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The Internet as a case study of Socialism

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posted on May, 8 2012 @ 09:46 PM
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  • Disclaimer the First.

    I admit that I am greatly reluctant to make this thread, because of the amount of trolling and other abuse that I know I am going to receive for it, from brainwashed, mean-spirited, conservative Americans; who have been indoctrinated to believe that white is black, down is up, and that which is beneficial to them, is actually somehow harmful. I have already received large amounts of abuse online, for mentioning this and related topics. I used to think that my psychological stamina for enduring such abuse was limitless, but I have since discovered that it is not.

  • Disclaimer the Second.

    I'm also aware that this thread likely won't receive much attention, because it is constructive and solution-oriented, rather than focusing on apocalyptic doom porn. That's fine; I will keep the URL of the thread, in order to give it to people at appropriate times in the future.

    This thread is an attempt to comply with the motto of this site; to educate and Deny Ignorance.


Most of you who are currently here today, are probably entirely unfamiliar with the nature of the Internet, as it existed prior to 2000; and especially prior to 1995.

Today, the Internet exists almost exclusively as a collection of web sites which are owned and operated by large corporations. Google, Facebook, and Twitter are probably the main three. Files are generally hosted, again, by centralised websites which are owned and operated by smaller corporations. Virtually nobody outside of said corporations has their own web sites; instead, everyone has various accounts with the sites owned and run by said corporations. The Web browser is more or less the only application which people now use, for accessing the Internet.

It wasn't always this way.

The Internet used to be vibrant, non-homogenous, and unrestrained.

Where we now have Facebook, Twitter, Mediafire, and private or corporate-run, Web-based forums, we used to have decentralised application protocols. Internet Relay Chat, the File Transfer Protocol, and the Network News Transfer Protocol, (Usenet) were probably the three most commonly used.

These were decentralised systems, which could be run by any single individual on their own computer. In the past, universities operated what were called "mirror networks," of FTP sites. One of the largest of these was the Simtel network.

This was a scenario where a single set of files were duplicated and hosted locally, by a large number of different educational and other institutions, all over the world. This offered a level of assurance for the continued availability of information, which largely no longer exists today. The Web-based mirror network used by Wikileaks, is one of the last examples of this technique, left in popular use.

Internet Relay Chat was the direct, non-corporate ancestor of Twitter. It was not purely web-based, but was typically used via a seperate application. (An IRC client)

Anyone who wanted to, could run an IRC server on their own computer. Typically, there existed a number of IRC networks. These were collections of IRC servers which were connected together. Each was run either by an individual, an educational institution, or a small Internet service provider. They were considered common carriers of information, which meant that they did not monitor or censor the information that was carried. There were no false, psychopathic/fascist rationalisations made that censorship or monitoring of the entire system, needed to occur in order to prevent child porn as an isolated issue, and the users of these systems had not yet been sufficiently brainwashed as to believe said false rationalisations.

Another of these systems was Usenet. More of you are probably familiar with this one than IRC. Usenet was essentially a decentralised forum system. It was run in a similar manner to IRC, in the sense that servers could be run by anyone, and were typically run by individual Internet service providers. Today, Usenet has largely been choked with binary files and various forms of rubbish, but in the past, it was a host for global conversations which were not subject to even the relatively lenient degree of censorship that we are accustomed to, here on ATS.

Usenet as a whole had no centralised moderation staff, although individual newsgroups could be. For the most part, though, each Usenet user maintained a killfile as part of his or her Usenet client or newsreader. If you didn't like what a person wrote, or they behaved in a manner which upset you, you'd add their email address to your killfile, and you no longer saw what they wrote. Their messages were seamlessly deleted immediately after delivery to your machine.

Another advantage of Usenet was the use of public key encryption, although this wasn't directly associated with Usenet itself. This involved the use of an application called PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) and later the GNU equivalent, gPGP, and allowed confidential, secure communication.

Generally speaking, these systems had the following three things in common:-


  • Democracy.

    These systems were run as client-server pairs, where a client program connected to the server. Both programs could be run by anyone with a computer, and were generally Free and Open Source Software. It is here that ANOK's quoted definition of socialism is complied with; the individual user could own and have complete control of the means of information production.

  • Decentralisation.

    It was understood that the network was a beneficial resource to ALL, and thus all people using it were interested in its' maintenance, propogation, and welfare.

  • Transparency.

    The above two characteristics of these protocols rendered censorship or other control by corporations and fascist governments largely impossible, which was the precise reason why said corporations and governments came to feel that it was imperative to destroy them. This, in turn, is why we now have the centralised, Web-only, corporate abomination that exists today.


The Internet is currently in a state of crisis due to corporate involvement, which is directly analogous to the offline ecological crisis that has been caused by corporations. It can be restored to real health, as can the offline environment; but doing so is up to us.

I would particularly request that the Occupy movement become more committed to use of the Internet in its' original and non-corporate contaminated form.
edit on 8-5-2012 by petrus4 because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 8 2012 @ 10:13 PM
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The web exists as that which you describe.

For those who have been around long enough, the internet remains there basically unchanged.
(Using IRC through a browser? Why?)
I personally started back in the early BBS days and ran one myself for a while. 30 years and counting.



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 10:16 PM
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Really good post, I learned a lot from it, and I want to learn more, if it's possible.
About the article, I agree with you when it comes to the fact that corporations are destroying what's left of the internet, and what makes the Internet is simply availability of information, and when there's money in the middle things get bad.
Since this now a days has become a real issue for freedom of speech worldwide, what can be done to revert this? Would it be possible to put them in their place? What is the possibility of creating a different internet model, where they would have no power at all?



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 10:31 PM
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Originally posted by it4lian
Really good post, I learned a lot from it, and I want to learn more, if it's possible.


Read the Wikipedia links in the OP. Also go to mIRC, download it, connect to one of the servers in this list, join #ircbar, and start chatting.


Since this now a days has become a real issue for freedom of speech worldwide, what can be done to revert this? Would it be possible to put them in their place? What is the possibility of creating a different internet model, where they would have no power at all?


All you need to do, is make use of the protocols I've mentioned in the OP. Most of them are still there.

I'd also invite you to look at FreeBSD as well, if you're interested. It's the operating system which a lot of the early Internet was initially built on, and is also completely free of charge. It has a handbook to explain how to install it.



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 10:35 PM
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reply to post by petrus4
 


Wow that's great thank you so much!



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 10:43 PM
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Originally posted by it4lian
reply to post by petrus4
 


Wow that's great thank you so much!


My pleasure. I admit that I wasn't expecting a positive response, so it is wonderful to get one.



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 10:53 PM
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reply to post by petrus4
 


I'm really new here, I don't post that much but I give stars. I am doing everything you said and it looks crazy. It's gonna be a long night for me trying to figure all that new input out.



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 11:07 PM
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Originally posted by it4lian
Really good post, I learned a lot from it, and I want to learn more, if it's possible.
About the article, I agree with you when it comes to the fact that corporations are destroying what's left of the internet, and what makes the Internet is simply availability of information, and when there's money in the middle things get bad.
Since this now a days has become a real issue for freedom of speech worldwide, what can be done to revert this? Would it be possible to put them in their place? What is the possibility of creating a different internet model, where they would have no power at all?


Unless you are willing to establish a wire free, globe spanning, peer to peer network...there is zero chance of what you request. Corporations control your access and the the physical infrastructure.

What is being recommended here is a return to client-side serving, avoiding the data-mining server farms of Google, Facebook etc.

Unless I misunderstood you OP ?

It is more about side-stepping than tearing down.



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 11:12 PM
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Originally posted by it4lian
reply to post by petrus4
 


I'm really new here, I don't post that much but I give stars. I am doing everything you said and it looks crazy. It's gonna be a long night for me trying to figure all that new input out.





posted on May, 8 2012 @ 11:17 PM
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Originally posted by Noncompatible
Unless you are willing to establish a wire free, globe spanning, peer to peer network...there is zero chance of what you request. Corporations control your access and the the physical infrastructure.

What is being recommended here is a return to client-side serving, avoiding the data-mining server farms of Google, Facebook etc.

Unless I misunderstood you OP ?

It is more about side-stepping than tearing down.


Yes, you did understand me, Noncompatible. It's not so much client-side serving, as it is a return to the older definition of client and server.

Thin client computing (which is basically what Google does, and is what it was called the last time they tried it, back in the late 70s) is a bad idea. Apart from anything else, it introduces a single point of failure. If you use the cloud for everything, and the cloud goes down, you're screwed. That is, of course, exactly the intent. Get everyone using the cloud, and nothing but the cloud, and government or corporations can then control whether you have access to the cloud or not.



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 11:18 PM
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I agree, back in the day, the internet was something more of a wild west, while today, the railroads (corps.) have taken control, just as they did in that frontier. Do I miss the old gun slinger days? Yep.

But as they say, "Either get with the times, or get left behind."

Note: I make this statement while located in Yesteryear.

Yeah, I'll never get over the fact there was once a time "Pop-ups" never existed.

On the plus, I get to now interact on cool forums, like ATS.

So, I take the good with the bad.

As for government spying? Please, they built it. They've never stopped spying, they're just getting better at it.



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 11:21 PM
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Originally posted by Lasr1oftheJedi
I agree, back in the day, the internet was something more of a wild west, while today, the railroads (corps.) have taken control, just as they did in that frontier. Do I miss the old gun slinger days? Yep.

But as they say, "Either get with the times, or get left behind."


I'm glad It4lian was able to get started looking at the links, before my first apologist/troll post arrived. You might also want to consider the irony of someone with your username, advocating the stance you have in this thread.



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 11:31 PM
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reply to post by petrus4
 


Soundly stated Petrus.
We do tend to take our cultures for granted. We all live in cultural constructs. Not just one but many. These cultural constructs develop hand in hand with media.

 The history of media. About ninety years ago as our boys came back from WWI they were given the gift of radio. And wives.

About sixty years ago as our boys came home from WWII, they were given wives and television.

We the people took these new media as earnable pleasures. What we really got was the throat collar and leash. 

If you are interested, here is a link to a media history story about KMPX radio in San Francisco in the early sixties. 
The birth of freeform rock radio
This was basically the radio station the hippies listened to. Through a flukie set of improbabilities during the switch from only AM radio to AM and FM radio, KMPX became one of the first " underground" media of the modern age.

If you find that interesting you might also find history on the first FM listener sponsored FM radio KPFA. 

Founded in 1949, the founders literally had to BUILD and send out with pledges to support, FM recieving aquipment. Their belief was that media under the control of corporate ideology could only lead to the total control of the people. 

KPFA is in Berkeley, across the bay from San Francisco.
KPFA, broadcast the actions of the Free Speach Movement on the Berkeley campus and the speeches of Mario Savio in 64 and 65.



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 11:44 PM
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reply to post by petrus4
 


I apologize, I had no intent to troll your thread, I was just adding in my two cents, honest. If I offended you or missed the point, this was hardly my intent, I was just describing the nausatia (ripped that word, a fondness for the past.) I had for the time I spent on the internet of yesteryear while still enjoying the internet of today.
I must've come off wrong, honestly sorry. ^.^



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 11:46 PM
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Originally posted by TerryMcGuire
If you are interested, here is a link to a media history story about KMPX radio in San Francisco in the early sixties. 
The birth of freeform rock radio


As I was having a look at that, I found a link from the Wikipedia article to this site:-
pOoTer's pSycheDelic shAcK - psychedelia, acid rock, garage, 60's punk and other fine items....

A great example of pre-HTML 4 Web design, among other things. Awesome, awesome stuff.



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 11:51 PM
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Originally posted by Lasr1oftheJedi
reply to post by petrus4
 


I must've come off wrong, honestly sorry. ^.^


I'm really sorry as well, Jedi.
I did reflect after replying to you, that my response was overly harsh.

The problem is that I've had a lot of people in the past do that; basically telling me to "get with the times," etc. The real issue is that, to be honest, I don't believe as though the Internet has truly progressed or moved forward. I actually think it's gone backwards.

We don't have anywhere near as many people producing their own material now as they used to, and the whole thing has just been completely corporatised and dumbed down. The more I look at other examples of successful socialism, as well as the Internet itself, the more I realise that things really don't need to be this way at all.

We've got a minority of people who originated the corporate scenario, and most other people brainwashed to accept it. Not because it works, but simply because it makes money for the few who want it, while everyone else suffers.



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 11:53 PM
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reply to post by petrus4
 


Case study of Socialism? Your title is misleading it should be: The Internet as a case study of Capitalism. Unless you wish to talk about the federal Governments new broadband initiative, or how the old telephone initiatives helped pave the way for the Internet.

According to what your griping about, your complaining because no one wants to use "beta" and you want to make a political statement out of it; lame man, really, really lame.
----
The corporations just makes better websites because they can access way more resources then an individual person. Plus the vast majority of people are too dumb to figure out how to use most of the programs you described, and most of them SUCKED. meaning the vibrant internet open to all would not exist. So basically your pinning for the good old day's of e-pen elitism.
edit on 8-5-2012 by korathin because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 9 2012 @ 12:02 AM
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Originally posted by korathin
reply to post by petrus4
 


Case study of Socialism? Your title is misleading it should be: The Internet as a case study of Capitalism.


Really?

Free Web hosting, ala Geocities and Tripod? Destroyed. Usurped by the passive, zero-creativity model introduced first by Myspace, and then by Facebook.

Usenet? Destroyed. It used to be an entirely decentralised, per-ISP system. Yahoo Groups was the first nail in the coffin.

IRC, which was entirely non-corporate and non-profit? Destroyed. First by a large wave of hacking attacks in 2001, and then by Twitter.

Free/Open Source Software? Not destroyed, but minimised as much as possible, unless it can be exploited for profit.



posted on May, 9 2012 @ 12:08 AM
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reply to post by korathin
 


I think you have missed the point. It is not the infrastructure that is the issue. It is accepted fact that "point of contact" will always be under corporate and/or governmental control.
It is more about the fact that rather than being carriers (dumb pipes) the corporate interests desire control over the systems of delivery and dissemination of information.

Facebook is the ultimate evolution of this desire. To many users Facebook IS the internet, a role filled first with any significance by AOL in the 90's.

Desiring the ability to share knowledge with others independent of corporate servers is not in fact lame and should never be abandoned.



posted on May, 9 2012 @ 12:15 AM
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Hello petrus4! Thank you for sharing the info about FreeBSD. I just wanted to ask, how does the news on IRC compare to all the "news" that's filtered down through the AP, and all the other corporate agencies?

I'm sure you have to take a lot of things with a measure of salt so to speak, but how does it compare? I used IRC a long time a go (1995 or so). When Diablo II came out, I went over to windows entirely. Do you have any good IRC links for real unfiltered news?

I'm liking how the BSD varieties look, being that all the open source software has been ported in one way or another to the OS. I also like the fact that it has gotten more modernized while still being secure over the years.

Thanks again.






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