Kermit Snelson on Tue, 26 Mar 2002 11:15:23 +0100 (CET)

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RE: <nettime> Intellectual Property Regimes and Indigenous Sovereignty

Your first post, Ned, led me to pose only a few worried questions.  Not
until your second was I led, with sadness, to draw certain conclusions.
Consider, for instance, this gem of "clash of civilizations" rhetoric that,
except for the vulgarity and overt racialism, could have come straight from
Sam Huntington himself:

> "Common-cultural heritage"??!! Bullshit!! Whose got it?!
> We're talking about radically different cultural systems
> here that, try as any good assimilationist might, simply
> will not fit into the white container.

Yikes.  And this:

> To be really crude and reductive (ie, kinda stupid): open
> source movements assume all white boys have fast computers,
> modem/network access, and the cultural knowledge and desire
> to participate in network, informational societies.

I ask again:  how are we to characterize thinking that recognizes this
"digital divide" not as a tragic legacy of poverty and racism which must be
reversed, but as an inevitable and even desirable result of cultural and
racial differences?

Open source and democracy are no more "white" (to use your own
twice-repeated word) than are sanitation and immunization.  To state
otherwise is either rank racism or pseudo-mystical glorification of poverty
as in Negri's _Empire_ (see pages 156-9).  The effects of both fantasies,
however, are equally toxic.

And getting back to the Indigenous IPR issue, didgeridoos are no more
"Indigenous" than violins are "Aryan".  To advocate turning such racist
fictions into law is bad enough, but to do so for the express purpose of
extorting money is simply obscene.

> I'm using Schmitt in the spirit of Mouffe and others who see
> him as an adversary to think with, to rub ideas against and
> see what happens. Maybe this is dangerous, but I think there
> is a form of fascism that goes by the name closing one's eyes/
> mouth to all things horrible.

Indeed.  And many thinkers, like Habermas, have been strong enough to ingest
Schmitt as a tonic without poisoning themselves.  There are others, however,
who have been obviously less fortunate.  And if one happens to witness such
an accident, it is only humane to intervene.

Kermit Snelson

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