[Fsfe-ie] A CRIStmas Carol

Adam Moran adam at diamat.org.uk
Wed Dec 24 13:58:25 CET 2003

Hi Lists,

As I sit here froze to the bone in my igloo home, I have hacked together 
a story about Software, Economics and Politics - topics which I know we 
all have in mind. Like the Dickens' story of the same name, this one is 
authored with the intention of keeping our spirits warm in these dark 
days; like his story the main character is haunted by ghosts.

Modes of Production: Species and Genera


Through out history people have created new and more efficient modes of 
producing the needs and wants of:

1. themselves, and
2. the particular society in which they are positioned.

The different species of production used by societies may be identified 
by the artifact used to regulate production.

Species: Capital M-C-M'

The regulator of species capital is the money-system artifact, M-C-M', 
and is a recent invention of Homo sapiens.

Money was authored long before the evolution of species capital and it's 
intended character was to facilitate exchange C-M-C.

The money-system artifact is a sub-optimal regulator of production; it 
burns the vast majority of our labor in order to reproduce itself.

Also, the money-system artifact is mathematically flawed; it presumes 
infinite growth (M->M') in our finite world.

Species : CRIS

The regulator of the species of production used to make FLOSS [1] is the 
Common Review In-value System.

In this system we work together in open non-hierarchical groups (Common 
Review), and exchange information without price (In-value), in order to 
define and achieve common goals. Our words are our currency.

The artifacts used to regulate production in Species CRIS are groupware 
technologies eg. email lists, GPL, CPAN, Wikis, Mir etc. These artifacts 
are designed to allow anybody with an internet connection, and time on 
their hands, to start up and take part in group work.

This system enables us to author FLOSS, and other group learning 
artifacts, which are both more useful and less labor intensive than 
those produced by the money-system artifact.

* More useful because the intended character of our products and 
services are defined and made by groups in open peer review. Many of us 
in the West have witnessed peer review in-value systems in families, 
schools, work place, group therapy sessions etc.; some of us have been 
both fortunate and privileged enough to participate in peer review from 
time to time; I guess this describes the vast majority of the people 
reading this so I'll rest this point for the moment.

* Less labor intensive because we build things to last - we build 
libraries, we modularise; we build things for re-use; we don't build 
things to throw away and other wise pollute our planet. Further, we are 
not regulated in species CRIS by the money-system artifact which burns 
the vast majority of our labor in order to reproduce itself.

Species and Politics

For a production species to become dominant it requires a State. A state 
is that group of people with the power to dictate which artifact is used 
to regulate production.

How a state ( the structure, the 'We' ) treats its objects ( the atom, 
the 'I' ) defines the Politics of that state.

States which use production-regulators to pump labor / wealth out of one 
group of people and in to the stomachs / minds of another have the 
politics of exploitation.

Not all states that have existed in our history have had a politics of 
exploitation; Nor should any new state.

When an exploited group of producers become aware of their exploitation 
they adopt the politics of antagonism.

The politics of exploitation / antagonism are the politics of hierarchy 
  ; they are the politics of the 'Them' and the 'Us'.

Whether these states use the money-system artifact, brute-force or 
hypnotism to pump this labor matters little, at one abstraction, in that 
the particular regulator of labor extraction adopted by the state merely 
defines the different groups of this world and clarifies their position. 
  The politics of these types of states are the politics of exploitation 
and consequently antagonism; these are the politics of hierarchy.


Through out our history people have created new and more efficient modes 
of producing the needs and wants of:

1. themselves, and
2. the particular society to which they belong.

The different genus of production modes used by societies may be 
identified by the artifact used to regulate reproduction.

Genus : Zeus

"I still dream of organon - I wake up crying" Kate Bush: Cloud Bursting

Female reproductive and child-naturing labor underwrites the mathematics 
of species capitalism [2]; Labor / wealth is pumped out of women and in 
to the stomachs / minds of men in order to produce the *producers* 
required by the species. This is also the case in species real estate 
[3] and all other species of production using patriarchal-myth artifacts 
to regulate the production of the *producers*.

  "Since that stage in the evolution when man ceased to be an animal and 
became Homo sapiens, it has been inherent in his nature, on looking at 
the world about him with wondering and puzzelled eyes, to ask the 
questions 'Why?' and 'How?' It is the result of his groping attempts 
throughout the ages to find the answer to these questions which we call 
religion - or mythology: for we are inclined to consider our own beliefs 
- if we have any - as religion, and other people's beliefs as mythology. 
A myth then is firstly, man's attempts to explain the world and the 
things he sees in it, and to make intelligible to himself the natural 
phenomena which condition his way of life in that world." [4]

One particular patriarchal-myth artifact which dominates western society 
is this:  There exists a Natural Division of Labor, and that female 
reproductive and child rearing labor is 'naturally' the labor of women. 
This artifact was authored by the Greek philosophers Plato / Aristotle 
and propagated by many later day apostles such as Marx.

What then was the 'natural phenomena' which conditioned Plato and 
Aristotle's lives ? It is that population multiplies faster than food [5 
Malthus], and consequently populations compete to survive. [5 Wallace, 

The Greek city states came in to being following a population growth and 
mass migration from the north; these migrations were of "experienced 
warriors rather than herdsman and peaceful settlement and intermarriage 
were less to their liking than conquest and appropriation of territory 
and the slaughter or enslavement of those whose lands they invaded.[4a]" 
This describes the first species of this genus of production - War.

The progressive conquests of these migrating warrior tribes replaced and 
subsumed the existing communities where both reproduction and production 
was regulated by mother-goddess artifacts;  "Those myths which tell of 
the too-frequent quarrels between Zeus and Hera, his sister and queen, 
may appear undignified to us at first sight, but are simply allegories 
of the old worship and the new - as indeed, are most myths which tell of 
divine revolts.[4]"

The Greek philosophers were thinking in, and writing from, their 
privileged positions in the wealthy patriarchal states which 
crystallized from this genus of production; they authored patriarchal 
myth artifacts in effort to make sense of their own way of life. Their 
way of life was an existence in a state where the reproductive and 
child-naturing labor was undertaken by the women, and their myth was 
that this was a Natural Division of Labor. This patriarchal myth and its 
variants are the artifacts which regulate reproduction in genus zeus.

Zeus artifact made flesh and propagated through the generations: The 
Masculine experience.

"The Division of labor in childrearing results in an objectification of 
women - a treating of women as others, or objects, rather than subjects, 
or selves - that extends to our culture as a whole. Infantile 
development of the self is explored in opposition to the mother, as 
primary caretaker, who becomes the other. Because boys are opposite 
gender from their mothers, they especially feel a need to differentiate 
and yet find differentiation problematic. The boy comes to define his 
self more in opposition than through a sense of his wholeness or 
community. He becomes the self and experiences his mother as the other. 
The process also extends to his trying to dominate the other in order to 
ensure his sense of self. Such domination begins with mother as the 
object, extends to women, and is generalized to include the experience 
of all others as objects rather than subjects. This stance in which 
people are treated and experienced as things, becomes basic male Western 

"The literature on gender formation and acquisition suggests that there 
are ways in which masculine experience yields certain cognitive 
proclivities, tendencies which structure perception. Such Cognitive 
proclitives may comprise or contribute to intellectual frameworks 
implicitly organized around the ontological and epistemological primacy 
of the masculine subject, and include several among the following 
elements: a combative brand of dualistic thinking, a persistent and 
systematic amplification of the primal Self-Other oppositional dynamic; 
the creation of dichotomized polarities by which to describe and 
evaluate the events, objects, and processes of the natural and social 
worlds; the need for and privileging of singular identity and certainty 
with respect to one's "own" identity and that of other "objects" in the 
environment; the denial or refusal of relatedness, to fellow human 
beings and to nature; a fear and repudiation of natural contingency, 
including those limits imposed by the body and the natural surround; an 
identification of such contingency with the feminine; versions of a 
solitary subject immersed in an hostile and dangerous world; detailed 
expressions of radical or heroic individualism; preoccupation with 
themes of freedom, autonomy and transcendence; accounts of 
knowledge-as-opposition and knowledge-as-struggle, based on a distanced 
relation between the subject and object of knowledge; attitudes of fear, 
denigration and hostility towards whatever is identified as female of 
feminine; idealisation and glorification of the feminine. This last set 
of seemingly incompatible attitudes would recapitulate the effects of 
the differentiation from the material object, the (m)other.[2]"

Genus and Politics

For a reproduction genus to become dominant it requires a State. A state 
is that group of people with the power to dictate which artifact is used 
to regulate reproduction.

States which use reproduction-regulators to pump labor / wealth out of 
women and in to the stomachs / minds of men have the politics of 

Not all states that have existed in our history have had a politics of 
patriarchy; Nor should any new state.

Genus : Athena

"If the structure of my environment reflected the structure of my 
thinking, what information would that give me?" [7]

Like the character Scrooge in the Dickens' story we are beginning to 
learn that our path to salvation is through sharing what we have. Many 
of us live and work in the spirit of species CRIS all year long. Through 
our practice of species CRIS we are becoming aware of how our new 
learning shapes our relationships with others,  and how it shapes our 
physical environment.

Unlike Scrooge, we are not at the end of our journey. We find that our 
newly acquired insights based on our ethics of sharing [8] are under 
threat of being swallowed by an older species of production.

Take good cheer you merry folk to our kin in these dark days; we find 
ourselves bonded in the protection of common property with the potential 
to unfold a mode of live upon our world which to date has only been the 
substance of myth; tell them this is how states normally evolve; tell 
them to get involved.

As we celebrate this solstice and the artifact television bombards our 
children with the patriarchal-life scripts of genus zeus, let us 
remember that species CRIS is now haunting the world, and let us 
contemplate more useful myths in these dark times.


[1] Free Libre Open Sorce Software - http://www.flora.ca/floss.shtml

[2] Christine Di Stefano - "Masculine Marx" : "Feminist Interpretations 
and Political Theory" Edited by Mary Lyndon Shanley & Carole Pateman

[3] "Meaning of 'Real Property - Land. The natural division of physical 
property is into land (sometimes called 'immovables') and other objects 
known as chattels or 'movables.' This simple distintion is inadequate. 
In the first place chattels may become attached to land so as to lose 
their character of chattels and become part of the land itself. Second, 
a sophisticated legal system of property has to provide not simply for 
ownership of physical property, but also for the ownership of a wide 
variety of *interests* in such physical property, and also for the 
ownership of interests in non-physical property, and also for the 
ownership of interests in non-physical or intangible property such as 
shares in companies or copyright. Third, for historical reasons English 
law has developed a distinction between 'real property' and 'personal 
property' which only approximately corresponds to that between 'land' 
and other types of property." - Megarry's Manual of the LAw of Real 
Property - Seventh Edition - Sir Robert Megarry / M.P. Thompson

[4] Barbara Leonie Picard - Introduction to the "All colour book of 
Greek Mythology" by Richard Patrick [4a] The Achean and Dorian invasions

[5] "Alfred Wallace returned from the tropics, as Darwin had done, 
convinced that related species diverge from a common stock, and 
nonplussed as to why they diverged. What Wallace did not know was that 
Darwin had hit on the explanation two years after he returned to England 
from his voyage in the *Beagle*. Darwin recounts that in 1838 he was 
reading the *Essay on Population* by the Reverend Thomas Malthus ('for 
amusement', says Darwin, meaning that it was not part of his serious 
reading) and he was struck by the thought in Malthus. Malthus had said 
that population multiplies faster than food. If that is true of animals, 
then they must compete to survive: so that nature acts as a selective 
force, killing of the weak, and forming new species from the survivors 
who are fittted to their environment.

  'Here then I had at last a theory by which to work,' says Darwin. And 
you would have think that a man who said that would set to work, write 
papers, go out and lecture. Nothing of the kind. For four years Darwin 
did not even commit the theory to paper. Only in 1842 he wrote a draft 
of thirty five pages, in pencil; and two years later expanded it to two 
hundred and thirty five pages, in ink. And the draft he deposited with a 
sum of money and instructives to his wife to publish if he died." 
J.Bronowski - The Ascent of Man

[6] In Judith Lorber, Rose Laub Coser, Alice S. Rossi and Nancy 
Chodorow, "On the Reproduction of Mothering: A Methodological Debate," 
*Signs of Women in Culture and Society* - Quote reproduced in [2] above.

[7] Penny Tompkins and James Lawley - http://www.devco.demon.co.uk/SRP.html

[8] Five Freedoms of Knowledge

* The freedom to study any problem (freedom -1)
* The freedom to use the results of this study for any purpose (freedom 0)
* The freedom to examine the raw materials and methods used in this study,
and use them for your own needs (freedom 1).
* The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbour
(freedom 2).
* The freedom to improve the results, and release your improvements to the
public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3).

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