in the alternate socialist present, i am herding goats with a cane and melody while replacing batteries in the mesh routers the ‘ware guild has hung from trees. later i dine at the village commissary and watch a movie projected on the side of a barn.

a courier arrives from the next village on horseback with books, zines, letters, art prints, and a hard drive full of music and movies. we offload the drive while the courier joins us for lunch, sharing news — harvests, births, deaths, the goings-on of various governance councils — while we load a drive with our own new media. the courier leaves as full as they came, and well-fed besides.

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do you understand? it was never technology that made humane relations possible. it was you and i, and our commitment to each other.

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@garbados there's definitely another life where I was a data courier

@garbados ah yes the social contract. which one did you sign? there are a bunch of them

@garbados “humane relations” are a cultural protocol for cooperation, or simply culture. at least having a common identity and goals is isomorphic with cooperation and culture. i agree that technology didn’t make human civilization possible, it was culture. sadly, these days, culture is so subtle that it can be hard to know if you are really able to cooperate until things escalate to conflict.

@requiem i have read a few of their articles and i intend to read many more :D

@requiem hey do you know if they have anything like a printout or zine about how to do low-tech things, offhand?

@emsenn I believe they have a hard copy, or instructions on how to print one, but I’d have to dig around a bit.

@garbados how does manufacturing of mesh routers, projectors and hard drives work? these things require very expensive equipment and therefore large enough scale to make it worthwhile. so, a government initiative?


1) i am just a goatherd. you’ll have to ask the guild.

2) are you asking “how could people possibly collaborate on that scale without a market or state to coerce them?”

@garbados 2) yes. but earnestly, and not to troll. but if you think i am trolling feel free to pass on answering.

@garbados and if there’s historical (or contemporary) examples i can search on, all the better.

@zensaiyuki @garbados The go-to example for autonomista /syndicalist co-operatives (of which there are many) is the massive Mondragon.

I’m sceptical of the stateless anarchist ideal myself, as any society above band level so far requires governance (something like policing). But libertarian socialist(ish) industrial supply chains are proven workable even now and indubitably more healthy for labour.

@zensaiyuki @garbados A top down way to facilitate a gradual transition to such a system could have been eased with the Meisner plan. Capital (banks) would be less nationalized than democratized. But since that was crushed by capitalist oligarchs, we can’t yet know.

Corporations would also be mandated to respond to stakeholders not just shareholders, requiring worker ownership.

A magic bullet it ain’t. But between Meisner and Mondragon, we do have the tools for a more socialist now.

@Shufei @garbados thanks. I mean, honestly, if we have to give up things like blockbuster hollywood movies and iphone 15s in exchange for everyone being happier and healthier, it would probably be a fair trade. I am curious if such projects are possible without something like a director (or “benevolent dictator”) having final say to avoid the too many cooks/design by committees problem.

@Shufei @garbados or alternatively a way to have a director that actually gets listened to in a system where everyone is there voluntarily

@Shufei @garbados and sincerely thank you again for taking the time to answer. i truly appreciate it.

@zensaiyuki @garbados I’m not an “off the shelf” libertarian socialist, so I do hope you get more and more comprehensive answers. (Probably after sleepy time in the Americas.) But there are working models here and there, some with long standing massive efforts.

Executive authority is a pickle, eh? It solves and creates problems both. No extreme is likely workable. It’s why I favour the transition to democratic capital and syndicalist shops. Can still get fired if you truly act the fool!

@zensaiyuki here’s my answer as a syndicalist:

all power is ultimately labor power. the machinery of society is already operated by the workers. what happens when you get the authoritarians away from the controls? what happens when you socialize amazon’s command economy, or walmart’s? there’s a case in which we continue to operate that machinery, but humanely, without destroying one another.

for historical examples of country-scale democratic socialist logistics, see chile’s cybersyn project:

@garbados I walked over the crest of the hill. A pretty hamlet spread below, with more distant across the vale. People were having a barnside film, which I could just hear above the bleat of goats. Not feeling up to faces yet, I sat down and rolled out my bivouac, munching on some biscuitroot. In the morning I’d go down and ask if anyone wanted to send messages on my HF radio or needed a school tutor for a term. Hopefully I could make and tend bee hives and get some honey. I do so love bees.

@garbados *cries* I wonder what I would be doing... I'm going to have to think about this.

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