Peter Sunde’s Talk at the Transmediale 2015

This is said by the guy who co-founded the pirate bay, attempted a couple of startups and went to prison

There’s a few big moments in life where you feel that something moves you deeply.
Graduating school. Getting your first kiss. Writing that first book, publishing that first scientific document.
A loved one dies. Getting your first customer in your café. Some of them might seem small and trivial to others but to you they are huge and life altering.

Recently I got a similar feeling. A feeling that we reached a certain critical mass. A critical mass that are upset with the current state of the internet, nay, the current state of policing the internet and what it promises the world.
A critical mass that finally understands that we’re on the way to a broadcast democracy with little peer involvement.

What happened? The Pirate Bay was shut down. It tilted people’s brains into knowing that tomorrow, their favorite TV show must be downloaded somewhere else.
They thought about it a bit more and decided this is the beginning of a slippery slope.
They understand that maybe this means that alternative content might be hard to ever reach, if at all.
That this thing, that we’re centralising the internet, having just a handful of centralised services, mostly owned by companies in one single country, a country that doesn’t care about borders when it comes to their own gauntlets, is not a great idea.
A movement is forming. A movement away from this. And tomorrow, when you wake up, it will climax into a whole bunch, maybe even a whole million of people, that will see the group “Stop destroying the internet” or “Give us our pirate bay back” on Facebook.
And they will click the Like button and feel proud. They finally did it. They stopped the internet from being destroyed.

But of course this will not change anything. The internet will keep getting destroyed, it will keep becoming more and more centralised.
We can’t do anything anymore. We tried. We sucked at it. The few people that really did anything are now old, some are dead.
The young ones believe in the system and try to change it from with-in.
It’s like trying to beat capitalism by trying to capture all the money yourself.

Every now and then we win a fight against one of the oppressive new measures, like ACTA, SOPA, PIPA.
We congratulate ourselves and feel important. In essence, we just lost the ten other battles we didn’t have time to fight. Or knew existed.

We have our own celebrities. We had Wikileaks. We had Snowden. We had Manning. We had Aaron Swartz. Some are dead, some are in jail forever.
Some are in hiding — scared for their actual lives. What people reveal, what people fight for, are major causes.
Freedom of information. Liberty. Democracy. Governmental transparency and due process. Things we take for granted, that are the basis for a modern safe society.
We talk about it a lot. We are upset. We cry, we scream. We sometimes protest. We have our T-shirts. We have our symbols. We have our masks, our conferences, our transmediale. Our debates. We get some attention.
People in general like us. Our opponents are old fat bastard whore corporate sell-outs. They’re mostly rich men from the United States of America. They’re corrupt. They’re easy to hate. It’s all like a good old Hollywood movie.

But we’ve all been fooled. We lost. There is no need in fighting anymore. We lost a long time ago, we cornered ourselves. There’s no use to struggle. There’s no point in being positive. The only positive thing about it is that we no longer have to worry. It’s all pre-determined, it’s all a waste. There’s no more any “we” or “us”. We’re becoming drones, mind or without, it does not matter.

We built the system. We trusted it because we trusted ourselves. We’re all drones now. Maybe we’ve always been drones.

You might know that I was recently locked up. I was kidnapped by the kingdom of Sweden, for trying to resist. I did right, both legally and morally. The kingdom was wrong. We all knew it, but I was a fool to think that right and wrong had anything to do with it. Morals are no more. They’ve been replaced by control. Right is just a word that no longer has any meaning. It’s a trick to keep people from being scared. Until you reach the edge you believe in the system. Even though people know in their back of their minds that they don’t want to look over the edge.

We all praise the internet for the liberty it brings but it’s become the essence of what’s wrong. We praise the technology almost like a saviour but it’s the thing that keeps us in check. We show the examples of the good things we’ve achieved with technology, with the internet, with leaking, with sharing.
But it does not hold it’s merits. There’s no long-term effect. Globalization by virtue of capitalism won.

We talk about robots and technology taking our jobs. As if jobs has a higher goal in themselves beside what needs to be done. But when building these computerized and automatic systems we created new jobs. All the new technology based jobs in the western world feel so free, it’s almost like you’re never at work. We even have our offices at home.
We’re always connected. We happy we get to work with our friends. We don’t see that we’ve become robots that work all the time, only associate with other co-workers and that we have no free time anymore.
We don’t need robots, we are the robots. We’re no longer in between jobs, we’re in between our old and new startups.

We talk about startups and entrepreneurship as the future. As if they are something new.
We out-manouvered ourselves into believing that alone means strong.
Who ever heard about a startup going on strike against their customers over bad work conditions?
We’re fucking up all the work done by the unions for the past century.
For the promise of self-fulfilment, sour-dough bread, cool bicycles and a cheap apartment in Kreuzberg with second-hand IKEA furniture.
The same furniture I recently discovered first-hand is made by forced labourers in swedish and german prisons.

There’s no point in fighting. Whatever you think you can contribute it’s wrong. Life is not pointless but trying to alter the content and path of life is futile. We’re all privileged and lazy. We never talk about revolutions anymore, except when creating a new hipster fixed-bicycle wheel that will “change the world”, a term which today is slang for getting fifteen minutes of fame for your product – not you.
And no, you’re not the product as everyone has been saying about the internet. You’re not that interesting. You’re just the wallet.

Call it activism, call it work, call it art, call it whatever you want. I’ve tried. My friends tried. You all tried. But capitalism won. It’s game over.
We’re too lazy, we’re too tired. We’re too content. We just want our nespresso machines and we don’t want any responsibility.
We blame our politicians even though we elect them. The politicians have no say anyhow. It’s not about the money, it’s about the control.

It’s not that we’re blind. In the matrix Neo get’s to decide – does he want to live in blissful ignorance or does he want to see the real world?
When he decides to leave the matrix he wakes up and realizes he is just one of many humans that are being kept as resources.
It wakes him up so hard that he can’t ignore fighting the matrix.
But in our world we see the issues daily. We see the beggars, we see the gender inequality. We see the rain forest being wrecked, the oil heating the planet, whales being slaughtered.
We see our human rights being violated, we see the loss of privacy, we know we’re monitored by cameras and microphones everywhere. We even carry them around ourselves to help our opponents.
The leaks from manning and snowden has not changed one single thing of essence.
We’re not blind, we’re totally full-sighted and awake.
It’s very telling that for some reason there’s even career opportunities in being a manager of human resources. We can’t wake up from being awake.

This years Transmediale is named “capture all”. For me that phrase might refer to something else than it does for you.
But my view is that a few is trying to capture all. They’re capturing all the control, all the money, all the information, all the politicians, all the power. We’re not even trying to stop it, we’re helping them do it. On second thought, they’re not trying to capture it. They already captured all.

The only way to win the game is not to play. But if we have to play, it’s time we set the rules. And re-capture all.

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