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<nettime> The Hacker Class
McKenzie Wark on Sat, 1 Jun 2002 15:41:07 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> The Hacker Class

The producing classes -- workers, farmers, hackers -- exist only
analytically. That analysis may form the basis of a politics and a
culture, but it need not. As with farmers and workers, the
hacker class can be bought off. The farmers had their kulaks
and tacksmen, the workers had their 'labour aristocracy'.
Likewise, hackers can be bought off with a *share* of the
intellectual property they create. But this share is always less
than the whole of what they produce.

Hackers are not 'victims'. This is a complete misreading. On the
contrary, they, together with farmers and workers, produce all
there is. Literally -- we produce the world as the world. We
only have to realise our full potential. We have a world to win.
A world that can just as easily be lost, incidentally. The
commodification of the whole of nature is a sure path to its
destruction and the destruction of our hard-won freedom from

At the heart of the matter in vectoral commodification is the
same question as during agricultural and capitalist
commodification. What Marx calls "the property question: The
statement proposed by Beppe Caravita is a good one:
"{Intellectual Property] has to be impermanent as the
Hypercapitalism gain speed. Otherways our commons will be
destroyed. Consequence: the global disequilibrium." But it is a
question of fleshing this out with a full analysis of the property
form and its consequences. It's a question of a revival of class
analysis. It's a question of discovering what lies behind the
appearance of this 'multitude' that appears to confront capital
with the consequences of its contradictions, but which does so
in its turn in a contradictory way.

Hardt and Negri take us to the brink of understanding these
contradictions, but in my opinion do not provide the tools with
which to analyse them. That is an omision I have sought to
make good in A Hacker Manifesto, which may be found at:


And various other places on the net. I thank all those who are
contributing, on and off nettime, to the clarification of its
theses. The new media theory will also be a new media practice,
or not at all.

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