internet for the people

Internet for the People: The Fight for Our Digital Future (2022) by ben tarnoff @bentarnoff [tired of the internet –]

Why is the internet so broken, and what could ever possibly fix it?

In Internet for the People, leading tech writer Ben Tarnoff offers an answer. The internet is broken, he argues, because it is owned by private firms and run for profit. Google annihilates your privacy and Facebook amplifies right-wing propaganda because it is profitable to do so. But the internet wasn’t always like this—it had to be remade for the purposes of profit maximization, through a years-long process of privatization that turned a small research network into a powerhouse of global capitalism. Tarnoff tells the story of the privatization that made the modern internet, and which set in motion the crises that consume it today.

? originally via war research?

The solution to those crises is straightforward: deprivatize the internet. Deprivatization aims at creating an internet where people, and not profit, rule. It calls for shrinking the space of the market and diminishing the power of the profit motive. It calls for abolishing the walled gardens of Google, Facebook, and the other giants that dominate our digital lives and developing publicly and cooperatively owned alternatives that encode *real democratic control. To build a better internet, we need to change how it is owned and organized. **Not with an eye towards making markets work better, but towards making them less dominant. Not in order to create a more competitive or more rule-bound version of privatization, but to overturn it. Otherwise, a small number of executives and investors will continue to make choices on everyone’s behalf, and these choices will remain tightly bound by the demands of the market. It’s time to demand an internet by, and for, the people now.

*any form of democratic admincancerous distraction

**less dominant.. overturning.. not deep enough.. other people will continue to create finite set of choices as long as we have any form of m\a\p

www ness et al

intro’d to ben via m of care – mar 29 – []:

an Open Assembly “Tools of Care” is today at 8 pm Join us to discuss how we can jointly develop formats of caring for each other and for ourselves. We hope to get to know each other, even if virtually! Learn more and register:

every terrain of politics has specificities that provide conditions/constraints politics can be practiced ie: fems household as terrain..similar..a tech inherit w/in which forced to to min..tension between inherit basic architect..while pursue counter.. ben

so over time just hear what one person has to say.. lots no longer heard.. probably lot of wisdom in that untapped potential.. how can we hear others.. shambhavi

language as control/enclosure

need 1st/most: means to undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature so we can org around legit needs

should be about people not making decisions for other people.. but for self.. @nikadubrovsky

need even deeper.. curiosity (itch in soul) over decision making.. decision making is unmooring us

any form of people telling other people what to do.. any form of m\a\p

when to suspend/eject people..m does enable interesting experiments in collective govt..but also makes fascist-ness possible.. @bentarnoff

possibly best/most signif impacts of tech..not better weapon to win war but tech that gives people something else to do.. ng on defense

how do we defeat/isolate political enemies.. and bring ideas to center.. @bentarnoff

gershenfeld something else law: possibly one of the best/most significant impacts of tech is not a better weapon to win a war but tech that gives people something else to do.  .. there will always be bad people that want to use best available means to shoot at each other but the roll of tech in giving everybody else something else to do – as a cost benefit trade off – may be one of the best military investments – and the generals got that.. but not clear what office in the pentagon is the office of preventive technology

freeing us – all – up to be usefully/happily preoccupied

how to build relationship that sustain org’d communities w/o burning people out @bentarnoff

imagine if we listened to the itch-in-8b-souls 1st thing everyday & used that data to connect us (tech as it could be.. ai as augmenting interconnectedness) – getting at the energy of 8b alive people

how build something new out of the old.. @bentarnoff

hari rat park law.. et al need legit global re\set.. for (blank)’s sake

old school communication that permeates ed.. outdated.. how people get around that.. avi

idiosyncratic jargon via tech as it could be

how we ensure not only baseline level of connectivity to associate..need to transform how people connect.. @bentarnoff

we need a problem deep enough to resonate w/8bn today.. a mechanism simple enough to be accessible/usable to 8bn today.. and an ecosystem open enough to set/keep 8bn legit free


notes quotes from 252 (177 actual book) pg book (thanks library):

back cover:

“Ben Tarnoff is the best kind of visionary: deeply knowledgeable, intensely practical, and *utterly committed to the transformation of an abusive and corrupt status quo. We are profoundly fortunate to have his fine mind focussed on reimagining the tools that have remade our lives. An extraordinary and urgent book.”
—Naomi Klein, author of No Is Not Enough

*i hope.. wish we could talk

**need 1st/most: means to undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature so we can org around legit needs

imagine if we listened to the itch-in-8b-souls 1st thing everyday & used that data to connect us

(tech as it could be.. ai as augmenting interconnectedness)

naomi klein.. no is not enough

“The privacy-invading, throttled, and ad-filled Internet we have is not the Internet we deserve. But as Ben Tarnoff lucidly lays out, if we want to manifest the latent democratic potential of our communications infrastructure, we will have to wrest control from the privatizers and profiteers and transform the underlying political economy. Internet for the People provides an engaging and enraging account of how the online world was hijacked by corporate interests, excavating the past so we can envision and organize for a better future. Ben Tarnoff has done a public service writing this book. *Now we need to get busy building the movements and popular power that can fight for an Internet in the public interest.”
—Astra Taylor, author of Democracy May Not Exist But We’ll Miss it When It’s Gone and The People’s Platform.

*or rather.. just model a nother way.. that 8bn people can leap to

astra taylor.. democracy not but miss..

“Tarnoff offers not only an eloquent and essential guide to the history of our capitalist internet, he also charts the myriad ways in which alternatives are emerging. A key book for *imagining a better digital future.”
—Nick Srnicek, author of Platform Capitalism

*to me.. missing that part



preface – among the eels


connectivity is never neutral.. the growth of networks was guided by a desire for power and profit.. they were not just conduits for conveying info but mechs for forging relationships of control.. while the internet is more sophisticated than its predecessors, it continues this tradition.. the internet is not just material and historical then it is also political.. .. wealth is extracted and concentrated, communities are dominated and dispossessed.. t

this is not a recipe for despair.. particular choices brought us to this point..w e have the ability collectively to choose differently..t

graeber make it diff law


*the internet reformers have some good ideas, but they never quite reach the root of the problem..t **the root is simple: the internet is broken because the internet is a business.. owned by private firms and run for profit.. an internet run for profit is one that can’t guarantee people the things they need to lead self determined lives..t **it’s an internet where people can’t participate in the decisions that affect them.. rewards flow to the few.. t

*taleb center of problem law..

we need a problem deep enough to resonate w/8bn today.. a mechanism simple enough to be accessible/usable to 8bn today.. and an ecosystem open enough to set/keep 8bn legit free

infinitesimal structures approaching the limit of structureless\ness and/or vice versa .. aka: ginorm/small ness

**yes.. it can’t guarantee people things they need.. but even deeper root (than just business ness ie: any form of m\a\p)..

need 1st/most: means to undo/detox our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature so we can org around legit needs

***these are ie’s of cancerous distractions.. not of root of problem.. ie: decision making is unmooring us law; joseph reward law; any form of m\a\p; .. et al.. need a means for curiosity over decision making


this book is about how it was made and what we can do to change it.. book is mostly about privatization, because privatization is the process that made the modern internet.

into the stack

stack ness et al

internet started out in 70s as experimental tech created by us military researchers.. in 80s grew into govt owned network used primarily by academics.. 90s privatization began.. did not involve a simple transfer of ownership from public to private but rather a more complex movement where by corps programmed the *profit motive into every level of the network.. **a system built by scientists was renovated for the purpose of profit max..

wow.. business ness.. definitely not root of problem.. military? govt? academics? public? .. oi..

*any motive.. not means for legit freedom.. any form of m\a\p..

**never was a means for legit freedom.. oi..

the internet’s pieces don’t fit together in an esp obvious way.. most of infra on which our daily lives depend is easy to visualize.. highway, power plant.. but internet is too sprawling to squeeze int a single frame.. there is no *bird’s eye view of the internet.. that’s why metaphors matter..some things to small others to large.. one metaphor that is particularly useful.. has guided its architects from beginning.. is the stack..

*perhaps www ness.. zoom dance ness.. et al

need infinitesimal structures approaching the limit of structureless\ness and/or vice versa .. aka: ginorm/small ness

**the stack.. stacktivism.. stack.. et al


this book is a *manifesto in sense that it tries to make something manifest, something that so far has not been very visible: the story of the internet’s privatization.. if its critiqes **remain confined to the symptoms and fail to grasp the underlying cause, it won’t yield much in way of meaningful change

*need to manifest deeper.. quiet enough ness


1\ undisturbed ecosystem (common\ing) can happen

2\ if we create a way to ground the chaos of 8b legit free people

**exactly.. and what the symptom of privatization as root does.. same song

to build a better internet, we need to change how it is owned and org’d.. not w eye toward making markets work better, but toward making them *less dominant.. not in order to create amore competitive or more rule bound version of privatization, but to **overturn it..

*oi.. not deep enough man

*overturn ness (turn over.. so on side or upside down) is keeping/perpetuating it.. need a legit alt.. hari rat park law et al.. that renders any form of m\a\p as irrelevant


deprivatization aims at creating an internet where people and not profit rule.. this sounds like a protest chant but i mean it quite literally.. *the people whose lives are most affected by a particular decision should be the ones who have the most say in it.. t

*this is an ie of keeping us our broken feedback loop.. in that same song..

we keep caging ourselves in some finite set of choices.. no matter how infinite we go.. if limited.. keeping us from us.. again.. need infinitesimal structures approaching the limit of structureless\ness and/or vice versa .. aka: ginorm/small ness of curiosity.. not supposed freer/opener spinach or rock ness..

seat at the table is not freedom

the scale and complexity of the internet mean there is no silver bullet for creating a democratic digital future.. it will require much experimentation.. it will also require creating *new structures that enable such experiments to take place.. the outcome of these experiments **can’t be known in advance.. people coming together to build the world they want.. t

*org around legit needsas infraimagine if we ness

**graeber can’t know law.. graeber unpredictability/surprise law.. et al


there is plenty of wisdom out there for such discoveries to draw form.. many organizers and scholars who have thought deeply about digital injustice, even so, *question will remain: how to end algo racism.. or right way to handle content moderation.. liberating the internet from constraints of profit motive won’t make these questions go away.. it will, however create the condition in which the answers can be found.. t

*we need conditions in which those question/answers are irrelevant s if we can to be legit free


part 1 – the pipes


1 – a people’s history of the internet


the internet is fundamentally a language.. a set of rules for how computers should communicate.. strict enough to ensure reliable transmission of data.. loose enough to accommodate all the diff ways that data might be transmitted.. data can go anywhere but also get there in one piece..


arpanet laid foundation for internet.. first connected in 69.. arpanet linked computer thru and experimental tech called packet switching.. which involved breaking messages down into small chunks, routing them thru a maze of switches and reassembling the on other end.. today.. this is the mech that moves data across the internet.. at the time the telecom industry considered it absurdly impractical..


the internet was created to win wars..


2 – plunder continues

(on unequal access ness and how covid magnified that problem)


obama designating broadband.. high speed across number of diff techs.. but in 2017 trump reversed fcc itself reclassifying broadband.. biden to restore obama era broadband rules

not deep enough.. has to be for everyone


the result is large disparities in access

has always been the case.. and this is huge

humanity needs a leap.. to get back/to simultaneous spontaneity .. simultaneous fittingness.. everyone in sync..


covid greatly magnified those disadvantages


the present order of thing sis not merely unfair.. it is fundamentally undemocratic.. *what is at stake is nothing less than the possibility of democracy.. a possibility that an internet org’d by the profit motive precludes.. **democracy is form of life in which people rule themselves

*much more at stake.. possibility of 8bn people sans any form of m\a\p

**great if it was.. but haven’t seen any form of democratic admin to date where there wasn’t some form of people telling other people what to do.. so to me.. talking democracy as possibility is cancerous distraction


freedom isn’t free.. has certain material preconditions.. if hungry, homeless or sick.. or if shivering in parking lot using free wifi to attend school online because don’t have internet at home.. it’s hard to lead a self determined life

of my.. supposed to’s of school/work embedded in free access ness.. not free either

perhaps let’s try/code money (any form of measuring/accounting) as the planned obsolescence w/ubi as temp placebo.. where legit needs are met w/o money.. till people forget about measuring

securing those material preconditions isn’t simply a matter of personal will.. i has to do w social choices about how resources like food and housing and healthcare are distributed.. *for people to get the things they need to be free.. they must be able to participate in these choices

*for people to get things need to be free.. (imagine a turtle et al).. need to let go of finite set of choices

our bigger/deeper problem is .. we have no idea what the needs of legit free people are.. so we keep org ing around non legit needs and making assumed essentials scarce

need 1st/most: means to undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature so we can org around legit needs


at a deeper level.. *even decisions of the decision makers are delimited by an imperative that nobody controls.. the people can’t rule because in a sense nobody can

it’s the decision making ness itself.. the finite set of choices of decision making .. that are keeping us from us.. we need to try something legit different.. ie: curiosity over decision making.. itch-in-the-soul over finite sets of choices (spinach or rock)


fortunately there are communities actively engaged in constructing such an *alt.. experimenting w diff models for owning and org ing networks.. finding ways to weaken programming of profit motive and strengthen conditions from democratic control.. discovering *embryonic forms of an intent where the people rule

*need legit alt.. where brown belonging law keeps us from maté trump law (any form of m\a\p)

**true if mean ‘the people’ rule.. but in that case have same song.. because public consensus always oppresses someone(s)


3 – the people’s pipes


community networks offer a *model for what it might look like to reorg pipes of internet around human needs.. few community networks are as democratic as they could be.. ie: detroit.. ‘if community has ownership of infra then more likely to participate in its maintenance, evolution and innovation’ diana nucera

*this is huge

we have no legit tries/models to date.. because we have no idea what legit needs are..

need 1st/most: means to undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature so we can org around legit needs


digital stewards.. receive both a tech and political ed w/a curriculum that draws on work of revolutionary thinkers like paulo freire and grace lee boggs

if still any form of m\a\p (ie: curriculum et al).. not legit alt.. not legit free

paulo freire.. grace lee boggs


thanks to eii (equitable internet initiative) detroiters can look up bus schedules and video chat w grandchildren.. they have access to a resource then *need in order to exercise meaningful control of their lives

*need something deeper.. otherwise still ie: supposed to’s of school/work.. all th forms of m\a\p


merely removing roadblocks will hardly level the playing field

yeah that.. need: a nother way


community networks already exhibit a tendency to place people over profit.. but this tendency.. in order to become something more than a tendency.. must be cultivated and consolidated *thru public policy..

*so.. people telling other people what to do.. graeber policy law: policy is by defn something concocted by some form of elite, which presumes it knows better than others how their affairs are to be conducted david graeber


‘whoever finishes a revolution only halfway digs his own grave’ robespierre in georg buchner’s play danton’s death.. a revolution must always keep moving.. otherwise, its victories will be small and partial and easily reversed..

yes that.. we need to let go enough to leg to of all the part\ial ness.. for (blank)’s sake

we have a means to not go partial.. and we’re missing it

again.. e need a problem deep enough to resonate w/8bn today.. a mechanism simple enough to be accessible/usable to 8bn today.. and an ecosystem open enough to set/keep 8bn legit free


4 – from below

before such action can occur a lot of talking must take place. movements are made thru organizing and organizing consists mostly of convos.. *convos about the problems in people’s lives and wehre thos eproblems come form and what would be need to solve them.. organizers listen, make the case, and address the concerns that arise

*perfect scenario for same song.. we need a legit diff kind of convo.. one that starts from the itch-in-8b-souls 1st thing everyday (ie: self-talk as data) & used that data to connect us .. for that need tech.. so that what is deep within (the energy for the dance) can be heard.. ie: tech as it could be..

we keep focusing on wrong/dead convos that perpetuate myth of tragedy and lord et al.. then need someone else to tell us what to do.. to org us..



when it comes to deprivatizing the pipes of the internet.. 3 concerns likely to arise.. 1\ how will we pay for it

perhaps let’s try/code money (any form of measuring/accounting) as the planned obsolescence w/ubi as temp placebo.. where legit needs are met w/o money.. till people forget about measuring.. short bp et al


2\ wouldn’t it be anti competitive.. yes and that’s fine

deeper.. need to org around something everyone (legit everyone) already craves.. then competitiveness irrelevant


there is another way to think about what it means to be human: homo politicus.. human being as political animal.. aristotle: man is ‘by nature an animal intended to live in polis’.. people argue, debate, deliberate and decide how to govern themselves together.. homo politicus is what makes democracy possible

oi.. perhaps what makes democracy possible.. but not what it means to be human.. not our essence.. interesting polis.. police.. polite.. evans polite\ness law et al

3\ could create state surveillance

again .. to gershenfeld something else law


the best way to guarantee that public institution serve the people is the presence of the people themselves w/in those institutions..

oh my.. only if you want to perpetuate same song

none of this is new/diff.. not even tapping on possibilities.. oi.. hari rat park law et al


part 2 – the platforms


5 – up the stack

pierre omidyar auction web.. ebay.. et al..


none of the metaphors we use to think about the internet are perfect.. but platform is among the worst.. it meant something developer build apps on top of .. operating system interfaces apis.. but word has since come to refer to various kinds of software that run online.. particularly those deployed by largest tech firms.. as alt.. use history of privatization to understand them

1/2 way thru and except preface.. it’s all been history.. no legit possibilities.. oi


berners lee: even www made w community in mind ‘i designed it for social effect.. to help people work together’

unfortunately.. that’s not community/social we need.. to me.. working together is not how a legit free human would spend their days.. so really not for a human social effect.. but a whale voluntary compliance effect..

tim berners-lee.. www ness et al

web\ing.. web – the film.. et al


these systems were called platforms but what they resembled most were shopping malls


6 – online malls

1993 – jeffrey chest warned that the info superhighway would become ‘a virtual electronic shopping mall’


in theory, more info should have made the web more useful.. in practice, more info made the web more bewildering.. the existing tools for making sense of it all simply weren’t up to the job

maybe that’s all cancerous distractions to a legit job of the web .. perhaps: 1\ no data to date legit 2\ knowing ness not what legit free people would spend their days on

google.. larry page.. sergey brin.. twitter.. alphabet (google).. et al


in age of surveillance c zuboff describes this moment as a turning point not only in history of google but in history of c.. a new econ logic ‘surveill capital’

shoshana zuboff.. age of surveillance capitalism


zuck, sandberg, tim o reilly.. and new found digital enclosures

mark zuckerberg.. tim o’reilly.. facebook


philip e agre once observed, computers must impose a ‘grammar’ on human activity to make it intelligible, just as the grammar of the english language makes it intelligible to its speakers..

oi.. language as control/enclosure et al.. need the freedom of idiosyncratic jargon ness et al.. focus on intellect ness is killing us

*a grammar is not a straitjacket.. **it is a remarkably supple (flexible) thing ‘just as speakers of english can produce ***potentially infinite variety of grammatical sentences from the finite means of english vocab and grammar people engage in captured activity can engage in an infinite variety of sequence of action.. provided these sequences are composed of the unitary element and means of combo ****prescribed by the grammar of action‘.. in other words, one of the virtues of a grammar is the *****sense of freedom it allows.. this sense of freedom helps explain why people find social media pleasurable.. even as their interactions are being subtle (or unsubtly structure by the design of the user interface and the code underneath.. they enjoy a feeling of autonomy.. a feeling of ******being free to express themselves..

*um.. yeah it is..

**flexible within the confines of all the forms of m\a\p.. oi

***need legit infinitesimal structures approaching the limit of structureless\ness and/or vice versa .. aka: ginorm/small ness.. not pretend ness of ie: spinach or rock ness

****aka: people telling other people what to do

*****rather.. sense of intoxication

******yeah.. like seat at the table ness.. need 1st/most: means to undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature for a global re\set/detox.. ie: tech as it could be

the power of the social media mall thus rests on a strange kind of sovereignty: the sort that pretends it doesn’t exist.

yeah that.. the best kind to keep us from us.. ie: structural violence.. spiritual violence.. et al


it is essential to the success of the social media mall that users behave as if their behavior is entirely their own while be induced to behave in ways that are max legible to the automated systems that track and analyze them.. ultimately for the purpose of selling ads..

wilde not-us law et al.. via any form of m\a\p


7 – elastic empires

jeff bezos.. vint cerf.. tim berners-lee..


this was the reason they called it elastic compute cloud: the infra could quickly stretch to meet demand.. made it easier to sell computing on a metered basis, like electricity or water or gas.. if pushing privatization up the stack meant, above all, remaking the internet into field for data production.. then aws (amazon web services – ec2 flagship offering of aws).. would enable smaller, newer, or less technical companies to create online malls and develop some of same capacities of a firm like google w/o having to build their own infra or acquire top engineering talent..


online data making became the indispensable precondition for the growth of automated systems that came to be associated w ‘ai’

the everywhere machine

the birth of the online mall, the rise of the cloud, the spread of the data imperative.. theres were the principal vectors for the deeper privatization of the internet in the decade or two after the dot come crash.. but there was another change that profoundly altered the shape of the network: its diffusion..


internet no longer something log onto but something always on.. ‘smartness’ came to saturate the spaces of everyday life.. ‘smartness’ is best understood as an object’s membership in an entire layer of computation that is bound together by the universal language of the internet.. ie: can talk to other computers

in whalespeak.. o i


as kind of network intell.. ‘smartness’ belongs to a broader *history of humans trying to make intelligent machines.. important figure.. alan turing.. ‘universal machine.. used to compute any computale sequence’.. turing’s concept became basis for modern computer.. a machine typically made for particular task.. **by contrast, computer is a universal machine because it is infinitely programmable.. can give us directions, prep tax returns or simulate the collision of subatomic particles

*history of whales

alan turing

**not legit universal/infinitesimal.. if we’re not detoxed/re\set first..


‘smartness’ always belongs in quotes because it rarely works exactly as promised; for one.. it’s impossible to determine someone’s gender by scanning their face..

or rather.. smart ness.. intellect ness.. know\ledge ness.. is a myth.. graeber can’t know law et al


decades later, internet is circling back to its founding idea.. it is acquiring the *flexibility and ubiquity originally imagined by its creators in 70s.. as cerf had hoped.. internet is putting computers **where the people are.. billions of connected objects are ***engaged in a perpetual convo conducted in the lingua franca of the internet

*then their original imagines were also cancerous distractions.. because.. until we detox/re\set.. it’s rather.. **where the whales are ***whalespeak ing


the elasticity of the internet.. skill in conducting data across heterogeneous networks over large distances made it a powerful tool for algo *management.. no company has fulfilled this prediction more energetically than uber.. didn’t make a market in attention or in goods but rather in labor.. it facils interactions while exercising **fine grained control over the terms of those interactions.. and this control goes far beyond that of a market maker.. ie: set rates for services; determines how services are performed.. computer ***tells somebody what to do..

*managerial feudalism to revolt of caring classes et al

**aka: structural violence; spiritual violence; et al

***people telling other people what to do et al


algo management enable coord labor of millions w/o need of middle managers.. w more tech sophistication than middle managers could ever achieve.. using nudges and gamification.. so co’s can pretend nobody is telling workers what to do.. therefore they’re not really workers at all.. rather ‘partners.. entrepreneurs.. independent contractors’.. can outsource wherever passible.. rise of contracting.. *indispensable for fissuring of workplace

*need a more humane fissure of workplace.. ie: curiosity over decision making et al..


data is an essential lubricant in this cycle, as it helps uphold investor confidence in the possibility of profitability

yeah.. juices to perpetuate sea world.. non legit data.. fuller too much law et al


8 – inclusive predators

doug schifter wanted suicide to be a statement.. uber destroying livelihood as taxi driver


online malls.. are ineq machines.. reallocate existing distribution of risk/reward.. push risks down and spread them around.. pull rewards up and focus them in fewer hands


predatory inclusion, argues tressie mcmillan cottom.. is one of dynamics that define poltical econ of the internet.. she descries it as ‘the logic, org and technique of including marginalized consumer citizens into ostensibly democratizing mobility schemes on extractive terms’

tressie mcmillan


internet by enabling firms to distribute work while retaining control over the distribute worker, has helped absorb more layers of humanity into the wage relation.. the excluded are included but only on condition that they absorb most of risk and forfeit most of reward..

predatory inclusion isn’t limited to world of work.. safiya umoja noble typed ‘back girls’ into google.. looking for activities for daughter.. given porn sites.. ‘for whom was this best info.. and who decides’

safiya umoja noble


why safia decide to call her book algos of oppression.. info in early net was mostly org’d by humans.. info in era of online mall mostly org’d by algos..

same thing if dealing with whales (as algos in sea world)

algos of oppression..


russian influence operation in 2016 election.. had no measurable effect according to yochai benkler ‘mostly took form of jumping on bandwagon’.. boosting false narrative initially manufactured by domestic forces..

yochai benkler


9 – toward the forest


there is another strategy: deprivatization.. making markets more reg’d or more competitive won’t touch the deeper problem, which is the market itself..

deprivatization keeps/perpetuates the market.. need a means to let go of any form of m\a\p


a privatized internet will always amount to the rule of the many by the few..

deprivatizing alone won’t let go of any form of m\a\p.. so will always result ie: people telling other people what to do

need a legit nother way


the failure to imagine a world beyond prisons and police condemns reformers to keep reiterating old injustice in new forms..

yet that’s all we’ve yet tried.. diff versions of same song

we need to imagine deeper.. ie: imagine if we listened to the itch-in-8b-souls 1st thing everyday & used that data to connect us (tech as it could be.. ai as augmenting interconnectedness)


instead of fb.. imagine millions of social media communities.. each w own rules and customs and cultures.. this is the vision of ethan zuckerman.. ‘pool halls, libraries churches are all public spaces, but they all have diff purposes.. norms.. and affordances.. no reason our online spaces can’t have same diversity’

need more than millions.. and need them to be new/diff everyday.. those ‘already labelled’ spaces not ginorm-small enoough.. again.. need infinitesimal structures approaching the limit of structureless\ness and/or vice versa .. aka: ginorm/small ness

ie: city sketchup ness in the city.. as the day.. imagine if we had that as infra

ethan zuckerman.. ethan on twitter.. et al

ethan: bigness ‘makes true participatory governance difficult, if not impossible.. a community of a billion people who have nothing in common but their use of a media platform is not a community in any meaningful sense’..

today we have the means to go even deeper than that.. ie: 8bn people do have something in common (maté basic needs).. imagine if we.. org around that.. we need everyone for the dance to dance


networks share a common set of protocols.. these protocols are open an non proprietary: any network *can join the internet **so long as it follows the specified rules.. mastadon is an open source software project that applies this principle to social media

*red flag #1 – have to join.. invited vs invented et al

**red flag #2 – strings attached.. need no strings attached.. no train.. no prep.. et al

the fact that these protocols (official rules, conventions, formalities) are open an non proprietary is a direct consequence of the internet’s public origins.. privatization has pushed things in opp direction: online life increasingly takes place w/in monolithic enclosures where interactions are governed by secret and proprietary algos.. ‘protocolizing’ social media would break the walls of these walled gardens and turn them inside out

maybe inside out.. but same song.. oi.. we need to let go of any form of m\a\p if we want to be able to dance


making alts more robust and more of a threat, will require public investment.. two institutions in particular offer ideal vehicles for such investment: public libraries and public media.. using public libraries also adds a *measure of accountability

open library ness et al.. not ideal (need cards et al.. what goes on in both library and media.. are via language as control/enclosure et al.. today we have the means and so need to go deeper.

*oi.. masks and measures and accountable ness.. and graeber violence/quantification law.. et al

us has more than 9l public libraries.. what if each has a federated social media server and *anybody w a library card could have an account

ha.. yeah see.. oi.. so anybody ish.. because doesn’t include everybody..

we have outsource ‘our knowledge needs‘..

to me.. that actually happens once we don’t trust the enough ness of itch-in-the-soul ness.. and think people have to be trained or intellected in order to be enough.. all we need is already inside each one of us.. what we need 1st/most: means to undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature so we can org around legit needs


a social media that is decent, self govt, well cared for, anchored in public libraries and enriched by public media won’t be perfect.. for one.. *there will still be nazis on the internet.. this is a problem that cannot be solved online because it is not primarily an online problem..

rather.. *because we can’t seem to try/trust the deep enough ness of an idea as crazy as.. do whatever you want.. though too.. still need a means for detox.. but yeah..

gershenfeld something else law


currently the creativity of the communities that are *doing the best work reimagining the upper floors of the internet.. under the banner of the ‘decent web’ , ‘platform coop’ or some other creed.. is **constrained by their narrow social base.. they tend to attract specific kinds of people.. generally those we tech skills and ample free time.. elevating level of creativity involves ***making such spaces larger, more representative and more integrated into everyday life

*rather.. just ones we can see/hear.. oi.. upper floors ness is not non hierarchical enough to hear/see.. oi

**platform coop ness.. et al.. rather **perpetuating not-all-of-us ness.. by 1\ still being about work and ownership and measuring things.. and still being about 2\ invited/attracted vs invented ness.. about decision making rather than itch-in-the-soul et al

***rather.. about ginorm-small ness.. need infinitesimal structures approaching the limit of structureless\ness and/or vice versa .. aka: ginorm/small ness ie: imagine if we


doctorow talks about ‘adversarial interoperability’ communicating w/o permission.. et al

cory doctorow.. doctorow city as prison law.. cory on surveil capital.. et al.. need the depth of io dance ness et al

wow.. still just all history ness


there are many possibilities.. but one thing is clear: to remake the internet we will have to remake everything else

perhaps a more ‘offensive’ way to look at it.. need to let go of everything else.. remaking ness is killing us by perpetuating what we think we’re remaking..


conclusion – future nostalgia

zittrain: ‘open web had a culture of serendipitous tinkering’.. resembled a gritty eccentric metropolis these are characteristic being killed by the corralling of internet into walled gardens..

rather.. already dead.. need to get a means for all of us to get out of (and detox from) sea world first.. hari rat park law et al

jonathan zittrain


not quite accurate to say web was once open and now is closed.. rather, it is the open parts of the web that make the closed parts possible..

rather.. was never open enough for everyone.. nothing has been to date.. in all of history ness.. because in enclosed ness of sea world


movements are made of both creativity and *coercion.. movement must know their **enemy

perhaps why none of worked to date.. *coercion = any form of m\a\p.. and **thurman interconnectedness lawwhen you understand interconnectedness it makes you more afraid of hating than of dying – Robert Thurman 

hard for me to get how people talk of everyone ness and still say.. enemy.. et al


*we must also be assembling a constellation of alts that can lay claim to the space they currently occupy.. and these must be real alts.. not smaller or more entrepreneurial versions of the tech giants but institutions of a fundamentally diff kind.. t.. engineered to curtail the power of the profit motive and to enshrine the practices/principles of democratic **decision making..

*imagine if we listened to the itch-in-8b-souls 1st thing everyday & used that data to connect us (tech as it could be.. ai as augmenting interconnectedness)

**oi.. if that then what the whole rest of the book was guiding/guarding against..

we will also need space that help new alts emerge.. where people can collectively articulate their needs and construct the online worlds capable of meeting them

spaces of permission where people have nothing to prove


making it possible for the world’s computers to talk to one another was an impressive tech achievement.. making this machinic convo serve an end other than infinite accumulation will be a political one.. it may seem unlikely but so was the internet.. history is filled w improbable turns that look inevitable in retrospect.. the future will be too

mufleh humanity lawwe have seen advances in every aspect of our lives except our humanity– Luma Mufleh




after reading/skimming book.. googling him.. and this is at top for me: Democratizing the Internet: Platforms, Pipes, Possibilities. What does an internet for the people look like? 

not sure if it is/was a pinned tweet (not now) or what.. part 1&2 Platforms & Pipes.. but didn’t see Possibilities