“ ok, f*ck the frackbook, the XLt analysts are going off the CrunkCommunicationsFix for a little while to write about Danae Ringelmann, the true SF tech pioneer and social genius who no one has heard of cause Silicon Valley’s all holding their dicks up high in the spotlight for their 15mins of Famine in the panopticon of bottom-feeding billionaires playing their own version of the survivors gameshow ! And it’s all the global rage to gawk and suck their useless tools in the final of all seasons ! ” XLt analyst
Last week, as the XLterrestrials were preparing to launch a fundraiser campaign we started researching our options… The first thing we stumbled on was that – in the US – anyone who had any resources ( and especially those who didn’t) were freaking out about their taxes in April. Pretty stupid timing, to go asking for funds in California. [ Why these beleaguered citizens have not yet gotten it together to boycott this tainted ritual, at least until their government gets their heads out of their military-industrial-complexed asses and their hands out of the till remains a bit of a mystery, but that's a humongous topic for another investigative XLt article.]
Second was that we decided we’d go with an Indiegogo campaign, because Kickstarter gives a chunky percentage to their biggest corporate partner, Amazon. For us, that would be like slaving our asses off in the non-profit artworld, and then giving a big tip to THE pioneering Net Rapists who are Still kicking our favorite bookstores and indie-publishers in the ribs in a back alley. AND Amazon now serves and manages -without hesitation – the NSA spooks, by hosting all their Big Data scoops. Jeff Bezos rot in your own traitor stew, but not on our dime !
And then just as we were about to launch and premiere CiTiZEN KiNO #44, another rabid cop went and shot another unarmed black man in the back in South Carolina. And suddenly some scumbag was trying to use Indiegogo to raise money for the murderer’s legal defense.
Everything was on hold!
Indiegogo was processing a wave of furious complaints, and not knowing much about them, we weren’t sure if they would take this fundraiser down. And they were initially claiming they do not make judgements on people’s campaigns.
But in the end, they did the right thing, Gameover, that shit got pulled !
And in the interim, while researching the various platforms, we discovered that Indiegogo was the first of its kind, founded by a brilliant, incredibly well-intentioned native San Franciscan… in fact, a true social ninja ! An inspiring genius ! A visionary ! And an empowered woman who was changing the rules of capital and finance, and maybe even the tech sector ! And we’re still mystified that we hadn’t heard the name Danae Ringelmann before. Yes we vaguely remembered it was launched at Sundance in 2008. But there isn’t even a wikipedia entry for her, still ! In 2015 ! And indiegogo’s story is most definitely under-reported, and we started immediately to ask: What typically skewed patriarchal injustice bullshit is THIS !?
You see, Indiegogo is one of the very few tools on the web that isn’t like almost all those other Lost Coast Silicon Valley 2nd-Life-like products with no social relationship to our tangible existence, that have no intent of social (r)evolution, no vision for tactical purpose in a raging climate of social crises and impoverished and dying habitats on the horizon, no dream of anything other than developing the next big sellable thing.
Indiegogo makes Frackbook and the Zuckerberg enterprise, for example, look like a ratbag’s unethical scrounging for dollars in your dirty laundry. This is no 8-track web player m*thrfckerz ! this is “Crowdfunding”… which could – in its best-case scenarios – more aptly be described as: “Fuck Your Money Grubbing, Thug Boys ! This is what the internet was supposed to be. “
Ringelmann wanted above all to “democratize access to capital “! .. for non-business people to realize their dreams.
Now we are not finance-heads ourselves, we’d rather dig a ditch for compost toilets at a detox + healing retreat in the woods for the entire staff of The Financial Times, then think and read about money and economic systems.
But suddenly we’ve seen the light! Creating windows of opportunity in this dimly-lit world often means knowing how to navigate those bloody bank notes !
This by no means means we’re turning into capitalist-driven entities, but we’ve decided to meditate on our repeated financial woes, and to get a better grasp of our options in the current traps, and to seek recourse for our immediate situations.
Why We Really Can’t Have Nice Things … It’s The Crapitalists!
But beware, not all is green in them there hills…
Last weekend, some of the XLterrestrials gathered at the 20th annual The Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair in Oakland. And we weren’t able to catch alot of the sessions, but we were inspired by a couple brilliant, rousing and heartwarming sessions.
One of them was called Women’s Leadership in Anti-Capitalist Movements with Panelists: Hilary Klein, Selma James, Nina López. Not entirely news, but it was profound to think deeply on the way Selma James expressed the fact that alternatives to the capitalist operating system are SIMPLY NOT ALLOWED. We are subjects in a global situation whereby we are enforced to adhere to an economic tyranny. And any deviations are everywhere destroyed or coerced by military force + constructed policies keeping us in submission. Both women and men are systematicly deprived of a freedom to live in the service of CARING for ourselves, our families, our friends, our communities, our planet. The war is already everywhere waged upon us.
And yet there are examples which manifest in the cracks, like Marinaleda the Spanish town which has actually accomplished a rare feat by constructing a functional commons ( and communism) whereby people work on the land w/ no ownership in this small region w/ a socialist mayor. But this was not achieved without many years of struggles and hard fights won. One may also argue that this was possible to achieve in rural Spain, but is not a model easily transposed to a more entrenched capitalistic society as in let’s say California, at least not now, in the midst of rabid anti-socialists and a population which has been thoroughly groomed by individualism, and its absurd values. (Though one might say these are close to disintegrating in the meltdown brought on by all the greed and rampant abuses. )
And still Other positive examples of alternative culture achieving autonomous and alternative space were given, such as the Zapatistas.
Nevertheless, the XLterrestrials have long been questioning whether the terms and the path of an anti-capitalism movement are an inappropriate description for how to proceed in this horrific dilemma we now find ourselves in… a flailing, dying, war-torn planet.
We no more live in a capitalist society today, then those citizens in the soviet union lived in a communist one in the 20th century. These are at this point entirely loaded, dated and mangled terms. And we can debate this for an eternity, which is not usually the best thing to do when one is searching for the life rafts as the icy waters are up to your neck !
So the XLterrestrials would like to make a little detour from these age-old debates. We don’t want to spend that much time on this, but for our own survival navigations , which are urgent… And for our community goals… we wish to clarify for ourselves a path out…
And if it’s useful for you, we’ll be happy. If not, and you have some flaws to point out, feedback welcome, but it’s not clear that we’ll get all that invested in the arguments that may follow.
We are living in Krapitalist Times – a conglomeration of Plutocracies, Corporate fascism, cybernetic regimes, dictatorships, and soft-fuzzy (s)elected democracies who murder for their clients, constituents, empire, profiteering warmongers, etc. - and we wish to make some distinctions between a fight against Krapitalists and the fight of the Anti-capitalists.
First off, we know of no powerful armies fighting for socialism that can possibly take on the blood-soaked current order, so rather than inviting a bloody defeat, we’ll narrow and refine our own ambitions just a little.
Secondly, as we consider the possibilities of the left utilizing Capital in forms such as the currently accessible platforms like crowdfunding, we see no contradictions here. And we are not anti-merchant-capitalism. In fact, we actually have some fond affections for autonomy derived by artisans selling there creations to a desiring public. Even those scenarios whereby friends are able to employ friends to pursue their goals.
We’d love to see far less property ownership, and more non-heirarchical structures, more worker-owned factories… etc. But for now we’ll be empowering ourselves by seeking Capital to fund our community work… At times we may have collective consensus structures, at other times, we may just hire friends and colleagues who need some part-time work. And we wish to sell you products and resources that you can use in your own liberation.
As we devise our indiegogo campaign, we will attempt to be most creative in offering our comrades some things they can use in the struggles ahead ! Arts and praxis ideas are in always in development.
So in short, we feel that we must navigate the realities of an environment dominated by Capitalism. Even our purist and most ambitious friends are doing it, in a kind of weird denial. Working side jobs, buying their groceries at the usual markets, etc. It would be senseless to imagine going through our day entirely avoiding these inconsistencies. And So, in other words, we will not denounce those who may have strategies for the left by utilizing certain tools of capitalism.
But, the excesses of Krapitalism will NOT be tolerated !
– obviously a work-in-progress, and rough outline of something we’d like to articulate in better terms, but that’s what we’ve got this morning to help us proceed today.–
This went in a direction we hadn’t entirely expected ourselves. We in fact were on a course to explain how in a world of Krapitalism, it’s the assholes who ruin it all for everyone else – and perhaps THat can be dealt with strategically… ( taking one pillar out at a time strategy ). And another angle, about how technologies for example may begin with good social intentions, but are ultimately turned upside down, and then used AGAINST the people who desire a more collaborative and just society. It’s the Krapitalists, the abuse of a granted, already questionable means, capitalism. It’s The Krapitalists ! And they have names and addresses. But we got little power to take them head on… We just wanna get them the fuck out of our hood, and out of our brains, and out of our schools, and out of our hospitals, and out of our gardens… and… and… and….
Plus, there ARE some dangers ahead in the crowdfundng realm, which need to be further analyzed. Not all of them are as well-intentioned as Indiegogo. Some may not in the end take down a campaign for killer cops, some may gladly fund krapitalist endeavors and inventions which step across ethical or ecological borders. Indiegogo itself is poised to grow into territories of a stock-like profit-returns on investements. They are in the process of altering SEC laws on that. THis won’t be good if there is no regulation or concern or careful calculations for the common good, without intermediaries and protections against monopoles, expansions of copyright regimes, etc.
( akkh Part 4 is forming … hah, stay tune )
But first, more coming in Part 3 ! Fuck Krapitalism !