Little Red Blogger

This blog looks at radical politics(with a libertarian socialist slant), music and culture. Marx to Mises, Girls Aloud to Steve Reich...

Location: Wiltshire, United Kingdom

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

File-Sharing is Dead, Long Live File-Sharing!

As usual the mainstream media has got the latest American supreme court decision on file-sharing wrong. British journalists are notoriously technically inept when it comes to technology stories and watching Newsnight last night did nothing to dispel my opinion of that. Kirsty Wark was obviously out of her depth and failed to ask any probing questions of the smug BPI lawyer and just let the Freenet programmer spout his pre-prepared line.

This as well as being extremely annoying, and a waste of good airtime failed to address the real issues behind the court's judgement. Grokster, like Napster is an also-ran it is trying to make money out of an extremely commoditised market, so commoditised that the chief means of sharing ones files is actually free. What mainstream commentators have failed to notice is that the most popular file sharing programs and protocols that exist today are free. They are free, open source and available to anybody through networks like G2, Gnutella, Edonkey et al. Companies like Grokster and Kazaa cannot and will not survive this onslaught of open protocols and open programs, the judgement from the supreme court will hasten their end.

Copyright, like patents are a state imposed and sanctioned monopoly anything that brings their end closer is a good thing. File sharing is dead, long live file-sharing!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Book Tag!

Ok so I've been book tagged by the estimable Larry Gamborne(tips virtual hat)
Five books that I've read and would reccomend to others:

1) Energy Flash - Simon Reynolds
A fantastic look at UK rave and club culture from the marxoid theorist/journalist Simon Reynolds, with a mix of on the spot reporting and some fantastic speculation Reynolds brilliantly captures the vitality of the mid-nineties rave scene. From Hardcore to Jungle you really get a sense that things were happening and no other journalist has really captured or understood dance music like Reynolds. A history, an analysis and a celebration, this book is a must read.

2) Wall Street - Doug Henwood
Proprieter of the excellent Left Business Observer and top US Marxist bloke. Reynolds deconstructs US State-Capitalism brilliantly laying bare the mechanics of Wall Street and how it has changed since the Keynesian 'Golden Age' of Corporatism in the 1960's. Skewering the pretensions of the bankers and Greenspan's status of monetary demi-god while presenting ideas about possible post-capitalist furtures Wall Street is as good an introduction to Economics as any other text on the shelf, much reccomended.

3) Alas, Poor Darwin - Various
This book is an excellent collection of essays by key thinkers in psychology, biology and zoo-ology. The theme of this book is the mistakes and assumption of Evolutionary Psychology and the lazy way the mainstream media has made it the 'received wisdom'. A much needed antidote to right wing neo-darwinist class warriors...

4)Niesztche - Genealogy of Morals
I may not agree with him, well some of the time, but even in translation a fantastic writer and philosopher to read. Left wing, Right wing who knows... but this essay is required reading for any serious political, ethical or social thinker. Niesztche takes no prisoners and challenges every day assumptions with his call to invent a new morality. Hugely influential and hugely misunderstood go get!

5) Blake - Songs of Innocence and Experience
Blake: mad neo-protestant messianic revolutionary, artist and artisan, this however is an essential work of literature and art. With a hotline to his subconscious and tapping in to deep supressed revolutionary impulses in the English body politic Blake has produced a work of genius. So good I gave my copy away to a friend to read.

The Politics of Fatherhood, A Mutualist Meditates: Part 1

As many of my former readers would have noticed, I have not been posting very much lately, so my apologies. I have a fairly legitimate excuse, fatherhood and a new job...but these experiences have led me to think about how society is structured(or not) around childcare and how the modern nuclear family reconciles the demands of looking after young children.

Looking at how childcare duties are handed out can reveal alot of cultural assumptions behind women and men's roles and can tell us exactly how far Feminism has succeeded in what Germain Greer would term 'liberating' women. Looking at the reality of the situation does not make for a pretty sight with women still baring the large majority of childcare roles. This then leads to the question of why?, why do women 'a' put up with the status quo and 'b' what do men get out of it. A full answer to this question would require lots of multi-disciplinary research across economics, sociology, anthropology and cultural theory, but I would like to sketch out a few ideas briefly about why the current situation as is it is.

Firstly, and I think most importantly men gain hugely from the current situation, women by taking on these childcare roles, largely unpaid and uncompensated save men a fortune. Studies have been done showing the value of all the uncompensated labour carried out by women and it would comprise a large part of the economy if recognised. The second effect of women taking on childcare roles is that private corporations and government retain their hierarchical, dictatorial nature and co-opt the worst aspects of the male need to maintain status in the rat race. There has been some superficial changes to accommodate women who have children, but essentially the 'commanding heights' of the economy remain a male preserve. The modern corporation talks a good game about being decentralised while maintaining the iron disciplines of total surveillance and neo-taylorist time and motion management. Women stand even less of a chance in this environment than men, with corporations exploiting their sub-ordinate status to pay less than men.

The cost of producing new workers then becomes an externalities subsidised by the state and buttressed by the state and private schooling system. To the modern streamlined corporation women baring children is an 'irrationality' that has to managed but never addressed properly by changing the fundamentals of how they are organised and arranged