Cory Doctorow forklarer, hvorfor en mildere fortolkning af ophavsretten vil føre til et rigere kulturliv.
Archive for May, 2011
Den britiske premierminister David Cameron ønsker at nedlægge det sociale system og skabe et “Big Society”, hvor velstanden deles gennem privat velgørenhed. Han har helt paradoksalt lagt ud med at lancere et katalog af besparelser, der formentlig vil trække tæppet væk under nogle af landets største velgørende organisationer og gøre det svært for dem at fortsætte med at lappe på det sociale systems og sundhedsvæsnets kolossale huller. Han har tydeligvis heller ikke læst Oscar Wildes “The Soul of Man Under Socialism”:
The chief advantage that would result from the establishment of Socialism is, undoubtedly, the fact that Socialism would relieve us from that sordid necessity of living for others which, in the present condition of things, presses so hardly upon almost everybody. In fact, scarcely anyone at all escapes.
(…) The majority of people spoil their lives by an unhealthy and exaggerated altruism—are forced, indeed, so to spoil them. They find themselves surrounded by hideous poverty, by hideous ugliness, by hideous starvation. It is inevitable that they should be strongly moved by all this. The emotions of man are stirred more quickly than man’s intelligence; and, as I pointed out some time ago in an article on the function of criticism, it is much more easy to have sympathy with suffering than it is to have sympathy with thought. Accordingly, with admirable, though misdirected intentions, they very seriously and very sentimentally set themselves to the task of remedying the evils that they see. But their remedies do not cure the disease: they merely prolong it. Indeed, their remedies are part of the disease.
They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by keeping the poor alive; or, in the case of a very advanced school, by amusing the poor.
But this is not a solution: it is an aggravation of the difficulty. The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible. And the altruistic virtues have really prevented the carrying out of this aim.
Privat velgørenhed er tidsspilde, mente Wilde, fordi den blot gør de fattiges fattigdom en smule mere tålelig og derved får dem til at affinde sig med dem, samtidig med, at den får ikke-fattige mennesker til at spilde tiden med velgørenhed, når de kunne have brugt den til at hellige sig videnskab eller kunst.
Løsningen på den iøjnespringende fattigdom, som hærger de fleste lande i dag – herunder naturligvis England og i mindre, men stigende grad, Danmark – er altså ikke at lappe på tingenes tilstand ved velgørenhed. Den er at ændre tingenes tilstand ved reformer eller revolution, så materiel og åndelig fattigdom og den dermed forbundne nød ganske enkelt bliver en umulighed.
Under Socialism all this will, of course, be altered. There will be no people living in fetid dens and fetid rags, and bringing up unhealthy, hunger-pinched children in the midst of impossible and absolutely repulsive surroundings. The security of society will not depend, as it does now, on the state of the weather. If a frost comes we shall not have a hundred thousand men out of work, tramping about the streets in a state of disgusting misery, or whining to their neighbours for alms, or crowding round the doors of loathsome shelters to try and secure a hunch of bread and a night’s unclean lodging. Each member of the society will share in the general prosperity and happiness of the society, and if a frost comes no one will practically be anything the worse.
Men er det ikke antiliberalt alt sammen? Vil en sådan socialisme ikke knuse den enkeltes frihed?
Ikke ifølge Wilde. De reformer, han taler om, vil ikke gøre det enkelte individ mindre frit, det vil gøre det mere frit ved at gøre det langt mere om til den enkelte, hvad han eller hun vælger at beskæftige sig med:
Socialism itself will be of value simply because it will lead to Individualism.
Socialism, Communism, or whatever one chooses to call it, by converting private property into public wealth, and substituting co-operation for competition, will restore society to its proper condition of a thoroughly healthy organism, and insure the material well-being of each member of the community. It will, in fact, give Life its proper basis and its proper environment. But for the full development of Life to its highest mode of perfection, something more is needed. What is needed is Individualism.
Ødelæggende ved velgørenheden er også den implicitte forestilling om, at de fattige skal være glade og taknemmelige for den “støtte”, de får, når deres fattigdom i virkeligheden kun er en konsekvens af samfundets grundlæggende uretfærdighed:
We are often told that the poor are grateful for charity. Some of them are, no doubt, but the best amongst the poor are never grateful. They are ungrateful, discontented, disobedient, and rebellious. They are quite right to be so. Charity they feel to be a ridiculously inadequate mode of partial restitution, or a sentimental dole, usually accompanied by some impertinent attempt on the part of the sentimentalist to tyrannise over their private lives. Why should they be grateful for the crumbs that fall from the rich man’s table? They should be seated at the board, and are beginning to know it. As for being discontented, a man who would not be discontented with such surroundings and such a low mode of life would be a perfect brute. Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion. Sometimes the poor are praised for being thrifty. But to recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less. For a town or country labourer to practise thrift would be absolutely immoral. Man should not be ready to show that he can live like a badly-fed animal. He should decline to live like that, and should either steal or go on the rates, which is considered by many to be a form of stealing. As for begging, it is safer to beg than to take, but it is finer to take than to beg. No: a poor man who is ungrateful, unthrifty, discontented, and rebellious, is probably a real personality, and has much in him. He is at any rate a healthy protest. As for the virtuous poor, one can pity them, of course, but one cannot possibly admire them. They have made private terms with the enemy, and sold their birthright for very bad pottage. They must also be extraordinarily stupid. I can quite understand a man accepting laws that protect private property, and admit of its accumulation, as long as he himself is able under those conditions to realise some form of beautiful and intellectual life. But it is almost incredible to me how a man whose life is marred and made hideous by such laws can possibly acquiesce in their continuance.
Dette indlæg var egentlig inspireret af et indlæg i The Observer af Nick Cohen, der med rette bruger Wilde til at påpege hulheden i David Camerons “Big Society”-strategi. Wildes argument er ikke skudsikkert – der kan virkelig siges gode ting om folk, der bruger deres liv på at afhjælpe andres nød. Men i sidste ende er det sundt og helt rigtigt se: Lad os dog ikke spilde tiden på at lappe på et uretfærdigt samfund og derved holde det i live ud over salgsdatoen, når løsningen er – gennem reformer eller revolution – at gøre det så retfærdigt, at fattigdom ikke længere kan eksistere.
En vigtig græsk dokumentarfilm om den gældsfælde, som Grækenland er havnet i. Filmen er på græsk, men der er undertekster på engelsk (og fransk og spansk og portugisisk).
Den aktuelle græske gældskrise behandles med paralleller til Argentina og Ecuador. I Argentina endte en præsident, der havde solgt sin sjæl til IMF og Verdensbanken, med at forlade præsidentpaladset i helikopter. Han turde ikke gå ud af fordøren på grund af alle de vrede demonstranter. I Ecuador blev landet udplyndret af kreditorerne i årevis, indtil den nuværende præsident Rafael Correa fik nedsat en kommission af statsrevisorer, der kulegravede statsgælden og fandt ud af, at det meste af den var ugyldig.
Meget store dele af den græske udlandsgæld, som EU-kommissionen og IMF med bedemandsansigter insisterer på at få tilbagebetalt, er formentlig også ugyldig. Meget af den er blevet til efter åbenlys bestikkelse fra firmaer som Siemens og Goldman-Sachs. En af filmens pointer er netop, at der også i Grækenland burde foretages en grundig revision af hele gælden. En sådan revision ville formentlig medføre, at det meste af den græske udlandsgæld ganske enkelt blev fundet ulovlig eller ugyldig. Gribbene fra EU-kommissionen og Verdensbanken vil selvfølgelig kæmpe med næb og kløer mod en sådan revision.
I aften kl. 18.00 er der demonstration på Rådhuspladsen i København. Hvis du kan komme, så tag en blomst med for ofrene for rydningen af pladsen i Barcelona.
Det engelske gærudtræksprodukt Marmite, som alle ordentlige danskere vist hurtigt kan blive enige om smager som en mellemting mellem en bouillonterning og et eller andet, der har ligget alt for længe og ligner noget, man ikke engang har lyst til at tænke på, er ikke blot udansk og afskyeligt.
Takket være vores fremsynede regering er det nu også forbudt som den kulturfremmede importgenstand, den er.
Mens vi venter på en redegørelse fra Søren Pinds kommission for assimilation af indvandrernes madkultur (rugbrød med brun sovs og kartofler og rødgrød med fløde til desert), må vi nøjes med The Guardians reportage. Vort enestående land huser desværre stadig enkelte kulturfremmede og utilpassede indvandrere, der har svært ved at affinde sig med den nye tingenes tilstand:
“What am I supposed to put on my toast now?” asked British advertising executive Colin Smith, who has lived in the country for six years. “I still have a bit left in the cupboard, but it’s not going to last long.”
The ruling is not going down well with the country’s substantial expatriate community – many of them work for large multinational firms such as Lego and Vestas, only to move away after a year or two.
The government has admitted it is having trouble retaining these highly skilled foreign workers, and has even debated measures in parliament to make them stay. This latest move is unlikely to help.
Recent comments from the Danish immigration minister, Søren Pind, that foreigners should “assimilate” or leave, coupled with the country’s recent unilateral decision to reinstate border checks, have left some residents questioning the motivation behind the crackdown.
Lyndsay Jensen, a Yorkshire-born graphic designer in Copenhagen, despaired of the move.
“They don’t like it because it’s foreign,” she said, adding that she already planned to send off for supplies from abroad. “But if they want to take my Marmite off me they’ll have to wrench it from my cold dead hands.”
Disse udanske elementer er oplagte kandidater til regeringens nye repatrieringsprogram, hvor kommunerne efter aftale med Dansk Folkeparti belønnes med 25.000 kroner for hver skatteyder indvandrer, de kan overbevise om det betimelige i at tage hjem, hvor de kommer fra. I mellemtiden kan enhver dansk glæde sig og fryde sig over, at det er lykkedes for regeringens renheds- og assimilationsprogram at holde endnu en kulturfremmed påvirkning langt fra landets grænser.
Juan Cano i Madrid opsummerer sin egen oplevelse af den sidste uges “spanske revolution”:
I think that one aspect that is usually overlook is what is really happening in there. There are no leaders, no person in charge, everything gets done by agreement between everyone implicated. Tents have been built to protect people from rain and overexposition to the sun and different committees have formed to deal with cleaning, food supply, communication and legal problems. Everything they have was donated by the people.It started as youth movement, with 50 young people camping in the place, but as the police cleared the camp a global conscience emerged and since that night (from Monday to Tuesday) Puerta del Sol has never been empty for a moment. Each day it attracts more and more people, from different backgrounds, age and ideologies, and it has spread across Spain and Europe.
To be there is incredible. You can see punks talking with retired people, anarchists debating with conservatives. Everyone is getting involved because it is not a movement against democracy, it’s a pro-democracy movement. In a democracy you have different opinions and all of them are welcome.
Even with such a variety there is a sense of community. Violence is prohibited as well as any political sign or flag. We are all together in this and we are all persons, we don’t fight for our ideology and we don’t represent any political party or movement. We are there as citizens who want a fair system and reject any corruption.
Maybe you don’t agree with the ideas of this revolution, but what was achieved in the plaza is worth seeing. A real community as you have never seen, a place for all the ideas. This is a small version of what we want for our country and, being a little ambitious, for the world.
Ignacio Escolar, forhenværende chefredaktør for det venstreorienterede dagblad Público, mangeårig fortaler for fri kultur, Creative Commons-licenser og åbenhed på Internettet samt som musiker forfatter til en prisbelønnet opfordring til at piratkopiere hans sange, analyserer hele situationen i The Guardian. Socialistpartiet har indkasseret en syngende lussing fra vælgerne, fordi de har svigtet deres eget bagland, skriver han blandt andet:
Why such a huge defeat for the socialists? One thing that’s clear is that people haven’t voted simply on the basis of regional or municipal issues, and Prime Minister Zapatero’s announcement that he would step down before the next elections seems to have had little effect. Behind the socialists’ defeat lies Spain’s dire unemployment, their denial of the financial crisis at its outset, and, without a doubt, the events of the month of May.
Not the events of this May, though – not the sit-in in Madrid’s central Puerta del Sol square a week ago which has quickly turned into the national protest movement popularly known as 15-M, nor the arduous election campaign itself. I’m referring to May 2010, when Zapatero, having just slashed public spending in order to prevent the markets from derailing Spanish bonds, promised the country that he would carry on, “no matter what it costs, and no matter what it costs me”. The cuts probably staved off a bailout, but that month unquestionably marked the beginning of his end.
Om de demonstrationer, som har rystet Spaniens politiske liv, og som Escolar selv har kunnet studere på første hånd, hedder det:
Meanwhile, at the protests in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol, everything is being debated. Absolutely everything. The madrileños who have turned out are realists – and that’s why they’re asking for the impossible. People are discussing how to renounce nuclear power, abolish bullfighting, implement a secular state. Anyone who has turned out at these gatherings – and seen how all kinds of different people, megaphone in hand, are putting forward ideas about how to improve the world – will have seen that something truly exceptional is happening in Madrid.
Nevertheless, beyond the Puerta del Sol there’s the rest of Spanish society. And if we want the momentum which the “Spanish revolution” has generated to continue and have a real impact, we need to distinguish the short term from the long term, broad goals from specific ones. Firstly, we need to establish which principles we all (or nearly all) agree on; in doing so we can begin to create a clear framework in which democracy can improve, rather than a specific electoral programme.
I propose that we reform our electoral law, by introducing a system of open lists for voting in members of our Congress, and by making parliament reflect the reality of electoral results according to the “criteria of proportional representation”, as demanded by the constitution. We need a freedom of information law, too. Spain is one of only five countries in the EU which still lacks this, and it is fundamental if we are to control how public money is spent and stop its misuse. The PSOE featured the proposal in their 2004-2008 electoral programme, but, like so many other promises, it came to nothing.
I would like to see a referendum over the bailout of the banks. And how about we reform the laws governing the financing of political parties and people in public office, making their income and expenses more transparent.
Fra Democracia Real YA:
Manifesto (English)We are ordinary people. We are like you: people, who get up every morning to study, work or find a job, people who have family and friends. People, who work hard every day to provide a better future for those around us.
Some of us consider ourselves progressive, others conservative. Some of us are believers, some not. Some of us have clearly defined ideologies, others are apolitical, but we are all concerned and angry about the political, economic, and social outlook which we see around us: corruption among politicians, businessmen, bankers, leaving us helpless, without a voice.
This situation has become normal, a daily suffering, without hope. But if we join forces, we can change it. It’s time to change things, time to build a better society together. Therefore, we strongly argue that:
- The priorities of any advanced society must be equality, progress, solidarity, freedom of culture, sustainability and development, welfare and people’s happiness.
- These are inalienable truths that we should abide by in our society: the right to housing, employment, culture, health, education, political participation, free personal development, and consumer rights for a healthy and happy life.
- The current status of our government and economic system does not take care of these rights, and in many ways is an obstacle to human progress.
- Democracy belongs to the people (demos = people, krátos = government) which means that government is made of every one of us. However, in Spain most of the political class does not even listen to us. Politicians should be bringing our voice to the institutions, facilitating the political participation of citizens through direct channels that provide the greatest benefit to the wider society, not to get rich and prosper at our expense, attending only to the dictatorship of major economic powers and holding them in power through a bipartidism headed by the immovable acronym PP & PSOE.
- Lust for power and its accumulation in only a few; create inequality, tension and injustice, which leads to violence, which we reject. The obsolete and unnatural economic model fuels the social machinery in a growing spiral that consumes itself by enriching a few and sends into poverty the rest. Until the collapse.
- The will and purpose of the current system is the accumulation of money, not regarding efficiency and the welfare of society. Wasting resources, destroying the planet, creating unemployment and unhappy consumers.
- Citizens are the gears of a machine designed to enrich a minority which does not regard our needs. We are anonymous, but without us none of this would exist, because we move the world.
- If as a society we learn to not trust our future to an abstract economy, which never returns benefits for the most, we can eliminate the abuse that we are all suffering.
- We need an ethical revolution. Instead of placing money above human beings, we shall put it back to our service. We are people, not products. I am not a product of what I buy, why I buy and who I buy from.
For all of the above, I am outraged.
I think I can change it.
I think I can help.
I know that together we can.
Go out in the streets with us. It’s your right.
Læs mere (spansk).
Dette er en vigtig dokumentar, der forklarer, hvilke midler Egyptens aktivister brugte til at få ordet ud og sætte oprøret i gang. Via Arabawy.
Videoen viser pladsen ved Puerta del Sol i Madrid for to dage siden, fredag den 20. maj.
Oprøret er tydeligt inspireret af de store demonstrationer i Tunesien og især Egypten, men situationen er helt anderledes, fordi Spanien er en helt anden slags land – rigere og allerede demokratisk og med et kapitalistisk/plutokratisk politisk system, der er integreret i EU og kan være meget vanskeligt at forandre. Miguel-Anxo Murado rammer ikke helt ved siden af, når han i The Guardian gør opmærksom på, at de igangværende demonstrationer udelukkende retter sig mod venstrefløjen i spansk politik – højrefløjen har demonstranterne opgivet forlængst:
Sunday when a rather obscure demonstration turned into a permanent rally, which is gaining momentum by the day and has gathered thousands already.Tellingly, they’re being described not in political but emotional terms. They’re the indignados, “the angry ones”. Angry at the banks, at the labour market, at the main political parties and most of all at the politicians, who they feel don’t represent them. What they actually want is less clear. They pride themselves on not having leaders or a specific political platform, an ideological fuzziness that has enabled them to attract a diverse constituency.
They have taken the politicians off guard, that’s for sure. Both the ruling Socialists and the conservative opposition, the People’s party, are in shock. Not at being criticised but at being bundled together as “the same thing”. In next year’s general election the socialists were counting on the fear the conservatives instil in many Spaniards. The conservatives were counting on the anger aroused by the socialist government, among many others. Now that anger seems to be directed at both parties and it is both that are afraid.
Murado fortsætter med at forklare, at demonstrationerne ikke skal forstås så meget som mod de økonomiske stramninger og kolossale gaver til bankverdenen i kølvandet på finanskrisen, men at det mere er et oprør mod et forbenet politisk system – et synspunkt, han efter min bedste opfattelse ikke har ret i. Han fortsætter dog med at observere:
The makeup of the protestors is not that mysterious if you take a walk in the square. Those who camp there are unmistakeably part of the anti-globalisation camp, focused in social causes (immigrants’ rights, world hunger), idealistic, often naive, and with a strong anti-capitalist bent. They’re actually very few.
What is new here is that at times they’re reinforced by a much wider and down-to-earth crowd. It’s comprised of pensioners, passersby and angry parents, but still mostly of university students. The People’s party knows these are not their potential voters. If they’re angry at the Socialists it is because they feel it has shifted to the right in the economy, which is true. The hardcore may be “post-democratic”, but the ensemble is certainly not “trans-ideological”.
I believe this is the key to understanding this protest. For all its far-reaching rhetoric, it addresses solely the left. It ultimately represents the frustration of those who see that it doesn’t matter which way you vote, the economic policies are dictated by the markets; hence the critique of “the system” and the demands of accountability and transparency. Most of the protesters seem to be the people who voted Socialist in 2008 only to prevent a win for the People’s party. They don’t want their vote to be taken for granted yet again.
Oversat til danske forhold kunne det måske svare til frustrationen hos de mennesker, der i 2011 kommer til at stemme på SF eller Socialdemokraterne for at holde Dansk Folkeparti fra fadet, blot for at se dem videreføre Dansk Folkepartis højreekstremistiske indvandrerpolitik (det lover de jo faktisk, at de vil gøre).
Ikke desto mindre er det her, Murado tager fejl – formentlig på grund af hans eget ønske om at bagatellisere demonstrationerne. Han har ret i, at demonstrationerne udelukkende henvender sig til venstrefløjen i spansk politik, men det gør dem ikke til en ren protestbevægelse uden program. Hvad demonstrationerne i Egypten og Spanien har til fælles, er det elementære krav om værdighed, der ligger bag. I Egypten, at de kunne få et samfund, hvor regeringen ville respektere de mest basale menneskerettigheder.
I Spanien, at de 45% af ungdommen og næsten 20% af den samlede arbejdsstyrke, der er arbejdsløse, de millioner af akademikere, der hvert år sendes lukt ud i arbejdsløsheden og de endnu flere, der lever som overbeskæftigede og underbetalte mileuristas, kan leve et mere værdigt liv uden hele tiden at skulle se tilværelsen forsvinde under deres fødder.
Når den økonomiske krise oven i disse strukturelle problemer rammer frontalt ned i almindelige menneskers hverdag, mens landets politikere slipper uden straf fra korruptionsskandaler i milliardklassen og pengene fosser ud til bankerne i “genopretningspakker” – ja, så bliver folk vrede. Og det er den vrede, der nu viser sig i Spaniens gader, som eksemplificerer ved studenten herunder, der gør opmærksom på de anstrengte og usikre forhold, mange af landets studerende må leve under.