Just saw this on the Facebook. By and large the comments are NOT supportive. Maybe there is some hope for this country after all.
Compare and Contrast:
Actually, that was a bit of a trick question. The first video is from the Virtual Business School, the second is from hacktivist collective ‘Anonymous’, and yet… both have the same message, both are aimed at the same people. One is a learning tool and one is a threat but the message of both is the same. The world has changed and there is no going back.
I had the privilege of seeing Professor Obeng (the man behind the first video) speak the last week, and he showed us that video on a big screen. Aside from being a very energetic and engaging speaker he also has a message that makes absolute sense. People are more interconnected now -they talk more now- than at any other time in history and organisations that don’t adapt to this new reality -be they corporations, governments or anything else- are doomed. Smart businesses are harnessing this phenomenon, encouraging networking among their front line staff, crowdsourcing decisions amongst the people who will be implementing them and finding innovative solutions from nets cast as wide as possible -making the most of their talent and engaging their staff at the same time.
The old command-and-control model is dead, and, barring a worldwide disaster (not necessarily natural) that shuts down the internet, it’s going to stay that way. Which is where we come to the paradox of the title. Sure, we, the freedom lovers use and have been using this new reality to chat, to organise, to meet up and achieve real things in the real world so have the enemies of freedom- the lefties, the groupthinkers, the big corporatist little cogs and useful idiots and sometimes it even looks hopeless. They are too many, too ideologically similar, too on-message but even as they use the electronic ties that unbind they are sowing the seeds of their own destruction, for they are popularising the very tools that make it impossible for their message to be the only message now and forevermore which is absolutely necessary for their system to survive.
Man is finally free, and by Christ he’s starting to realise it. The next few decades are going to be interesting indeed.
I’d like you to forget for a minute my opinions on states, governments and all that jazz… I haven’t seen much comment on the Palestinians’ big trip out to the UN but I have been keeping half an eye on it on the news.
Well, they’ve played a blinder haven’t they? A masterstroke, and who said they can’t play politics? They turn up at the UN, say to all the other states
“Ok, you guys. We want in.”
One simple speech, and the US and Israel are forced to either give them their state, or admit that they have never been interested in a Palestinian state and will never agree with the right of one to exist.
And it’s not as if the agreement of the Security Council is needed for a state to be born anyway, or even a majority in the General Assembly. The UN isn’t a world government (thank God). States are a bit like mafias- all you have to do is say “hey, you guys, we’re the mafia over here.” And if enough of the other mafias say “ok, bada-bing, let’s talk business” then hey presto you’re all set. What better way to go about it than hand your business card out at the world mafia convention?
If they start acting like a proper country, and other countries start treating them like a proper country, then to all intents and purposes they ARE a proper country with -and you can remember all my opinions on nations and states again now- all the legitimacy that entails. Who knows, they may even stop throwing bombs over the fence. And that’s got to be A Good Thing.
On Thursday, I intervened on the Home Secretary during her statement in the Commons about the use of social networking during the riots and disturbances in London and elsewhere. I wanted to make the point, in the confines of a short interjection, that there is a difference between open networks (Twitter, Facebook etc) and closed networks (Blackberry Messenger) and that future consideration of their advantages and disadvantages to public order should be distinguished as such. However, and I can not be clearer than this – not for one second do I think they should be closed down. Monitored, yes; accessible to the police in certain circumstances, yes; shut down, no and especially if we want our voice heard when we condemn the practices of other regimes that restrict access to social networks or a free press.
Now, while I do NOT agree with the ‘monitored’ part of that: as a free net junkie, free speech advocate and libertarian I can in no way condone RIPA and the anti-encryption powers it represents -yes, even when scrotes are using it to organise looting- this whole post is a breath of fresh air considering some of the statements that have been coming from politicians this week. The calls to allow shutdowns of Twitter and BBM have been coming thick and fast, but my MP, my Conservative MP -member of the party who’s government was brought to crisis by last weekend’s events- not only disagrees but publishes her disagreement for all to see.
Many police forces, my local Kent police being one, used technology to great effect earlier on in the week. Clearly open networks allowed for arrests to be made for inciting public disorder, as well as providing the police with a means of monitoring potential targets. But they also enable the police to get clear messages out to the public. With rumours flying around the social networks about looting and rioting, police forces and other authoritative sources, were able to dispel the myths using the same networks that were propagating them. If networks were closed, as some suggest, then the rumours would still be flying around via other means of communication (dare I mention via good old fashioned oral communication) but without the instant truth also being known, and in a bitesize 140 characters.
Again, I cannot agree with any crime that includes ‘incitement’ in the title -to do so is to forgo belief in moral, independent human beings with the capability to make choices- but the fact that so many people used the same social networks to dispel the rumours of what was going on in Kent over those few days (the square root of fuck all, as it happened) while not justifying their not being turned off (this being self-evident) do go in some way to show the use they have in times of crisis, and may have gone some way to preventing the same scenes happening in Medway that we saw elsewhere around the country. After all, nobody wants to be the first one to a riot, it is not fashionable!
Tracy Crouch, MP, seems -on this issue- to get it. There are wider issues at stake than rioters using Twitter and BBM to organise- issues of freedom that TPTB seem intent on using this tragedy to cuteil. Tracy Crouch has thrown her hat into the ring, and she’s thrown it into the right corner.
Well, now the disorder seems to be over for now, and I’ve had a chance to organise my thoughts it is time to put electron to transistor and broadcast them, such as they are, to the rapt gazes of both my readers.
Without dwelling too much, it is pretty obvious that last week’s events are one of the end-results of socialism. The Third Class rose up and bit the hand that feeds them, leaving death, destruction and mess in their wake. We saw scenes normally only found in motion pictures on the evening news and for a couple of days it almost seemed like the end was nigh. Indeed, without a serious scaling back of the creed that dominates our public ‘servants” beliefs such scenes are likely to happen again, and more often, and probably in a catastrophic fashion once the money finally runs out. This much should be obvious, and if it isn’t then frankly you are part of the problem and should not concern yourself with reading any further.
Still here? Good. Ok, so the looters have burned themselves out. The Met has flooded the streets of London with very tired coppers from all over the country, and decent people affected have started to count the cost and grieve their dead while the oiks and the opportunists count the eBay cash flooding into their PayPal accounts. So what did we learn?
For one thing, we learned that for all its databases, surveillance cameras, ‘safety wardens’ and ‘intelligence-led policing’ the State itself is a paper tiger. In stark contrast to the efforts that even basket-cases like the Zimbabwean regime can muster -let alone States like Syria and Libya- the British State showed itself unable to prevail against a few thousand kids armed with nothing but smartphones and without any ideology whatsoever except a nihilistic desire to smash and grab. Although peaceful protestors and students get a full show of force, when things turn nasty the Police have shown themselves singularly incapable of positive action. Indeed, the stories of families having picnics being hassled by the law while drunks with staffs drink happily nearby were writ large, and in flames over that weekend. The State was forced to stand impotently by for three days and wait out the storm. Make no mistake: the Met was spent and could in no way have kept that police presence up for any protracted period. Had they the wherewithal to do so the rioters could have waited it out and carried on from where they left off- they may still do so. Faced with organised insurgents with an agenda, the sobering conclusion is that short of recalling the Army from abroad, the government would be held by the short-and-curlies. While we may argue until the cows come home whether the State is, in fact, the root cause of the riots and looting (it is), the vast majority of people must surely now be aware that the State cannot even fulfil the function it purports to do- namely to keep order within its boundaries and to keep the people that pay for it safe from harm. The germ must have been planted in many minds, this week, and at least in some the idea may grow that less State, not more, is the solution.
Happily, we also learned some very good things about the nature of the British People. Old Holborn spent almost the entirety of the first night of the disturbance tweeting examples of people looking to themselves to protect their persons and property and that of their families and communities from the looters. By the second day stories were starting to percolate through the MSM (albeit predictably tarred with the vigilante misnomer) and before it was all over there were dozens and dozens of cases of the people, of all colours and creeds coming together to defend themselves. The police naturally didn’t like it, after all the State is not just about force, but monopoly of force and to suggest otherwise is ludicrous. The Police, unable to do the job would rather you got raped, murdered, stolen from and burned than defend yourself. In one particular case:
Ironically, it was an apparent attempt at community protection which ended in London’s only major confrontation with police overnight.
Around 100 local men in Eltham took to the streets, warning that they were willing to confront anyone planning to riot in the borough.
When challenged by the police and asked to go home, officers were pelted with bottles and cans. After a tense two-hour stand-off, the group eventually dispersed.
The British people are far from the cow-like supine consumers and infantile adults I read about in a lot of commentary. It seems, when the shit hits the fan the people of these cold, windy islands are just as stoic and just as ready to get the right fucking arse as their recent ancestors who are so often lamented. The national character, if such a thing can be said to exist, is still alive and kicking beneath the duvet ready to bare its fangs just as soon as the comfortable bedclothes are pulled off. Just imagine, thugs run unhindered in the streets and when your neigbourhood turns out the Old Bill finally manages to turn up and all they do is tell you to go home?
“`Oodoyafink yoo ARE, copper? Where was you LAST night?! We ain’t avin THAT! Get the bottles lads!”
If the events of last week showed how useless Westminster is, how impotent the State’s paramilitaries are and how fragile society can be when push comes to shove it also showed, in tragedy, just how strong the bonds that unite the law-abiding, working, business owning majority are. We’ve seen hairdressers, shopkeepers, residents, football fans, Sikhs, Turks, Moslems, the EDL and others turning out to do the job themselves, and doing it well. We’ve seen people reject the disarmament the State forces on them, grabbing golf clubs, cricket bats and hockey sticks and refusing to be the victims the State wants them to be. There is a cause for hope, a hope that, when the money finally runs out and the looting begins in earnest -this time out of desperation rather than for shits and giggles- the honest, hardworking people with something to lose in this place will be more than up to taking care of business.
Fucking love these guys.
I’ve seen them a few times but this is the first time I’ve been close enough to take a snap. Last time they had a huge banner!
In case you haven’t gathered, they are a group of bikers who follow Medway Council’s cctv car around with high-vis jackets and signs to alert people to it’s presence, negating it’s stealth-fine-issuing purpose. Fantastic.
I wonder how long before they get prosecuted on some trumped-up charge?
I see this morning that Egypt has partially opened the border with Gaza.
With any luck, this could be a very good thing indeed. Without getting bogged down in the whole wider situation (where my views may well not tally with either of my readers) the people living in Gaza have effectively been in a very large open-air prison for the last few years. Opportunities for trade and entrepreneurship have been severely restricted keeping the people living their artificially poor. It’s no wonder that Hamas, effectively operating in the same conditions as a US prison gang have thrived and held onto power.
In a best case scenario, these tentative steps by Egypt will begin to allow Gazans to trade, to import raw materials and begin manufacturing, to start a service sector, a middle class… all the things city-dwellers in other parts of the world enjoy- better in fact, as Gaza’s “government” is mainly concerned with what Israel does and not with imposing miles and miles of red tape and regulation. As the Gazan economy grows, perpetual war with their neighbour should start to lose it’s appeal and eventually Israelis may even be importing Gazan goods- initially via Egypt but once this is commonplace and Gaza is independently wealthy and prosperous perhaps through normalized borders directly. Peace through free trade and prosperity!
Or the fanatics will just use it as an opportunity to get hold of more rockets and the Israeli fanatics will use that as an excuse to break out the bulldozers again.
It hardly seems like three months ago that I met Andrew Janes at what was going to be the first meeting of the LPUK in Medway, and now here we are looking at the complete demise of the party. A shame.
Whether it was a good idea poorly implemented or a poor idea fairly well implemeted, it doesnt seem to matter now. It did serve function though, a rallying point for libertarians of different stripes to try and get our voices heard and as such its death is a Bad Thing. The fact that this wasn’t really achieved is not a reason to give up, or, like many are saying to swear off politics altogether.
What I think I’m trying to say is that we need a movement in a much broader sense of the term, and although the LPUK gave us a focal point it was by no means the only such thing that can exist. While many may say things about ‘herding cats’ (and any visit to a Samizdata thread with more than 15 posts proves that point) there are more things we agree on than not- the state is too large, people need competition, we need to live within our means as a country- that sort of thing.
Getting a movement going, with things like the recent Rally Against Debt, things that make a big noise, get people galvanised into action (it’ll snowball) and above all get people to have HEARD of these ideas should be the priority. Nothing so formal as a political party and membership list is required.
Politial parties come later – bums on seats first.
I saw on the news this evening that Birmingham City Council have had their proposed cuts declared Unlawful in the High Court.
Good. (Waits for hushed gasps to settle)
Yes, I said it, this is good news. Bear with me here.
Remember that the
Poll Tax Council Tax is capped by central government and cannot be increased (beyond 3.5% anyway, still too high IMO). Now that the judiciary have decided that councils cutting "front line services" like "providing care packages for about 4,000 adults whose needs are assessed as being substantial," especially in a judgement that is going to have "implications for local councils across the country" a lot of councils are going to suddenly find themselves in very dire financial straits. These are the agents that actually apply most of the freedom-busting ideas that float out of Brussels, via Westminster. The Smoking Inspectors, Recycling Coordinators and Five-A-Day-Cessation-Social advisors and the rest of it is all enforced by the local councils. Imposing "Cold Calling" zones and "No Drinking" zones and harrassing law-abiding people in the street. While centralisation is no good thing, that does not mean that local government is the friend of liberty.
The delicious bit is that the ever-expanding nanny state’s own centrepiece legislation, the Equality Act, is the basis for this ruling. Fantastic! Irony is even better than goldy or silvery, sometimes. So some people who could probably do with a bit of cash (possibly even the pensioners who actually paid already for the services the council wanted to cut that I saw on Five news) are going to benefit, and the local councils may actually have to cut some of the more excessively intrusive things they do instead of cutting where it shows and saving the bean-
flickers counters. What’s not to like?
Is it possible the beast will eventually tie itself up in so much red tape that we can all be free?