Op/Ed: The Point of View Inside SLLU

by Alphaville Herald on 10/04/08 at 7:43 am

by Plot Tracer


What sort of world would we live in if place names were trademarked? What sort of world would we live in where we could be banned for saying the wrong thing – for speaking against the government, or be banned for whatever takes the whim of those who wield power? The world George Orwell predicted in 1984 where even the language of oppression has been changed to the language of freedom. Freedom is Slavery. Your world, your imagination – when it isn’t – really.

A world were what we do is for the self aggrandizement of those who sit on committees and reap all the benefits of those who are artistic/productive/trusting. Apartheid South Africa? Nope. The US? Hopefully not. Think of a world were we readily give our personal details and preferences and sexual mores to those in authority without question. Think of a world with an unelected clique controlling it. Think of a world in which the “owners” are always right and can terminate the existence of people identified as unpersons.

What sort of world has principles claiming it is “based on a belief that innovative success stems from self-directed creation, collaboration, and openness. Like the Second Life world, Linden Lab is built on a non-hierarchical system which fosters and rewards creativity, individual initiative, and interactive participation.” and “Never act to advance your own interests or someone else’s interests at the expense of the interests of the company. This is the one principle, outside of violations of law, for which violation will likely result in immediate termination.”

This is a world where the company/corporation is all. The individual is nothing. Profit is all – because that is what company law aims towards. It is the basis for the corporation.

“The corporation is an externalizing machine (moving its operating costs to external organizations and people), in the same way that a shark is a killing machine.” – Robert Monks, a former GOP [Republican] candidate for Senate from Maine.

Get my point?

My first foray onto the internet was back in 1992. It was a basic place – a place anyone with a tad of know how could navigate or set up a space – free of charge. A place uncontrolled, and at the time thought to be almost uncontrollable. Then the controllers got to work – and we must fight back to claim this bastion of freedom from them – the Facelessbooks, the Theirspaces, the Seconded Life. They should not be allowed to win. They should not be allowed to decide who has freedom of speech or freedom to organise/ create community based on their corporate image and ultimately on profit.

Paulo Freire, the South American Educationalist said that the powerless in society can be frightened of freedom. He wrote, “Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsibly. Freedom is not an ideal located outside of man; nor is it an idea which becomes myth. It is rather the indispensable condition for the quest for human completion.”

Only an educated, informed working class – those who graft and die for these people, will change the world. The middle class fear change, because they do-not want to fall off the cart into the lower classes (hence the bile and snidey remarks from those who have made a wee bit of cash from Seconded Life) and the upper classes – those who hold power and therefore control the system will not let it go.

The workers who built this world will have to join together to take action and make their voices heard. The vested interests of the metaverse are not going to help – they will fight every step of the way. To quote a great working class poet -

common people

like a dog lying in a corner they will bite you and never warn you
Look out
they’ll tear your insides out.
‘Cos everybody hates a tourist,
especially one who thinks it’s all such a laugh

You will never understand
how it feels to live your life
with no meaning or control
and with nowhere left to go.
You are amazed that they exist
and they burn so bright
whilst you can only wonder why…
— “Common People”, Pulp

References: Orwell; 1984

27 Responses to “Op/Ed: The Point of View Inside SLLU”

  1. Marc Woebegone

    Apr 10th, 2008

    “People cannot stand too much reality.” C.G. Jung

    Not far different than the panacea during the California Gold Rush, the promises of Linden Labs about SecondLife, and the life itself are littered with tiny bits of gold dust and huge chunks of fool’s gold in an ever growing desert of segmentation. Unlike the achievers during the Internet boom that made real dollars off of their ingenuity and created real unfettered opportunities, second life’s game provided a very limited drinkable “virtual opportunity” during its heyday for only a very few which now appears to be feeling the drier results of its inevitable evaporation (gambling, landbots, banking, and now intentional land devaluation). Only a few it seems will ever be allowed to extract any gold if ever a gold vien is struck in them thar serverfarms of San Francicso. Most that now newly start the wagon treck cross the internet wires to LL’s servers, like the many innovative pioneers that have already died or are drying out due to the lack of virtual water (Ginko, Bragg, W University , Europoeans – VAT, casinos… add more as the list grows), these new “venturers” seem destined to starve or be given up or to be slowly eaten one small linden at a time by the vulturebots of SL;; these poor SecondLife avatarsouls, land of virtualdead it would appear, will live out their posterity permanently encoded in a tiny bit of magnetic server space in the isolated growing desert that has become this virtual unorganized unstable web-kind of game.

    This result seems to me is constistent with the historical outcomes of simliar historical larger closed communal loopback systems subject or carriers of of ME, “malignant egophenia” (coherently described by Paul Levy in his recent work The Madness of George W. Bush). While not enough space here to fully discuss Mr. Levy’s analysis and its applicability to the hysteria and addiction surrounding Second Life, a few points he makes for the world at large and collective hystiera are notworthy for considering why domain farming the phrase “second life” in the real world, like buying virtual land or selling scripted objects in Second Life, is ultimately valueless and detracts from productivity gains in the real world lives of its participants.

    Though a virtual world, Second Life cannot escape, and unfortunately emboldens and propigates this current affliction of the human psyche; a few in power taking advantage of the vulnerabilities of the weaker minded.

    To paraphrase and apply Mr. Levy’s analysis within the context of Second Life (using “[]” to signify this author’s opinioned modifications to Mr. Levy’s original text):

    “One of the signatures of ME disease is that it hooks people through their unconscious blindspot, so when people are afflicted by this deadly disease, they are truly asleep to what is being acted out through them.” [Participants are] “being manipulated, used and victimized, like [] puppet[s] on a string, by a deeper matrix of coverup and deceit that has been perpetrated — and has now taken on an autonomous life of it’s own. Malignant egophrenia is an expression of, and is at the root of, the extreme polarization and dissociation in both the human psyche and the world process at large.” “Egophrenia is a disease of the consciousness — it is consciousness itself becoming so sick so as to create a greater level of health and wholeness in itself. The disease is the conduit through which consciousness grows into greater orders of freedom. In the disease, consciousness is revealing itself to itself, which is to say that the disease is an unfolding relveation.” (Which is one of the reasons I insisted I was quite lucky to have been banned and my land taken from me. That act by LL conferred an unintended benevolent result upon me; I was broken free of the disease and its concurrent loopback addicton.)

    Looking at the grid and participant and commentators infatuation with the process, it occurs that Second Life engenders a collective psychosis within its limited community, no different than a cult. “It induces a very hard to recognize form of insanity. “When we fall prey to egophrenia, we are unable to recongize that we are taken over, as we become bewitched by our own porjections, [our avatars], accusing other [avatars] of what we ourselves are doing.” … “Part of the sinister nature of the disease is that when we point at it and call it by its true name — as being a form of insanity called ignorance — people who are stricken with the disease will see uas as the one’s who are crazy. Because egophrenia hooks us through our unconscions, when we are infected with it, just like a sociopath, we don’t experience ourselves as being sick or needing help. When we are taken over by egophrenia, we always see the problem as existing in someone else.”

    “By being duplicitous and trying to hide [ulterior motives are] unwittingly reveal[ed].” The pleadings in my case declaring to the real world that essentially “own” did not mean “own” but rather something like leasing server space (see cite / quote) (Clintonspeak … “does ‘is’ mean ‘is”?), and in the near past, Mr. Ginsu Yoon’s description as recorded by Neva at [secondthoughts.typepad.com], seem to evidence “unkonwingly giving voice to the unconscious shadow, the part of the [entity] whose intentions are the polar opposite [of] they consciously imagine[] and represent[] them to be at the moment.” In their pleadings in my case, and their later statements, and in numerous other ways cited across the internet, the LL had finally begun to meet one of its objectives, to be transparent, “blowing its own cover in the process” and presumably hoping for forgiveness or hoping that there was sufficient momentum, that it had passed the “tipping point” to corporate freedom within the corporate brothehood, so as to continue its way unharmed untarnished and uninhibited by its prior shadows. “Unless we recognize the insidious nature of this psychic disease, there is a crazy-making field around it that will make us a part of itself. Collective psychosis is like that.”


  2. Cai Pirinha

    Apr 10th, 2008

    Hahahahaha … this article is an absolutely brilliant parody on these “political” movements in SL. Love it.

  3. anon

    Apr 10th, 2008

    oh wow

    you guys really think SL is a metaverse and that it matters. it’s cute.

  4. Uncle Bill

    Apr 10th, 2008

    All well and good, but I’m always confused by the fact that groups like this seem to view SL as a ‘world’ dominated by the Lindens as the aristocracy.

    LL is a private company, and no matter what their ‘philosophy’ (which I’ve always regarded as ‘cheerleading’ their customers as to the possibilities available in SL, more than an actual business model) LL has the right to regulate and distribute their own product as they see fit. Its that simple.

    There’s no dictatorship to overthrow… there’s no way to usurp these ‘oppressors’ and put in a new seat of power. If LL went under tomorrow and their servers were unplugged, where is your land? Where is your inventory? There won’t be a long ‘trail of tears’ as refugee avatars are shuffled out of the metaverse. Its gone…

    I love my car, and I purchased it at a reasonable price. I’ve invested in the carmaker’s product and I have the freedom to drive it where I want, paint it any color or just let it sit in the driveway. I don’t feel any sense of entitlement to coerce the carmaker to make changes in their next model. Now, if I were a shareholder, a stockholder, there I might be able to exert more pressure. I’m not however.

    Land Barons, business owners and residents ‘bought the car.’ SL is a product; politics don’t enter into it. Economics, possibly. In reality though, anything that happens in SL is happening in LL’s backyard.

    Freedom? Build your own world, or find someone to build it for you. For free. Otherwise, wait for a LL IPO and become a shareholder.

  5. GreenLantern Excelsior

    Apr 10th, 2008

    “Only an educated, informed working class – those who graft and die for these people, will change the world. The middle class fear change, because they do-not want to fall off the cart into the lower classes (hence the bile and snidey remarks from those who have made a wee bit of cash from Seconded Life) and the upper classes – those who hold power and therefore control the system will not let it go.”

    This is the standard Class Warfare tactic – promote jealousy and enmity between people in order to gain wealth or status. “Give me all your money and elect me to office and I will save you from those evil rich people.” It’s the old idea that you can “play both ends against the middle” and be seen as a wise reformer. Luckily, most people see right through it. We understand that most people who have money get it by working hard for it. We know that the phrase “working people” applies to almost everyone, not just low- and middle-income citizens. And we know that most rich people are not, in the words of Dick Gephardt, “those who won life’s lottery,” but really those who got off their butts and earned their money by hard work. Karl Marx has beed dead for 125 years, and artificially-generated Class Warfare doesn’t fool anyone these days.

    Want to make some money? Use the ancient entrepreneurial mantra: find a niche and fill it. Discover what interests people, build it or script it, then sell it to them. Remember Robert A. Heinlein’s TANSTAAFL – There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. You won’t get ahead by sitting there whining that others have more money that you do. Get to work! While you’re working, remember that in Second Life you can pretty much say or do whatever you want as long as you hurt no one else. And forget about Class Warfare – that dog won’t hunt.

  6. Penance Sauteraux

    Apr 10th, 2008

    Very well put, GreenLanternExcelsior.

  7. Ava Cartier

    Apr 10th, 2008

    Hear, hear, GreenLantern.

  8. Franz Carver

    Apr 10th, 2008

    @Uncle Bill…
    I think politics and economics go pretty mush hand in hand. I’m concerned about the creeping control being placed over the internet. It the only free mass media outlet left, it’s because of this that I treasure it so much. And it’s because of this that the people in power feel a bit threatened by it. Big business and power hungry politicians go hand in hand usually IMO. In the UK last year the government tried to legally ban certain websites from being viewed. They failed. So they just asked the internet providers to block them voluntarily. They did. So now people in the UK are viewing a state mandated subset of the internet. This process will just keep going and going until one day the internet will just be like a technical version of prime time TV. I don’t know about anyone here but the last thing I need more of in my life is prime time TV type stuff.

    It’s not really that simple. This sub prime credit crunch was caused by the BIG corporate companies being greedy and incompetent. Who’s going to suffer?… Them?… Not much. The bonuses may get cut from $5m to $2m and they may have to sell one of their villas in the south of France, but that’s about it. For them all they have to do is cut the workforce by 9,000 or so. If you think that by being willing to work hard means you will get ahead in life then you might not of heard about what it was like in 1930′s America. :O)

  9. anon

    Apr 10th, 2008

    Marc Woebegone: that is an *amazing* summary of the collective hyper-immersion of SL users (and their attempts to expand it into the concept of the “metaverse” despite being a buggy game solely filled with gambling and cybersex) that’s so self-evident in this article. I’ll definitely be checking out that book.

  10. Prokofy Neva

    Apr 10th, 2008

    >Never act to advance your own interests or someone else’s interests at the expense of the interests of the company. This is the one principle, outside of violations of law, for which violation will likely result in immediate termination.”

    This is in fact a perfect example of a collectivist ideology, of exactly the sort of communism that SL Left Unity sponsors. It’s funny they don’t recognize themselves in the mirror. It’s exactly their own ideology, because it places the collective over the individual, and posits that there is some communal interest higher than the individual’s rights and dignities that can always trump them.

    The SLLU objection to the trademarking of the terms Second Life and such seem to amount to a hatred of private property. But the solution here is not to hate private property, to resent it (the bile is always in these fake avante-gardes of the working class lol), but to get your own. The problem is that in a proprietary situation like SL, we are goods and chattel, mere code of the game gods. So the first task is to make the authority abide by its own laws — always hard for it to do, as it amounts to admitting the arbitrariness of its powers — and then the second task is to separate powers.

    I’m not so certain the struggle for small-holders’ rights, the struggle for land rights, can ever take hold when there is a class of tekkies who claim there is no land, it is merely a platform artifact — and can make good on that position by constanting land-glutting or seizing land or price-dumping it.

    Imagine if you struggled for land as a campesino and then whoops, the river washed it away. What would the fight be about?

    There are social struggles to be waged in Second Life, possibly even class warfare, although I agree that it seems like an antequated communist artifact, and is artificial incitement by the merely potential New Class of today’s bolsheviks.

    The middle class cannot go on subsidizing your cheap rentals for ever *cough*.

  11. Faerie

    Apr 11th, 2008

    Are they saying that because they use something they have rights over it?

    “It doesn’t matter who made it, *I* use it, therefore *I* decide how it should be used.”

    Because you drive on the road everyday, is it right *you* should determine what the road rules shoud be?

  12. Spankubux

    Apr 11th, 2008

    MW: Crook.

  13. Bellows

    Apr 11th, 2008

    Hey Prok,

    I think the main and best point of the article was the comment by Marc Woebegone, that if I can paraphrase, called you nuts.

  14. like_ummm

    Apr 11th, 2008

    lol @ Penance and Ava Cartier: cheerleaders for american capitalist peeeg!

    “You won’t get ahead by sitting there whining that others have more money that you do.”

    coz thats basically what these commies are doing right? duh!

    “If you think that by being willing to work hard means you will get ahead in life then you might not of heard about what it was like in 1930′s America.”

    This greenlantern guy hasn’t heard of what it is like outside of his own skull.

  15. Marc Woebegone

    Apr 11th, 2008

    Spankubux: Linden LMAO

  16. Nicholaz Beresford

    Apr 11th, 2008

    >> It’s exactly their own ideology, because it places the collective over the individual, and posits that there is some communal interest higher than the individual’s rights and dignities that can always trump them. <<

    Working in an environment like that is pretty easy (I think I even read that in one of your older posts), you just need to dress up your interests as the companies interests. Ideally it’s a win-win situation (if both interests truly match), but when you look at the spin doctoring Linden blog, you see that the prevailing way of communication is a lame attempt of redressing the Linden viewpoint as resident viewpoint and trying to sell things/events to people as being in their own interest. Which comes as not much of a surprise, being able to effectively spin-doctor could easily be a survival inside the company.

  17. Jessica Holyoke

    Apr 11th, 2008

    There wouldn’t *be* a middle class in the West if it wasn’t for the Unions that arose and worked for better conditions and more pay for workers. And the Unions were initially considered communists. Without Unions, there would have been no collective bargaining, no minimum wage and everyone would be paid according to what they individually could negotiate.

    As far as SL Left Unity’s respect for private property, who invited them to use a product in a specific way? Who allowed them to be on the grid with their activities well publicized? And now who would like to wipe all of their history away because they would like to clamp down on the use of their marks which is under an confluence of trademark principles? For everyone who has made use of the words Second Life in their organization name has certain rights to that name. The Lindens are now asking for those rights to be waived via contract.

  18. Uncle Bill

    Apr 11th, 2008

    @ Franz

    Arguing for a ‘free internet’ and protesting SL are pretty much two separate things.

    I don’t have numbers, but its pretty clear that there is actually very little information available on the internet for ‘free’. Free to the end user, perhaps… but of course we’re all familiar with banner adds and the annoying pop up.

    First, though, while I’m unfamiliar with the move for a government regulated internet in the UK (no one but us ‘ugly americans’ here..) I can appreciate the struggle against it.

    My point was specifically regarding protesting the policies of a private company, which is not (and should not be expected to be) beholden to anyone but itself. If a company is producing, for example, toxic waste that is harmful to the community around it. Picket it, of course they are in the wrong.

    The arguments here seem to be that LL is in some way contributing to some kind of stripping of freedoms simply by distributing a product and requiring their ‘customers’ (which we all are, make no mistake) to pay for the service.

    Simply, if you don’t like paying for electricity, install solar panels on your house. Have a gripe with your local grocery store prices? Grow your own food. Live off the grid, instead of living off the grid. The whole ‘free metaverse’ argument seems to involve a lot of people clamoring at big business to abandon their ‘evil’ capitalistic motives instead of working toward an independent solution.

    At the root of the protest, of course, is this notion that LL is a ‘government’ of some kind. They are a company, with the freedom to succeed or fail, and are not beholden to ANY rules or laws except that which apply to corporate entities.

    The whole community of metaversal ‘freedom fighters’ smacks of high minded roleplay to me. I have nothing but respect for the ideals and intellects the argument displays, but it seems a waste of resources to believe that any of this argument actually matters.

  19. Uncle Bill

    Apr 11th, 2008


    Also… I have no issue with a corporate executive receiving whatever bonus the shareholders see fit to hire them. These are managers, and are responsible to guide the corporation they head. In most cases (yes, most) they have risen to these positions after working their tails off for 30 or more years and proven themselves to be committed and capable. Poor managers, certainly, are reaping rewards and making decisions that lead to disastrous results. Yes, in many cases these decisions are guided by personal greed and outright dishonesty. It’s the scale that makes these issues visible enough to make the news however.

    A million $$ or more bonus to an individual who in most cases is guiding a billion dollar company towards profit and success for its thousands of hardworking employees is not a crime. Its commendable.

    If they fail to do their job, or intentionally abuse their position for personal gain. Shame on them. If its a crime, charge them. The same should be said for the minimum wager stealing from the till. We just don’t hear about them on the evening news.

    The real crime? Paying 19 year old athletes millions of dollars a year for sports. Paying pretty boy hack actors even more for sh***y teen comedies. The bad managers and criminals heading corporations are in the minority, believe it.

    Seeking out personal success is no crime. Setting rules and charging for a service that you are providing to your customers is no terrible thing. This is a marketplace, the best and ONLY reasonable way to protest is not to buy the product.

  20. Prokofy Neva

    Apr 11th, 2008

    Good Lord, Jessica shows as little knowledge of history as of law.

    No, unions weren’t called “communists” in some blanket sort of way; only some of them actually were, but those that eventually formed the AFL-CIO were decided *anti*-communist. Very much so. There were unions that pursued a communist line, but many others that fought that line. Unions don’t create a middle class; they create a working class, that’s why they call them labour unions. In time, professionals like teachers or office workers unionized and then you can speak of a middle class but that isn’t how it began or progressed.

    Collective bargaining is in fact antithetical to the communist regime, which believes it is the advance guard of the workers and uses unions as mere conveyor belts of Party rule.

    I fail to see how their “history” is wiped away, when they are asked to respect a trade mark by a company in position to enforce it, and to keep a name that in fact they’re most known by “SL Left Unity”. If they don’t like that, let them call themselves “Cream Cheese Left Unity,” that would be more accurate any way.

    There are no “certain rights” to names that nobody trademarked. Nobody did, except the SL Art guy, and now he’s going to have to litigate, I guess, I will be interesting to see.

  21. Jessica Holyoke

    Apr 11th, 2008

    See Prokofy, that’s where you are wrong time and time again. Its hard to believe anyone can take you seriously.

    Let’s go back to the Unions. Was there a real middle class before the emergence of labor unions? And while you may say that only certain unions were communistic and the one’s that formed the AFL-CIO were anti-communistic, most of the unions were considered communistic, at least by the corporations that spent money trying to bust them.

    As far as trademark goes, once again, Prokofy is trying to be an expert in a field he knows nothing about. Trademark registration helps with certain rights and protections. There is also common law trademark where use in commerce is enough to establish certain limited rights to a mark. (Disclaimer: For specific legal advice, seek your own attorney and not people fighting on the internet.)

    Prok, your irrational hatred of lawers is now annoying. Go back to your rentals and leave the heavy thinking to the grown ups.

  22. Marc Woebegone

    Apr 12th, 2008

    There is little doubt that Linden has waived some rights to enforcement of its trademarks given the known proliferation of the use of the “second life” phrase and Linden’s expoliation of that public use for its private gain. Curious to see how the court reacts especially given the change in description associated with the phrase as filed by Linden in the USPTO and the timing in which certain users began using the phrase. Typical Linden mess.

  23. Franz Carver

    Apr 12th, 2008

    @Uncle Bill.
    Hi, sorry. We’ve got our wires crossed a bit. When I said ‘free mass media’ I meant that it was independent and and kinda unregulated (A bit like how Linux is classed as free. It’s not that it doesn’t cost anything, sometimes it does. It’s more the concept of it being a free environment). Not that I’m saying all regulation is bad or that I’m on some anarchist kick or something. I think TV has got to the point where the vast majority is all bubble gum news and programming. Especially politics. I know that in the US there is a problem with political bias in the media. It’s the same over here. Plots article seems to be concerned with the control that is being placed over the internet in general. Not just Second Life.

    About the big bonuses… it’s not that I’m against them. I’m certainly not against them if they want to pay me those kinda sums of money. Even if I perform badly. Which lets face it, happens far too often. My point was that when things get bad… it’s us, the little people that have to suffer. Even though it’s not our fault that the economy went wrong in the first place. The first thing to happen is that people get laid off to protect profits, and the remainder are told to work harder to cover the ones laid off… or be laid off themselves.

    I remember when I was younger, during recessions, hearing people say things like, “aww that’s a shame… the bosses will only be able to afford 2 Rolls Royce this year”. Or “that’s a shame… he’s down do his last £15m in the bank”. I didn’t really get what they meant but now I do. When recession kicks in the big guys don’t go hungry. Whereas a lot of the workers actually sometimes do go hungry, and their kids. It’s always the BIG companies that cause the problems by over expanding and cutting wages and jobs wherever possible to keep profits up. There’s a big storm meant to be coming soon. We’ll all have to tighten our belts because of some mistakes other people made. Or actually… we’re not supposed to be tightening our belts because that would be bad for the economy also. It’s difficult for the public not to be tightening belts though when they’re getting laid off. It’s the same old sh*t over and over again. The SLLU protested against IBM for laying off workers or something a while ago (I think?). It was well before I joined. Will they be allowed to do that in the future on inSL[tm]? I think that’s what they’re worried about with the continuing terms etc being applied now. 13,500 word and counting in the TOS now. Impressive reading too.

    Just one quick point… if anyone has a facebook account… just for fun, try changing your name on it.

  24. Plot Tracer

    Apr 17th, 2008

    Thanks for all of the comments. Every one of them helps with my education.

    MW – I agree with all you have written. I think with some people using SL, they have been taken in by its pretence at a “world” and free space. And yes, LL have blown their cover and quite a few of those who have immersed themselves in its pretence at freedom etc are far gone enough to see where exactly they have allowed themselves to have bee brought to. I await z-nets version of SL, LOL! I’m glad my abridged article prompted you to write this comment. Thanks.

    Cai Pirinha – please read it. It is not about “political movements in SL” – it is about LL being _part_ of the enclosure of the whole web – and about how the very real class system allows this to happen. It is about how some corporations are deciding who has the right to speech – something I thought was against the American constitution (a political document that is increasingly in this world of “virtual” freedom, becoming a parody of something we used to think was freedom?)?

    Anon – I don’t get your point – are you saying it is not a metaverse? Or did you mean that you believe that SLLU think that SL is something other than a forum? SL is a forum, but the thing about it is, it is sold as something more – something it isn’t. And that was my point in writing this (very much abridged – the full article can be found here- http://slleftunity.blogspot.com/2008/04/herald-publish-article-by-plot-tracer.html

    Uncle Bill – Don’t be confused. We don’t see SL as a “world” dominated by the Lindens as an aristocracy. We see it as a forum in which people have been invited to participate, and more. People are invited by this corporation to add their skills and their creativity in order for them to attract other people to come on and increase LL’s profitability. They are then policed by these people who rely on them for profit – policed to the point that their freedom of speech is impaired – much like Facebook, Myspace, etc. All of these “web 2.0” applications pretend at “freedom” and fun etc. The fact is they are collecting your data and ensuring people are deskilled and do not use the web as a place to properly communicate and organise and fraternise/socialise/associate. The article was actually against the type of corporate take-over you seem to advocate. And there are other “freer” alternatives to SL – though the main one seems to have a huge input by IBM – so “freedoms” on that forum may become limited as well. People only learn through the information open to them – and when corporations control that power (through huge advertising budgets/ though limiting what is available/ controlling information from the alternatives etc) then you are no longer free to choose. If the government control the telecoms system, they may listen. If the telecoms company own the government, you can be sure they are.

    Greenlantern Excelsior –the fact that is – it is the rich who are controlling access to riches. Take the corporations who have bought up oil or bought up the rights to (to take a country I have just returned from) Tunisia’s best olives or Dates. They ensure people in Tunisia never taste the best fruits from their own land. I believe in the old Marxian, From each according to his ability, to each according to his need (or needs). Having said that, I don’t adhere to the idea that Marx was the first socialist or communist. I feel that idea is as silly as an adherent of the system you feel is fair (exploit and exploit and con and profit), thinking that Adams or even Rand were the first to advocate greed is good.

    I believe in a society where most needs can be met by technology, people can be freed from the grind and are able to then concentrate on creativity. I’m not a Christian, but I feel the peoples who lived in Biblical times were trying to tell us something – the first two quotes are from Luke, one of the Apostles of Jesus describing the organisation of the first churches –

    And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. (Acts 2:44-45)

    Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. (Acts 4:34-35)

    This is what the Lord has commanded: Gather of it, every man of you, as much as he can eat; you shall take an omer apiece, according to the number of persons who each of you has in his tent. And the people of Israel did so; they gathered some more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; each gathered according to what he could eat
    (Ex. 16:16-18)
    See – http://atheism.about.com/od/thebible/a/communism.htm for more.

    Prokofy Neva – as usual you made me laugh out loud! You honestly do believe the pursuit of profit – ie. the corporation – is a lefty plot! Oh, and that we are all Stalinists. Oh boy.

    And yes – MY article – a view from within SLLU – and not necessarily the view of all of SLLU as a Left Unity group – is that private property, as in land and space etc, is theft. It is how the great slums of the world were created – land formerly used as common land was enclosed and forced people to go to where the factory owner gave them “freedom” by enslaving them for the dollar/pound etc. Unfortunately this “enclosure” is such in the UK as a worker it WAS cheaper to buy a house than to rent one. Even those who dream of a better world must comply with the damned capitalist chunking of the world you desire.

    Glad you fee there has to be a “class struggle” though. I feel that the struggle will not win if contained within the corporate boundaries set by LL or ANY corporation though. It must cross all of their false borders and go beyond.

    Oh – and what subsidised land? SLLU “own” – collectively- a parcel. And we have been given over social land by organisations that agree with our aims and principles. You once rented a place to me, individually, but you were so rude, I moved out.

    Regarding AFL/CIO, there were accusations of communism from AFL towards CIO when they expelled them in 1936 – though the difference was more over the fact the AFL leadership did not like the syndicalist leanings of CIO. Arthur Wharton, the AFL leader at the time said, “Many employers now realise that [the Wagner Act] is the law of our country and they are prepared to deal with labor organisations. These employers have expressed a preference to deal with the AFL organisations rather than [the CIO leaders] and their gang of sluggers, bums, expelled members of labor unions, outright scabs and the Jewish organisations with all their red affiliates.”

    I do agree with what you say about “vanguards” though – Maoism and Stalinism definitely did do away with freedoms and did it in the same spin doctor style that the corporation does today – ie, “you don’t need to unionise as you are in power (though we’ll hold the reins while you labour).” And, “look at all of these young active people who use our product (even though it poisons your system and makes you fat).” With both of these scenarios we are told we have choice.

    On that, a rl friend of mine was a manager in the Soviet Bank in London. Unions were of course frowned upon by the Soviets, but he – as a socialist – organised a union within the bank.

    Faerie – No _I_ am not saying that. I am saying that our freedom of speech and our rights to our work are being used to make profits for other people and because of the compliance with this ownership society, our freedoms can and are being curtailed by the “New Rulers of the World” to use a phrase used by John Pilger in his documentary and book – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_Rulers_of_the_World

    Nicholaz Beresford – I agree. LL are spin doctoring – as all Corporations do. They want us to think they have our best interests at heart. To the point of having ownership of the Government – local and national – through the power of money (the new “democratic” system) and through having the power to decide on who says what and when – through the new web 2.0.

    Jessica Holyoke – the *idea* of the middle class is a fallacy encouraged in workers. If you work for a wage and depend on someone more powerful to give you that wage, you are working class. Give someone a contract and say he or she has some kind of skill, then they are suddenly “middle class” and want to hold on to what they have got. The AFL /CIO punch up in the thirties was about just that. The AFL leadership represented skilled middle class workers – the emergent CIO wanted to unionise the unskilled who had worse or no contracts. The way of individual contracts is back again. It is how people are hired in some of the “economic zones” in the developing world – and it is how even places where unions were strong – like the UK and France, are headed with the support of the neo-liberal adherents in Government.

    Your point about “who allowed them” is pertinent – in Web 2.0, the “owners” allow us to organise so long as we are not organising against them and their corporate friends, and we are allowed to speak, so long as we do not infringe their right to sell unhindered, the spin and “unfreedom” they have created. If Shell owns shares in the new web 2.0, will people like Ken Saro-Wiwa be allowed to write? Would Tanong Po-arn be allowed to organize? César Chávez? Will their details be sold to the bidder who wants rid of them? Will we be able to criticize Coca cola, if they buy over Youtube? Myspace? SL? – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4D9VLSzm-aw
    The enclosure of the Web is something totalitarians and corporations have dreamed of for a long time, and our standing back, uncritically allowing them to do it is sleepwalking into oblivion. Really. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa3wyaEe9vE
    Also – you are right about “Union busting”. GM was making $173 million a year in the thirties, and spending the best part of a million dollars a year on detectives who would root out the AFL/CIO minded workers by posing as activists and trying to recruit them. GM, by the way, was paying its workers an average of $900 a year during that period, when the poverty threshold for wages was set at $1600.
    Uncle Bill – Franz can speak for himself, and I have given my take on lots of what you have said (above). Regarding role play and freedom fighters – if anyone joins SLLU for role play, then they are in the wrong forum. Our Aims and Principles are here (Aims and Principles 7 and 8 seem to be pertinent in what you have said):
    Oh – and the market place is – well, inherently unfair – but lets save that one for another time…

    Franz Carver – yes, the SLLU helped the Italian union publicise its real life problems with IBM (which are on going), but the original “strike” resulted in a… well, read here – http://slleftunity.blogspot.com/2007/10/letter-from-ibm-workers.html

  25. Yellow Eyes

    Apr 17th, 2008

    We seem to have been sidetracked here, by a lef/right “you’re a stalinist/ you’re a fascist” argument, which is understandable given that the author is the founder of the SL Left Unity, but I believe the original article was about the enclosure of the internet as a public space. This is the Second Life Herald, and therefore SL is the subject of the article, but the point could just as easily be made about Facebook, MySpace or youTube, not to mention Google’s complicity in the Great Firewall of China, and the interest of other governments in their filtering technology.
    Whatever our political beliefs, the ability for us to disseminate, discuss and debate them with a never-before-higher crowd is one of the great bonuses of this information age. An ability that we are in danger of losing, and an issue that affects us all as users of the internet, whether we are left wing collectivists, right-wing survivalists, out-and-out free marketeers or anything in between.

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