Class, Internet, and the Industrial System

tlmkr at tlmkr at
Fri Jul 28 10:07:26 MDT 1995

  	       1) What is the class character of internet?

	The origin of internet is the Unix operating system. It began
as a tool created by programmers for their own use at AT&T. It was originally
a system that was freely distributable amongst workers, without the
restrictions imposed by bourgeois property. The original Unix was eventually
stolen from the workers through legal action by AT&T and by 1984 it became a
wholly proprietary system with the traditional licensing restrictions that
characterize the software industry today.

	The first computer network (ARPANET in 1969 (no longer operational))
was a creation of workers in the US military. From this beginning the
Internet spread to include universities, government agencies, and some parts
of the Industrial System. It was at this time a system composed of large,
expensive computers.

	While the hardware is easily assimilated into the rules
of bourgeois property, the software is much less so. However, the social
relations between people, that is the essence of computer networks, is
developing completely out side of the confines of bourgeois property. It is
non-bureaucratic and, in the context of work and workers, arises out of
purely technical considerations.

	The advent of powerful, cheap microcomputer technology, is
accelerating the development of internet. The computer software industry is
exploding. Capital is moving into this sector, and workers (programmers),
are being trained, and hired. Large numbers of formerly petty bourgeois
workers are being proletarianized as the industry begins to concentrate, and
force bourgeois techniques on production in order to appease the imperatives
of price, profit and property.

	Workers who lost the first Unix to property, have, 20 years later,
begun the project again. But it is quite different this time. They are not
petty bourgeois as before but are being quickly proletarianized. Organizing
freely on the Internet, they are building an international movement. The
rapid pace at which microcomputer technology is becoming available to all
workers( in the "advanced" countries) is allowing for unprecedented
participation of thousands of highly skilled workers in the project. They
have armed to protect their work from property with the GNU (GNU's Not Unix)
Projects General Public License (a copyleft ?). This movement has culminated
in the Linux Community, and its great achievement the Linux operating system.
It is a direct challenge to property, bureaucracy, and the market. It will
rise as the single challenge of workers to the monopolistic, proprietary,
software regime that has become Microsoft. It's strength is its technical
superiority, the freedom of its membership, and the Unix experience.
It is a beach head of the Dual Power that will catapult history out of
its current impasse, into the new beginnings of the Proletarian Epoch.

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