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05/11/2012

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Who Was Really Behind the Anti-SOPA Campaign? Not Grass-Roots, but the Astroturf Machines of Mitch Kapor:

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Shava23

This is really hilarious. Tracing people who are active on the Internet to Mitch Kapor is a bit like crossing Kevin Bacon with six degrees of Albert Einstein in physics.

Oh, yes! I see nuclear plots everywhere! Why, every physicist I see has READ ALBERT EINSTEIN's work! They recognize his picture. They probably are intimately familiar with general relativity. You know what this means, don't you? None of them are really playing dice with the universe. Watch yourself!

Do you realize how insane you sound? Mitch and a bunch of guys on the Charles River at Lotus were the first folks to think about organizing the equivalent of the ACLU for the Internet, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, back in what, the early 80s. I was a friend of a bunch of those guys then -- I was on staff at MIT or DEC at the time, depending on which year it was.

It was a kind of small world. A lot of folks who knew about the net in the Boston area worked at DEC or MIT or Lotus or Harvard or BBN or MITRE or somewhere interesting. We all talked to one another on USENET if we were interested in online issues having to do with internet, law, and society -- left, right, center, anarchist, whatever. I mean, there were only a few thousands of us, right?

So, each of us went out and we founded...companies. Or went and worked for more companies. And we didn't, most of us, forget our interest in Internet and society. We watched this tech grow up. We remained interested -- on one side or another -- in many of these questions.

Mitch wouldn't give me 5 minutes of his time, honey (trust me, I've tried, several times -- he's a freaking hard man to get attention from -- he's a VC). I'm not important enough, and he has too many far more interesting things competing for his precious moments.

But I use Second Life. I'm an EFF member (lapsed, oops), and I know some few staffers. I'm an online organizer and I blog and I influenced probably thousands of folks on SOPA/PIPA personally. I've been an online organizer since the 80s. And that's parallel development. I've been teaching people how to organize online for decades. And it has NOTHING to do with Mitch (he can toss me funding any time...please! :).

But.

two degrees of separation through Second Life
two degrees of separation through EFF
two degrees of separation through Lotus
two degrees of separation through nine of my 330 contacts on LinkedIn

Just because you aren't part of my world, sweetie, doesn't mean my world is some kind of freaking spy network that is working toward your demise in some kind of sinister illicit way.

We're just better than that.

We talk to each other and we do things. We're the same people who developed the online organizing that creating funding models for Howard Dean. We're the same people who created "Internet memes" (for good or ill). We're the same people who spread alerts when people are missing or in distress through social media and produce real manifest help in the real world -- beats the hell out of prayer meetings, but some of us do that too. ;)

Get over it.

Mitch is an elder in our community. If online law folks have to stop connecting to Mitch, then conservatives have to wipe Ronald Reagan from their institutional memory. But you know what? Ronald Reagan isn't doing any astroturfing at this current moment even if he's invoked at every turn, and has influenced a lot of conservative thought.

Don't turn Mitch into a straw man. He's a very decent real human being. You're giving him, oddly, more power than he has, even though he's done some very admirable work.

Eric S. Raymond

What Shava said.

I'm another elder of the tribe that made SOPA/PIPA politically radioactive. You can read my "Open Letter to Chris Dodd" at http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=4155 to find out how and why we mobilized.

I know Shava well, and I've met Mitch Kapor and consider him an ally and have no doubt he considers me one. But none of the three of us coordinated with each other. We didn't have to; faced with the slimy pulsating horror that was SOPA/PIPA all three of us knew what we needed to do. So did every other decent upstanding geek on the planet.

The notion that Mitch Kapor was some sort of Svengali marshaling oppositional armies in the dark of night is just...bugfuck loony. It would have been less crazy to suppose that *I* did it. (But no, I didn't.)

Shava23

Of course, if you want to smack the SOPA/PIPA resistors as a committee of the whole, groupthink and manufacturing consent certainly would be good rhetorical bludgeons. Those would be harder for us to field, honestly...

Shava23

Right, and as a note here... I've known esr since I was what, sixteen? :) And he's posting on ibiblio, which was site number 26, I think, on the world wide web in 1993, as sunsite.unc.edu. And if you look at the history pages from that time, I was on staff on that site at that time. My son's baby pictures are still archived there.

But, esr and I never overlapped as users there, although it's never been a general usage site; it's got a rather distinguished alum list, none of which are many degrees of separation from Mitch, and probably every one of which actively opposed and organized against SOPA/PIPA.

It's not conspiracy, it a community of like minded folks. This is the same sort of movement that gave rise to the Pullman Strike, for example. When they arrested Eugene Debs, because he was the spokesperson for the strike, they thought they were arresting the leader, and the strike would fall apart -- but they were only arresting the person delegated by a movement to be the PR person who spoke to journalists. So when Debs went to jail and all activity continued without a lapse of apparent coordination, the Pinkertons, government and all freaked out.

What they didn't understand was that a set of groups of individuals with common values had gotten together, shared plans, dispersed, and independently with similar values and motivations gone about carrying out the same plans with the same goals.

It's anarchistic and damnably effective. And it scares the living core out of authority figures because it is unstoppable.

To quote Joss Wheedon, "can't stop the signal."

Catherine Fitzpatrick

Shava, you really do look silly when you get so self-righteous. Mitch Kapor is an ideology -- a technocommmunist with an ardent, fervent belief in eliminating copyright, collectivizing the Internet, and moving to a share/gift economy. This doesn't require proof, just read his old blogs and watch what he does. He forms and funds multiple organizations devoted to the open source software cult, but more to the point, devoted to a furious battle against copyright and proprietary code, and mainly the record companies, through Downhill Battle. The same fierce warriors he funded in Downhill Battle, which was a site that eventually failed and languished because the music industry didn't do what they wanted and didn't die, morphed into the Miro TV project, which was another abject failure, predicated on hijacking content. These people have now been reconstituted into Fight for the Future -- when it's really their *own* future, if Kapor or Soros doesn't fund them, they have to fight for. None of them have created or owned businesses; all of them exist on the non-profit dole.

To pretend that this is just like physicists who read Einstein is absurd, because physicists didn't get paid and earn their livings merely by reading Einstein.

Do you realize how insane YOU sound? You can't admit that a few hardened and seasoned cadres, fighting clandestinely and stealthily like the cadres always do, are obviously outed -- and outed precisely because they couldn't refrain -- like all griefers! -- from victory-dancing. Hence all the post-mortem articles in the tech press singling out Tiffaniy Cheng and others in the Kapor metaverse for praise and glory. Some conspiracy, eh, if I can read about it?

What I point out *is* conspiratorial, however, is the morphing from the failed "let's kill copyright and steal content" model of radicals into the "let's fight for free speech and co-opt liberals" model. That's where I come in, and that's where I fight back hard, and have been fighting back hard for years, ever since I discovered this unconscionable gambit. It's morally wrong and unlawful.

The gambit of your big pal Mitch Kapor wasn't just "an ACLU for the Internet" but *a criminal defense fund for unlawful hackers legitimately charged with crimes*. That little part you forgot, and I think even that part you'd admit, whatever your love of hackers. So in that sense it's more like the radical National Lawyers Guild defending obviously disruptive and violent demonstrators than it is the ACLU, although the ACLU has no shame about lying about SOPA and CISPA now, either.

Well, as Yosem Companys would put it, I *am* part of your "community," Shava, and your world, simply by having the machines of the Internet at Second Life or Liberationtech hook us up. But I'm not in your cult, no. And I don't think communities are defined by machines. And machines -- in the literal and the figurative sense of political machines -- are EXACTLY what was involved here, not some grassroots sentiment involving ordinary Americans who "just couldn't take it any more."

Instead, it was concerted, clandestine and coordinated cadres like it always is in the socialist stealth politics. And that's not a conspiracy theory, that's a report. You know perfectly well they cooked up this idea of morphing from the criminality of the anti-copyright fight they loved, but which FAILED and DID NOT ATTRACT followers, and put it in fake "free speech" terms to round up East Coast liberals (like Soros and others). AND they could count on every single clicker out there to feel guilty that he, like everyone else on the Internet, had lifted content illegally and prey on his fears that he might be punished -- although the law specified that it was going after large-scale COMMERCIAL pirates.

Yeah, I'm quite aware that you and your pals created the failed Dean campaign. The Internet doesn't create campaigns, it only amplifies them. Nothing will save Obama, even your concocted whipped up Internet frenzies trying to invoke the Internet memes of "bullying".

I haven't turned Mitch into a straw man. I've *reported on his public activities*. Decent human being or no -- and I personally know human rights activists who think he is a decent human being and I respect that -- he has caused ENORMOUS DESTRUCTION to people's livelihoods and entire industries with his open source cultism and his strategizing with EFF, PCF and other front groups with far less life to them than those two -- like "Fight for the Future" which is such an, um, successful organization with such a victory against SOPA behind its belt that it has to...advertise to hire people for three main staff positions again.

Failed software, failed ideological models, and yet the money and the determination to keep destroying other people's livelihoods. That's immoral.

As for "not coordinating with each other," that's silly. Of course you're coordinated. You don't have to physically meet or even click on the same buttons. The likeminded memes are already successfully spread and you never question them. SOPA/PIPA isn't a slimy pulsating horror -- a campaign that undermines legitimate representative government and uses blackmail is the slimy pulsating horror.

Bugfuck loony? You're the bugfuck, Eric, that you buy this stuff and never question it. And BTW, I noted in my headline that these are Mitch Kapor MACHINES not the limited man of Mitch Kapor himself personally who leads armies like a Svengali. Mitch knows how to make machines. That they fail, and fail big isn't always advertised, but they do fail. Meanwhile, they cause a lot of destruction. I just talked to a friend today who wailed about all her old email archives trapped in Lotus 1-2-3...

I've indeed pointed out that the Mitch Kapor MACHINES -- EFF, PFC, etc. and his CADRES are the ones making a "committee of the whole" and manufacturing consent. He doesn't have to do a thing but sign checks and tweet occasionally -- like Soros. The people who rant about Soros conspiracies have little appreciation for how a foundation's staff operating under his ideological framework making a $25,000 grant to a little group on the cadre list can in fact make a difference.

So I'm glad you've conceded the "rhetorical bludgeons," and concede that they are "harder to field" because that's exactly what they are. You've fixed on the persona of Mitch Kapor as being innocent and "a good man," without looking at his machine politics and the cadres he's spawned like Tiffaniy.

So ESR has big fucking Internet credentials? Who cares?! Why would it matter if your son's baby pictures are on his server (they never, ever let your content go, those geeks!) but you never actually talked to him? You're still part of the same *machine politics*, Shava, functioning in a group-think. You don't have to meet.

Communities of like-minded folks ARE conspiracies when they preside over a sleight of hand like converting the crime of copyright violation into the cause of free speech. That's repulsive, and that's what I will never, ever, forgive EFF and all of you for, and you know it, and I know it, and you know deep in your heart that I'm right, because there isn't any harm to free speech caused by removing pirated content -- in fact it protects the free speech of the creator.

Can't stop the signal? What are you afraid of that you have to cook up mythologies like that?

Anarchy as "damnably effective"? Where's your OWS of Boston now, Shava? Have they all deloused effectively yet?

c3

Tiffaniy... with an I and a Y....?
game over. the machines win.

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