“Democracy for anyone with a fifteen-hundred-dollar computer”

Lawrence Lessig is one of the most important figures in shaping the movement for free (libre) technology and media. Since my time as a teenager playing with linux, he and other figures of the FOSS and creative commons movement instilled an image of a better society where everyone can be free of state oppression and freely collaborate. Contributing to the commons according to their ability, and in turn getting what they need. This all culminates into their vision of a new political future of… sensibly regulated capitalism?

It pains me to criticize these heroic figures, but it pains me even more to read the Liberalism in their work. Endorsement of the market place of ideas (“certain fantastic ideas will win in this cultural debate”) and similar sentiments reduce creativity and speech to mere inevitablities of greater economic intensives. His sentiments are far kinder than the status quo, but throughout he defends the interests of those with access from those without. Like many family members I will be seeing this holiday weekend, I just want to shake Lawrence and say “I love you, but please wake up”.

This, but unionically

This post and all images are covered by the Creative Communism license. Use anything according to your needs, provided you participate in group solidarity, resist state oppression, and embody trans-inclusive feminism(s).

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Austerity Blues, Supremacist Whites, and Digital Reds

In reading the chapters this week from Austerity Blues, I couldn’t help but see the history of the SUNY/CUNY struggle through the haunting glow of Nelson Rockefeller’s ego.

Figure 1: Nelson Rockefeller showing his respect for SUNY students, 1976.

To share some personal bias, I am completely spellbound by the vile and repugnant history of the Rockefeller dynasty. It is truly a family history I love to hate. They are completely entwined with many horrors of history– chiefly the support and maintenance of American white supremacy.

With the exception of his scandalous death, Nelson’s legacy remains largely untarnished in the neo-liberal telling of history. As the namesake of “Rockefeller republican”, he is sometimes retroactively praised for his expansions of public goods and work against discrimination. He may have been the most progressive Rockefeller, even on issues of race, but that is a bar you couldn’t lower without a shovel. Continue reading