The Ideology of Free Culture and the Grammar of Sabotage—Matteo Pasquinelli

I am aware that Pasquinelli does not want this text to circulate on the internet anymore, and that he took distance from it, but I found it a pleasant entry point to connect to a future reading of the Accursed Share, while also reading it as a follow up to Anna Nimus’ Copyrights, Copyleft and the Creative Anti-Commons.

The text is from almost 10 years ago.


The living energy of machines: Michel Serres and the cybernetic parasite

The parasite is the asymmetrical arrow absorbing and condensing energy in a natural continuum from small organisms to human beings: “the parasite parasites the parasites.” The parasite is not binary but ternary. The concept of parasite appears like a dystopian version of Deleuze and Guattari’s desiring machines, as it is focused more on surplus exploitation than on endless flows.

(as Technology is an extension of the deceptive nature of Logos): “this cybernetics gets more and more complicated, makes a chain, then a network. Yet it is founded on the theft of information, quite a simple thing.”

Against the Creative Anti-Commons

Hardie criticise FLOSS precisely because it never questions the way it is captured by capital and its relations with the productive forces. In conclusion a tactical notion of autonomous commons can be imagined to include new projects and tendencies against the hyper-celebrated Creative Commons. In a schematic way, autonomous commons 1) allow not only passive and personal consumption but even a productive use of the common stock — implying commercial use by single workers; 2) question the role and complicity of the commons within the global economy and place the common stock out of the exploitation of large companies; 3) are aware of the asymmetry between immaterial and material commons and the impact of immaterial accumulation over material production (e.g. IBM using Linux); 4) consider the commons as an hybrid and dynamic space that dynamically must be built and defended.

Towards an Autonomous Commons

Copyfarleft products are free and can be used to make money only by those who do not exploit wage labour (like other workers or co-ops).

This already fails whenever one uses any of the many internet services that exploits workers and resources. Example: the Fairphone should ideally be fair on its production level, but it runs Android, which is originally made by Google (and Google thrives out of information exploitation). If then many Android versions exists, are they less evil because made by other people not employing the same economic model of Google? Once more, where do you stop when looking back at the lines of exploitation that many products are born within? Actions affect systems, so you can move away from how things were at first conceived if you change them enough over and over?

Interestingly this is the correct application of the original institution of the commons, which were strictly related to material production: the commons were land used by a specific community to harvest or breed their animals. If someone cannot pasture cows and produce milk on it, it will not be considered a real common. Kleiner says that if money cannot be made out of it, a work does not belong to the commons: it is merely private property.