Clay Richards, anarchist blogger, writes about politics, art, sexuality and emerging digital realities. More poststructuralist than postmodern, politically incorrect to some, harshly critical to others, the Postmodern Anarchist believes in anarchy without anarchists, yet will freely discuss anarchism at the drop of a hat. Contact: postmodernanarchist(at)netweed(dot)com

The Postmodern Anarchist now resides at postmodernanarchist.com!

11/25/2003

Dewey Decimal Lawsuit 

You may be relieved to note that the Dewey Decimal lawsuit against The Library Hotel has been resolved.

11/24/2003

Democracy, Thumbs, RFID Chips 

From Terra Nova:
Fascism is Fun

From USA TODAY:
Thumbs pay at some stores

From WorldNetDaily:
Bio-chip implant arrives for cashless transactions

From RFID Journal:
The Real Scandal - The industry fights back!

11/22/2003

Beyond Democracy in Virtual Worlds 

I keep up with virtual worlds at Terra Nova. And I often forget that these are games. But as the links in this post on Celia Pearce reveal, games are serious academic business, as well as being highly profitable. My sense of things is that virtual worlds, immersive games, whatever they're termed, are the precursors to online environments in which much of what's now done going from site to site will be done in a specific world, kind of like in Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash.

The question of whether these games are worlds or services or something else has been a point of discussion at Terra Nova. While the various philosophical arguments on these and related issues ensue, they really are mostly pointless except to those who participate in them. The comments related to legal issues are most relevant, because the courts are where most of such philosophical questions will be resolved. I find it disturbing that Dan Hunter thinks that many of his colleagues would argue against the relevance of participatory democracy in online settings.

My own perspective as an anarchist, is that whoever is affected directly by things should have input into those things. While that perspective would get more complex as one got into specifics, it does entail the belief that an institution or service that involves large numbers of people should ultimately involve the decision making of those people. I say this is a belief because I don't believe in rights as a natural phenomenon. Rights are something we make happen and they can disappear all too easily, natural or not.

One of the problems with future legal decisions regarding online worlds is that they will be based on legal perspectives established in less than fully democratic societies, since participatory democracy exists nowhere at a state level. Which raises the point made by a friend, that it's time to create an open source virtual world in which to build an online anarchist society. If that's happening and your collective agreements don't currently require secrecy, please let me know. I'm interested and so are many others.

PS - My use of the term anarchy bears little resemblance to that of Anarchy Online or Evercrack in its bloodier moments.

11/21/2003

Open Access: Elsevier, ibiblio 

Mass media coverage of open access with some focus on Elsevier, this time in USA Today.

Wired News recently did a story on ibiblio, a groovy open access project out of North Carolina at UNC.

11/19/2003

Elsevier Journals Boycott News 

November 17 - Open Access Now
Boycott highlights Open Access alternatives

November 17 - Open Access Now
A crisis on campus

November 17 - Information Today
Cornell and Other University Libraries to Cancel Elsevier Titles

November 11 - John Baez
What We Can Do About Science Journals

October 31 - Santa Cruz Sentinel
UCSC faculty threatens to boycott publisher

October 27 - San Francisco Chronicle
Bay Area leads revolt against scientific journals

October 23 - The Scientist
Researchers boycott Cell Press

October 21 - Reprint from the Chronicle of Higher Education
Scientists at U. of California at San Francisco Push for Boycott Against 6 Biology Journals

October 14/17/20 - Boycott of Cell Press Journals
Cell Press Boycott Letter Exchange

October 8 - UCSC Senate
UCSC Committee on the Library Resolution

I was introduced to this issue and first gathered links through Open Access News. Peter Suber and associates post daily on a wide range of topics related to open access publishing.

Game Studies 

If you're addicted to computer games and need a dissertation topic, Game Studies, the international journal of computer game research, may provide appropriate food for thought. Looks like the last issue came out last May. Sure, they publish "several times a year," but I'd archive it on your hard drive, just in case.

11/18/2003

The Village Voice 

Although the Village Voice is not what it used to be (oh, grandpa!), it's still pretty cool, especially since you can read it for free online. I just discovered that I missed late June's The Queer Issue: Hidden Worlds and that the fucked up attempt to brand activists as terrorists is building momentum in multiple states.

11/17/2003

Domain Errors 

Domain Errors: Cyberfeminist Practices is an interesting looking book from subRosa, a "reproducible cyberfeminist cell of cultural researchers committed to combining art, activism, and politics to explore and critique the effects of the intersections of the new information and biotechnologies on women's bodies, lives, and work." Reviewer Ryan Griffis describes it as taking on the "task of theorizing as well as documenting what feminism could look like in the Information Age."

11/14/2003

Short Bits 

Do you have a Half Price Books in your town? If so, you may be mistaking a chain store for a local business. Check it out. Know who your money supports.

Blog Update - A Non-sectarian Anarchist's Views is now Anarchy Xero with a new URL.

The introduction of intellectual property rights for player created property in a commercial virtual world has just been announced by Second Life at The State of Play conference.

11/12/2003

Institute for Anarchist Studies 

The Institute for Anarchist Studies has just released their Fall issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, available online, in print or as a pdf file. It's a nice issue with a special focus on Argentinian and Latin American anarchism.

11/11/2003

CASPIAN's Confusing Campaign Against RFID 

I just got a periodic newsletter from CASPIAN or Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering that informed me of the recent Chicago Sun-Times expose of Wal-Mart and Procter & Gamble's secret testing of RFID chips allied with webcams to track shoppers' response to cosmetics. These were tests that I think were originally announced or exposed then officially abandoned due to negative publicity. Apparently they occurred anyway.

RFID chips have been publicized by businesses that want to use them as an innocuous form of inventory tracking and control. Their innocence supposedly lies in the limits of the technology and the fact that they can only be tracked at close range. However, with the amazing leaps that can occur in the development of such technologies, these limits are hardly comforting. If you're concerned about such issues, CASPIAN has set up a new site, Stop RFID.

CASPIAN is an interesting project for various reasons and they are addressing important issues, but they are pursuing a confusing Internet strategy that involves starting new websites for each campaign, often related to the same issue. So they also are responsible for Boycott Bennetton, a campaign against RFID chips at Bennetton stores, and Boycott Gillette, same technology, different company. Typically such single campaign sites are used when multiple groups form a coalition or for a major ongoing campaign. These proliferating sites, all from the same group, mostly on the same issue, make it difficult to follow what is basically an interconnected campaign.

I also find it rather odd that they use stoprfid.com, stoprfid.org and spychips.com for the same site, an approach primarily employed by disreputable marketers seeking to spam the search engines. It's all rather confusing, especially since there doesn't seem to be a links list at their first site to all the others.


11/10/2003

The Cultural Continuum of the Early 21st Century 

Edward Castronova recently reported on the diary of a participant in There who details his first kiss in cyberspace.

The NY Times recently reported on new developments in human trafficking along the border of the U.S. and Mexico.

11/09/2003

9/11 Changed Everything 

Texas cops catch fish, not terrorists

Jessica Lynch: Military Used Me

Ex-POWs' treatment seems unfair to many

Miss Afghanistan could be charged over beauty pageant

Get Your War On

Didn't it?

11/07/2003

News Briefs: Schools/Suicide/Assassins 

I have long heard of the high rate of youth suicide in Japan, partially linked to pressures to achieve in high stakes exams in their educational system. There's a lot to that topic but it's my basic reference for those who look to such authoritarian educational systems for inspiration. However I had no idea that there is a growing rate of teacher suicides in Japan, as well.

My interest in education ranges far beyond the typical institutions one may envision when discussing education. While I've been drawn more to alternative educational projects, it's important to recognize that oppressive forces have their own forms of education, and I don't just mean Harvard.

News Briefs: White House Robots.txt 

I've been seeing various articles and posts about the recent discovery that the White House is using robots.txt to exclude various search engine spiders at whitehouse.gov. Knowing the tendency of anarchists and left/liberals to jump to conclusions without understanding the underlying technical details, I found this article at SearchEngineWatch.com quite useful. But then I found this post at Shock and Awe that seems to account for the prior technical explanation. This looks like a good topic for someone to research while older versions of things are still available online.

11/06/2003

Online Journal 

Check out First Monday sometime if you're interested in academic takes on the Internet, cyberculture and that sort of thing. They publish smart writing by smart people who are unrelentingly academic. I'd be like that too if I'd gotten a higher ed job!

E-Voting Controversies 

I haven't been keeping up with the developments in e-voting like I should. A recent article in the NY Times on the posting and distribution of Diebold Election System's internal documents, in part via filesharing, caught my attention. And I've been seeing lots of coverage in Wired (check the related coverage links with this recent article). The Electronic Frontier Foundation has been deeply involved and maintains various resources at their site. But gee, why can't Bill Gates take over and fix this mess? Then everything would be ok!

11/04/2003

Blog Alert 

I've encountered some interesting blogs recently. Rob Findlay blogs at Non-sectarian Anarchist News and Commentary and it's really a more personal take on the news than the title suggests.

When logging on to Blogger, I always check out who's posted recently. Often I check out the blogs with provocative titles, like Nymphomania or Narcolepsy?. Like a surprising number of blogs with sexually oriented titles, this one is written by a young American woman. However, unlike most such blogs I've checked out, this blogger is developing a personal voice that excels when describing her visits to a local coffeehouse or her theatrical outbursts at parties. More focused is her collaboration with a friend called Modern Art Failure. Quite interesting and well done. These two blogs remind me that I don't write about sex or art nearly enough in this blog.

More on Elsevier Boycott 

OK, it's not a boycott yet, it's a proposed boycott. I finally got it straight from this article that I found out about, of course, at Open Access News. This article is especially good because it's lays out numbers, both what the journals cost and the amount of involvement in Elsevier business by unpaid researchers in the University of California system.

11/02/2003

Hip Hop Politics Heating Up 

Recent political events in hip hop have been pretty interesting and Clyde, that netweed guy, has been writing about them in Hip Hop Logic. Recent entries have included commentary on Farrakhan's attempt at meditating beefs between big stars and the current campaign to expose sweatshop conditions in the manufacture of P. Diddy's Sean John clothing line.

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