bankrupt its own citizens and its government in order to set up a huge international surveillance and military system, “the finest fighting force the world has ever seen” that they do not actually own or control. One, everyone is completely insane, or two, it has not been a sovereign nation for a long time.”

In 2012 I wrote “The US does not actually control their own military or intelligence and the private corporations that do, do not operate from patriotic loyalty and are available to the highest bidder.”

It is time to stop pretending most governments of the world have anything to say about anything. Corporate mercenaries are in control worldwide. The only governments with control are the ones where the state is the corporations. Not only do people like Erik Prince and assorted other mafia bosses control the military and intelligence services of the world, he is (with China this time, sorry US nationalists) in sub-Saharan Africa with Frontier Resource Group (did you know you were a frontier, Africa?) investing in “energy, mining, agriculture and logistic opportunities”. He once more has his own private army. Prince will be facing off against other mafia militias in Africa, most notably his own creation Academi, formerly Blackwater. There are small and large militias doing the same in most of the world, still with a veneer of legal structure in the northern hemisphere but only because the mafia was allowed to write the laws.

While you are petitioning the US government to restrain the NSA, Erik Prince and friends are battling with other people’s lives for control of the world’s coltan (your phones). The corporations that already control your military and your intelligence have decided it is more expedient to just expand their security militias rather than deal with your governments. They are also continuing to rewrite the laws worldwide to exempt themselves from any accountability and turn people into commodities with no societal rights. As long as people refuse to accept that capitalism has failed, trade economy is tyranny, and the right to bear arms is the right to rule by mafia, they will continue to expand.

The people united will never be defeated

We have no idea whether that slogan we rediscovered in 2011 is true as we have never put in any effort to even reach all the people much less unite them. The first right of all people must be the right to communicate, directly. Without direct communication for all there is no way to see past the corporate propaganda and hear the voices with workable solutions. Revolutionary movements that could care less about all the people not at the table will not be building a new paradigm, they are simply seeking to replace the leaders at the top with themselves. Those that would rather amplify celebrities than people at risk are increasing power for the powerful and refusing to empower those who need it. If the people are ever going to be united, we must put far more energy into reaching down for those at the bottom instead of attempting to climb up to those on the top.

The propaganda which teaches that ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ can perform the same actions and still be on separate sides has been highly useful in misdirecting anger. This fight is between those who commit atrocities and those who do not. Our actions define us, not our company. All war coverage that is pitched as ‘ethnic’ or ‘religious’ is a lie. The conflict is between the idea of peace and society and the idea of war and dictatorship. We do not need leaders or affiliations, if we follow the ideas we agree with we will have the company we need. If we show solidarity by ideas, not the borders that divide us into economic markets, we can still win. If no one in China cares who is paying Erik Prince’s gang of thugs and buying his pillaged resources, if no one in Canada cares that their courts are shielding 75% of the world’s resource corporations from human rights prosecutions and no one in Australia cares that refugees from their own corporate plunder are being drowned at sea and imprisoned if they make it to Australia, then we lost long ago.

Empire is simply a concept. Laws, governing principles, property and wealth are all concepts. We are being enslaved by our acceptance of these concepts. If we remove everything between the sociopaths in power and the people they are tormenting – remove the militias, the media, the money, the governments, the corporations, the laws that protect corporations, the NGOs, thought leaders, celebrities, distractions and group affiliations – there is nothing left but a very few, very ordinary people.

We need to start the trials.

Equality and the fraternity

Equality for all has been held up as one of the fundamental truisms and virtues of just governance since the widespread rejection of Patriarcha and the divine right to rule. This concept was conflated after the French and US revolutions to imply all had equal ability to survive in a trade economy. How an idea so manifestly false and impossible ever became lauded as a truism must be found in its expedience and convenience in furthering the objectives of its promoters.

Equality was espoused by a homogeneous group of male caucasian slave owners and enablers. John Locke was both a major investor in slavery and an important contributor to the laws enabling the trade. Thomas Jefferson owned hundreds of slaves. When these men spoke of equality they naturally were not including anyone but themselves in the concept, rhetoric notwithstanding. Babies, children, women, slaves, indigenous people and anyone less able were obviously not their equals and were never intended to be. As covered previously in Binding Chaos: Out of Robert Filmer’s frying pan, into John Locke’s fire, this libertarian concept of trade equality was meant to enable decentralized patriarchy, not remove patriarchy. Why an assumption of equal worth to a trade economy is in no way just is covered in Binding Chaos: An economy for all.

The concept of equality as an economic virtue has been extremely successful in justifying and continuing rule and unbalanced privilege by this same group of people, spreading initially from France and the US where Locke’s writings were most influential. In every tyranny there must be a rational justification of it. The divine right of kings was usually successful in protecting a monarch’s head as few wished to act against god’s will. A secular age must appeal to a sense of fairness which most people are born with. The idea that this one group of people are more worthy as they are more able to take control must be instilled and reinforced constantly, as it is.

The only reason equality in a trade economy is considered a virtue is to allow rule by right of virtue for the fraternity, the libertarian ideal of meritocracy.

In 1792 Mary Wollstonecraft stated the root flaw in every governance algorithm used in the past or present, “Where there is justice there is no need for charity.” Her view has been overlooked by all and the image of a just society is consistently one which has evolved to be charitable. There have been societies that were ruled by justice regardless of ability but they were always few, and since the notion of equality for all under a trade economy became widely lauded as both an ideal and a truism they exist almost nowhere.

If you hear the cry for equality under a trade economy ask: But what of those who are not equal? If the orator accuses you of bigotry for denying what is obviously false you are already dealing with a tyrant. If the orator speaks of giving and brotherly love, run. The equality mantra is the worm at the root of all trade economy systems today and any trade economy based on an ideal of equality will produce the same result, as we have seen. Equality comes from an economic system in which an infant or other dependencies have an inherent right to be included without reliance on charity.

When an ideology decrees that people governed under it will behave in a certain manner it is necessary to look for any reason to believe they will. Among proponents of trade equality as a virtue the best reply thrown at those who point out that people are demonstrably not equal was framed by Marx when he decreed distribution would be “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” This is not effectively different than the answer given in different terms by other ideologies such as the tacked on welfare systems common in most capitalist societies. In all cases Marx’s stated outcome is certainly not inherent in the system and must be enforced by hierarchical coercion. We can see what that looks like every day as the powerful torment the poor, the victimized and the disadvantaged to test their ability and need.

Every political ideology named as one must have defining characteristics. Proponents of ideologies have a habit of stuffing rainbows and unicorns under their umbrellas but when the virtues being attributed are in no way inherent under the defined characteristics there is no reason to expect they will be present when the system is implemented.

Democracy is ridiculously conflated with human rights. If human rights exist under a democracy it is only by virtue of separate bill of rights, constitutions and other documents tacked onto the democracy as appendages. A democracy such as Burma can openly conduct genocide simply by having the majority rule the minority no longer have rights. Democracy is a system of voting, representative or direct, and there is no reason to assume that goals such as human rights or freedom of speech will result from it.

Peer-to-peer is an idea adapted from network architecture. In a p2p network, nodes supply and consume resources to and from each other in a structure for sharing among equals. As network architecture it works beautifully. It does not work for people because people are not peers. All you need to do is picture an infant attached to this network to see the obvious failure in p2p’s “assumed equipotency” of all participants which will result in a need for charity.

The defining principle of direct trade (reciprocal sharing is trade) among equals has absolutely nothing to do with the commons, free software, permaculture, 3D printers or any of the myriad rainbows and unicorns currently being herded under the umbrella. P2P governance is just a hacker-ish name for libertarian. Modern libertarianism can use new technology and other capabilities but there is no underlying philosophical difference. John Locke could point to magnanimous powerful men who gave charitably to their neighbours just as p2p points to free software giving charitably to a non-contributing public, but neither charitable neighbours nor free software are a natural result of the idea of trade among equals. To see what p2p governance would look like simply look at the completely homogeneous list of 26 men (no women) listed as “notable figures“.

We now have no choice but to move beyond the age of equality among young, able, caucasian, educated men from privileged families and start including the entire world. The entire world is now an unstoppable collaborative force and they will no longer tolerate rule by the fraternity of peers.

Occupy, Anonymous and each of the 2011 uprisings were many things but the one thing they were not is p2p. The endless assembleas and communication networks set up by M15 and the gatherings of the Day of Rages were a genuine attempt to hear the voices of the unequal. The Hope Riders, Jasmine Revolution, Occupy and others fought very hard to recognize and support diverse roles and unequal ability. Anonymous is the roar of those omitted from the fraternity, the raw voice of the voiceless unpackaged and sanitized by NGOs and polite representatives. Every revolution the world has ever seen has started with that roar and every revolution the world has ever seen has been co-opted by the fraternity of peers.

We can tell the revolution has failed every time we look around and see the fraternity sitting astride the ideals of the voiceless and promising to ride them to a different place this time. When the hopes and creations of the people once again become rainbows and unicorns to sell a platform for the fraternity to gain power we have failed.

If we are to proceed past the never-ending cycles of revolution and arrive at a system of peaceful evolution we need a completely different system of change. Probably writing that next.

See also

This is what my revolution looked like
Binding Chaos chapters:
An economy for all
Out of Robert Filmer’s frying pan, into John Locke’s fire

Mary Wollstonecraft: A vindication of the rights of women
Robert Filmer: Patriarcha
John Locke: Two Treatises of Government

News, analysis, action

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In the past, media was protected in most democracies because in order to govern themselves, people need access to accurate and timely information on all topics relevant to their governance. The news needs to be the match that starts analysis and action which doesn’t stop till we have change. Otherwise it is silly to pretend that news has anything at all to do with governance. If news requires no action, it is probably not the news we require in order to govern ourselves. If activism requires no analysis, it is probably not informed or effective.

News

The first right of all people must be the right to communicate. Without communication there is no way to safeguard our other rights or participate in society. Everyone needs a voice and the ability to call for help in emergencies.

Corporate media was long ago co-opted as a propaganda vehicle for corporations and governments, but people still supported it for three reasons: it provided a paying job for reporters, it provided access to an audience and it loaned official credence to the news.

The laughably small amount news media pays for most stories now (if they pay at all) is no longer tempting. Having to write material to fill a slot instead of writing because a story needs to be told, writing only on topics and only to audiences dictated and then having work butchered by editors who have less knowledge of the topic than the author is not the path to job satisfaction or quality information. Editors decide their audience must be fed the exact same story in the exact same way every day. Every story that brings different information or perspective is considered ‘biased’ and modified to reiterate the standard line. News must have an established audience before it is told, which defeats the purpose of news. Articles are produced as quickly as possible, are not interactive like micro-blogging and are seldom thoughtful and crafted like the best blogs. Corporate media reads like advertising copy, inoffensive, unsurprising, unoriginal.

Once this journalism at least brought community respect. Now it is more likely to bring open contempt and public criticism. Many bloggers have received far more recognition and respect by creating their own work and publishing it their own way on their own blogs. They sometimes manage to earn an equivalent or better living as well through a combination of donations, grants, paid appearances, website ads, etc.

The audience provided by official platforms online is now largely driven by online sharing and authors are expected to push their stories on social media when they are published. This could easily be (and sometimes is) replaced by promoting personal blog posts directly to social media instead. For those who are not interested in domain values and page hits, it is far easier to create viral media without restrictive copyright and pay walls. The unrealistic delays in publishing on official platforms make them obsolete as breaking news platforms.

The official status once brought by publication in corporate media is starting to bring the opposite result. Unless the official status is needed to update an archaic resource such as Wikipedia, there is little benefit.

There are many reasons to argue that journalism as it is practiced ought not to be a profession. While a good writer or investigator is always valuable, stories should be published when there is something important to say, not to fill a slot on demand. The people news is happening to seldom need others to translate their experience. First hand interviews and affidavits should replace journalist viewpoints. Our voices, not our votes are what gives us the ability to participate in our world and the people who tell our stories instead of just amplifying them are acting as our representatives with no mandate from us. The best articles are written by people actually affected by the news. They are the ones best able to answer questions and explain to us why their news is important. They should not have to beg some western man to find their story newsworthy and tell it through a western man filter.

Whistleblowers are journalists. The sight of whistleblowers and witnesses explaining what they found and why it is important to journalists who then turn and repeat what they have heard to an audience is a strange leftover from a long gone era. Expert opinions can also come directly from the experts, they do not need an intermediary.

In an interactive, decentralized world, the voiceless do not need someone to be their voice. They need a megaphone.

Analysis

The idea that news must be constantly new makes it an impossible option for deep ongoing analysis. Once an atrocity has been reported there is not much new to say. With no analysis or action as standard responses to news, the atrocities continue in silence and the audience attention wanders. The occasional bits of isolated investigative brilliance that make it past editors and accountants are left floating on isolated, seldom read url’s where only those that know they exist will find them.

Action

Journalism is a tool to an end, not an end. Investigators and writers who are not journalists may do their work for any or no reason; journalists are meant to bring information that the public needs to know in order to govern themselves into the public domain. The claim that journalists ought not to be activists is completely counter to the purpose of journalism. The only reason an item is newsworthy is if it requires action.

Reporters who are not activists are voyeurs. Their reporting is not journalism to aid self-governance, it is a distraction from self-governance.

There is a reason it is citizen journalism that terrifies governance. Only activists will do journalism for free and it is action that creates change, not passive reporting. Activists are not simply replacing corporate media, they are also replacing corporate NGO’s, those leeches that lie between those that need help and those that provide it and turn those in need into products to be owned and marketed.

NGO’s bring the bureaucracy and the official channels into giving. They stifle the voices of those in need except as pre-packaged marketing gimmicks and they block access to direct aid. They siphon large amounts of the aid for their own empires and spend the rest frequently without consultation with or in the interest of those it is intended for. They are also easily corruptible by political power which gives them their mandate, their access and their funding.

The huge amount of people working in NGO’s because of a desire to help those in need would be far more effective acting directly, responding to voices of those on the ground instead of power points by those who have commodified their need. Direct relationships between activists around the world have built trust and reputations. People in a position to help receive instant feedback on whether their help was effective.

Direct action and investigation can also provide real shadow cabinets to monitor and lobby government ministries and user group regulatory bodies to monitor corporations.

The future of journalism

The future of journalism is not in official platforms, page views and registered domains. The future of journalism is not in Exclusive! and Scoop! The future of journalism is not in celebrities with no knowledge of the topic who are begged to help activists aid citizen journalism. The future is not in Invisible Children or Falling Whistles style plastic-bracelets-to-stop-genocide-in-Africa commercialized snake oil dressed up as activism. Or in the centralized nodes of unofficial-official channels created out of formerly horizontal movements. Or in celebrity journalists. Or in lists of Who to Follow and Thought Leaders.

The future of journalism is in a stigmergic mesh network of amplifiers, investigators and activists who can filter and fact check news in real time, combine it with investigative global knowledge resources and create appropriate local and / or global action. The future is in collaborative investigators sharing knowledge to map everything we need to know to govern ourselves. The future is in activism and aid requested directly by the people who require it and responded to directly by the people who can provide it. The future is in the right and ability of every single person to broadcast their own voice and call for amplification when needed.

The future of journalism is in all of us.