[HacktionLab] Richard Stallman speaking tour of England next week

John Hodge jhodge_98 at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 1 06:46:50 GMT 2011

Hi all
I posted those Stallman dates to this list because the set of topics which he's 
talking about at the moment, I'm not hearing much other public discussion of: eg 
opposing media corporations/govts as they try to crack down on unlicensed 
downloading. A lot of people know DRM is wrong, but he's highlighting the issue 
and spelling out why it's wrong and what our alternatives are.

I can see the accusation about 'information exceptionalism', and during the many 
emails I had with him during the interview I did for SchNEWS, he kept to strict 
boundaries about - for instance - how far he extended the use of 'copyleft' 
outside software or other digital information/knowledge. His resistance to 
expanding and extrapolating these ideas was strange, and he's missing the 
opportunity to flesh them out to something which could have much broader impact. 
He is risking being left behind by people developing his own ideas further than 
he has.  

But he just is what he is. He described himself as a 'North American liberal' 
and said that many in Free Software were 'right wing anarchists' (eg ultra pro 
free market and even pro-gun lobby etc). It sounded like he really hates a lot 
of what these people believed in and clearly had much more 'socialist' 
principles relative to them, but yet these are the people around him he has to 
work with. He's one of those US lefties who envies the public health service in 
countries like Britain, given that they don't have it in the US.

My point is that whatever the origins of a set of ideas - it's up to us to 
extrapolate and develop them, to see if they have the potential they appear to 
have. There's no point in blaming Stallman for not going far enough or not being 
anti-capitalist enough for us. As I said at the beginning there's several topics 
he's pushing at the moment which are important and hardly being mentioned, and 
from that point of view it's worth seeing what he's on about.


From: m3shrom <m3shrom at riseup.net>
To: hacktionlab at lists.psand.net
Sent: Tue, 1 March, 2011 1:53:31
Subject: Re: [HacktionLab] Richard Stallman speaking tour of England next week

> Indeed, they make it very clear that exclusive ownership of material
> things - the means of production, natural resources etc. - is a good
> thing with which they agree. In other words, RMS's activism is a very
> different one than the kind practiced in social centres, a kind of
> "information exceptionalism" otherwise embracing existing power
> relations in the world as they derive from material ownership.

Yeah, I challenged him about the Free Documentation Licence when it came
to this aspect and he got really pissy!

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