The dotCommunist Manifesto was written by Eben Moglen a professor of law and legal history at Columbia University, and is the founder, Director-Counsel and Chairman of Software Freedom Law Center. Moglen set up Freedom Box Foundation. The FreedomBox aims to be an affordable personal server which runs only free software, with a focus on anonymous and secure communication. He is also an activist and close ally of free software movement. Moglen played key role in framing GPL V 3 license.
The dotCommunist Manifesto is inspired from Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto which is considered as Bible of working class in the world. Marx’s The Communist Manifesto urges for a revolution that is to overthrow oppressing bourgeoisie class to build a better ,classless society in which all property is owned by the “community” and each person contributes and receives according to their ability and needs. When it comes to dotCommunist Manifesto Eben narrow down the context to “free information” and go on narrating evolution, development , current state of free information and finally how to change it from its current state of commodity to a more democratic and equally accessible entity.
Notes from my reading
A spectre is haunting multinational capitalism–the spectre of free information. All the powers of “globalism” have entered into an unholy alliance to exorcise this specter: Microsoft , Facebook and Disney, the World Trade Organization, the United States Congress and the European Commission.
Those who voice against the act of commodifying and monopolizing of free information are labelled as pirates, anarchists and communists through the tools of media and power that is currently held by bourgeoisie class.
Modern industrialisation also called as Fordist style of production demands more consumers. Civilisation of proleteriate become self protective programs of bourgeoisie to produce more consumers.
With universal education, workers became literate in the media that could stimulate them to additional consumption.
With the adoption of digital technology, the system of mass consumer production supported by mass consumer culture gave birth to new social conditions. Digital technology transforms the bourgeois economy.
With the help of digital technology bourgeoisie alienated creator of any forms of intellectual property. For example music was a perishable intellectual property which has to be always enjoyed live. But with the help of recording techniques and Internet music can be recorded and transferred to anywhere and anyone. And thus commodified.
Barriers of social inequality and geographic isolation dissolve. In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal inter-dependence of people. And as in material, so also in intellectual production. The intellectual creations of individual people become common property.
But the bourgeoisie system of ownership demands that knowledge and culture be rationed by the ability to pay.
Throughout the digital society the classes of knowledge workers–artists, musicians, writers, students, technologists and others trying to gain in their conditions of life by copying and modifying information–are radicalized by the conflict between what they know is possible and what the ideology of the bourgeois compels them to accept. Out of that discordance arises the consciousness of a new class, and with its rise to self-consciousness the fall of ownership begins.
Creators of knowledge, technology, and culture discover that they no longer require the structure of production based on ownership and the structure of distribution based on coercion of payment.
Not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons–the digital working class–the creators.
Creators collectively wielding control over the network of human communications retain their individuality, and offer the value of their intellectual labor through a variety of arrangements more favorable to their welfare, and to their freedom, than the system of bourgeois ownership ever conceded them.
That leads new developments
Free Network etc
In the new digital society, creators establish genuinely free forms of economic activity, the dogma of bourgeois property comes into active conflict with the dogma of bourgeois freedom.
Protecting the ownership of ideas requires the suppression of free technology, which means the suppression of free speech. The power of the State is employed to prohibit free creation. The bourgeoisie attempts the re imposition of coercion through its preferred instrument of compulsion, the institutions of its law. Eg copyright law, patent laws and so. Aaron Swartz, Chelsea Manning were victims of such an act.
It is in the domain of technology that the defeat of ownership finally occurs, as the new modes of production and distribution burst the fetters of the outmoded law. Free information movements to act as a catalyst here.
Theirs is the revolutionary dedication to freedom: to the abolition of the ownership of ideas, to the free circulation of knowledge, and the restoration of culture as the symbolic commons that all human beings share.
The measures by which we advance that struggle will of course be different in different countries, but the following will be pretty generally applicable:
- Abolition of all forms of private property in ideas.
- Withdrawal of all exclusive licenses, privileges and rights to use of electromagnetic spectrum. Nullification of all conveyances of permanent title to electromagnetic frequencies.
- Development of electromagnetic spectrum infrastructure that implements every person’s equal right to communicate.
- Common social development of computer programs and all other forms of software, including genetic information, as public goods.
- Full respect for freedom of speech, including all forms of technical speech.
- Protection for the integrity of creative works.
- Free and equal access to all publicly-produced information and all educational material used in all branches of the public education system.
By these and other means, we commit ourselves to the revolution that liberates the human mind. In overthrowing the system of private property in ideas, we bring into existence a truly just society, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.