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The Internet, Socialism and the CSP

Danton

Discussed and Approved by the Central Committee of the Cyberspace Socialist Party
 
Intro
 

While organizing the CSP (a.k.a. the Cyberspace Party of Socialist Workers and Students) I have encountered a variety of  observations. I have run into people who encouraged me to continue organizing and those who were skeptical at the idea of an internet based socialist party. In the following article I prepare to answer my critics and assure my supporters of the legitimacy  of the CSP by explaining its role in advancing the Socialist cause.

Before looking at the CSP it is essential to understand the internet and its potential to transmit socialist ideas to many people who have had few previous encounters with Marxist ideology. The internet is without a doubt a powerful tool of communication. The challenge that faces progressive forces is utilizing the benefits of the internet to its full capacity. It is clear that our opponents (bourgeoisie and fascists) are working to harness the power of the internet so we must not lag behind. It is essential that communists effectively use the  internet to 1) Organize and strengthen communist groups already in existence. 2) Spread communist views, ideas and theory (propaganda) Via the internet to those currently "hooked up" to the internet. 3) Organize propaganda campaigns Via the internet designed to reach those who presently don't have access to the internet.

Many have pointed out the majority of world workers don't have telephone service let alone internet access. While this a present truth, the world is changing rapidly. According to Moore's law the cost of digital technology will rapidly decrease over the next few decades thus allowing more and more workers to take advantage of advanced communications technology. This is truly the age of  communications revolution, but more about this later.
 

THE INTERNET
 

There is absolutely no question about the contribution the internet can make to Socialism. The internet virtually erases distance barriers and allows workers from all around the world to communicate with each other in real time. The internet also allows Socialist groups to distribute propaganda for a relatively low cost (per person viewing the material). Newsletters, articles, posters, music and art can all be placed on the world wide web for a fraction of the cost VIA any other medium. This inexpensive flow of accessible information will allow communists to compete with bourgeoisie media on the internet. This accessible medium of  communication can help break the  media monopoly  of the bourgeoisie Press and finally allow the masses an opportunity to freely exchange views and information.

It is said that in most of the "democratic world" there is freedom of press. Of course this  freedom of press resides only with those who actually own the press - the bourgeoisie. Ben Seattle (AKA Cyber Red) raises an interesting question asking: "What will happen when the price of owning the press plummets to virtually nothing?" Seattle argues that according to Moore's law, the price of digital communication will plummet over the next several decades.

"Digital infrastructure will make the world transparent:"

(estimated penetration of digital communications:  percentage of world population vs. time)
 

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"The cost of digital technology plummets, following Moore's law, and the price of hardware approaches the price of sand. This results in the familiar "S" curve of penetration characteristic of the adoption of most new technology. Immense cultural and political changes will inevitably follow as even the most isolated populations in grinding poverty become plugged into and interactive with the rest of humanity."

If Moore's law holds true in a matter of a few decades the world will truly begin to take the shape of a global village. This will make things very interesting. Just imagine the implications, people  may be able to access daily reports on the Peoples struggle in Peru, conversely Peasants in Peru may be able to learn of the efforts being taken world wide to aid them in their struggle against Fujimori. Of course this is now almost unimaginable, many dismiss the idea of  a peasant in the hills of Peru plugging into the internet, but if the cost of digital communication continues to drop in the not distant future peasants will begin to "jump online". Through the use of co-ops in a few decades it may be possible to provide internet access in villages for less than a dollar per person per year.

While there is great potential for socialists in cyberspace there is good reason to worry about future development of the internet. The bourgeoisie realize that the internet allows the an unregulated exchange of  ideas and are moving quickly to put an end to this. There are many campaigns currently active with the goal to censor what may be published on the internet,  also it is not uncommon to see intelligence agencies monitoring certain sections of the internet. The bourgeois want nothing to do with this free flow ideas as they fight to keep a tight grip on their media monopoly. We as progressives can not allow such a media monopoly, we must be sure the internet remains a place for free flowing discussion, as well we must do what we can to make sure as many people as possible have access to this free exchange of information.
 

The CSP
 

It would be wrong to view the CSP as a conventional political party. I think the following definition best sums up the CSP:

We are a loose group of progressives who aim to aid the oppressed working class in their struggle against capitalism. Our function will be mainly as a propagandist group which will use the internet as a base for building support of various working class struggles. Our group is international and will work tirelessly to assist the struggle of oppressed people in all lands.

As I mentioned above there are three main channels through which communists can be active on the internet  1) Organizing and strengthening communist groups already in existence. 2) Spreading communist views, ideas and theory (propaganda) Via the internet to those currently "hooked up" to the internet. 3) Organizing propaganda campaigns Via the internet designed to reach those who presently don't have access to the internet.

First we must concentrate on strengthening communist parties which are already in existence. This CSP does this in a variety of ways: a) we have the ability to direct comrades in the direction of parties which are already in existence b) develop an online link base which will allow people to view hundreds of marxist resources on the web.  c) Reporting news from communist presses around the world this will help comrades to examine how each party and view where they stand on  issues of the day d) Supplying communist parties with technical help to ensure that they have a presence online. We have the ability to bring virtually every communist party in the world on line.

Secondly we will spread revolutionary propaganda over the internet. We can do this in the following ways a) Again setting up a comprehensive link page to revolutionary resources b) Publishing online as many articles as possible from  several communist presses worldwide c) Setting up online campaigns making aware struggles of oppressed people of the world.

Thirdly we must organize propaganda campaigns geared to reach workers who currently are not on line. These campaigns must be initiated with the goal of creating public support for different struggles of the worlds oppressed people. Another goal of propaganda must be to point out to workers the savageness and bankruptcy of the capitalist system, making it clear that capitalism and "democracy" do not go hand in hand. We must show that the only way for workers to cast off the chains of wage slavery is to overthrow capitalism. There can be no freedom for workers as long as they live in a capitalist system.

The struggle heading into the 21'st century is very much a battle of ideas, a war for the hearts and minds of workers from around the world. The key to victory is to awaken the slumbering masses of workers so that they are conscious of the battles raging around them. The CSP will make a contribution to this education and awakening process, it is our job as revolutionaries to do what we can to educate the masses. Even if we win a few people to socialist cause, direct a few people to a revolutionary party, or provide a few people with reliable leftist news then the CSP is participating positively. Even if our contribution to the revolutionary cause is small it is a contribution none the less.

In all of this work we  must not lose track of the main goal. Our desire is nothing less then to see a new world order established, an order which workers control the means of production and a world which puts the needs of society first not the desires of a handful of rich capitalists.

So let us engage in activity to awaken, educate, and enlighten the masses. Let us arm the workers with the most dangerous weapon of all - information. May workers armed with he weapon of information and revolutionary spirit usher in the establishment of a new order. Let us begin our journey down the path which history has laid out,  a path that leads us to the next step in human development - Communism -  to which all roads lead.