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Marxism and Technology

  • How to expand the influence and strength of the revolutionary Marxist movement The following was a proposal that I made when still a member of the International Marxist Tendency.       Therefore it was written with a view to providing a means for that ...
    Posted 12 Sep 2011, 13:19 by heiko khoo
  • Military’s ‘persona’ software cost millions, used for ‘classified social media activities’  Exclusive:  www.rawstory.com   By Stephen C. Webster  Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011   Most people use social media like Facebook and Twitter to share photos of friends and family, chat with ...
    Posted 27 Feb 2011, 09:47 by Admin uk
  • The meaning of Wikileaks “Thus all collisions in history have their origin, according to our view, in the contradiction between the productive forces and the form of intercourse.” Karl Marx the German Ideology 1845 ...
    Posted 3 Mar 2011, 04:03 by Admin uk
  • Speech at London's Speakers' Corner
    Posted 10 Mar 2010, 15:38 by Admin uk
  • The data deluge - an article from the Economist For the information of comrades, this is a recent article in the Economist: The data deluge Businesses, governments and society are only starting to tap its vast potential http://www ...
    Posted 15 Mar 2010, 16:02 by Admin uk
  • Thousands of Polish postal workers use an intranet to link up and help coordinate their work By W from PolandComrades,The postal workers in Poland have an intranet where there are 8 000 workers participating. The postal workers' union affiliated to the OPZZ joined this ...
    Posted 5 Mar 2011, 03:06 by Admin uk
  • Marxists and the Internet (draft)
    Posted 16 Feb 2010, 04:20 by Admin uk
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How to expand the influence and strength of the revolutionary Marxist movement

posted 12 Sep 2011, 13:04 by heiko khoo

The following was a proposal that I made when still a member of the International Marxist Tendency.       

Therefore it was written with a view to providing a means for that political current to create a large database and network of like minded revolutionary socialists. I think the way that the Arab, Middle Eastern and North African spring utilised social networking sites reinforces the validity of the work I proposed in this short document. Unfortunately the IMT expelled me shortly afterwards and tried to mock the idea of proposals for effective internet utilisation, counter-posing selling newspapers to using the internet and arguing that newspapers are somehow inherently superior as a mode of disseminating Marxist ideas.       

The only problem I can see with the proposal now is that facebook imposed some restrictions on making new 'friends' from the Autumn of 2010 which prevent the simple proposal I made from being carried out today. However, technically there are other means of attaining the same objectives. Heiko Khoo 12th September 2011.        

How to expand the influence and strength of the revolutionary Marxist movement             

A discussion document by Heiko Khoo 19 Jan 2010           

The Internet transformed the possibilities for Marxists to influence the process of combination of the working class of the world. Some Marxists developed web sites that enabled them to connect with people in areas where such combination would previously have consumed considerable resources and energy with scant chances of success.         

Travel costs and the hit and miss chance of finding likeminded people narrowed the scope for international and even national connectivity and the expansion of influence and membership of revolutionary movements. In some cases a revolutionary would be sent to a country with no connections and simply have to scout around blindly for someone to ‘recruit’.

 

The Internet has acquired maturity and such ubiquitous influence that there is a danger of missing the greatest opportunity for expanding the influence of Marxism in history. The Internet has become a medium of communications, which combines all the power of video, radio and newspapers, but with no combinational limitations and no additional costs in disseminating to 10 million as to disseminating to 10.

 

Social networking sites provide the means of unifying well over 250,000 self-avowed revolutionary socialists worldwide. All that is required is a consistent and unified work plan and we can draw into our sphere of influence a quarter of a million comrades within a year. The character of the combination would be as follows.

  1. Being in communication on a regular basis with active comrades.
  2. Being readers and followers of our web sites
  3. Being contributors to the web sites, in audio, video and articles.
  4. Being people from whose ranks we will establish and expand the revolutionary Marxist movement in the real world.

 

The process. Facebook.

 

There are 400 million users of facebook. The following groups have large memberships and are the product of a 5 minutes search on facebook as I write this.

 

Karl Marx philosopher 80,000 plus

PSUV (Venezuelan Socialist Party) 5000 members

Socialism Cause 15,000

Noam Chomsky 55,000

German Left Party 2000

ANC youth league 2000

Che Guevara 65000

Viladimir İliç Lenin 14000

Viva Presidente Chavez 26000

Bhagat Singh 21000 (Indian Communist)

Salvador Allende 21000

Leung Kwok Hung 7000 (well known Hong Kong Trotskyist)

 

The above examples alone equal a total of 313,000 but taking account of cross membership it is likely the number of unique individuals would be more in the region of 250,000. There are many more such groups, which are not mentioned I think we can safely say at least 500,000 self-declared revolutionary socialist sympathisers on facebook.


How does one bring these people into collaboration?

 

1. We need a network of comrades and sympathisers who will do the computer spade work of making ‘friends’ with these people. In fact they should see this process as one of making ‘comrades’ rather than friends.

It is easy to make connection with 50 per day per person; the lists and target groups must be subdivided centrally to minimize repetition.

 

2. Having made ‘friends’ the foundation of collaboration and lifelong comradeship can be laid. Millions of people are looking for socialist political solutions but are either in no group, (the majority) or are in other groups with whom the presently identify. (A minority)

We need to communicate our intentions to these people, to assist in the creation a global media network of socialists, which is participatory.

 

3. The creation of databases of the essential details of these comrades should be created, this is a little laborious, but 100 plus can be done in 4 hours and would contain the following basic information, name, facebook web address, country and email. Any obvious political/union affiliations etc. should likewise be noted down.

 

To develop such a database holding 250,000 names would therefore require approximately 2500, 4-hour days. The manpower however can come from the new comrades themselves who will often be inspired enough to participate in the project themselves. I have some examples of people like this from speakers corner already. 100 volunteers could easily do this in a year, or 10 full time comrades or unemployed comrades.

 

The Leninist concept of the collective organiser can be scientifically developed by a central plan to develop a global news service of the Marxist faction of the labour movement. As such it does not have to solely publish Marxist views, but must maintain its Marxist editorial. Around the core of the editorial view will be constructed a participatory network of worker correspondents such as Lenin and Trotsky could only have dreamt of. Furthermore the task will often be not to write or prepare new material but to find the material already being published in blogs, audio files, speeches, lectures, videos, etc. The selection process saves the viewers time and can provide systematic education and theory as the foundation for their political education and development, as well as providing our own comrades with the education through real connections with like-minded comrades around the world.

 

One of the powerful hindrances to the development of a genuine International in the past has been the language bottleneck. We are lucky enough to live in an era where tools to assist translation are available and can also serve as part of the collaborative process needed to unify a vibrant International.

 

In this scenario such a global Marxist web site could become a mass phenomena within a few years corresponding to the rising wave of proletarian unrest. Our network can be more powerful than the news outlets of the capitalist press barons or government sponsored news networks. The core issue is the editorial; work planning, and constant implementation. These issues will be the subject of another paper.  

Military’s ‘persona’ software cost millions, used for ‘classified social media activities’

posted 27 Feb 2011, 09:44 by Admin uk   [ updated 27 Feb 2011, 09:47 ]


 Exclusive:  www.rawstory.com

  By Stephen C. Webster
  Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011 

 Most people use social media like Facebook and Twitter to share photos of friends and family, chat with friends and strangers about random and amusing diversions, or follow their favorite websites, bands and television shows.

But what does the US military use those same networks for? Well, we can't tell you: That's "classified," a CENTCOM spokesman recently informed Raw Story.

One use that's confirmed, however, is the manipulation of social media through the use of fake online "personas" managed by the military. Raw Story recently reported that the US Air Force had solicited private sector vendors for something called "persona management software." Such a technology would allow single individuals to command virtual armies of fake, digital "people" across numerous social media portals.

These "personas" were to have detailed, fictionalized backgrounds, to make them believable to outside observers, and a sophisticated identity protection service was to back them up, preventing suspicious readers from uncovering the real person behind the account. They even worked out ways to game geolocating services, so these "personas" could be virtually inserted anywhere in the world, providing ostensibly live commentary on real events, even while the operator was not really present.

When Raw Story first reported on the contract for this software, it was unclear what the Air Force wanted with it or even if it had been acquired. The potential for misuse, however, was abundantly clear.

A fake virtual army of people could be used to help create the impression of consensus opinion in online comment threads, or manipulate social media to the point where valuable stories are suppressed.

Ultimately, this can have the effect of causing a net change to the public's opinions and understanding of key world events.

'Classified social media activities'

According to Commander Bill Speaks, the chief media officer of CENTCOM's digital engagement team, the public cannot know what the military wants with such technology because its applications are secret.

"This contract," he wrote in reference to the Air Force's June 22, 2010 filing, "supports classified social media activities outside the U.S., intended to counter violent extremist ideology and enemy propaganda."

Speaks insisted that he was speaking only on behalf of CENTCOM, not the Air Force "or other branches of the military."

While he did reveal who was awarded the contract in question, he added that the Air Force, which helps CENTCOM's contracting process out of MacDill, has even other uses for social media that he could not address.

A series of targeted searches for other "persona management software" contracts yielded no results.

Mystery bidder

While data security firm HBGary Federal was among the contract's bidders listed on a government website, the job was ultimately awarded to a firm that did not appear on the FedBizOpps.gov page of interested vendors.

A controversy over the HBGary firm, which recently had its inner-workings dumped onto the Internet by hackers with protest group "Anonymous," was what initially brought the "persona" contract to light.

HBGary, which conspired with Bank of America and the Chamber of Commerce to attack WikiLeaks, spy on progressive writers and use malware against progressive organizations, was also revealed to have constructed software eerily similar to what the Air Force sought.

"This contract was awarded to a firm called Ntrepid," Speaks wrote to Raw Story. "In addition to the classified activities this software supports, USCENTCOM, like most military commands, does use social media to inform the public of our activities. I should emphasize that such uses do not employ the kind of technology that was the subject of this contract solicitation."

Ntrepid Corporation, registered out of Los Angeles, bills itself as a privacy and identity protection firm in some job postings, and a national security contractor in others, but its official website was amazingly just one page deep and free of even a single word of description.

In spite of their thin online presence, Speaks said the firm was awarded $2,760,000 to carry out the "persona management" contract.

He added that it was unclear why the contract went to an unlisted bidder, and that he would try to find out and report back.

Update: On Wednesday morning, Speaks issued the following statement: "Federal Business Opportunities is a tool used to advertise Government requirements. When a requirement is posted on the FedBizOpps.gov website, potential offerors can enter their information into the interested vendors section but, they are not required to in order to be eligible to compete. Additionally, an offeror need not have access to the FedBizOpps.gov website in order to compete for Government contracts."

Privacy? Or something else?

Ntrepid's chief technology officer, Lance Cottrell, founded the privacy firm Anonymizer, Inc. in 1995, making him a global leader in identity protection and cryptography. He also runs theprivacyblog.com.

Far from just being involved in privacy efforts, Ntrepid is a player in the national security realm and was invited to give a presentation for the US EUCOM i3T conference, which took place in Berlin last week.

Event organizers described the affair as a series of talks "on the challenges to developing technology, demonstrations of advanced technology pertinent to facilitating and/or enabling security and stability, ways and means of analyzing socio-cultural risks and opportunities, and the operationalization and execution of solutions to mitigate or avail issues with U.S. and multinational partners."

Featured speakers included the US EUCOM director of intelligence, the director of the Air Force Research Labratory and the chief information officer of the Defense Intelligence Agency, among other high-profile names.

While the company is remarkably scarce with information on their website, descriptions of the firm's goals seem to vary depending on their job openings.

One post seeking a "senior QA test engineer," filed with corporate candidate tracking firm Catsone.com, describes Ntrepid as "the global leader in online privacy, anonymity, and identity protection solutions".

But another help wanted ad, seeking an "intelligence analyst" on Appone.com, described Ntrepid as "a leading provider of technology and managed services to national security customers in the areas of cyber operations, analytics, language engineering, and TTL".

Its customers are both public and private sector, the ad said.

A Linked In profile of the company cited them as providers of "software, hardware, and managed services for cyber operations, analytics, linguistics, and surveillance." It had at least 30 employees, according to the business networking site, all located in either San Diego or Washington, DC.

Cottrell himself has advocated on behalf of civil liberties, claiming that widespread Internet surveillance tends to provide no real security benefits.

Efforts to contract both Ntrepid Corporation and Mr. Cottrell did not trigger a response by late Tuesday. A phone number could not be located.

The meaning of Wikileaks

posted 8 Dec 2010, 14:10 by Admin uk   [ updated 3 Mar 2011, 04:03 ]



“Thus all collisions in history have their origin, according to our view, in the contradiction between the productive forces and the form of intercourse.”
Karl Marx the German Ideology 1845 

With all new eras in human social relations there are points of fundamental transformation. The dominance of global news by revelations from Wikileaks is such a transformation. It will forever change the balance of political power in favour of the majority and against the minority, who, for millennia, have controlled the information flow.  

This control of information meant that ‘knowledge is power’ and that the majority could be manipulated and controlled. Frederick the Great claimed ‘he who knows all the plans of his enemies, need never fight another war’.  

For more than a decade, the promise that the Internet would undermine and weaken the ideological hold of the ruling classes over society, and would shatter existing power relations, remained the preserve of marginal technocratic utopians.  

In the Wikileaks case, perhaps only a single insider was responsible for collecting and making public, an ocean of secret documents and transmissions, relating to the global activities and reports of United States military and diplomatic missions. This act may shatter forever the mystical spell that the very words ‘diplomacy’ and ‘government’ symbolised for centuries.

This is not just about US power, it is also about the mass media on a global scale. Most of the world’s private and state news media are happy to use their insiders to penetrate the private lives of famous people, to expose their intimate secrets for public amusement and commercial gain. However, they barely touch on the massive secrets surrounding the exercise of state, military and corporate power. 

Suddenly news determination and dissemination is no longer under the control of the mass media news editors, but is governed by the release of documents from a tiny impoverished organisation with a single website, which happens to have access to insider leaks.

Governments all over the world are in panic, because US records of conversations and events, reveal the darkest recesses of the diplomatic world. A world characterised by the norms of double-dealing, trickery, deception, betrayal, criminality, terrorism and all pervasive corruption and theft. As this emerges it will systematically destroy the carefully cultivated mirage of respectability, integrity and credibility, hitherto so assiduously crafted by the ruling elites for centuries.

In the early 1990s the United States military introduced the concept of information war as a primary focus of military doctrine. It was premised on the control of information flows through systematic dominance over the enemy’s total electronic spectrum. This facilitated the devastating effects of airpower superiority, displayed in the Iraq Wars of 1991 and 2003 and in the wars in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan, at a total cost of over a million lives and three trillion dollars.

Research and application into the extension of command and control over computers and communications in military information policy, facilitated special operations of deception and subterfuge, combined with rapid massive displays of overwhelming force. Shock and Awe was to provide a universal means of eradicating threats from errant states, and erasing the devastating memory of defeat at the hands of Vietnamese peasants in the 1970s.

The development of global communications after the end of the cold war, laid the foundation for the ever-increasing intercommunication of mankind. Karl Marx in the Communist Manifesto, saw the railways unify the disparate workers’ struggles into a national workers’ movement, and prophesied the birth of a globally unified international working class.

The exponential growth of communications devices paves the way to reinvigorate old organisations and create new forms of union between people. We are witnessing the birth of new community of those who wish to defend their living standards, change the course of politics, and create a new culture and society to serve the interests and needs of the majority. Over the past decade the organisation of protests and demonstrations migrated towards using the Internet, this has reached a new crescendo in recent months.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is the victim of false imprisonment, enforced in an utterly absurd manner using surreal and spurious charges. The incarceration of Julian Assange comes at a time when sinister threats emanating from sections of the political elite in the USA, call for him to be extradited there to stand trial and others call for his assassination. These are expressions of the utter frustration and impotence of a dying system of rule.

The era of the dominance of secrecy, in diplomacy, politics, military and corporate affairs, is experiencing its terminal demise before our eyes. As the working classes awaken, a vast global army of insiders in every company, army, bank, parliament and palace on earth, will begin to reveal what they know. This will transform the way we see the world and help to build a new one.


Heiko Khoo 8 Dec 2010

Speech at London's Speakers' Corner

posted 10 Mar 2010, 15:37 by Admin uk

Marxism and Moderm Communications


The data deluge - an article from the Economist

posted 28 Feb 2010, 11:22 by M MacDonald   [ updated 15 Mar 2010, 16:02 by Admin uk ]

For the information of comrades, this is a recent article in the Economist:

The data deluge

Businesses, governments and society are only starting to tap its vast potential

http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?story_id=15579717&source=hptextfeature

Thousands of Polish postal workers use an intranet to link up and help coordinate their work

posted 24 Feb 2010, 05:55 by M MacDonald   [ updated 5 Mar 2011, 03:06 by Admin uk ]

By W from Poland

Comrades,

The postal workers in Poland have an intranet where there are 8 000 workers participating. The postal workers' union affiliated to the OPZZ joined this intranet. They are very successful in defending their platform. They are attacking quite efficiently the bosses of the Polish Post.

I think in many ways the buraucratised union of the Polish postal workers with 27 000 members is well ahead of our own organisation. And it's creating good traditions for the Polish labour movement. I will tell you one thing more. The bosses also have an access to this intranet. But they are too stupid to use it!!! So many times you'd find there postal workers openly complaining about their managers and even posting lists of the most hated managers.... And nothig happens!!! Because the bosses are too stupid and they do not know what is the power of intranet. Also when there is a strike action going on in the postal services the workers are immediately informed about everything through their intranet. And nobody raises any security questions...

It should be noted that the OPZZ workers joined the intranet under one condition - NO ANONYMITY. Everyone has to sign with his/her name and surname and position in the company everything that he or she writes on this forum. This way you avoid personal attacks that cannot be defended.

Therefore I propose that according to the best working class traditions we should absolutely oppose people being anonymous. They have to feel that if they are giving unsound, untrue, irrelevant or insulting information they have to stand for it and be able to defend it

Marxists and the Internet (draft)

posted 16 Feb 2010, 04:15 by Admin uk   [ updated 16 Feb 2010, 04:20 ]

Marxists and the Internet


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