A Critique on The D-TECH Manifesto

A Takedown of a vision of Post-civ anarchy


This critque marks the end of D-TECH as a project. This is written to help work through my thoughts, explain the project change and maybe help anyone who finds bits of this useful.

Everything Wrong with D-TECH

So many things in history have gone on far longer then they should have. Marxism, capitalism, smart phones and a bunch of a whole laundry list of garbage. Many anarchists would like to think that their projects avoid this, but the degrowth mentality of avoid endless expansion is not yet something thats a trend among most anarchist, as a result of this we are left with certain thought patterns that fuck with alot of people's attempts to resist authority. Projects are often left to adopt a capitalist spirit, in the sense that they have no particular goal and often become focused on infinite growth for growth's sake. Watching the dozens of stale URLs of anarchist collectives and massive proto-states like crimethinc has cemented the idea that such tendencies are best left out of my anarchy. My projects are not delivered with finality because of this and I try to outline what I really want for a project before I go all in. Being clear and specific to yourself about what you want from your actions are a great way to avoid creating the same garbage you wish to subvert. This combined with the willingness to change tactics and become formless are what I believe will make the anarchy I want.

So what does this have to do with D-TECH? After a discussion with a certain abyss loving individual and some self-reflection, I have determined that D-TECH is on violation of the ideas I have outlined. Thus it should be charged for the following crimes: Impersonation of Marxism, Ambiguity and Reckless Endangerment.

The Trial of D-TECH v. The People of Orange County

Charge 1: Impersonation of Marxism

Its an age old story to be honest. After years of living under a certain set of principles, the people(tm) decide to revolt! Only to create the same garbage again. The Russian Revolution, something that marxists still live vicariously live through in 2019, ultimately ended in an oppressive and homophobic police state. Repeating the same mistakes is something I wish to avoid and D-TECH does exactly that. Though the D-TECH manifesto appears to have a simple goal, "My intention is to flesh out a a set of ideas regarding how anarchists use technology" is in the starting paragraph, it is really a leviathan disguised as a limber mammal.

To show the extent of D-TECH's crime its important to discuss what my personal hopes were for the project. My orignal wish is that D-TECH would result in a system that helped me connect with anarchists I have affinity with online.. The manifesto and the project as a whole, is more of an elaborate dog whistle rather than a sincere ideology and "group". I try to explain a a vision of anarchy that I felt reflected my own, a tale of decentralized overlay in a collapsed world. My hope was that the reader would see the subtext and create the network of online peers that I thought was needed. In my attempt to find comrades and defeat alienation, I packaged the formless nothing that is my anarchy. Its a complex solution that doesn't make sense for what I truly want. This is why I accuse D-TECH of taking marxist form, as both are obnoxious gigantic beasts that fuck with what they actually claim to solve. This set of patterns and behaviors(TM), can be found among many anarchists who, in their fervor to find their own, reduce their soul into a spectacle easily communicated. One anarchist in the IRC I frequent pointed out to me that I already have anarchists I know online that I have affinity with and helped me see that my desire for more is a reflection of the CEO in my head. I confused quantity for quality, something I felt was subconsciously done to make up for the lack of in person affinty. When meditating further on this, its clear to me that I thought that gathering a massive group of online folx under my umbrella would subsitute the need to find people in real life I have affinity with. Rather than take on the challenge of getting affinity with real life persons or building on existing online affnity, I spent time after time trying to make massive online umbrellas to fill the void. Like most capitalist solutions it only patches, never fixes.

For people my age, its incredibly easy to fall under this trap. Having a massive online following is not the equivalent of having people you truly stand by, its playing into the hands of capitalists who wish for you to create these mini-spectacles and get sucked into their game. But we do not have to play it. Throughout the formation of this and other similar projects, anarchists wiser than me have urged me to simplify. Urged me to focus on doing things of substance and stick to it and while I think my capacity for vision is one of my greatest strengths, it can often lead me to get lost in what could be rather than what is. For me, I've found that vision applied with laser focus has created my favorite results. D-TECH is all vision and no substance. A half assed take on post-civ theory that clings to the decentralization movment to differentiate itself from the other activist bullshit. It seeks to be goliath in what many see to be a world of goliaths but the true subversion happens amongst the small. This is why I have determined D-TECH to be guilty of marxist impersonation.

Charge 2: Ambiguity

Part of the problem with trying to do everything is that your actual goal becomes muddy as fuck. And when building monoliths, the fastest way to make them worse is to lack a specific direction. I've read my manifesto at least a dozen times and even now its stilly unclear. It appears to start as a crit of how anarchist's use technology and then as an introduction to a new religion.While I still stand by the critique of how anarchists use technology, the suggestion of a separate set of ideas to subscribe to, in order to accomplish this is misguided. It appears that I wanted to change how all anarchists use tech which, which seems like a strange goal. Why? To what end? Whats gonna happen if that happens?? This impersonal universalzing is one of the worst things about the manifesto. I'm especially embarassed that I fell victim to such a common trope in anarchism, which is trying to make everyone do what you do for some vague feeling of accomplishment. Frankly the only people I should care about using tech better or adopting free software principles are the people I do things with! And they either already adhere to such ideas or could consider my perspective with a simple conversation. I'd actually be fine with asking a bunch of people to change how they use technology as long as there was a specific reason for it, but the implicit reason in the manifesto was a desire to create a general digital anti-authoritarian sentiment, which would lead to what exactly? More empty satisfaction? Nowhere is this flaw more evident then in the call to action the allegedly ironic manifesto ends on, "To the programmers, the hackers, the homesteaders, protesters, ecologists, cipherpunks, solarpunks, cyberpunks and anarchists; I suggest you consider this essay into your personal ideas and actions." Its unclear what I wanted from these people I asked to change. For that D-TECH is charged with ambiguity.

Charge 3: Reckless Endangerment

I love free software. Not free as in beer but free as in freedom. Though Richard Stallman, founder of the FSF and leader of the free software movment, is currently cancelled or something I think he has had one of the most important takes on software. The only issue though is that in identifying around the idea of software and hardware, the movement is consumed with capitalist thinking. A diehard free software advocate is a capitalist. The movement will not go against civilization or technology, as its ideology is predicated on their continued existence. Which is why I think despite all the stupid shit Stallman has said,(green is my pepper comes to mind) the worst thing he has stated is that he's a liberal. The focus on a certain machination of civilization will lead to you eventually supporting civilization itself. Its impossible to love VR technology or Google Drive and want to civilization to die, those things are tied together. D-TECH had the potential to fall under this trap.

Whats far more important than how things are today, is how things appear. The surface of D-TECH screams "keep industry chugging so D-TECH can stay alive!". It takes post-civ theory,and reduces it into something that sounds like it belongs in a hacker news article. Though the essay doesn't technically say civilization and technology is good, the subtext could be seen that tech is great as long as its fixed in a D-TECH way. This is not the case. Having an ideology centered around technology, even if it is decentralized is asking for trouble. If D-TECH was given the chance to take off, as its activist movment structure clearly wanted, it would likely be used to fuel green capitalism's adaptations to collapse. Nothing should be glorified for this reason. The upholding of images or ideas will only lead to authority. And if I'm to call myself an anarchist, I need to be cautious of how authority can creep up in any form. The potential to become another disgusting tech movment and even help green capitalism is why I give D-TECH its final charge: Reckless endangerment.

Can D-TECH be composted?

The short answer is yes. The raddle forum and irc channel of D-TECH will be composted. D-TECH will be redefined. So what's D-TECH now? Its simply shorthand for Distributed/Decentralized technology. That is all it will be. Spaces that discuss D-TECH, should they want to exist, will discuss the usage and creation of such technology. It is not a movement, a digital messiah or a something to aspire to. It is a category of technology, a point of discussion. Now go back to your #Resist facebook page loser.