Radical media, politics and culture.

hydrarchist's blog

John Daly's page provides links to interesting technology and development diaries.


The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.

The Second Coming, W.B.Yeats


1. Introduce Autonomedia/Semiotext(e) - History - Sense of scope of publications - Lack of ideological sectarianism

2. Website - Initial form: traditional - Contained: Link bank Forum - Retained shape of a publisher - contradiction of web publishing - 2001spring/summer first version of slash.autonomedia.org - Costs - Legal problems: the Thing. Reject Concept of Open Publishing - intstead strengthen tools and powers of the listener - avoid problem of manipulation - some measure of factual accountability: indy confuses comment and article 3. Describe Slash - Democratic Aspect Contrast Active Contrast Scoop - Features Peer evaluation RDF Boxen Problems of anonymity

4. RDF boxes - Network v Channel - Community v Broadcast Wiki - Drafting tool built on the premise of user participation. - Annotator - Political significance - map to the evolution of decisions. How do we understand moments of rupture? Why did a group or coalition split? Where do the differences lie? Potential significance of this in terms of transparency, as functioning social alliances are often the product of highly subjective factors.

Organised online - Encrypted chat - Intellkectual Propert issues

5. New means of cooperation, new possibilities for alliance, federation: the current fragmentation of resources. For example the construction of a video distribution platform. - New Global Vision. Provision of more complex technical support for social radical elements - Tech Fed - Mail, webserver, domain name registration, advice

6. Tools exist. - Social structures able to take advantage of them are slow to emerge. Impeded by territoriality, the efforts by some to monopolise cultural capital, hegemonise the political potential.

7. Political challenges - WSIS - EUCD

An interersting snippet regarding norms manipulation, or reform (depending on how you feel) although it is from 2001.

"School children should recognize their own creativity by including the copyright symbol on their course work."

According to the Patent Office's director of copyright, Anthony Murphy, a major proponent of the new program, understanding intellectual property carries important social value:

"By bringing awareness of the importance of copyright into our schools, tomorrow's consumers can take their place in a community which understands, values and respects intellectual property."


My account of saturday's demonstration included reference to a spat with my downstairs neighbour that has since escalated to trench psy-ops exchanges. Behind this unpleasantness however lies a small universe of pleasant everyday social presences: the old lady from a couple of doors down who walks the dog late at night and occasionally comes upon me sitting on the footpath, collecting my mail. Her hound is an enormous beast, demure with flashing emerald eyes, he strains the leash and would terrify but for a strangely friendly countenance.

Nearby, a small bookshop run by an intriguing Milanesa stays open late at night, and although she proclaims fealty to a strange species of anarcho-individualism, her eyes take on a dangerous gleam also when talking of seances and magic. Once a biochemical researcher, she abandoned the university afetr the university patented one of here discoveries (inventions?) and sold it to a commercial operator for a song. A collector of oddities she has shown me books with their pages cut out that she recovered from the liquidation sale of a mIlanese anarchist-junkie and cryptograms found in old artbooks to whose deciphering she now turns her not inconsiderable scientific talents.

Last night, perched on the step outside the shop and collecting mail, I was approached by an old man, a classic specimen wearing a finely cut but not extravagant suit, a snug-fitting smart hat and carrying a cane. "Alweays connected these days, eh?" Giangiacomo turned out to be his name, and we were uniwitting neighbours as he teaches and lives in the Dominican University nearby. After trading a few book stories, revealing our mutual blibliophilia, he recounted how he had come across an incunabula bu Jakob when last in Genoa (his patria), and snapped the bargain up. He had known Ivan Illich and elabvorated his own view that the salient problem of the modern world was the colonisation of consciousness. This enticing morsel promised other late night forays, and conveying his business card, he was gone.

From the sacred to the sublime, a recent alcoholic evening culminated in us presenting ourselves on a purely neighborly basis to the erotic mistresses of the mysterious and seductive Piazza delle Zingari (Gipsy Square) long a redoubt of the sexual arts, home of the case chiuse - bordellos - which were a commonplace until the 1980s and the zombie-like return of morality that concluded in their suppression. some evaded the clampdown however and our quarter, Monti, sitting discretely between the Ministry of the Interior and the Fori Imperiali hangs on to its past. So at 4.00 am when i have no one else to bother there is always Marie-Therese who rather likes a bit of a chat in her ante-chamber, and if you behave yourself you can examine her mezzanine bedroom, behind whose frosted windows she displays her silhouette when unoccupied.

Currently Reading: Le, La Dette et L'identite: Homo Donator v Home Oeconomicus Jacques Godbout, La Decouverte/MAUSS, 2000.

'They have bombers, we have axes, they kill children, we smash planes" Dublin Anarchists

Fuck the Yanks and Fuck the Brits....Shane MacGowan

Decisions of the grassroots gatherting:

The first was that we have moved beyond the stage where small groups of people clandestinely organise to scale the fence and disarm individual planes. Those who have done so already had played a heroic role and contributed massively to building the anti-war movements. But now we need to be much more ambitious and to seriously aim at an action involving thousands of people tearing down the fence and entering the airfield - thus forcing it to shutdown on safety grounds. The second was that we recognised that to mobilise this number of people we have to dispense with trying to keep our general plans secret from the forces of the state. We are not trying to outwit them; we are seeking simply to outnumber them to the extent that they cannot stop us taking action.

Aready at 7.00 in the morning groups wandered the streets around our house draped in their rainbow flags proclaiming a commitment to 'peace'. As the morning progressed it became evident that what had been heralded at the biggest demonstration in the world against war in Iraq would rather be a thronging, an occupation, an inundation of the city by millions. One did not have the impression of being at a 'political' event, but rather a strange sociological experiment, perhaps akin to the mass mourning for Princess Diana. Thousands of buses and special trains converegd on Rome from all over the country and from the windows of almost every condiminium hund banners and flags. Somewhat vexed, as ever, by consensus, I decided that the Florence- Hub slogan "Stop the World - Another War is Possible!"was more appropriate. My housemate instead opted for the tried and tested appeal to universalism: "Every day they trample on our rights, let's not let them take our right to live - Peace!".

Children peppered the participants, strange visibility in a country where the average age is now over 38, numerous nuns and priests - interestingly almost none of them white europeans - responded to the exhortations. The communists were there of course, the counterculture of the social centres in ritual black garb, stray American citizens pronounced their opposition to the Caligula's USA in speech, placards and banners.

Curious bedpartners abounded. At one point in the demonstration a large red and black banner bearing a slogan if favour of drug decriminalisation advanced in step with the stabdard of the local administration of Spoletto - anarchists and municipalists together at last! Nearby, just off the Piazza del Cinquecento a group with a pink banner anxiously pressed leaflets into the hands of passersby. Big deal? A cursory examination revealed them as none other than the Raelian Movement, masters of human cloning hoaxes and specialist in the creation of media surplus value.... Elsewhere I read that they had in fact also been present in Florence, but the lesson I drew was that something has snapped in the air, in long neglected corners of the human mind, and its resurrection attracts every band of monstrous philosophers extant.

Just around the corner another spectacle was in course: the Campo Anti-Imperialista, a marxist-leninist group of the old stripe and surprisingly young adherents, marched with quasi-military step wielding a massive banner that stated:

God Smash America!

(Hard on atheism!) My arrival was perfectly timed as the announced that they would now present the national colours of Iraq! What a thrill! Each of their perfectly presented militants - impeccably presented with yellow construction hat and equipped with a sort of wooden club - be prepared! - held an emergency flare and their precise choreography achieved the desired affect to the delight of photographers present, some of who approached these hardened revolutionaries to take their portraits. Cheekbones remained taut in defiance as the semiotic gift was conveyed to the media - good work, comrades!

Our friends from Forte Prensetino arrived shortly thereafter to return some carnivalesque defiance to the day, mostly thanks to the hordes of youthful ravers mustered behind their truck-platform. By the time that we reached Santa Maria Maggiore - almost a mile from the designated destination of San Giovannni in Laterano - the crowd was backed up so far that further advance was impossible. Weary bums were rested on the curb, beer bottle-tops popped open, spliffs ignited and torsos heaved to the audio fugue.

Back in the neighbourhood the mechanic and sculptor who lives downstairs confronted me on my return: why did we have these things hanging from our windows, who did we think we were demonstrating against etc. Despite my exhaustion I braced myself for one last outburst, but it took only the mention of our beloved Prime Minister's name, 'Berlusconi', for him to tun on his heels and walk off leaving me in mid-sentence! Pissed off perhaps? My point is that despite the jamboree quality and the superficial consensus of last weekend, there are still plenty of people supportive of the murderous political class or at least acquiescent or apathetic to their schemes.

What struck me politically was the inability of the radical edges to act significantly within the context of these mass mobilzations, similar to our experience in Florence. The political parties and historical civil-society actors are searching to grasp once again the collective desire to exert control over the social and political environment, to recuperate it, and the World Soicial Forum is just one example of the models they are using to successfully achieve this. Challenges on this scale put into perspective the sniping between different radical factions and pose once again the problems of representation. How can practices of self-organisation proliferate?

Anyhow, enough. In many ways I'd rather have been in Dublin - having never seen 100,000 demonstrate in my hometown - or in NYC - where moments of collective action are more special for their rarity and anti-war sentiment has a different reasonance in the shadow of September 11.

Not a bad day, a strange day but not a bad one. The vast nature of the 'demonstration' will have an effect on Don Berlusconi - if only for its value as focus group - but Italy ultimately is only the bit player in this bad movie. Caligula has abandoned Rome and now sits in Washington DC, directing this grotesque performance.

Neither their war nor their peace.


"It was a sinful union. A goddamned fallen angel. It was a sin to lay down with the past. Those who lie with the past die, they grow old. The fall in love with their yesterdays and stay there forever, petrified, congealed, powerless to return." PIT II Frontera Dreams, 94.

Then quite unobtrusively, an event of fundamental significance for his future occurred. The USSR, which they'd begun to renopvate and improve at about the time Tatarksy decided to change his profession, improved so much that it ceased to exist (if a state is capable of entering Nirvana, that's what must have happened in this case)...... Victor Pelevin, Babylon, p.3

An Obituary for Homo Economicus

Over the years a rather sharp distaste for economy has matured in my mind, and even, be it visceral or psycho-somatic, in my body. Enunciated in theological slogans, and dressed in the authoritative garb of hard science authoritativeness, economic imperialism has been as much a hallmark of the end of the twentieth century as the the end of soviet communism. the rational choice making individual epitomises the type of desocialised automaton in the clutches of the worst type of commodity fetichism that we can imagine, and we learn to hate the business section of the newspapers (this also explains why leftists tend to be ignorant about economic facts and have to rely on others, but that is another story).

Yet any attempt at constructing counter-institutions, or even organizing temporary carnival or disruption is confronted immediately by questions of resources, and how they are to be used. Whether acquired by theft, barter or purchase, the type of use to which they will be put, and where, simply does not go away. If sconomics is indeed the "study of how societies use scarce resources to produce valuable commodities and distribute them among different people", then we're involved because it's unavoidable.

The first thing to do is to subvert the code. Not because of some penchant for post-modernist gobbledegook, but because we can produce some political weapons, consider the following: - utopian claims about perfect markets are premised on the availability of perfect information to all participants. presently information goods are in the front line of enclosure and exclusivity. Rival logics of prerequisites to market functioning and the wealth-maximizing properties of private property rules collide here, head-on. We can mobilize one against the other, and nurture a space of relative protection from commodification in which to build creative and disruptive public space.

- rational choice models of human behaviour have been demonstrated to be operatively incorrect in many cases. Experimental economists now examine many other factors in fashioning human activity, mostly related to concepts of fairness, equity, reciprocity and positive sociality that posit no fundamental obstacle to reconciliation to extra-capitalist values. Likewise human co-operation maximising mutual benefit has been theoretically documents, in stark rebuttal of the claims of an inevitable regression to competitive reciprocal ruin. If economics continues to be an intrusive force imposing an exogenous set of imperatives, it is because (a) different interpretive models have not been publicized and set into conflict with the neo-classical dogmas and (b) rational choice models are used and repeated for ideological reasons produced by power.

To the extent that modern economic discourse really does bear a comparison with pre-enlightenment religious domination we should remember this; the enlightenment was founded on a confrontation and progressive defeat of dogmas, it could not practice subtraction or evasion and win; these may be necessary short-term tactics while a velocity equal to the task is achieved, but ultimately the Bastille must be demolished.

We are not interested in expanding our sounds as much as possible, with any means necessary, to become famous, to preach, to sell. Everything we have done, gigs, tapes, t-shirts, we always gave them away as a gift, because we are not interested in business, not even the alternative one. We don’t want to trade in slaves, we fight to overcome problems that sometimes seem undefeatable. The best things we have, we don’t want to sell them or barter them, like our arse, our mouth, our prick at £20 a go. We want to enjoy them, give them as gifts to our friends, even waste them. We don’t give a damn about the easy thrill of earning a living through our music or through the things that we do best: the dream of the Fiat worker. We try to live fucking the separation between bricklayer, guitar player, action man and chef that the bourgeois culture is proposing. We start from the self-management of the occupied houses in Turin in which we live. We are not interested in pocket-money from the gigs, if we are offered a proposal of no money or fundraising, we will go: to cook food, to repair the roof, to play, to do an action, putting our energy, our ideas and if required our money, into it. The sensations we have felt at a party or at a gig where there is no commerce involved is completely different than finding ourselves in front of a till at the door, a barman, a record stall or a chilm seller (as is the regular case in occupied squats). We love drugs, alcohol, stay at the table after dinner for hours. We prefer not to pay for tickets as an audience but to participate more and more, in the city centre streets, in a garden or by a lake, on the roof of the Royal Palace. Music is an arse and if it’s not a good one, then what kind of arse is it?

This CD is part of a series of International projects within the self-managed/squat scene: Bella Vita in Turin, Voultigeur in Paris and Boulan in Geneva. These projects are intended to eliminate money as much as possible within our relationships. We start with our more intimate relationships, amongst our friends, but we would like to expand the idea and involve many more people. It can be done! We have already had many public outing like dinner in a piazza in the city centres of Turin and Geneva or a mobile gig + bar in Paris where we invited people to participate without opening their purses. Each person offered what he wanted to find, there were no paid performances or voluntary shifts. Participation of this kind is very much subjective, spontaneous and creative. Each person decides how to get what is needed for the event: legally or illegally, it doesn’t matter. Of course it’s not the revolution and the merchandise is still around and the Swiss banks don’t care about chocolate. We are talking about passion becoming a protagonist, we are talking about the elimination of the customer who consumes, pays and usually goes away without complaint. The elimination of the club organiser and of his bookkeeper. We want to have the chance to participate in full as protagonists. Above all it’s a better way of being together. It is not christian charity because we are not the Apostles of God giving to all the needy people. This is not the welfare state assisting the lower class, who have no income yet claim the right to party. There are no rights and no duties. If there is a lack of money you can solve the problem in another way, just look around and take it from where it is. Not only for the Saturday night party, everyday would be better. This CD is a gift. It is not for sale in the shops and you will not buy it in the underground scene. It is a proposal that would like to generate a thousand more amongst the free people who are not waiting for the revolution. Che Guevara never existed. Mankind has already been on Mars.

I thought, why write a text if it will never be read? I have been answered ‘yes we all need to express ourselves’. So what? all the texts in our scene say the same thing ‘blah, blah, blah…together we’ll succeed…blah, blah, blah…up the collective life and the positive feeling’. In reality, I don’t want to lie to myself, I don’t put others before me. If there is little food and a lot of people I always try to get enough for myself. I never offer my best ‘deals’ to the others. When there is an action I flee, leaving the risk to others - the brave and strong. If a text has to be written I always wait for somebody else to do it, then I express my critique: never exaggerate with bullshit. They talk about collective life but I’m very cautious about that. At the end of the day we are alone. I never help those in trouble ‘cause no one will ever help me and anyway, there is always somebody else ready to help. I’m always ready to party, I can stay peacefully at the bar when someone else is providing. I can even be the barman just to be on the same level as the provider. I find meetings very boring and rather than falling asleep, I prefer to stay at home and anyway it is always the same people doing the talking. They say “don’t work, steal your food” but I’m afraid of that and I already got caught once. The Dole is not enough, I cannot go to the bar everyday and this upsets me a lot. I don’t know how the others manage. They have money and are clever too. One has to find a balance. For this I invite myself to every dinner and to every party, after all we need happy people to have a good time. My problem is, I haven’t got enough money. I would like to be offered some ‘deals’, but I always hear about them too late. This is unacceptable when one is talking about communism. The leaders put me in difficulties: they are always the same people , they know everything, always committed, always criticising the other hypocrites. They smile at me. “I puke on power”. This is what they want. They want to be the foremost in every project. They can keep to themselves, I don’t take orders, I’m not a pawn. I’d rather do my deals on my own. No leaders. But you know life is not just black and white. Sometimes I’m sad, actually, pretty often. Not that I think of topping myself but…sometimes…then I take drugs, when I can, hiding myself, because it’s too expensive to share. Except with real friends, they are different, we agree on almost everything and when we are at the bar we enjoy taking the piss out of everyone else. We like gossiping and bad mouthing people just to spread shit. You should try it, it’s very funny. I’m afraid of the future. Today we are all together, we meet at parties, at gigs, at manifestations, but when I get old…the others will be settled down so I should really make a move, I don’t know, try to learn to make a living. But, it is difficult to find anything that is not work, something that I like and that will guarantee me a pension. It is not with posters, flyers, fanzines or this free CD that will secure my pension. I’m sure the rest are thinking the same thing without saying. Now I’ve read what I have written and I think I have exaggerated. Honestly I like all those groups of pseudo-anarchists, pro-situationists or whatever they’re called. We had a good time together, we did make good deals together and we became a gang. I cannot say exactly what we did, in case some cop reads this booklet. I’m sure they will. Therefore I will say nothing. We didn’t do only illegal stuff, we enjoyed ourselves as well. About the Italians, the language is a bit difficult to learn but most of them speak good French. They are a bit hyper and very politicised, but I like their madness. Above all, their Bella Vita. That’s good. If life could all be like that, I would sign the contract. BUT AT THE END FOR ALL I SAID AND BECAUSE THEY’RE ALL A BUNCH OF PRICKS I STEP OUT OF THIS CD PROJECT - FUCK OFF - FUCK ME.

There are ideas that don’t leave us on our own, ideas that allow us to make something out of our life, that give a meaning to our story, new ideas which transform our everyday living. Those are the ideas that we would like to use to change the state of things rapidly and deeply. It’s up to us to find the way of breaking the fatalist environment that mummifies our destiny, the way of pushing ourselves to the edge, of constantly finding new dimensions in our life. There is Bella Vita, which is an important moment in our collective expressions.

She is the need to communicate, to meet, to be protagonists of a daily resistance. We want to live differently. Our means are several, all interesting. We are different but some of our desires are the same.

We’ll make new friends. Honestly, very often I’ve got problems with musicians. It’s strange, but I can’t explain why. You know, they are nice people to be with, cool, interesting and all.....but, when it comes to money, everything goes wrong. It is the same problem you’d have in any shop! How many times I think about it, when I”m going to a gig in a self-managed place. I’m not even talking about the ordinary venues, one knows what the story is there. I wouldn’t haggle for a piece of cheese in a supermarket, nor the price of a ticket in a stadium. But in the places closer to my politics, I would expect a different behaviour. I can’t explain why, but the guys from the band think that I’ m merely trying to see their gig for free. On the contrary, very often I don’t give a fuck about their gig. Like many others, I go there to meet people, to chat, to drink, and sometimes I enjoy the music, sometimes I don’t, but anyway it is not the main thing. The aim is not to scab an hour of music. For that, there are more effective ways than a long argument at the till. And once again, less dear is always too dear. I would like to enrich the discussion, to bring it towards new horizons. But very often it is impossible to go over the daily mediocrity of human life. It is like there is no solution or a way out. People, ‘alternative’ or not, seem to be satisfied with the present situation. The issue of gratuitousness has to be solved at the root. If we are talking about giving, offering, in a world ruled by profit, we will not go very far. We should really throw these relationships, which are being imposed on us or sometimes we impose on ourselves, in the loo. If only the musicians, the gig organisers and the “consumer” would try to conceive the event in a different way. We don’t want to be limited by time, nor be the paying spectators who let the actor lead the play like a club where everything has already been organised for you. The event should be a privileged moment that allow us to forget this world and its rubbish, and amongst it the money. Where everything is possible, not only what is in the programme. We realise that it is possible to have free parties, without clients or customers, without actors or audience, where you bring along what you wish to find, where the band plays for the fun of it, where you can find something completely different from the usual commercial relationships. And what a party! We want to go on all night, all week , all life. And although I know that a free record or a free party will not change the world, I think it could be a starting point. This free round piece of plastic is not a model of what to do or not to do, it doesn’t want to be a pseudo- revolutionary moral lesson and it is not the frenzy of a kept student in transgressive mood. We are far from the realisation of our desires, and sometimes it’s hard, but we will not be content with a little corner of heaven in this shit world, and sometimes we let ourselves go and we dream about a world without theft because it is without goods. We like to live beyond our means, but we want them to justify their end.

Therefore, fill wine in the empty glass, drink wine from the full glass, never leave the glass empty, never leave the glass full…I love you


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