[iDC] Franco Berardi & Geert Lovink: A call to the Army of Love and to the Army of Software

John Sobol soboltalk at gmail.com
Thu Oct 13 15:36:34 UTC 2011

Yes this is exactly right! Thank you!

Our future lies not in more literate regulation - as the Call to Action on
the Occupy Wall Street website advocates but which is doomed to subversion
and exploitation by the masters of literate misery - but on iterative and
unpredictable dialogues between real people online and off. Verily, our
future lies in the Army of Love and Software!

In my recent blog post, "Wall Street Occupied by Interactivists" (
I wrote:

"Wall Street is Fort Monologue. It is an epicentre of literate capitalism,
an ivory tower without ears to hear. It is a paper palace divorced from all
experience, from suffering and compassion, from love and joy. It is rule of
ledgers. Rule of policies and laws. Rule of dividends and debt, all defined
on and by paper. It is a monological fortress. A one-way broadcaster
broadcasting control of the earth, turning processes into property,
communities into colonies, and just dreams into just dust.

"The occupation of Wall Street is the revolt of dialogical culture against
its monological masters. It is an *Interactivist occupation* because it
bridges oral and digital cultures, yoking their common dialogical cores to
create a sustainable feedback loop, a spiralling engagement of real bodies
creating real meaning and real relationships in real time yet reaching
beyond time and space over digital networks to attract and engage global
actors, who are physically drawn to the locus of revolt, adding their living
voices, their own global networks and their rising courage to the mix,
creating yet more meaning, yet more media, and yet more pressure on deaf
systems to make way for a dialogical future based on sustainable
relationships and not on paper profit."

And yet, having said this, I also realize that these financial predators -
Finanzis as you call them - have now migrated to dialogical digital systems
that rely on post-literate tools and values. So in a subsequent post on
"Post-Literate Capitalism and The Stock Markets of Doom" (
I wrote:

"In post-literate capitalism – as in all networked culture – history ceases
to exist. All that matters is the dialogical moment. Except that unshackled
from history and its associated social contexts, networked markets are now
free to feed on their own code, exponentially exploiting themselves without
regard for the meaning of their transactions – scaled up in global real-time
far beyond all previously monological possibilities – creating untold
empires of networked wealth at our expense."

And in another post "The Foundering Fathers" I carried this further,

"America’s political culture is no longer ruled by literate principles such
as facts, fixity and truth but on rumour and impulse. Its economy is no
longer based on familiar literate norms like value creation, accurate
record-keeping and transparent systems of exchange, but on speculative and
fraudulent financial dealings.

"So although lip service is constantly paid to the written words of its
founding fathers, America’s national culture is increasingly post-literate,
recreating the past in its own fearful image and rejecting literate
objectivity in all its flavours, choosing instead a tribal subjectivity
enabled by digital networks. In so doing America is freeing itself from the
very literate legacy it celebrates, a history that despite its flaws has
achieved much that is admirable and of collective benefit. As America turns
away from the written word, undermining its power even as many rally round
its empty shell to demonize perceived enemies within and without, the
question becomes: what next?

"Do Wall Street protests, rooted as they are in feedback loops between oral
and digital cultures, represent some kind of transformative post-literate
uprising against literate economic hegemony? Perhaps so. Even though Wall
Street’s banks, which publicly maintain their allegiance to literate laws
and documents, have already migrated to post-literate speculative networks
that are rapidly destabilizing the world’s economies. In fact, Wall Street
is so far ahead of the game that it may only be by enlisting hackers in
their cause will the Wall Street protesters make any meaningful impact."

So yes Geert and Fraqnco, I will gleefully join the Army of Love and
Software and proudly advocate a sustainable future based on the
reconciliation of oral and digital cutlures, on the enabling of sustainable
relationships by hyper-efficient tools, the encounter of bodies in real time
and minds online, to overcome the post-literate predations of Finanzis
masquerading as literate bankers of yore, whose ecodical wills are
plundering our planet with post-literate efficiency, and who must be stopped
for the sake of all life and love.

These words - yours, mine, ours - are the barricades themselves. Our stories
are our weapons, and our bodies the living battlefields of possibility.
Give. Share. Meet. Trust. Love.

John Sobol


On Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 3:43 AM, Geert Lovink <geert at xs4all.nl> wrote:

> A call to the Army of Love and to the Army of Software
> By Franco Berardi and Geert Lovink
> October 2011. The fight opposing financial dictatorship is erupting.
> The so-called ‘financial markets’ and their cynical services are
> destroying the very foundations of social civilization. The legacy of the
> postwar compromise between the working class and progressive bourgeoisie
> has all but disappeared. Neoliberal policies are cutting back education
> and the public health system and is cancelling the right to a salary and a
> pension. The outcome will be impoverishment of large parts of the
> population, a growing precarity of labor conditions (freelance, short-term
> contracts, periods of unemployment) and daily humiliation of workers. The
> yet to be seen effect of the financial crisis will be violence, as people
> conjure up scapegoats in order to vent their rage. Ethnic cleansing, civil
> war, obliteration of democracy. This is a system we call financial Nazism:
> Right now people are fighting back in many places, and in many ways.
> Occupy Wall Street inspired a mass mobilization in New York that is
> extending across the USA every day. In Greece workers and students are
> squatting Syntagma square and protesting against the blackmail by the
> European Central Bank, which is devastating the country. Cairo, Madrid,
> Tel Aviv, the list of the ‘movements of the squares’ is proliferating. On
> October 15 cities across the globe will amass with people protesting
> against the systemic robbery.
> Will our demonstrations and occupations stop the Finazist machine? They
> will not. Resistance will not resist, and our fight will not stop the
> legal crimes. Let’s be frank, we will not persuade our enemies to end
> their predatory attacks (‘let’s make even more profit from the next
> downfall’) for the simple reason that our enemies are not human beings.
> They are machines. Yes, human beings – corporate managers, stock owners,
> traders – are cashing the money that we are losing, and prey upon
> resources that workers produce. Politicians sign laws that deliver the
> lives of millions of people to the Almighty God of the Market.
> Bankers and investors are not the real decision makers, they are
> participants in an economy of gestural confusion. The real process of
> predatory power has become automated. The transfer of resources and wealth
> from those who produce to those who do nothing except oversee the abstract
> patterns of financial transactions is embedded in the machine, in the
> software that governs the machine. Forget about governments and party
> politics. Those puppets who pretend to be leaders are talking nonsense.
> The paternalistic options they offer around ‘austerity measures’
> underscore a rampant cynicism internal to party politics: they all know
> they lost the power to model finance capitalism years ago. Needless to
> say, the political class are anxious to perform the act of control and
> sacrifice social resources of the future in the form of budget cuts in
> order to ‘satisfy the markets’. Stop listening to them, stop voting for
> them, stop hoping and cursing them. They are just pimps, and politics is
> dead.
> What should we do? Living with the Finazist violence, bending to the
> arrogance of algorithms, accepting growing exploitation and declining
> salaries? Nope. Let’s fight against Finazism because it is never too late.
> At the moment Finazism is winning for two reasons. First, because we have
> lost the pleasure of being together. Thirty years of precariousness and
> competition have destroyed social solidarity. Media virtualization has
> destroyed the empathy among bodies, the pleasure of touching each other,
> and the pleasure of living in urban spaces. We have lost the pleasure of
> love, because too much time is devoted to work and virtual exchange. The
> large army of lovers have to wake up. Second, because our intelligence has
> been submitted to algorithmic power in exchange for a handful of shitty
> money and a virtual life. For a salary that is miserable when compared to
> the profits of the corporate bosses, a small army of ‘softwarists’ are
> accepting the task of destroying human dignity and justice. The small army
> of software programmers have to wake up.
> There is only a way to awake the lover that is hidden in our paralyzed,
> frightened and frail virtualized bodies. There is only a way to awake the
> human being that is hidden in the miserable daily life of the softwarist:
> take to the streets and fight. Burning banks is useless, as real power is
> not in the physical buildings, but in the abstract connection between
> numbers, algorithms and information. But occupying banks is good as a
> starting point for the long-lasting process of dismantling and rewriting
> the techno-linguistic automatons enslaving all of us. This is the only
> politics that counts. Some say that the Occupy Wall Street movement lacks
> clear demands and an agenda. This remark is ridiculous. As in the case of
> all social movements the political backgrounds and motives are diverse,
> even diffuse and quite frequently contradictory. The occupation movement
> would not be better off with more realistic demands.
> What is thrilling right now is the multiplicity of new connections and
> commitment. But what is even more exciting is finding ways that can set in
> motion the collective ‘exodus’ from the capitalist agony. Let’s not talk
> about the ‘sustainability’ of the movement. That’s boring. Everything is
> transient. These fast-burning events do not help us to overcome the daily
> depression. Occupying the squares and other public spaces is a way to
> respond to the short duration of the demonstrations and marches. We are
> here to stay.
> We are not demanding a reform of the global financial system or the ECB.
> The return to national currencies of the past, as requested by the
> rightwing populists, will not make ordinary citizens less vulnerable to
> currency speculation. A return to state sovereignty is not the solution
> either, and many people already sense this. The demand for more
> ‘intervention’, control and oversight of markets is a hopeless gesture.
> The real issue is that humans are no longer in charge. We need to
> dismantle the machines themselves. This can be done in a very peaceful
> manner. Hack into their system, publish their crimes through
> Wikileaks-type initiatives and then delete their real-time trading killing
> networks for good.
> Financial markets are all about the politics of speed and
> deterritorialization. But we know their architectures and vulnerabilities.
> The financial world has lost its legitimacy. There is no global consensus
> anymore that the ‘market’ is always right. And this is our chance to act.
> The movement has to respond at this level. Decommissioning and
> re-programming financial software is not the dream of a Luddite sabotaging
> the machine. ‘Market regulation’ will not do the job, only autonomy and
> the self-organization of software workers can dismantle the predatory
> algorithms and create self-empowering software for society.
> The general intellect and the erotic social body have to meet on the
> streets and squares, and united they will break the Finazist chains.
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