Archive for the ‘Rocker’ Category

In my last blog entry I explained how I get a good chuckle from streakers. And, unknown to me, as I wrote that post, such a ballsy act was swinging into action—as ballsy acts do—not far from where currently I sit. So, here is a short follow-on post—not to discuss more nudity, mind you, but, rather, stadiums.

B.C. Place Stadium

In Vancouver, The B.C. Lions play that false variant of football where an oblong “ball” is struck by an actual foot hardly at all and with about as much grace as a steroid needle plunging into buttock muscle. “The beautiful game” it ain’t, but, nevermind: as far as sports go, this one makes about as much sense as any of the others. Now, these faux wildcats normally play in a soulless concrete cavern of a stadium, on fake grass, illuminated by artificial light, beneath a glorified umbrella of a roof. An apparatus of sorts, a noise-o-meter, is employed to elicit the effects of enthusiasm (i.e. cheering noises) with none of the normal causes for such (i.e. something exciting occurring). Imagine the choreographed mass applause for Our Beloved Comrade Leader in some far off dictatorland—minus the actual Beloved Comrade Leader. Like that.

When Rudolf Rocker wrote of “the tuning of all human feeling to one note, the rejection of the rich diversity of life, the mechanical fitting of all effort to a designated pattern”, he might have been discussing a B.C. Lions game. Is it any wonder that brawls in the stands have been common? I attended a game years ago and left half way through. I heard on the radio later that “we” had won.

But the other night, from one account anyway, it appears the sorry status quo was turned on its head. The team was the same; the rules of the game hadn’t changed. But a mood of great festivity had overwhelmed the fans. Cheering happened spontaneously and naturally. Laughter rained down from the stands for the nude fellow rushing across the field. Some sang for no particular reason other than good mood, and still others stomped their feet. Hundreds built a “beer snake” from their empty plastic cups and wriggled it around the stadium. Inevitably the noise-o-meter made its ugly appearance, and fans thrashed it with their silence. What brought on this infection of good cheer, this organic sprouting of the best of human feelings? Quite simply: the venue. Gone was the cavern, changed to an outdoor arena, with real grass, a blue and white sky, wind and sun.

With a little reflection, I might wonder whether these football games say something about human nature. How do the physical surroundings affect the mood of individuals and the behaviour of crowds? Are people, when allowed to behave naturally, innately good? But maybe that is meat for another post.

By the way, the outcome of the game this particular day? The home team lost. I wonder if anyone minded?


Rudolf Rocker

This post is an adapted excerpt from: On the Nature of Software Anarchism

Anarchist Rudolph Rocker reminds us that “[p]ower and culture are, in the deepest sense, irreconcilable opposites….”[1] “[C]ulture has its roots in the community”[2] and is a force for creativeness while power concentrates with a select few and “is never creative.”[3] Countless online communities can vouch for the truth of this. Free and Open Source Software development can vouch for this.

But forces are in play that aim to undermine the entire internet freedom project. State-crafted corporate law has unleashed armies of rapacious lawyers slobbering over the money to be made in defending “intellectual property rights.” It is a complete impossibility to devise a software program that is wholly unique; no program beyond the minutely trivial (not open source, not proprietary) will contain all-original code. And yet the software patent system gives licence to the strong to defend their mythical property thereby threatening innovation and freedom among the weaker.[4]

Of course the attacks do not end there. File sharing sites are shut down, down-loaders are sued, banks and governments go after undesirable websites such as wikileaks, and even the internet itself is in danger of losing its neutrality.

Power is never freely given but is always taken by force. As a consequence, the elites of society will always find an enemy in freedom for the masses. And those who possess no desire or possibility to attain power themselves must always be on guard against coercion by society’s controllers and designers. Sometimes the coercion is stark and obvious. It takes the form of torture rooms, or, if we are lucky enough, mere legislation. But often it is sly and difficult to perceive. It is “the tuning of all human feeling to one note, the rejection of the rich diversity of life, the mechanical fitting of all effort to a designated pattern.”[5] It shapes our ideas and sets our biases. It lurks in the language we unwittingly use such as “intellectual property”, “software piracy”, and “theft” limiting our intellectual capacity. We must be careful what we think. We must be careful what thoughts the words we use allow.

[1] Rudolph Rocker, “Nationalism and Culture”, Rocker Publications Committee, 1937, page 85
[2] Ibid., page 81
[3] Ibid., page 83
[4] Richard Stallman, The Danger of Software Patents, Government Model Engineering College, India
[5] Rudolph Rocker, “Nationalism and Culture”, Rocker Publications Committee, 1937, page 165