Reading The dotCommunist Manifesto

About Auther
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.

Introduction
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 Software
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.

#FreeSoftware 2

“Free software” emerged as counter culture against monopolization of software and open knowledge . Free software movement raised the slogan of “Free Software, Free Society” , that argued for  democratic and equal access of the technology to each and everyone.

#FreeSoftware 1

The hacker community existed before the birth of “free software” , at that time software was “free” by default. Sharing of software was not restricted in any manner.  In the early 1980s situation started changing , software has started becoming commodity. Many players entered into software development foreseeing probable multi million software market in the future.Those Hacker communities then existed just disappeared, along with freedom to share a software or piece of code. Natural right of copying banned by laws. More and more laws and policies were introduced in favor of corporate to help them in making money out of software business. The entire society was betrayed.

Garment workers agitation on PF issue

22TH_PF__2823007f

I got a chance to witness the massive gathering of garment workers near PF office @ Singasandra,Bengaluru. There were more than 5000 workers agitating sitting right on the road. My understanding about the issue is Gov has come up with the new policy that from 2016 May 1st onward employee can only withdraw employer contribution of PF at the age of 58. Most of the times people depends on PF money for expenses like marriage and any medical need. The new policy leaves no alternative option for workers and directly affect the life of poor workers resulted in such a violent strike. As a result of this massive agitation, the government forced to re-consult the decision and new rulings were put on hold.

When the gov doesn’t represent us, the rights have to be earned by collective bargaining and that is going to be so in future too. In solidarity.

 

Computer training syllabus #3

Computer training syllabus #2 can be found here

Paint activity
Double clicks on the paint icon.
The paint activity window opens.
First opens an existing file and plays with the colours.
Then creates painting.
The tools for drawing can be found under Tools.
A set of tools is called a Toolbar.
The various choices in any Toolbar are called the Options.
The tools and options that uses to draw a house are:
New option to get a blank canvas.
Shapes toolbar to get shapes like square, rectangle and triangle.
Brushes toolbar to colour using the colour palette.
Eraser to erase.
Save option to save the painting.
Print option to print the painting.
Quit option to quit the activity.

Exploring the Desktop
The small pictures that we see on the screen are called Icons.
The screen where all the icons are arranged is called the Desktop.
Icons of activities that we use often are kept on the desktop.
The bar at the bottom of the desktop is called the Taskbar

Window
To start an activity double click on the activity icon on
the Desktop.
The activity window opens on the Desktop.
More than one activity can be started at a time.
Whenever you click on a window, the computer brings it in
front and allows you to use that activity.
Close and Minimize a window
button at the top right corner of
a window is used to close the activity.
button at the top right corner of
a window makes the window very small.

Taskbar
The bar at the bottom of the Desktop is called the taskbar.
When you open any activity, a small window of that activity appears on the taskbar. This is called a tab.
The Taskbar has one tab for each window on the Desktop.
All the activities that have been started can be seen in
the Taskbar.
Clicking an activity tab on the Taskbar will bring that window to
the front.

Title bar
The top bar of a window is called the Title bar. You can recognize the activity in a window by the title in the title bar.

Wallpaper
The picture on the desktop is called the Wallpaper. A right click on the desktop brings up a dialogue box. One of the options allows you to change the wallpaper.

Computer training syllabus #2

Computer training syllabus #1 can be found here

How to use Mouse ?

Mouse is used to point at items shown on the monitor. When we move the mouse around, the arrow on the screen also moves around. The arrow is called the mouse pointer. The mouse is usually kept on a flat surface called the mouse pad.
Pressing the button is called a click. There are two buttons on the mouse. The button on the left hand side is called the left button. The button on the right hand
side is called the right button. Clicking these buttons tells the computer what to do.

There are three types of mouse clicks:
Left click: Click the left button once. This is used to select an activity after you point to it.

Double click: Click the left button twice, quickly. This is used to start the activity after you have pointed at it.

Right click: Click the right button once. This is used to control the activity after you have started it .

The wheel between the left and right mouse button is called the scroll button. You can move up and down a page using the scroll button.

Keyboard Detail

We can use a keyboard to give instructions to the computer. The buttons on the keyboard are called keys.

Keys are of different type and we can group keys like
1. Alphabet keys
The keys on which you see alphabets: A – Z are called alphabet keys. These are used to write words.
2.Number Keys and Number pad
The keys on which you see numbers: 0 – 9 are called number keys. These are used to write numbers.
3. Caps Lock Key
While you are typing letters using Alphabet keys, you can turn caps lock on or off to switch between capital and small case letters. When caps lock is turned on a small led glows to indicate caps lock is on. Mostly you can spot this led at right top corner of your keyboard.
4.Space bar
While you are typing, you can press the Space bar to create spaces.This is usually the longest key on the last row of the keyboard. It may not have anything written on it.
5. Backspace
While you are typing, you can press the Backspace key to erase letters. It is usually the last key in the row of numbers. This may look different on different keyboards.
6.Enter Key
While you are typing, the Enter key is used to move to the next line.It is usually found at the end of the middle row of alphabets. The Enter key is also used for other actions too.
7. Arrow keys.
It is multi purpose keys.  As the arrow key on each key indicate these keys are used to move respective direction Eg In a text editor cursor is moved up/down or left/right using arrow keys.
8. Shift Key
It is a special key used in combination with other keys. Eg if you want to type special characters like ‘@’ which appears on top left corner of number key 2,  you can use shift keys. Hold shift key and press 2 computer will print @ on screen instead of 2. This is applicable for all such keys where you can find two keys on same key. Shift key is also used to switch case between upper case and lower case while using alphabet keys.

Interview questions and answers based on TRAI’s ruling that prohibits differential pricing models –

Context : TRAI’s ruled that disallows service providers to offer or charge a discriminatory tariff for data service of content being accessed by consumers after a lengthy consultation procedure which actually started on Dec 9th, 2015. After hearing all the sides TRAI decided to rule in favor of pro netneutrality campaigners agreeing almost all the demands raised by them (us).

How it benefit in the rural areas?

I don’t think TRAI’s yesterday’s ruling alone would do any magic to connect the unconnected Indians. Particularly rural areas were ignored where 70% of Indian population resides. According to telecom regulatory authority of India (TRAI), India’s ICT usage and access on a global scale have been ranked at 129 out of 166 countries. “India is categorized in the least connected countries group of 42 nations that fall within the low IDI (ICT Development Index) group. Major challenges before the government could be building ITC infrastructure across the nation. Based on this GOI can form policies that encourage domestic IT and ITeS business models which could accelerate the reach of IT to all section of the entire nation, thus bridging the growing digital divide.

Will the people be happy about it as many of the people in rural use BSNL and MTNL ?

If the people are happy with LIC or SBI why not BSNL and MTNL. GOI should pay enough attention to improving the service quality of BSNL/ MTNL India’s largest telecoms providers. I personally find current gov encourage privatization by citing the over expenses of managing gov sector companies. This attitude has to be changed. A Large section of our country depends on public sector firms.

Are there any other challenges the internet is facing?

Technological advancement has made the Internet as the medium of revenue generation. There are innumerable business institutions across the world mainly depend on the Internet. The open and democratic nature of Internet is a block for many corporate giants to generate revenues far beyond what they make now. Monopolizing the Internet is the another option for them which is not possible without hindering neutrality of the Internet. UNO has already declared that the Internet is also fundamental rights to every individual in the world. In the absence of well-defined laws that ensure such fundamental rights is the biggest concern at present.

What do you think about Free basics?

The Internet functions as a global network in which anyone can connect, receive and provide content without any discrimination. People pay for the amount of data they want to use and/or the speed with which they want to access the Internet. When connected, people can access any web site or service without any discrimination. One provider’s site is accessible to all its visitors, just as that of any of their competitors. This makes the Internet neutral to all, providers and consumers. Programmes like Free Basics, which is just a new misleading name for the earlier Internet.org, seeks to provide a minuscule subset of Internet, without charging the users for data usage by partnering with telecom operators. Although this provides free access to maybe a few hundred websites out of over a billion, it also creates a barrier for users to go outside that perimeter to avoid charges. Moreover, the freely available services are ultimately controlled by Facebook. This gives an unfair competitive advantage to those websites over the ones which aren’t included in the ‘package’. We are watching the developments around the Google-RailTel deal closely and waiting for more details to emerge. We can imagine a few problems that may arise out of such deals if left unquestioned, but it depends on how they propose to implement the services.

What’s going to change when these rules are adopted?

The ruling emphasizes that No service provider shall offer or change discriminatory tariff for data service on the basis of content, which means that net neutrality has to be protected. Zero rating plans like airtel zero and facebook’s free basics can not be implemented as long this ruling is in effect. The Internet to continue to be the Internet how it was, where facebook or twitter like companies emerged. A free competitive platform where anyone with IT knowledge and talent can find their business. And the Internet continues to be unbiased. However, the arguments raised by facebooks for the promotion of “free basics” service remains. i.e growing digital divide. The recently announced digital India project gives more hope to the people of the country.

Slogans prepared for protest against facebook’s Free Basics

We held a protest near Forum Mall Koramanagala demanding stopping services like FreeBasics‬ which hinder #‎NetNeutrality.

Find the video and photo coverage of the protest.

I had jot down slogans exclusively for this protest, not all were raised during the protest.

 

Say no to free basics
Say no to free basics

Facebook stop  misleading people
Facebook stop  misleading people

Free basics is against net neutrality
Free basics is against net neutrality

We want netneutrality
We want netneutrality

Say no to free basics
Say no to free basics

Facebook Stop monopolizing the internet
Facebook Stop monopolizing the internet

Free basics is against net neutrality
Free basics is against net neutrality

We want netneutrality
We want netneutrality

———

Say no to free basics
Say no to free basics

Protect internet democracy
Protect internet democracy

Free basics is against net neutrality
Free basics is against net neutrality

We want netneutrality
We want netneutrality

—-

Hello Mr. ZuckerBerg
Hello Mr. ZuckerBerg

Stop shedding crocodile tears
Stop shedding crocodile tears

We don’t want Free Basics
We don’t want Free Basics

India don’t want Free Basics
India don’t want Free Basics

We Say no to free basics
We Say no to free basics

——

Against monopolization of Internet

 
What would happen after internet.org aka free basics set the base  in India ? Facebook claims to bridge the widening digital divide . Hactivists and netizens counter Facebook’s claim and caution the after effects of monopolization of internet . I always tend to compare the cases of Monsanto’s Indian debut with that of Facebook’s plan of free basics . Maybe that would  help to get the context clear . Monsanto (3wanted to help Indian farmers by producing more  crops with the help of technology to build a prosperous India . Another philanthropist like Mark Zuckerberg . But what happened at last ? The creation of seed monopolies , the destruction of alternatives , the collection of superprofits in the form of royalties , and the increasing vulnerability of monocultures has created a context for debt , suicides , and agrarian distress . Monsanto was kind enough to help farmers giving GE seeds , biotechnology product etc for low cost or free of costs initially . Slowly they became one of the major player holding control over seed distribution and agricultural techniques . By then farmers were far beyond to re-establish the traditional methods of farming or it was nearly impossible . Monsanto used this situation and started increasing the price of seeds and other logistics . Poor farmers could not bare this , results suicide . All the corporate in the world are motivated by profits . Be it Monsanto or Facebook . When Facebook is pitching in India with a philanthropist touch , ultimately situation would be that of farmers who trapped by Monsanto . The moment they capture the market Facebook’s tone gets change , then after whatever they talk is about money and profit . You can spot many examples of these sorts in history . It is us who actually take a call and stay safe from these traps . Agitate against the move by Facebook to monopolize the Internet

First parent’s meeting held at ac3

In the beginning, we were receiving complaints and concerns from parents and localities about students shouting at centers, girls and boys mingling more freely in the center , which is not a usual thing for a study center according to them. Hence we decided to hold meeting frequently to hear from parents and make them understand what’s happening in the center.

We had not done many preparations in organizing this meeting. During one of the class hours, we talked about the importance of holding such meetings among students and volunteers and decided the date as Nov 22nd. Later asked students to inform their parents about this meeting. Close by 22nd a team including Renuka, Vinoth, and Prabhakar(they are core volunteers of the center at present) made a visit to each house to remind about the meeting. They visited approximately 20 houses.

We know that just a meeting would be boring , hence planned to host couple of cultural activities too. All the organizing activities done  by students aging from 10-17  , we were never involved in any of these directly. I should say I was literally surprised to see the drama what they directed titled “Mooda Nambike” meaning false belief. I had only  informed them before to come up with something that gives a social message. In all aspect, the drama was thought provoking . Everyone enjoyed the drama especially parents as their kids performing on stage.

After cultural activities actual meeting started, Balaji addressed parents in Tamil and explained how the center operates. As expected there were questions from parents which Balaji could respond appropriately. The main concern from parents was that they were not sure students are spending their time productively in the center. We had planned to showcase digital paintings done by students using tux paint to parents, due to time and space constraints we dropped the plan. I could see there 300 + paintings done by students from simple to creative so far in the main computer at center. Tux painting is the first tool we introduced to them to get them handy using mouse.

Later Renuka presented Ac3 schedule which none of the parents were aware of this before. The schedule is as below
Monday and Tuesday – Every student get machine to tools like tux painting , tux math, tux typing etc for about 15 – 20 min
Wednesday – Balaji handles science classes
Thursday and Friday – Shijil(myself) teaches computer basics as per the community center syllabus.