HomeArticleInformation Anarchism

Information Anarchism

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Our civilization is built upon lies and obfuscation to such an extent that advocating for transparency and the democratization of information can be a complete political ideology, all by itself.

Rather than claiming to know what’s best for society (whether we should move left or right, whether we should espouse this model or that model), it is perfectly legitimate to simply support giving humanity the information tools necessary to know the truth about what’s happening so that they can collectively determine for themselves what direction to take.

This would mean supporting the end of the mass-scale manipulations and obfuscations used by the powerful to influence the way the public thinks, acts and votes, and it would mean giving them the democratic infrastructure to steer their civilization in response to the true information they’ve got access to.

It would mean supporting the end of government secrecy and advocating transparency for any institution with any degree of power over the people. The more power and influence they have, the more transparency should be required of them, whether they be governmental, corporate, or financial institutions.

It would mean supporting the democratization of information and the end of mass media propaganda. It would mean breaking up institutions which have too much information-sharing ability and giving more information-sharing ability to those who don’t have enough. Rather than a few plutocrats influencing the public, the public influences the public. The public can collectively uplift individual voices and ideas that they like, but no voice is given an unfair advantage in whether or not that will happen.

It would mean supporting the end of internet censorship and algorithm manipulation, so the information the public sees is determined not by billionaire megacorporations in Silicon Valley but by what’s in the zeitgeist and what the public finds interesting.

It would mean calling for an end to the war on journalism and opposing the persecution of publishers like Julian Assange and whistleblowers like Edward Snowden for exposing inconvenient truths about the powerful. All efforts to increase transparency for the powerful and share information in the public interest would be praised, not punished.

In my personal opinion it would also mean supporting the legalization of psychedelics, because giving people the tools to gain information about their inner dimensions is as important for helping them understand the direction society should take as giving them the tools to gain information about their external world.

It would mean the complete absence of any authority controlling people’s access to information or ideas in any way. Call it information anarchism, if you like.

Information anarchism is just as radical a goal as any other revolutionary ideology, because information control is so important to the continued existence of our status quo systems that it could never be achieved without drastic measures taken by the collective. The difference is that rather than claiming to know whether ideological models like communism or anarcho-capitalism would be better, for example, one only supports giving the people the means to collectively decide for themselves.

The idea of true information anarchy can be as frightening to the ego as the idea of total societal anarchy, because nobody being in control means there’s nobody to stop it from going in a frightening direction. What if ideas I don’t like gain popularity? What if people start thinking wrong thoughts and believing wrong beliefs?

But that’s kind of the appeal, in my opinion. Really taking the brakes off of the way information moves through our world and letting humanity take full unbridaled advantage of the interconnectedness of our brains at this unprecedented juncture in terrestrial history could lead somewhere very bad, but it could also lead somewhere very good. And whatever ends up happening would be because of our own decisions instead of the decisions of a few powerful manipulators.

And right now the latter is what’s happening. We’re on a collision course with extinction via environmental catastrophe or nuclear war, and it’s because of the decisions made by powerful people who are continuously working to control what ideas and information we consume. If information was really freed up, along with our ability to collectively control the direction humanity takes going forward, it’s hard to imagine we’d mess it up any worse than they have.

And whatever world we built together will have been by our own informed consent, instead of the manufactured consent of elite manipulators. If we’ve seen it all and we still choose our own destruction, then that will have been our choice. Whatever happens will be humanity showing the universe what it’s really made of. What we really are as a species.

And in my opinion, that’s what real freedom looks like. Giving humanity the tools to go whatever way it wants to go, even if it’s the way of the dinosaur. If you really, truly value freedom, in my opinion that’s the wisest place to take your stand.

Wanting the truth to be known whatever it may be is a standalone ideology, and it’s also a standalone personal philosophy. Wanting the truth to be known not just in the world but in your own life, even if it’s uncomfortable or embarrassing. Wanting unhealthy dynamics in your interpersonal relationships to come into awareness. Wanting your unhealed traumas to come into the light of consciousness where they can be healed. Wanting your delusions to be seen so they can be dispelled by truth. Wanting it all to come out into the light: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

It’s possible for an individual to live an entire life that is guided by truth and by the desire for truth, and I’m fairly certain it’s possible for all of humanity to live that way as well. We can all push for that, if we decide we want it. We can all decide that we’re sick of being lied to, sick of being manipulated, sick of the completely backward status quo of secrecy for the powerful and surveillance for everyone else, and we can use the power of our numbers to force it to change.

And from there we can sort out together what kind of world we want to live in, guided by the light of truth, whether toward harmony or oblivion, come what may.

____________________

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Latest comments

  • Blah, blah blah . those of us who follow you know all this this all ready. Still a good writing excercise thatt helps me organize my thoughts on teh subject, that is until I started skimming it early on, to get to the end and see if you propose any solutions or plan to take control, or put in other words, a plan to POSSIBLY NOT obliterate ourselves via man made climate disaster or annihilations via nuclear conflagration. You don’t. So just STFU UNTIL YOU DO, OKAY, cuz we know this sh** and have heard it dozens of effing times

  • The truth creates anarchy only for the Imperial Mind.
    Bless their littler hearts as my Mother would say.
    the truth is trouble when you don’t know what daylight is as
    Cave light is the only source of energy they know.

  • Caitlin, I appreciate your rage. I wish for more and more people to read what you have to say.

    I am going to do a little typing today. I only hope it will not be a waste of time. To be honest I had pretty much given up and swore to attempt more on my own.

    You are not the only one I have contacted over the years. So many people so close yet still stuck in the fixes of this world.

    Think of our time as near the juncture of a leap in Human Evolution. It is pretty much evolve or die, I think you would agree.

    If someone reading this disagrees, don’t just shovel hate and nonsense, tell my why.

    I believe this may be your best article ever, simply for the reason that you have turned your ship in a direction that I believe will lead you to your destination.

    I don’t want to wear my fingers out today. So I will just post a link and hope

    https://medium.com/@whmilk

  • Making those in power transparent and eliminating propaganda, effectively eliminating the secrets of the ruling class … that would probably require not just removing them from power, but altering the system to a democratic rather than representative process. Oh, and improving the material conditions of the citizenry so they have the time to educate themselves and make good decisions. I’d agree with another comment, I know many people who have used psychedelics and none are enlightened at all. The worst is Ayahuasca which seems to make people more egotistic. I’m not proposing no psychedelics, but they’re not a panacea. Anarcho-capitalism sounds like Mad Max Thunderdome.

    • James, how does this sound? Here is how I view it and maybe you can see how I believe Caitlin has turned a corner. Feel free to disagree with anything I say. I am just wanting the Planet not to blow up.
      1. The most powerful force on the planet is Human ‘thought’. You can call it logic, rational, whatever, it is simply us Humans using the information (variables) we have and attempting to organize them in a way that helps us navigate the world and survive. 2. We each see the world from our own ‘Individual’ perspective, unique. Thus you could say the world is ‘Dominated by Individual Intelligence’. Yes we can work in groups of ‘Individuals’ . We are still in the position though of attempting to ‘reconcile’ our ‘Conclusions’ we as Individuals formed. It was not like we didn’t start ‘thinking’ until we formed our ‘group’. 3. Human logic, rational, connecting the dots, whatever you want to call it, is ‘fractured’, If you consider it as a whole, expressed by the workings at this point in time by all of Humanity. Why, because we all apply our own interpretation of Human logic and rational. We are also all ‘Individual’ and hence fallible. 4. We are all fallible and hence ‘equal’ in our efforts, No Individual is ‘God’ and should assume the role. We all have a unique perspective all our own. 5. Thus, “Freedom” simply means our right to cater to our own survival and not be impeded by someone else’s perspective or ‘thoughts’ , Our life, our ‘thoughts’. 6. The fix, modern technology. A platform for all, anonymous, transparent, moderated by Human logic, rational, whatever you want to call it. For the sole purpose of forming ‘Conclusions’. 7. If we through a ‘Collective Intelligence’ create a platform which is permanent, transparent, anonymous, moderated by logic, this Platform will form a means to produce superior ‘Conclusions’.We are now in a different world. 8. Leaders who we once needed because we valued their ‘Individual Conclusion’ (their intelligence) are now not needed. 9. Now ‘leaders’, ‘Authorities’ do not rule the roost. They can no longer manipulate us to overlook their failings and to get more for their ‘Individual self’ which they do because they are in positions of greater power. ( it’s Just Human Nature) The greater power is the human Intellect and we all share as Individuals the benefits of this power. We now have a new ‘Intellectual Environment’ and we move forward, together.
      10. Concepts that once were prominent in the world dominated by, ‘Individual Intelligence’ are no longer prominent. This is a new Intellectual environment and we all react to it is a different way. The dynamics of Human thought have changed and so have we.
      https://medium.com/@whmilk

  • It’s easier to BE an information-anarchist than it is to dictate information-anarchy as a system, isn’t it?

    Genocidal Social Mentality https://drjohnsblog.substack.com/p/genocidal-social-mentality

  • Just surrounding this Ukraine business there’s a shit-ton of highly complex narratives out there. What to believe?
    For instance, what exactly are the geniuses, or the dumbfucks, doing in the Kremlin? Why are they being so goddamn nice to the West? The West is treating them like they are an abscessed pimple on their posterior, and yet, despite being able to cripple/level the economies West anytime they want, with their own rounds of what would actually be HIGHLY PUNItIVE counter-sanctions, they tell the West, hey, you want our wheat and oil and gas, well, here it is, and you also wish to extend your nuclear first stike attack borders with us by 832 miles? Go right ahead.
    Paul Craig Roberts: “The Kremlin is doing its best to appease the West, and the West won’t let them.”
    https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2022/07/04/the-kremlins-hesitancy-and-prevarication-is-a-road-to-war/
    Is this a phony war?
    And I’ll ask again, for the umpteenth time, a tactical level question; if the Russians don’t want Nato war material to pour into the Donbass region, then why are the bridges over the Dneiper still standing?
    Is Vlad the Shifty trying to bleed his own army white?
    It is a fair question to ask. The only counter-argument I’m aware of is my own,* that the Russians want the West to send the material into the warzone so they can destroy it. But we know, or at least we are being told by all sides, that the material being sent is all second hand garbage, at best good enough to convince the Ukies that are being slaughtered in their trenches to keep on killing Russian soldiers because Nato has their backs.
    We live in a complicated world. Or should that read, we live in a complicated world order?
    Lmao …
    You know in many ways Ms. Johnstone, I believe information anarchy is alive and well. I for one have never felt better informed than I do at this moment. Really, it astounds me at times how much information is available to me, at my fingertips.
    *And please, don’t tell me the Russkies don’t want to destroy important infrastructure. They’re in a “war of survival,” they have perfect right to drop those bridges if they want to. Besides, once this is over they could just call up China and ask them to build new ones, and China would be happy to. Just give em some Ukie wheat and minerals and the Dneiper would have as many of the finest bridges the world has ever seen as it needs, or could ever want.
    And in no time. How do I know this? I’ve seen it. To build 5 or 10 magnificent new bridges over the Dneiper would take China one year tops.
    For China, it would be no more than an unchallenging side project, undertaken because they’re either a good-hearted nation or because it suits their needs.
    Or both. Dual purposes do exist.

    • I like the way you think…
      but you are thinking total war, as in anything goes, except nuclear. Yes, I too wonder at Russian military strategy. Wouldn’t it be better in the long run to end it now? Or at least, a month?
      Is bleeding the Ukraine a strategy in itself?
      I fully understand the ‘need’ for Russia to avoid civilian casualties – but what about their own military casualties? And informing NATO, through surveillance, of Russia’s own military capabilities?

      • “Is bleeding the Ukraine a strategy in itself?”
        For all we know, a backchannel deal could have been worked out, where the Russians agree not to destroy the Western economies, as long the West agrees to keep feeding Ukie men and material into the Donbass cauldrons.
        I’d like to think the Russians would’ve “negotiated” for more than this. For instance, once this Donbass slaughter is fininshed, they get to take Odessa without a fight. Something like that.
        The bottom-line is, the Russians, in this Ukraine theater of war, have been fighting like a newborn kitten, or, about as gently as an large army can fight, and in the bigger geo-political theater, they have proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt to me, that they will bend over and kiss whatever asses need to be kissed to keep the West from imploding.
        It’s almost seems as if the whole point of Russian Grand Strategy is to not let the West fall apart, because despite all the Western scorn that has been heaped upon them, they still want to be a part of it.
        Because the alternative, becomming China’s little buddy, is simple unacceptable.

        • IMHO, they know that the West is only doing business there, getting rid of their old stocks of weapons that Ukraine will have to pay for in kind and keeping the MICs (principally US) happy with new orders.
          Once that heist is over, Europe will inevitably walk back on the sanctions because they need Russian commodities quite bad – European people are getting quite nervous already – and so Putin leaves the door open. Just as Macron has been saying for weeks, “we don’t want to humiliate Russia”, Putin probably thinks, “We don’t want to humiliate Europe”.
          As for the US, behind the dick-swinging, they’re already buying Russian in bulk through backchannels. So all this is essentially smoke and mirrors to fool the taxpayers on both sides of the pond and line a few pockets as I understand it.

          • PS: For the US, it’s not only MIC’s profits but also a lot of jobs and most congressmen have defense jobs to protect, starting with Bernie Sanders in Vermont with the F35.

          • $55 billion will line some pockets!
            Lmao … It’s unbelievable really, if you think about it. There should be way more Western billionaires than there are.
            Again, I hate to be Mr. China Bot, but it seems to be just another srategem they have perfected. They know how to distribute both legitamite wealth, and ill-gotten gains, in a logical and mutually benificial manner.

  • Today the Russian MOD and Putin had a talk to officialize the complete Russia victory in Donbas. No western media outlet has a headline about it. Sure, a shooting in Illinois just saved the day for the White House to not have to face it. By the way, there is a regular shooting in America since forever. Let’s not talk about the causes because you cannot put pressure in politicians and imperial-colonialist elites.

  • Truth is like the horizon. If we walk towards it all our life, we’ll still die without reaching it because we are under the spell of Maya, the illusion.

    We dream at night, thinking what we dream is real and we dream during the day thinking what we dream is real too, which led Zhuangzi to say: “Last night I dreamt I was a butterfly and this morning I am not sure whether I am Zhuangzi or the butterfly dreaming he is me”. We guess what other people think of us and react accordingly. Most of the time we project and are wrong. We speculate about what might happen and react in prevision. We surf on a permanent tide of illusions and if we put one under a microscope, we discover it’s really a matryoshka with other illusions inside.

    So the best we can do is reach certitudes and abide by Confucius’ Golden Rule: what you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.

    Yet even that, under the microscope, doesn’t stand. Many books tell how a zen master said or did something cruel to a disciple which, being finely tuned to the latter’s particular state of evolution at that very moment, triggered satori.

    Is it not better to get pain to get enlightened when you get more pain anyway from experiencing the daily regular dream/nightmare “reality”?

    Yet how do we know this is true? It could just be legends…

    In fact, how do we know that anything that is not here and now is true? And even here and now, we have to distrust our senses if we suffer from color blindness, ageusia, anosmia, partial deafness, not even speaking of neurosis or psychosis. And even with a perfectly sound body, how do we know the sun is not in fact revolving around the Earth as our senses tell us?

    Part of what we see and hear comes from our imagination and constitutes a distorting prism in our perception of “reality”.

    Now power freaks, who are just as delusional as the next guy, invented the pyramid: I decide every morning what the truth is and you depend on me to know it so that you can function in society. Obey and I’ll tell you, like today the sky is green. You’ll be able to interconnect with all the people who think the sky is green thanks to my media echo chamber while I’ll have my people ban everybody who says otherwise, even – especially – if they have undeniable proof of it. If you want to gain power and money, you’ll stick with the sky is green today and you’ll come back tomorrow to learn from me its new color. For in that enterprise, Maya is allied with Mammon.

    This being said, I am ideologically all in favor of information anarchism and happen what may – but we must be aware that lies and lynchings will come out of it just the same…

  • It is not so simple. Perhaps I will sign up Johnstone and Joe Biden in the same 101 class.
    https://twitter.com/US_OGA/status/1543598296668803075?s=20&t=nG-K8_3oDniTWwm_Ab5BxA
    CIA and NSA are intertwined in many things which most of them people have no idea.
    https://www.rt.com/news/558351-us-proxy-wars-program/
    To remove it would be necessary a colossal reform in laws, constitutional amendments which were exclusively made to put them there. It should be done but politicians and elites don’t like to suffer the legal consequences of their own actions. It seems everyone is the same boat and there is no other way around in the short run.
    And making it in a rush like in the staged French Revolution back in the day where Britannia was looking to annihilate the French nobility because of the American independence would make happen a genocide of elites. Not a bad idea but I cannot say such things here, you know.

  • I wonder about the substance behind this superficially appealing stance. It seems that porn is the people’s choice when it comes to internet use. Few of my generation who tripped out in college became enlightened adults. Sensational and salacious info so easily crowds out sober “truth” whether info is managed or not. And IMHO a bad narrative can be overcome and replaced only by the creation and spread of a better one, story telling animals that we be. Boiled down, I guess I’ve come to fear the mob as much as the monarch, come to learn that democracy devolves without wise and principled leafership…which is why the bastards killed them off when I was young.

  • For centuries rulers never told anyone what they were doing except a privileged few who required their support. Now the people demand to know what our rulers are doing, so they lie and do what they want. Nothing changes, just the mechanism by which it happens.

  • Information anarchism would demand personal accountability for perception (and action) such availability would allow-if I can find (and apply) any information independent of established/approved sources, then I would be the person responsible not only for the action it might inspire, but the understanding it creates.

    Repeating what I’m told, especially if there’s an exchange [often money, but every trade can be seen through this lens] is easier-I don’t have to “own my soul” which I believe is the collaboration (ideally) or conflict [usually] between my thoughts and my feelings. I don’t have to be a person in groupthink/trend-chasing/nationalism/collectivism of any kind.
    I don’t believe the majority want to be individuals-it’s not “safe”, and cultural infantilization exacerbates the problem.

    Years back I was reading Dante, and since there was also softcore porn, jazz & bourbon blended together in my friend’s living room before she came back from work and sweet-talked me into putting out, I could easily be wrong. That said, IRC Dante claimed that betrayal of self is the greatest sin and worthy of the ninth circle. I’m not a Christian, but influential interests coordinating to encourage personal decisions that work against the individual making them doesn’t seem far removed from Dante’s definition, regardless of the exchange.

    There’s no shortage of information-there’s a shortage of intellectual curiosity & ability with the emotional courage & resilience necessary to sort through it, and low IQ/EQ people only want to know what will land a pay raise and/or a party invitation.

    • Not only low IQ people. I’ve seen Macron quoted as saying in essence: “They [the WEF] told me ‘go along with us and you’ll get elected’ and so I did”. And it’s a fact that he was elected and re-elected basically through a globalist corporate media campaign. Nobody had ever heard of him before.
      I believe it’s the same with all the WEF “global leaders”: Trudeau, Ardern, Johnson (who was shielded from the Corbyn threat by the globalist corporate media via their slanderous accusation of anti-Semitism because Corbyn supported the Palestinians) etc.
      Do as you’re told and our media will get you up there. Let’s not forget David Rockefeller’s infamous 1991 Bilderberg speech: “We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march toward a world government… The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries”.
      So the information scam was all wrapped up seventy years ago and will be hard to undo.

  • The pursuit of truth is indeed a worthy path to take. It is however an uphill path filled with deception and lies.

    • It is rowing alone upstream in a tiny rowboat. Stop for a second and you will be swept away.

  • I applaud everything you are saying. However information freedom will create its own problems. Information about how to create destructive devices, computer programs, or biological agents that can be used by to create havoc and having that freely available to all would be a disaster. It reminds of me the Outer Limits Episode where a man discovers it is possible to easily build an atomic bomb on a kitchen table. He believes that once this knowledge gets out it will be the end of the world.

  • Hola Caitlin, Yes, what you say is what we need. Total transparency and the end of the oligarchical, monopoly of the media/misinformation/propaganda machines. This 7 minute animation that I made in 2020 explains horizontal governing, which is really what I believe you are talking about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wywMhg604W8&t=10s. Please help promote this idea if you agree with it.

    The other aspectis how important it is that what we, the people are of good character. I believe we will never have an equitable and peaceful system until the people are of good character. This is another monumentally daunting challenge, as most people have been broken/traumatized in some ways by the toxic, lying culture and the constant inundation of propaganda has manufactured beliefs that are contrary to their welfare, i.e. the Trojan horse strategies work every time.

  • human computation is a powerful engine for change, its true value can only be extracted with consent. The ‘chaos’ of narrative decentralization will ironically create more durable consensus among the governed. Consensus will be more resilient and symmetry preserving, more accurate.

  • Yes, public information must be made available without intermediaries where possible.
    It is least possible where information must be processed, as in scientific studies, policy “expert” studies, journalist analysis, and public debate.
    1. Scientific studies can be verified
    2. Policy “expert” studies have sources of known prejudice that should be prohibited from accepting direct or indirect private funding or rewards.
    3. Journalist analysis may have bias, and is consulted most often by those who agree, creating echo chambers that lead people astray. One means to ensure that people in echo chambers seek alternative views is public debate, involving and protecting all viewpoints.
    4. Public debate requires administration without bias, the oldest problem of government. But this can be done, as in the nascent Congress of Debate (CongressOfDebate dotcom). That system of checks and balances can serve as a model for democratic government.
    Even with fair public debate, journalism remains a major source of information freedom.

  • We are all to blame for the predicament we are in. Corrupt officialdom and perverts wouldn’t ride on our backs if the majority did no bend the back. We are given to insane entertainment rather than seeking to inform ourselves everyday we wake up. One doesn’t have to be an expert to understand what the experts are saying about any any issue that affects them. Even at this stage there are many who follow sheepishly the death shots narrative when the evidence is overwhelming that this is one of the worst scams the world has ever experienced. The empire lies are being exposed everyday but the polls still show that there are still those who think Joe Biden must stay on as president or are comfortable to keep BJ as prime minister. Come what may because we are all oblivious to it all judging by our tepid attitude towards our survival and welfare.

  • Powerful, thought provoking commentary. Thank you.

  • Thanks Caitlin. What you are proposing (and we all wish) is much more revolutionary than socialism (for example). Just read (or reread) “1984”. The most important issue for the Big Brother was exactly the opposite – cover up, lie, confuse, minimize language to zero, and leave the people in complete darkness. Any attempt to find the truth, even the slightest one, would cost a person (Winston) dearly. In that system, finding the truth is by far the most dangerous act anybody there could take (because lie is in the essence of a totalitarian regime – this is also clear in “Animal Farm, where lie is the new world order, as Kafka had said before).

  • Assange’s manifesto (for wikileaks) articulates your point very movingly, Caitlin, i’m sure you’ve read it.

  • Here, here.

  • Change of this magnitude cannot be done from the inside, as it were, unless a large enough ‘shock’ occurs (think Naomi Klein ‘Shock Doctrine’). Otherwise, it can only happen after a large enough collapse that leaves the Empire too weak to maintain its control.
    In the West, we seem to be heading towards that collapse, although as you rightly point out, it might be an extinction level event (nuclear war) that would then make this discussion moot.
    However, we are probably up against the Klaus Schwab globalists who appear to want the ‘Great Reset’ collapse to happen so that they can take over, and make it far worse for us!

    • Most societal collapses yield dictators, either just before or just after the collapse.

  • LOVE This piece

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