Free software and social revolution

1992 Richard Stallman quote:

If we don’t want to live in a jungle, we must change our attitudes. We must start sending the message that a good citizen is one who cooperates when appropriate, not one who is successful at taking from others.

There’s much to debate concerning the speed, scope, and desirability of political and social change led by peer production. However, I find observations like the above rather satisfying and I believe deeply underappreciated. Peer production will not lead to absolute equality, but it does increase the scope for equality, freedom, autonomy, and decrease the need for violence or threats thereof. In other words, liberal ends achieved through liberal means, for a very broad range of meanings of “liberal.”

This I find more compelling than discussion of liberal/libertarian fusionism embedded deeply in the context of current U.S. jurisdiction politics. But perhaps my thought is too embedded in the free software context, and too cynical about power politics.

Stallman quote via Dan Connolly.

16 Responses

  1. […] When conformists’ slogan is “think different” (the white collar version of “no fear“), it’s time for revolution. […]

  2. […] them on this blog), but as someone who wants to see free knowledge “win” and achieve revolutionary impact, I declare this an important step forward. The current fragmentation of the universe of free […]

  3. […] Here’s to expanding the size and scope of the realm beyond lawsuit, regulation, and taxation! […]

  4. […] The most exciting parts of the purpose-driven voluntary sector involve peer production. […]

  5. […] Free software and social revolution […]

  6. […] strongly prefer voluntary action. However, software patents are not amenable to workaround and so must be attacked directly through […]

  7. […] the FSF is an explicitly ideological organization (I believe mostly for the greater good), so the statement (although not yet endorsed by the FSF, I believe all participants are probably […]

  8. […] to be a student to attend. Free culture is a somewhat amorphous concept, but I think an important one. I suspect debates about what free culture means and how to develop and exploit it will be evident […]

  9. […] the Free Software Foundation. It’s good for a free planet and you can attend the just announced Libre Planet Conference, March 21-22 in […]

  10. […] section. This one may be the oddest in the whole book. You have to remember that I have a bit of an appreciation of leftish verbiage in the service of free software and nearby, and seeing the opportunity to also […]

  11. JHoward says:

    What juvenile gibberish.

    “Peer production will not lead to absolute equality, …”

    You are writing to yourself.

  12. JHoward,

    Yes, I do primarily write for myself, and for the future.

    I would love to read your explanation of what I’ve written amounts to juvenile gibberish.

  13. […] best — that would be creating systems which disrupt and obviate power — long term offensives, not short-term […]

  14. We are evolving away from duality toward singularity. This is the inevitable evolution of humans. Complete knowledge brings the realization that equality is. Plato gave us the answer. All humans act in perfect action in accordance with their level of information. Perfect action comes from perfect knowledge.

  15. […] I’ve occasionally used at least since 1998. I occasionally included the theory in blog posts (2006) and presentations (2008). Much of my ‘critical cheering’ last year (doubt) and before […]

  16. Dan Jerome says:

    So if all software is free, how should I as a software engineer make a living?

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