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[liberationtech] Thank you for choosing cyberpunk dystopia.

Spike (Chris Foote) spike at
Wed Jul 10 13:13:15 PDT 2013

Thank you Shava,

I so look forward to reading your posts.


On 10/07/2013 20:07, Shava Nerad wrote:
> I have to say, this is why I am proposing we must turn to traditional
> community organizing, using the net only as a means of totally
> transparent communications at this point for organizing facilitations.
> We have a strong history in this country of successful insurgent formal
> nonviolent social movements.  And I am afraid if we do not mobilize the
> consequences are in fact dystopian.
> We have two generations essentially detached not only from civic
> activism but largely from the social contract in general.  I feel as
> though society is inviting renewal or despotism.
> So, what are we looking at?  The vague shadows of a Spanish Civil War?
> I hope the hell not.  Shadows of 1930s Germany is what I hear more
> often, ducking Godwin, but just reporting.
> The point is that there is one piece of compassion we might have here:
> while we are horrified as activists in a democracy in America regarding
> our government, our government -- our friends and people we see not as
> friends -- is somewhat justifiably horrified looking over our shoulders
> at the electorate.
> Government can not change the electorate in a democracy -- at least, not
> quickly.  That really only works the other way around.
> Our people do not understand their own government any more.  They have
> been reality engineered into a market-of-votes. Elections here are
> transmedia, and are game theoried to death.  Party platforms are minor
> lore and backstory.  Political principals that actually relate to real
> world consequences have very little place in electoral politics except
> as they are adopted as plot elements in the transmedia drama, which
> often holds no reliance, especially, on facts.
> If you have felt like every bit of this has been social engineering
> since about Clinton and Gingrich started influencing their parties, I
> think you would be right.  Both men are very fond of a marketing/game
> theory chase to the middle.  The DLC and the Contract for America both
> displayed strong ideological platforms while candidates pursued whatever
> it took to take the unaffiliated vote.  So we entered the age where
> everyone complained that the parties were indistinguishable.  For
> decades.  Until that became, in market research, too unpopular.
> Nearly instantly, our two dominant parties went, in the public
> perception, from being indistinguishable, from having always been too
> polarized and unable to work with one another, ever.
> And, although this made approval ratings of Congress as a whole drop (at
> 11-17% now but they have no reason to fear consequences), it made
> approval of your local congresscritters go up -- your own delegation is
> seen as aggressive, fighting for you, and standing up to bad
> government.  Teflon.  And totally unaccountable.
> We are so fucked.  This is the perfect morph of "we have always been at
> war with Eurasia" in politics.
> You have to be carefully taught... This is not an electorate.  It's an
> arena of futbol yahoos who never had a chance to learn what it means to
> be a citizen of a democracy, drunk on cheap beer and cheering for the
> guys wearing the right color uniforms, and ready to brawl with the other
> fans if they lose.
> This is why, yes they are outraged about Prism -- they have been taught
> to be outraged because in a neuromarketing sense, it retains their
> attention quivering at the TV for three minutes through the next series
> of ads, and they retain more information from those ads and are grateful
> for their soothing effect, so it makes for greater brand affinity.  So
> as long as Snowdon keeps adrenaline moving as political porn, he will
> get equal time on CNN, MS-NBC, and FOX News, and as soon as he stops
> selling stuff, the sleeping giant will roll over and go back to
> hibernation until next crisis or the Superbowl.
> Like a light switch, by manufactured consent, the spotlights will go
> off, go on again perhaps as a footnote if some bad consequences happen
> to Snowden after the NSA decides enough people don't care any more, then
> fade, entirely, to black.
> But it is possible to change things.
> It takes the ones who are still learning, and that means the young, the
> geeks, the intellectuals.  It takes forming a movement based on
> principals, so it doesn't rely on one set of people coming up with
> ideas.  It must be nonviolent and coherent with how the current system
> purports to work (and often that ends up working against the system as a
> shaming mechanism).  I am hoping it will be multipartisan, but I am
> pretty unabashedly old-line liberal and conservative-friendly -- my
> attitude is that politics is RvR gaming and beers after, and geeks are
> good at fighting fair in design meetings. ;)
> I want to open source politics.  It's gotten ikky, and it's getting
> ikkier, but contrary to popular belief, it isn't inherent on all
> scales.  And it's gotten worse rather than better due to people
> neglecting the institution.  Someone has to clean the loos dammit, or
> they get gross.  It's part of co-operative living.  We can't get rid of
> politics.
> If we don't open it all up, document it, get a million young people
> involved in a Great Hunt to discover how we got here and how their
> birthright can be recovered from the political power mongers -- we won't
> have a democracy.
> Besides, this is the biggest most amazing best programmed LARP there
> is.  There are actually some great aspects to spending your time on
> civilization rather than Civilization(tm). ;)  Why spend time on bread
> and circuses when you can engage the real thing?
> So, this is not a "civic game" or gamification.  This is using the net
> as organizing for social ends with perhaps a metaphorical idiom of
> gaming, the hunt, the quest, the Hero's Journey.
> Because I don't think it's an exaggeration that this is an asymmetrical
> war, however nonviolent, we are entering into.  No less than King or
> Mandela or Gandhi went into.  Our government is trapped in error and I
> see no way except to bring the people to bail them out, and as was so in
> any of those prior peaceful civil wars, we have friends inside, but
> years of work ahead.
> #bluerosemovement
> Yrs,
> SN

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