Saturday, 29 November 2008

Appalachian Coal Camp

Imper Fegte with a suggestion of what to do with some of the SLLU land:
Living History Site
In 2007 I offered a sociology course that explored the potential of virtual worlds to affect social
change. As is the case with any technology, a culture that has virtual worlds can do things that were
not possible before the technology was implemented. Which reality is constructed, and the degree that
reality shapes future society, appears to be unusually placed in the hands of the users of the
technology-- referred to as the "residents". We have begun to explore the structures and processes
consistent with the development of a sense of agency among residents.
Thanks to the generosity of many, a "school" came into existence. This school very imperfectly
attempted to accept transformation of society through transformation of the actor as its educational
mission. Of course, it fell considerably short. None the less, some lessons were learned.
One was that it is important to create an experience with collective project design and construction. I
naively thought that that project could be the construction of the school itself. Eventually I recognized
that a separate project, taken on by the school, would produce a much cleaner constructivist experience.
I had been fascinated by historical lessons associated with a particular period of West Virginia history.
A while back, I imagined a RL living history site associated with a number of very dramatic events.
After introduction to Second Life, I imagined that I could create this "living" history site on Second
Life, and that that site would be the school. Now I see the site as the project that the school undertakes.
I'm pretty sure the lessons of history discernible from the West Virginia Mine Wars are consistent with
SLLUs mission. If the group agrees, I would propose using some available land to construct an
Appalachian Coal Camp as a Living History site.

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Monday, 10 November 2008

Millions Worldwide Celebrate Obama/Biden Victory, Defeat of Bush Legacy

Images from Daily Kos, one of the more interesting US progressive Democrat blogs

MSNBC Montage of Obama Victory Celebrations...MSNBC is by far the best commercial mass media TV news network, with progressive commentators like Keith Oberman and Rachel Maddow.

CSPAN Coverage of Obama Victory Speech...CSPAN provides by far the best non-commercial US TV coverage of pubic affairs.

Victory Over Fascism

By SLLU member Ernest Newman

I'll admit it, I cried in joy, and in fear, and mourning our losses over the years.

So many brothers and sisters are not with us here now to celebrate this great, if mostly symbolic victory, and to help us to push the struggle forward, over the top.

But a new generation is stepping forward, and the struggle continues...

All over the US (and around the world), millions of people poured into the streets, dancing and shouting, cheering and sobbing with joy, and praying to "God" that the right wing reactionary conservative fundamentalist swine don't kill him.

Obama by a landslide! The People have spoken! All Power to the People!

Is it Utopia yet? NOT.

Democrats failed, just barely, to seize sufficient plurality in the Congress to block Republican filibusters. The right will still be able to tie every issue into knots with endless debate and bitter oppositionalism, in determined efforts to sabotage everything Obama tries to accomplish.

And even that much-needed Democratic super-majority in the Congress, which we can still hope to achieve with the next election cycle, will not solve all the problems of a corrupt, commercial bourgeois "electoral process".

There are still far too many "Blue Dogs" in the party, and many more have joined it's ranks, from the vacillating, opportunist "undecided" and "swing voters" who went to Obama only at the last minute, just to be on the winning side.

But the Democrat's plurality in Congress has been substantially increased, such that they will have a lot more clout, and will only have to bring over a few Republicans to be able to block a filibuster, or ram through the legislation they want.

The situation remains far from perfect. But it is much "better", relatively speaking, than the nightmare of a McCain, or, as "God" has forbidden, a Palin Presidency, and the Republican controlled Congress of just a few years ago.

Where will we go from here? If the bastards don't kill him, and/or force a civil war on us, Obama will most likely inject some level headed calm and dignity into dealing with domestic and international issues.

Biden will be a good back up, if the worst happens, and an asset to Obama.

We can expect a surge of diplomacy and gestures of reconciliation, on all fronts.

Hopefully Obama will be able to initiate more than mere gestures, and bring some real substance to a role that has been so notably lacking in that, except in the negative, for so long.

An historic, massive popular democratic mandate has just been expressed, in the most material way possible at this time, under our present circumstances and conditions. That's what really matters.

A huge surge in the youth vote, breaking all records, is a good indication for the future, in their decisive rejection of the dogmatic, doctrinaire cynicism and defeatism of the sectarian "left", including the "anarchists", who have so loudly and consistently tended to call for electoral boycott, "on principle".

This was not a vote for the profound flaws of a corrupt, commercial, bourgeois "electoral" process, but a conscious vote against those flaws.

It was not a vote even for the Democrats, or Obama/Biden so much as a vote against Bush/Chaney, McCain/Palin, and all of their supporters at Faux News, hate radio, local "letters to the editor" pages, ranting right wing preachers and other bitter, vicious wing-nuts, fascists, racists, sexists, eco-rapers, corporate rip offs and imperialist war mongers who have become so absolutely "politically incorrect" in this country.

The best anyone can hope for is that the overt, explicit, vicious counter-revolutionary Republican program will be blocked, blunted, and somewhat suppressed, to give us some breathing room to continue the revolutionary struggle.

But the conditions for that struggle just got somewhat better.

Nevertheless, as good as it is to hold out some hope for improvement, and for the future, people should not get their hopes up too high.

As Obama pointed out in his victory speech, and at his first press conference, which was even more obviously aimed at dampening expectations, it's going to take awhile for him, the Democrats, and people all over the world, to correct 8 years of Bush policy.

The Republicans have looted the treasury and thoroughly sabotaged the economy on their way out the door, and that is not going to be overcome overnight. And Bush still has nearly 3 months to inject whatever poison pills that he can, to sour the Democrats' victory.

Give us a year, or two, and we'll see what he can do. It's not good enough, I know. But it's the best he can promise at the moment. At least we can hold out some hope.

Meanwhile, the whole world is watching, and Obama and the US people need and deeply appreciate your solidarity, where it's due, as well as your principled criticism.

We'll need to hold Obama and the Democrats fully accountable, every step of the way, and maintain that pressure, relentlessly, just like we have have had to do against wrong-headed policies of previous Democratic administrations.

Obama, after all, is just another bourgeois liberal Democrat, even is he is black, heh. And going into it, he has been wrong, wrong, wrong, on many issues. There will be plenty to criticize.

This is not a time for complacency, or naive expectations. But it is a time for hope, and to redouble our efforts for justice and peace, to save the planet.

It costs little or nothing to tactically cast a vote that will effectively block the worst fascist swine from power (and I don't mean a wasted vote for some 3rd, 4th, or 5th party guaranteed loser and splitter, which serves only the interests of the fascists), or even to put some energy into "supporting" broader mass tactical participation in the bourgeois electoral arena, especially if that is done in a principled manner, pointing out the inherent flaws of that "process"

The fact is, the detriments of those flaws can be overcome in only one way, and that is through truly massive popular democratic participation aimed at breaking through, toward eventually eliminating those flaws, such as what has just happened, with this election.

That is the primary, and perhaps the only real genius, or flaw, as it were, LOL, of the "American" system.

The US "founding fathers" hated and feared only one thing more than the monarchy and nobility, and that was the concept of universal suffrage. Their polemics of the day stated repeatedly that they believed actual mass democracy would be a disaster, leading only to "chaos, and anarchy", lol.

That is to say, a loss of control by the the small elite of rich, white, Protestant male land owners who wrote the founding documents.

All of the "checks and balances" of the system they set up were intended merely to ensure that power struggles between various factions of that elite would not result in the kind of consolidation of power that could lead to formation of a new monarchy and nobility on the models of the past.

It was never about the popular democratic mandate, really, but totally about reserving power to a strictly enforced coalition of elites, to rule on an "equal footing" with each other (certainly not on an equal footing with the rest of us).

However, they also theorized that some day, maybe, people would be ready and able to handle real democracy, through universal access to education, and other very futuristic ideas.

Jefferson, for example, actually stated that he thought black people, if raised from childhood with all of the advantages of whites, in terms of education, living conditions and moral and social support, could, theoretically, be just as intelligent, capable and "human" as any white person. But, as he saw it, "of course" that was not yet feasible, in his time.

Reprehensible as it may be, that he was a slave holder, the fact is that he was, relatively speaking, for his time, a true revolutionary, because such views as he held were not at all widely accepted, but more likely to get even a white man killed.

The "founding fathers" left a back door open, for potential eventual future exploitation by the masses, if and when "they" were ever ready and able to develop and express the unity of will to use it.

And rhetoric and theory have a propensity to develop legs of their own. The rhetoric of "one person, one vote" has indeed come to be extrapolated in the public mind from that small bourgeois elite, to mean the entire population.

Everyone knows it's not really like that, yet, but the vast majority of us want it to be so, and the pressure is growing, to make it so.

This is not going to be easy, but it can, and must be done, if we are to see truly revolutionary change in the US, or anywhere.

By all means, continue to build exemplary alternative social and economic models for what you want our lives to be like, and for group and community communication and decision making, as well as individual choice. By all means, ardently criticize and resist injustice, privately, and publicly. By all means, do continue to make revolution.

But get real. The "American" people have spoken, and to dis or resist that popular democratic will is not a viable revolutionary strategy.

Indeed, the right will find that out, if they continue to call for "revolutionary" (counter-revolutionary) civil war "against the government and the left". We will crush them, if they raise their ugly heads again like they did most recently under Carter and Clinton. This is not the 1960's, the 70's, or even the 80's and 90's. That was then, and this is now.

Most likely, as irrational as they tend to be, Aryan Nations, et al, will recognize that cold reality, and it will serve as a deterrent, at least for a time. They may hold back, initially, and wait for things to calm down, and for the full effects of Republican sabotage to take hold and to demoralize and destabilize things more.

Either way, ultimately, those who join with such traitors, in unprincipled alliance against the popular democratic will, will be crushed, regardless of their "motivaton". It won't be about being mean to anyone, grinding their face in the dirt, or getting revenge.

But we have urgent priorities that must be addressed, for justice and peace, to save the planet. The counter-revolution must be suppressed, for us to move forward.

Don't get suckered into letting yourself be identified with the wrong side, comrades!

At best, you will be disregarded or held in contempt. At worst, you may find yourself lumped in with the fascists, whether you yourself recognize that, or want it to be so, or even whether it may necessarily be technically, theoretically "accurate" or "fair".

There is little tolerance anymore in the US for "violence" and "terrorism" of any stripe, and it would be best to remember that. We've been there, and done that, and we've rejected that, as a tactical or strategic method.

Only the cops, their dupes, and the right are advocating violent "revolutionary" civil war in this country, at this time.

Beware those in your own ranks who put forward rhetoric and tactics that ultimately serve only the interests of the enemy.

Those who advocated boycott of the electoral process here have also just delineated themselves to be on the wrong side, in this popular democratic mandate against right wing extremism, whether that was their intention or desire, or not.

This is not about "tailing" the masses, but about accepting the leadership of the people, and supporting their legitimate demands for change.

On November 4th, things did change, not only on the surface, but also in the hearts and minds of the "American" peoples.

We will not be denied.

All Power to the People!

Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary concept.

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Saturday, 8 November 2008

Election Night – Firery Broome

Just wanted to drop all of you at SLLU a word of thanks for your help with the Election Central event that took place on the real world University of Delaware campus on election night.

For those of you not fully aware of the event, here is some background.

The University of Delaware held a live event on election night in which students and faculty from Communication, Political Science and English departments covered the election in a newsroom type of setting. There were roving reporters off-campus reporting in from local polling areas and live on-the-spot student tv news programing hosts doing interviews and analyzing and commenting on the incoming results as they were happening.

The event was open to the public and attendance was estimated in some reports as being near 2,000.

One of UD's Communication faculty members and a former world correspondent for CNN, Ralph Begleiter, has an interest in Second Life for its educational possibilities and world wide outreach. He thought the time might be right to cover the election events in world as well. So, I escorted two student journalists in world for the event, both of which had never been in world before, other than a 1 hour intro on UD's own islands.

We set up laptops under one of the big screen televisions that was covering various news outlets and then went in world. We visited a number of events on both Republican and Democratic themed sims with my computer acting as the camera focused on the two journalists.

As the night wore on and more people started hitting the local computer network set up for the event, and more people entered SL, we ran into the usual issues. We got booted off the system a number of times, and then could not reenter sims as they hit their limits. Some of the sims we managed to get into were so laggy that once we got in we could not move or chat.

And I have to say, as the outcome of the election drew closer, we were all more caught up in the excitment of the real world events happening around us.

Despite all the issues, the students really enjoyed the opportunity to cover the event in world and really appreciated the list of contacts, links and group updates that SLLU folks shared with them. It was extra rewarding to hear the students explain to those who stopped by our booth what SL was and why they were there. As the night wore on they were very comfortable with the environment and its possibilities and the virtual world's broader implications for communications.

For more information included below are some links to articles by our student newspaper and our Office of Communications and Marketing (PR).

Special thanks go out to:

Plot Tracer of SL Left Unity

Any1 Gynoid - Sl Activism and Event Organizing

Hamlet Au of New World Notes

Wyatt Forster of Stright Talk Cafe

Many Thanks!

Firery Broome

Student publication: The Review

University of Delaware daily news: UDaily

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Friday, 7 November 2008

Another position on OpenSpace-issue, but as symptom -and- on asking for corporate capital to control a means of production.

This text is a personal opinion of me, Smoke Wijaya, not of SLLU or another group.
Previous posts to which this post refers:

First of all, I want to make clear that I am not thinking SL is a necessity of life and till this day I have never heard anyone stating this either.

Internet and also SL are indeed “roses” to life, not “bread”. But these roses are edible and eaten more and more.

I am talking about the Internet as well, because I think that the SL world is the start of a 3D web that will be seemingly integrated with the flatweb, as well as being used more and more for augmenting physical reality. Note, Linden Lab, together with OpenSim and IBM (in the Architecture Working Group (AWG)) work towards this as well; they are now creating the protocols and standards for interoperable grids.

Unilateral contract changes and need for contract negotiation

Regarding the specific issue of OpenSpaces I have not much to say. You can read the details around this at the Secondlife blog.
What I focus on, as well as the group SL Democratic Movement, is the underlying cause where this issue is a symptom of, namely the Terms of Service. Protest of me and/or SLDM around the OpenSpace- issue is not in support of any specific group or only regarding the price hike, but in general support of the user of SL and in opposition to the onesided Terms of Service, from the belief the userbase should be an intricate and decisive part of the decisions made, because of the fact they create the world.

As we have seen with this issue, people apparently only rise up when they are hit in the bankaccount and only rise up to oppose the price(hike). Almost no attention goes to the Terms of Service, which give LL a legal basis for these unilateral decisions, without consideration with the userbase beforehand. Remember, the Second Life world is entirely created by its users; the userbase is the producer of the Second Life world, which in turn is used as product by LL (note, I am not talking about LL's product the SL Grid).

If we do not want to be hit again and again by unilateral decisions by a for profit corporation, it is the ToS that need to be opposed and changed towards acknowledgment and empowerment of the individual (communities); it is the ToS that needs to change, towards protection, empowerment and rights of the user! In short, we need to demand negotiation of contract!

The ToS articles important for this are:
"Terms of Service
Linden Lab may amend this Agreement at any time in its sole discretion, effective upon posting the amended Agreement at the domain or subdomains of where the prior version of this Agreement was posted, [...]" - SL ToS
"1.7 In the event you choose to use paid aspects of the Service, you agree to the posted pricing and billing policies on the Websites.
[...] Linden Lab may add new services for additional fees and charges, or proactively amend fees and charges for existing services, at any time in its sole discretion. " - SL ToS

Why asking for for profit corporations to sustain our world?

“[...] we should be demanding that residents are given FREE land. There is enough land for everyone to utilise.”

“Linden Lab glean a huge amount of money from corporations and research establishments. Lets take the reprehensible “Playboy” as an example. Playboy pay for a sim in SL. [...] These types of commercial sims could fund the expansion of SL – and free land allowance given to residents” - Plot

I am a bit at a loss how Plot sees the possibility of funding by for profit corporations for the many thousands of servers which are currently the backbone of the SL world.
All the 'land' in SL at the moment, is paid for by a multitude of users, from many individual users to non profits and large for profit corporations. From people that pay for small parcels of 512 sq meters, to organisations and corporations owning many sims.

Yes, Playboy pays for one sim, ONE sim. In the exact same manner as individual users pay for serverspace with LL. Plot now states that these kind of corporations should pay for the possibility of having 'free' land for others, thus for all the other sims (which will be public then or something?).
In other words, the for profit corporations are asked to sustain our world, to power our world. To power the world by means of their capitalist workings, in SL and RL. The servers and operation of them have to be paid for after all. This in my opinion is the wrong road and also exactly a leap towards what Plot opposes, namely “We are all a homogenised “consumer” and are treated as such.”. And what would happen with these 'free' sims powered by this corporate capital, where 'normal' SL users have build their SL lives and organisations on in Plot's idea, if the corporation goes bankrupt or removes its presence?

So, instead of asking for a hierarchical structure controlled by a few large for profit corporations, fueled and powered by their capital, governed by profit (as Plot's idea seems to entail), we should be calling in my opinion for decentralization of governance and hardware, selfmanagement and selfrule of individuals and communities, opensourcing of the servercode, as well as opening the SL grid, to help push SL (and the possible/probable Metaverse to come) and its clones like OpenSim grids towards a horizontally structured space which is build, governed and sustained by its constituting peers!

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Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Crowds Gather in SL to Follow US Election Returns

Crowds gathered in several SL locations to share the vigil on US election returns Tuesday night.

As the night wore on, most venues filled to max capacity.

Here's just a few snapshots from Cafe Wellstone.

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Tuesday, 4 November 2008

On the Eve of the US Elections: Something's Happening Here...(there's a man with a gun over there)

A view from US citizen and SLLU member, Ernest Newman

Vote or Fight  

(it might take both)

Zapatista agitprop, circa 1996

In the US right now, the revolution is at hand. 

On the eve of national elections, the US is poised to surge forward ...or to be dragged down into civil war. 

Maybe both.

As pathetically inadequate as the bourgeois liberal Democrats may be, the right is totally freaking out over the very likely prospect that "socialist" Democrats will not only seize the Presidency, but also a super-majority, or very close to it, in the Congress.

It's one thing, for "the most liberal Senator", a Black man, to win the Presidency. 

But a Democratic super-majority in the Congress will be able to cut off at the knees Republican oppositionalism and "filibusters" (endless speeches, to block motion on legislative measures).

The Democrats have failed, in so many respects, to deliver even a "progressive" program, despite having a present majority in the Congress....but that's because they only hold a simple majority. 

They have not had sufficient plurality to block filibusters, which would be required to proceed with impeachment of Bush and his cronies, end the war in Iraq, or to force through really comprehensive programs for health, environment, economy, foreign policy, etc.

The counter-revolution is not going to just accept a change in this situation. They can be expected to fight to the death, literally as well as metaphorically.  There is nothing more determined and desperate than someone who has held the power in their fervid grasp, and now finds it being wrested away.

After 8 years of keeping a relatively low profile, the brown shirt militias are already starting to come out of the woodwork again, just like they did under Carter and Clinton, only this time with a much more desperate tone.  There have already been several bloody incidents in the past few months, by supposed "lone nuts" and a few seemingly incompetent "wannabes". But their major organizations have been organizing fervently underground, and have been enlisting in the military to get training and access to rip off weapons and ammo, for years.

And the closer the Democrats come to total victory, the more hysterical and draconian the rhetoric of "hate radio", the "freeper" blogs, Faux News, and fringe elements of the Republican Party seem to get, more and more often explicitly calling for, or insinuating the "need" for drastic actions they themselves wouldn't dare to personally take.

It could get very ugly.

It is a conceivable possibility that the Democrats may be forced to declare martial law...not to put down a leftist rebellion, lol, but to suppress a right wing reactionary conservative fascist civil war "against the government and the left".  I say bring in the black helicopters, and UN troops, if necessary, to eradicate the traitors, once and for all...but nobody listens to me, heh.

Hopefully, it won't be all that bad...maybe the right will finally recognize that their goose is cooked, and that they are going to have to learn to "love it, or leave it".  I hope the door hits them in the ass on their way out, either way, heh.

Meanwhile, another struggle is underway, within the Democratic Party, at all levels, and especially on the local, grassroots level.

Beyond the issue of the sheer number of Democrats in Congress being insufficient to overcome Republican treason and sabotage on every issue, there is the issue of the "Blue Dogs" (conservative Democrats) who presently predominate in key positions of power within the Democratic party.  

Due to the extremely low voter turnout so prevalent in the US, and, I would say, soley due to this factor, progressive Democrats have long been outnumbered and isolated within their own party, and unable to prevail upon the Blue Dogs to mount more resolute opposition to the Republicans.

While that situation cannot be expected to completely change with this election cycle, momentum is building, to drive these vascilating weasels from the Democratic Party, over the next several cycles.

At all levels, there is a concerted campaign underway, to purge the Blue Dogs and seize the power, by the more progressive elements.  While this is being kept somewhat tamped down, presently, leading up to the elections, full scale assault on the power of the Blue Dogs can be expected to ensue immediately after the elections are over, especially on the local levels.

From local city councils and county boards of supervisors, all the way up the ladders of power, a vigorous mass movement is not only underway to establish Democratic super-majorities, to suppress the Republicans, and remove them from all levers of power, but also to challenge the Blue Dogs to either move to the left, or be replaced by more progressive candidates.

To those purist, dogmatic, doctrinaire, absolutist idealists who would dismiss such "struggle" as mere co-optation and surrender to an inherently corrupt and counter-revolutionary bourgeois capitalist system, there may be little that can be said, to convince that any of this really means anything.

Those who say, and actually think, that there is "no difference" between the two parties in the US, are not, in my experience, particularly susceptible to reason or convincing to the contrary.

I can only say that millions of people all over the world, and here in the US, are soon going to find that there are significant and substantial differences, especially where day to day survival hangs in the balance.

Will the differences be "enough"?  Of course not.  The struggle will continue.  

The Republicans, on their way out of power, are doing everything they can to loot the treasury and sabotage the economy while they still can, to make it as difficult as possible for the new administration to even keep it's head above water.  Last minute efforts to reverse environmental protections, lock us into long term commitments to war in the Middle East, and other such measures, are underway in the last days of the Bush administration..

It may take Obama's entire first term, if he survives, just to recover somewhat from the extensive damage that has been done.  One glimmer of hope is that Biden, his Vice Presidential running mate, has promised that there will be investigations, prosecution, and punishment for the many treasons of the Republicans.  We'll see about that...

Nobody with a brain can expect the Democrats to deliver a genuinely revolutionary program. But the fact remains that many millions of lives will be at least somewhat improved under a "Democratic" regime...which in itself will be at least somewhat "better", relatively speaking, than continuous pokes in the eye with a sharp stick, from the much more fascistic Republicans. 

But beyond that, there is the historic fact, that the better conditions get, the more persistent the demands of the people get, for real, actual justice. Once they get their noses open for what it might be like, to be out from under the threat of premature death and grinding poverty, people tend to move forward and demand an actual life of dignity and fulfillment, rather than to just "go to sleep" and think "everything is all better now".

And this is in stark contrast to the effect of right wing assaults against justice and survival, dignity and fulfillment, which, in fact, tend to demoralize and grind down opposition, and to crush it brutally, when it dares to rise up and express itself.

Ah, and you might well say, thus the right and "the left" trade off the power, every so often, to keep the people confused, and perpetuate the illusion of "progress".

And you won't be absolutely wrong, in that regard, heh, any more than you are "wrong" to point out all the many shortcomings and betrayals of liberal bourgeois politicians, in terms of delivering a genuinely revolutionary program.

But the only absolute in life, and especially in politics, is that there are no absolutes, except, perhaps, death.

The absolutist idealism that refuses to vote for bourgeois liberals, even tactically, to block the worst available fascists from power..."on principle", no less...should really examine in their heart of hearts the real question: what fkn good are your "principles", if millions more people have to die, as a direct result of your refusal to "support" less than ideal candidates?

Have you ever wondered why those masses are not flocking to your "movement" in greater numbers?  

If you actually have such contempt for their suffering, that you would think it's a "good thing" for them to suffer more, under a rightist regime, because that might prod them into joining your "movement", lol...then why the hell should they trust you, or accept your jive ass "leadership", LOL?

Eventually true revolutionaries must recognize that merely symbolic, futile gestures of protest and defiance are ultimately...futile.  We must seize the power.  History, and the people, demand material results

I remain convinced that a very major portion of counter-revolutionary strategy has long been to infiltrate and manipulate left groups, for the express purpose of injecting as much anti-electoral rhetoric and sentiment as possible into those ranks.  

Oh sure, they also try to just generally spy, disrupt, discredit, and provoke illegal actions, to embarrass and get people arrested, for sure...But if they can convince you to tell others not to vote, or to split the vote with guaranteed losers from "alternative" parties, then they really have it made, because their own right wing fascist candidates will then prevail, by default.

That is, in fact, the only way a Hitler, Nixon, Reagan, Bush...or Sarkovy, or Greek fascists, etc. rise to power.

Indeed, thats the only way they can "win", is by suppressing popular democratic engagement in the electoral process, since the vast majority of the actual people tend to support progressive rhetoric and programs.

For those of you, who may harbor some understandable cynicism about where the peoples of the US are really at, I'd like to offer again the excellent reference below, which is well worth the time to read and study.  It's kind of long, but it's very well written, and chock full of hard data. 

The writer is not just some partisan party hack or axe grinding "pundit", but provides an in-depth scholarly analysis of US public opinion polls over the last 30 years or so.

The important thing to remember in considering this document, is that the results he reports are IN SPITE OF everything the commercial bourgeois media and various other socio-economic manipulations that the counter-revolution have brought to bear, in trying to reverse the trends.  Imagine the results if Faux News, et al were brought to revolutionary justice, for their lies and slanders!

My conclusion? We won the revolution in the 60's and 70's, and in the long hard struggle since, to take it to the masses.  We consciously, deliberately stood down from the ridiculous "revolutionary" posturing and armed struggle rhetoric.  We took it to the people, and worked hard, for many years, on a personal, one to one, and an organizational basis, to build the genuine grassroots base of participation and support that revolution requires, anywhere.

As much as the enemy has tried to make it look like we lost, and they won, sometimes effectively fooling even many of us into thinking that was the hard as it has been, for us, and for the whole world, the day has finally come.  The final struggle is now at hand.

All that's left now is the mopping up and final suppression of the counter-revoutionary traitors who refuse to submit to the popular democratic will.  It may take awhile, but the final struggle is now underway, and surging throughout our society.  We will not be denied.

Racism, Sexism, Eco-rape, Corporate rip off, and Imperialist wars are no longer "politically correct" in the US, despite what you may have heard from various cynics and liars.

I have been invited to bring a series of polemics to this forum, for general discussion, and will try to accommodate that. Perhaps we can look at the term "American Exceptionalism" next time, and also how some of my analysis, and conditions in the US, may apply (or not, heh) in Europe, for example, and in other parts of the world.

Your comments and discussion, and your own separate polemic posts as well, are most welcome here.

Oh's the link...check out this report, before you start telling me how wrong I am, about the level of political consciousness among the "American" peoples, OK?

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Sunday, 2 November 2008

Summary of last nights debate on chatlog.

In further discussion of the SOS (Save Open Space) flap, in the SLLU Chat group on 11/1, we reached substantial agreement on how the issue should be addressed.

We should definitely avoid any support of, or identification with SOS, which is clearly a "Land Baron" dominated group.

The more exploitive predatory Land Barons should be identified and exemplified, as having ruined a good thing in Open Space, with their greedy cheating.

LL should be recognized for bringing a relatively progressive and good idea, in the Open Space project, but criticized for handling it incompetently, by leaving loopholes, and allowing those loopholes to be exploited over time by the more predatory Land Barons, and then abruptly cutting off the project in the manner they did, leaving those who were not abusing the project, and who most legitimately needed and achieved good results with the project, in the lurch.

It should be relentlessly pointed out that with more timely and thorough ongoing consultation with all SL residents effected, and also with a vote, to more clearly establish and clarify everyone's role and stake in the project, the problems that emerged could have been prevented, or much better dealt with.

This does not mean that we would support a Land Baron "council" that would have the special ear of LL, heh....If there is to be democratic decision making, it must include all SL residents, and not be based on how much they pay or "invest" in SL.

We should definitely support those who most legitimately benefited from the Open Space project, and have been most hurt by predatory Land Baron greed, and LL mishandling, especially including legitimate non-profits.

SL residents have a legitimate right and need for more affordable and aesthetically appealing land. Legitimate non-profits and private efforts that substantialy benefit SL residents should be eligible for very cheap or free subsidized resources.

Terms like "predatory" and "Land Barons", "abuse" and "legitimate", or "benefit to SL residents", etc need to be clearly defined in practical terms, which can only be done fairly and reasonably by popular democratic means, rather than by arbitrary decrees from LL.

We should also keep pointing out, that while not yet technically feasible, the Open Grid, and the means for reliable digital democracy are on the horizon, and that people should be looking forward to, preparing for, and working toward those highly desirable goals.

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Two views from SL Left Unity on the Open Space controversy

My position on the Open Space controversy… Plot Tracer, SL Left Unity founding member.

I agree that it is reprehensible that a corporation such as Linden Lab are able to raise prices at a whim.

I feel that the Open Space project was one delivered originally by Linden Lab as a genuine new market – ie. cheaper, less prims etc. for light use.

Certain land owners took advantage of this new market, as capitalism does, and built rentable properties and rented them to people for the same prices, upping their profits. And upping their use – making it difficult to maintain four of them to a server.

The majority of Open Space users are landlords – mostly made up of the landlords who have become well off in real life due to their use of this market. There are some new landlords, some non-profits and a few, genuine Open space users who have accepted the cheaper sims in the way they were originally intended.

All of these, with the exception of the non-profits, are part of a market.


The only true victim of this are the non-profits. Though, it has to be said, there has to be a distinction between these. Some non-profits are genuine charities and causes trying to highlight injustice in this failing capitalist (rl) world. Some are vanity projects by “great men and great women” who enjoy adulation, and declare liberal values, whilst controlling their sims in a very conservative and less than charitable way – but enough about them until their exposure is inevitable.

As a protestor and an agitator and a socialist and someone who is concerned with injustice etc, I feel that the only protests I would be participating in are those that are proposed by genuine non-profits. When Linden Lab have had their proposed direct consultations with these and they have not offered free alternatives, then expect me on the picket lines.

Bread and Roses

Second Life is not a necessity of life. It makes life enjoyable and it makes comradeship accessible to those who may not feel they can have this level of engagement with other people in real life. It is a rose, in the IWW’s, and old socialist cry - “Bread and Roses”.

We need both bread and roses to make life not just bearable, but worth living.

SL is a computer simulator ran by a profitable capitalist corporation. It gleans it’s money from “residents” and from other corporations who use the platform. Without money, this simulator would not exist. It is integrated into capitalism.

In my opinion (and this is an opinion – I welcome comradely debate on this), I feel rather than having demonstrations on price rises, we should be demanding that residents are given FREE land. There is enough land for everyone to utilise. This would not interfere with groups having large buildings/ places to play games etc as if there are enough people who want to use for example, “Greenies” then people will join a group and donate some of their land allowance to allow “Greenies” to exist.

Land allowance, imho in this instance, can only constantly rise.

How would this be funded in a RL capitalist world? How would Linden Lab justify increasing free land allowance to all of it’s residents?

Linden Lab glean a huge amount of money from corporations and research establishments. Lets take the reprehensible “Playboy” as an example. Playboy pay for a sim in SL. This can be visited by anyone who feels the need. Playboy get commercial exposure (which is questionable at the very least) – but the fact remains people can visit or not. These types of commercial sims could fund the expansion of SL – and free land allowance given to residents.

Some people may “abuse” the system.

Absolutely – this may be the case. Some people may create alts in order to have land allowance. In this case, all residents can police SL. Alts/ bots etc can be reported and dealt with. Questionable sims – ie sims made by groups of alts for profit etc, can be closed down. Anyone wishing to make profit can pay for sims/ pay for parcels etc in order to do so. Anyone found using their free alliance as a profitmaking exercise can be made to pay, so increasing the land allowance for the rest of us – or being closed down. These profit makers can fund the rest of us who wish to use SL for enjoyment and comradeship.

IMHO, in this capitalist society, to claim to be fighting for a free SL and then stand shoulder to shoulder with profit takers, is not a good use of agitators time.

Yes we should be supporting the “don’t spend or buy a Linden dollar on the 31st” – but we should be doing so on our terms. Because Capitalism is wrong and creates class and division – not because some people have been charged more for their “cheap” sims.

What about those people who are going to be charged who were genuine users?

The current situation.

I accept there were genuine users – and the Linden’s know who they were. In the current situation, then the Lindens need to accept this. It would not be an impossible task for them to have four genuine users to a sim – just copy the contents over to the relevant CPU and keep the pricing policy for those people. As soon as anyone goes over their usage, then charge them. It is as easy as that. My bank charges me from the minute I am overdrawn. It is not an impossibility to set up a usage charge for these regions. But then, capitalism never distinguishes between people. We are all a homogenised “consumer” and are treated as such.
In real life, we must fight for a fair system. While we are lumbered with capitalist institutions who bleed us for all of the time and money they can, we must fight to make them fairer until a fair society is won.

Reply from Ernest Newman, SL Left Unity

I'm inclined to agree with Plot, re: avoiding expressions of support for Land Barons who have deliberately pimped the OpenSpace sims for profit, which is basically what SOS seems to be organized by and for.

While there are legitimate complaints from those who have not abused the feature, especially including some renters, and the (legitimate) non profits, and activist groups, the following forum comments seem more representative of the main, loudest and most subjective elements of SOS, and I have absolutely no sympathy for them, lol.

Am also inclined to agree with the notion of Free Land (or genuinely affordable, at least) for average players, and charging a lot for big corporate presence, to subsidize that...

Short of excluding them, which we have no power to do, presently, our next best option would seem to be to try to limit and at least somewhat mitigate the big corp influence with LL, by continuing to press for more democratic approaches to LL decision making, which Smoke has put so much personal time, resources and energy into working for.

This issue of the OpenSpace sims does seem ideal for approaching these concepts.

Obviously, special weight needs to be given to the needs and opinions of "average" smaller users, namely those of us with "free" accounts...and not just to whoever pays a lot of cash for "Premium" access and use.

Interesting to note that the big payers like those below, also tend to be the ones who complain most in forums about "free" accounts, even though such are the vast majority of their customers, and SL residents., lol. The "big player" mindset can tend to be pretty disgusting, heh...

I see no big inherent contradiction between working for complete liberation from Capital, while also attempting to deal in a practical, realistic manner with the material conditions we corporate pig and petite bourgeois Babbit presence in SL...we can even try to win over some elements from those groups, without pandering, selling out or capitulating to them, I think.

But I think our principle target group for organizing around this issue, and in general, should be the average SL resident, and that we should speak to the fact that they are the real losers and victims in this conflict between LL and the Land Barons, and in the general overall conflict between the corporate interests of LL, and those of us who actually create, inhabit and make SL viable, as average residents, without whom LL, the Corporations and petty entrepreneurs, and the entire metaverse, would have no material basis for existence.

Meanwhile, though, the absolutist idealism of demanding all or nothing tends to get us...absolutely nothing, heh.

No doubt about it, it is a tricky thing, and a fine line, between dealing in a principled, but realistic manner, and descending into opportunism...I think such efforts do need to be discussed at some length, in some detail...but preferably without too much rancour and hostility over what are usually fairly superficial disagreements, which could easily be resolved with a little compromise and mutual respect between comrades, and especially by not extrapolating each other's remarks to ridiculous and misrepresentative lengths.

That can often mean being willing to bury the hatchet (not in each other's heads, LOL, but deep in the ground!), and to let perceived slights and conflicts go by without rising up in self-righteous indignation and defensive hostility...this is not easy, for any of remarks here are not aimed at one particular individual, but at our entire political spectrum... if the shoe fits, please take it off, and throw it away!

We will never have true unity, or democracy, until we can hash these things out amongst ourselves, and focus our bitterness on the real enemy.

Death to Capitalism, and it's moribund form, Fascism!

Sample Posts from LL Forum re: OpenSpace Sim Price-Hike:

Yesterday, 02:50 AM
Joshua Sao
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 5


It's hard enough to make ends meet with you crashing the land market Jack. Privet sim owners have not yet recovered from your last "great idea" and you have yet another. Thank for TELLING us how things are going to go because people like myself who have spent well over $50,000 USD on land and almost $200,000 USD on paying LL tier shouldn't have a say right?

I think you are out of touch with the community and have no realistic idea of how what you do impacts your very well paying customers like myself.
Yesterday, 03:47 AM
Master Quatro
Dreamland Archangel

Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 30

We want our money back

This is cause for a lawsuit .. we purchased the open space sims with full knowledge that we could change parcel ownership .. Disallowing that now after we purchased so many and subdivided them .. we are stuck with them .. I don't need 18 open space sims for myself. What do you want me to do with them Jack ???

You have totally mismanaged land in SL since the start Jack. You have screwed those of us that have purchased sims to provide land to newcomers and others who don't like the mainland. Now you want us to take another hit.

Where does it end Jack ? Many of us are responsible for bringing new users to the grid. I regret the day I came here. This absolutely sucks !


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