Wednesday, February 16, 2005

P2P - The Capitalist Manifesto

Things are converging for the first time in history a breach of protocol is possible. The spectacle, the system, is under threat from the very users that support it. P2P networks have encouraged millions of passive spectacle driven consumers to download for free, from the very spectacle that enslaves them. If pushed in the right direction, a cultural revolution of unforeseen “life-affirming” consequences could be unleashed. This is not a revolution against Capitalism, but rather the spectacle and the copyright-patent monopoly system that supports it - which creates scarcity as opposed to cultural abundance and diversity.

As William S Burroughs said:

"Junk is the ideal product ... the ultimate merchandise. No sales talk necessary. The client will crawl through a sewer and beg to buy ... The junk merchant does not sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to his product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise. He degrades and simplifies the client. He pays his staff in junk."

It is difficult not to see this as a parable four our consumption of “cultural products”: movies, porn, music etc. To all extent people are addicted to junk, to the virtual sensations it provides. In our technological age when any fool can make a hit song, a porn movie, art etc… it is difficult to see why people still buy the junk and admire the dealers.

Make no mistake about it, the spirit of Capitalism is part of the solution, not the problem. Marx and Deleuze have repeatedly emphasized throughout their viral texts that Capitalism has been responsible for far greater subversions against ideologies, identities and territories than any other social system in existence. As Deleuze would say: one must take Capitalism to the limit… to (temporary) break Capital’s territorialized cocoon and reveal the spiritual/vital nature within…

Capital’s primordial spirit is expenditure as wealth, in short, Nietzsche’s “gift giving-virtue”: the “overman” gives not out of charity or compassion but rather because he is so “strong” that like the sun, gives his energy freely to others, to grow as strong (er) as he is.

As with the plotarch virus of the archaic age described by Marcel Mauss and Georges Bataille’s “general economy” strength is measured not in exclusive accumulation (copyright-patent law) but in how much one can “give away” freely (without obliterating yourself or the system in the process)…open-source to the core.

It comes as no surprise that historically (i.e. material reality) no capitalism, no multinational, no “free-market” has ever given into the primordial spirit of Capital, on the contrary resisted it wherever it could, by any means necessary. The RIAA’s attack on P2P users shows this trend very well.

The principle way that capitalism found to resist the spirit of Capital within was with the creation of the spectacle - creating scarcity wherever it could.

Yet, some signs of life have shown themselves despite their unavoidable incorporations: adbuster inspired no shopping consuming days etc… But it is P2P systems, if encouraged in the right direction, that will sign the real break, for it is the very enslaved consumers that are downloading the poisonous “goods”.

…A vanguard needs to be developed… small groups need to act as catalysts… putting their theory (hacking words and code) to viral effect into the computerized corporate matrix. Cultural and Code terrorism is the only terrorism that works, symbolic violence is the only spiral that spirals.

Consumers wake up! Remember the products and companies you consume are not your friends…

Become `rhizomatic', organize “bonfires of liberty” burning beckons of freedom across the country, burning image, sound and video (especially 80’s records)…For the “bonfires of liberty” will act a rhizome - a network of stems that are laterally connected as opposed to the media `hierarchical' root­ systems of trees - conducting a corrosive polymorphous perversity across the whole spectacle driven body-politic.

The end of the spectacle-capital is in sight …the virtual strings of the master puppeteers are being corroded by the puppets….the puppets are rising to take back life….