SCIOPS 01.29: War Chest

So the Chump in Chief wants to give tax breaks to the rich. Who’s surprised? Anybody? Don’t be shy…

The world-eating-machine we call “capitalism” continues along its railroad logic of rich-get-richer, poor-get-cancer. Health insurance and tax plans are all icing on the cake. The fact is, the 1% want to take the best years of your life and juice them until you’re nothing but a pulpy rind. The main cognitive exploit of the last hundred years was the scientific refinement of propaganda. Those who control your desires, control you.

To resist, we must first understand. The origin of capital is theft. We haven’t just entered a kleptocracy – although it’s certainly become more obvious in the past year. It’s rule by thieves all the way back. When the “lords” started enclosing the commons, claiming for themselves those areas that belonged to the village as a whole, they stole from us all. When they demand rent for the use of their stolen space, they’re just twisting the knife. Their “profits” are buckets filled with the blood of billions.

In America it’s even more obvious. This land was stolen from the people who had lived here for thousands of years (the place I live now is home of the Duwamish tribe since 8000BCE). It was mined, logged and farmed by the poorest of the poor, while the profits went to oil and rail barons. The tycoons of the world have never had your best interests in mind. What common substance can you think of that “trickles down”? Yuck.

So in the spirit of the slowdown strike , let’s look at another unexplored area of cryptoeconomics: something I’ll call resource irrigation . Resource irrigation combines the diversion of resource flows, pooling of those resources, and their targeted use for intentional purposes.

Diversion: Take those resources that have been appropriated by the moneybags and siphon them. This can be accomplished in traditional ways, such as slowdowns or stealing stationery supplies. But with the advent of cryptocurrencies, we can now use the massive amounts of computing power sitting idle underneath our spreadsheets and PDF readers.

Pooling : With some types of cryptocurrency, like Ethereum, resources can be pooled in a transparent manner and payouts can be automated, with no need for a human intermediary. With others, like Monero, all transactions are completely anonymous. Different tech for different use cases: are we pooling the mined coins from a global network of solar farms? Ethereum allows for a distributed company, even with the ability to program in social-benefit incentives. On the other hand, a single hacker with an army of exploited computers can mine thousands of dollars worth of Monero before anyone notices – and if they’re feeling altruistic, could donate it anonymously to a worthy cause.

Targeting
Patreon has closed the accounts of white supremacists and anarchists alike in recent months. The company wants to avoid controversy, and who can blame them? They operate a centralized server attached to their registered corporation and their real names. Of course they don’t want to be a target. But the Web 3.0 aspects of crypto – decentralized hosting, anonymous money, irreversible transactions – mean that it won’t be long before a censorship-free crowdfunding site appears. There are so many reasons to want an emergency stash of funds, a War Chest, that it’s hard to even decide where to start.

So, in response to some of my astute correspondents, I created a resource irrigation prototype. The use case is prisoner support , a very real and active use of war chests in anarchist circles. Your friend locked herself to a bulldozer and is now facing a dime? Hire her a lawyer using funds from the war chest, which were mined using the computers of a thousand sympathizers, which in turn were powered by the electricity at work, which was ultimately payed for by some plutocrat in a space castle downtown. Steal from your boss to help your friends: what reasonable person could argue with that?*

You can see the live demo at
emmagold.github.io
just click “start mining” to see it in action. Or visit the github page to see the code – it’s free, so you can make your own copy to support a prisoner of your choosing.

This is just one use of cryptoeconomics, and a pretty obvious one at that. Can you think of more? Let me know what you think, or just start mining and leave it open in the background. Pennies from heaven – or at least, from the top of the pyramid. You know what else trickles down, come to think of it? Blood.

As always, thanks for reading.

– Max

  • If you’re a reasonable person who wants to argue with that, just hit reply. I’m game.

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