[iDC] lambda lambda lamda

Brian Holmes brian.holmes at wanadoo.fr
Tue Feb 21 10:43:33 EST 2006

Eric Goldhagen's intervention in this thread is so exact it 

"The problems of net-neutrality can not be fixed by rouge 
cowboys like Garrin and WiFi-NY. Short of building our own 
people's internet, we sadly have to rely on regulation to 
ensure public access and net neutrality. This is a systemic 
issue that must be addressed in a large scale way by 
community and government, not by individual capitalists."

This is always the limit of small-scale anarchist or 
libertarian acts of resistance, in our time anyway. If they 
get anywhere beyond the symbolic, it's only to become 
practical on neoliberal terms. I would very much agree with 
Eric that the only real social change has to be 
institutional, meaning it has to involve big players, 
anything else is a dream; but I would add that one can use 
the symbolic potential of resistance and volunteerism in a 
bid to make that kind of change happen. Thus, Trebor's open 
databank on cooperative practices is not exactly the 
solution to my lack of access to Ingenta (although someone's 
gift economy has been the solution to my lack of access to 
Muse! Thanks, anonymous). However, the cooperative databanks 
being done by many people are a huge intervention into what 
we were talking about before, namely the creation of the 
values that orient institutional development. If we keep 
pushing, someday all the databanks will be free.

The problem is, like  Brooke Singer I don't feel too sanuine 
about the posssibility of getting much through the 
institutional apparatus in the US right now... As for 
Brooke's question to Eric:

> do you (or anyone else) know of 
> community based groups using a similar model? the technology is not 
> particularly interesting here but what fascinates me is a model of a 
> flat hierarchy (ok, not exactly the case with WiFi-NY) in which there is 
> no central governing body. 

Well you can look up all the traces left on the web by the 
great dream of the London "Consume" network, which in the 
early days of techie enthusiasm for wi-fi was supposed to be 
a voluntarily erected people's service-provision and 
cultural-production network that would be so successful that 
corporations would just have to beg for the privilege to do 
them favors, in order to get access to some piece of all the 
action they would produce... As you can guess by the way I 
wrote that sentence, alas I don't believe that this 
libertarian dream really came true...

best, BH

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