What could be the two most important political writings of the past decade were both written from prison cells, by political prisoners who spent substantial time in solitary confinement. One is the "Manifesto for a Democratic Civilization" by Abdullah Öcalan, who had been an important member of the PKK. The other is "Maroon the Implacable", by Russell Shoatz, who had been an important member of the BPP.
The latter of these describes in one section the problems which plagued a liberation movement of people striving for self determination and to escape the existing yoke of an oppressive system. The American history presented is all too often ignored, and some parts in particular are relevant to the situation which faces current users of public coin systems ((A system where some people work for economic tokens and others simply issue arbitrary quantities in private at no cost is an oppressive system)). They outline how great progress in a first wave of change can be lost. Here's the quote from Russell Shoatz which inspires this post:
Strategic Tricks Used Against the Youth
Understanding these tricks and their various guises and refinements is the key to everything. You will never really understand what happened to get us to the present moment or be able to really move forward until you become a master at recognizing them and at devising ways to defeat them. They remain:
2. Glamorization of gangsterism;
3. Separation from the most advanced elements;
4. Indoctrination in reliance on passive approaches;
5. Raw fear;
It might be that you don't see eye to eye with me on this analogy of black liberation to bitcoin. You might consider bitcoin of use as a revolutionary tool, or the opposite: as a counter-revolutionary tool. You might disagree with my opinion that bitcoin is being adopted by what is effectively a global maroon community, giving individuals and communities democratic leverage against authoritarian systems such as states, republics, corporations, or plantations. However you probably will not disagree that the use of bitcoin or public coin represents some kind of change to the status quo, compared to the system of the late 20th century. From here, we must recognize that there are forces, not necessarily consciously due to single or multiple specific actors but forces none the less which collectively work to hold the status quo in place and which use the above techniques to trick "The Youth" (that is, those spear heading the change). In other words: strategic tricks that work against your vision of success for crypto. To quote Russel Shoatz again:
First off, let me make clear that even with all of the glorious strides that youth made within the first wave, they were not the only ones fighting for radical and in many cases revolutionary change. These young people were usually only the tip of the spear, the shock troops of a global struggle. They were motivated by youthful energy and impatience, with no time or temperament for elaborate theories. They were rushing forward into the fray, ill prepared for the tricks that would eventually overwhelm them.
So to understand what happened we must examine some of the main "tricks" used to slow down, misdirect, control, and defeat them. Without a point, a spear loses all of its usefulness.
If we are to learn from this history, and to not make the same mistakes, we must pay close attention to this kind of sage analysis. So lets consider how the six tricks are used against the youth so that we might escape a lost generation or worse in the struggle to obtain a sane financial system, or at least to give us respite from the debt slavery and rule-by-counterfeit systems as we strive towards more enlightened social systems.
Co-Option was used extensively to trick just about all of the first wave youth into believing that they had won the war. Strategically, among every segment of the youth that we can name - university students to lower-class communities - billions of dollars were made available.
Sound familiar? It should. Venture capital dollars have "poured into bitcoin" in a process called co-option. The best and the brightest spearheading the bitcoin revolution (or counter-revoluation if you prefer) were given jobs, titles, and other supposed benefits, provided they play according to certain scripts.
Supposedly these funds were to enable the youth to determine what should be done to carry out the far-reaching changes they desired. In reality they were being expertly monitored and subtly coaxed further and further away from their most radical and advanced elements, mainly through control of this funding. This was part of the strategy adopted by ruling-class foundations, by government, and by corporate Amerika for defeating the youth with sugar coated bullets.
I will avoid mentioning names in this post, because it would be too long. However mentioning them is important. Stick to your vision and say no to the sugar coated bullets. Notice and understand the forces of co-option before you make those important decisions.
Glamorization of Gangsterism
This is perhaps part of the story of the rise of bitcoin as well, in a different way. Ponzis, exit scammers, web-wallets, premines, wallet thieves, pump-and-dumpers, cloud-miners, ASIC non-deliverables, fake-hacks, real-hacks, and obsolete miners: All have a certain glamor about them if we read the forums and focus only on the fact that they "got the money". But is this going to help us reach our goals? Gangsterism ostracizes us from the mainstream and pits us against each other. You will be happier in the end to call out scammers and to hold the hands of those who might fall prey to gangsters rather than to take advantage of these people for supposed short term gains. We should at the very least be wary of the pitfalls and the innate push by the status quo to lure us too far down this path.
Separation from the most Advanced Elements
This is really tricky. It's hard to know who the most advanced elements are or where to find them. Forums are co-opted, and people claiming to be the most advanced almost never are. It takes constant vigilance, as there is no authority capable of simply telling you. We must continuously search ourselves. We must be willing to consider the opinions of those who might have appeared crackpots, co-opted, or wrong in the past - just in case. We must be willing to abandon those leaders who might have become co-opted, degenerate, or simply lost their touch and would lead us astray. We must be wary of forming tight-knit groups that discard potentially vital intelligence as being external. What makes this task harder still is that we must above all continue to be decentralized. This is an earlier theme of maroon success, continually mentioned by Shoatz, and fortunately for us one at which bitcoin excels. However, it makes adherence with the most advanced elements a constant struggle.
Indoctrination and reliance on passive approaches
Because the conflict is an economic one, we might be tempted to say this trick is less applicable. However the key is education, and in this theater reliance on passive approaches is a major mistake. Without active education and insistence on the use of public verifiable exchange, when monetary exchange is deemed necessary, there will be no further progress and our remarkable gains will be lost. Indoctrination in this theater is massive, as every school, movie, TV show, songs, organized religions, nearly every possible facet of media will tell us that privately issued currency is money and that we should just accept that. On the other side there is almost no regular education of information theory, encodings, public-key encryption, or open-source software management. To avoid losing ground we need an active approach, simply "Hodling" is not enough.
From the early days of bitcointalk raw fear was there. "FUD" of all sorts, yes, and also "bitcoin will be banned". I'm sure you know the name of at least one coinsman who has been imprisoned or robbed by agents of state or fiat for their noble efforts. As one early commenter put it: "Nearly every serious student of the subject seems to believe that Bitcoin will be ruthlessly suppressed in the near future. The only disputed details appear to be: what form the ban will take, and how it will be enforced."
However in the case of bitcoin, numbers, appearances, and crucially finances are on our side in addition to just common sense, decency, and history. Educating people in the problems with privately issued currency might seem risky if you just consider the powerful forces in question, but it isn't. Henry Ford spoke eloquently on the topic, as well as many others over the last century from all positions in the social hierarchy. If you aren't calling out specific names, then you are not drawing specific ire - and also, you are not alone.
Rest assured - bank accounts and paypal accounts will be closed, and more arrests will be made. Again, if we plan ahead for such contingencies, and recognize the trick that fear can play to make us weak, keeping in mind that this is our chance today to make a difference, we can make decisions which properly weigh all possibilities.
It's tempting to go off on a tangent because drug education and policy is in such a barbaric sorry state, but I'm going to avoid that for now. We should keep in mind that we will need all our wits about us to navigate this period wisely, and whatever that means in terms of your drug use is for you to determine. The thing I've personally seen do the most damage to bitcoiners is that king of defocusing agents, the amphetamine, the worst damage of course (as all drug abuse) coming from when it is taken regularly.
Hopefully I'll get an electronic version of these books up here for you soon. For now, that's all folks.