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Re: <nettime> Reverse Engineering Freedom and make world paper#3
Brian Holmes on Thu, 25 Sep 2003 07:54:42 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Reverse Engineering Freedom and make world paper#3


David Garcia writes:

>There are many hells in this world and many (admittedly by no means 
>all) of the worst occur when not only through oppressive by states, 
>but when states break down.

Without going so far as Gide's "fear and trembling" (David, does 
rhetorical excess produce rhetorical counter-excess?) I'd say that 
politics is all about the relation between markets, governments and 
voluntary associations (or "civil society" but the term's gotten too 
heavily freighted). These three poles can be found to varying degrees 
in all modern social activity: David is right to point out how much 
of our freedom depends on collective frameworks, someone else would 
point out that market-oriented activities have contributed most of 
our tools as well (I'd have some return arguments there, in fact I'd 
have pages and chapters of social theory on how the balances between 
the three poles could change, how markets could transform from the 
current price-fixing ones, how state functions could be reinvented 
etc. - but the point can stand for the moment). The internet has 
given a big boost to the possibilities of voluntary association, and 
that's where Geert and Florian's tributes to freedom are interesting, 
because they're trying to encourage some collective initiative. And 
for good reasons, cause it's currently the most interesting game in 
town. But I'd say the point is both to continually try to carve out 
more space for these free associations, and to gauge the effects 
they're having on the ongoing stories of market and state. Because 
both those awesomely powerful realities show no signs of going away 
tomorrow - except maybe in the realm of "failed states," which, I'd 
like to point out, are a very prominent feature of the current period 
of transnational state capitalism as practiced by the powerful 
corporations and countries, at the expense of the weaker ones. A 
little decay and global chaos is just part of the price for keeping 
up the rapacious resource extraction and military/ideological 
control. There's a state of affairs that the free associates ought to 
try and transform - maybe with some more precise strategies than we 
currently have on the table. Which is not to say that the last 4 or 5 
years of activism have been entirely unfruitful....

best to all, Brian

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