e-mail to RMS about ‘market socialism’
A little text text color is added, to differentiate the author.Topic: freedom & justice, also in economics and the State (fundamentals) Dear Richard M. Stallman, It seems you might be interested in a book I wrote. It is a free book in the public domain, the source is also readily available (.odt). The topic is how to achieve justice and stability in economics and the State. If you like I can send you a free copy. We have once e-mailed about ‘sede – secure democracy’ which is the program I wrote. It allows people to vote using the Internet. Unfortunately the program has not been developed further, however I did move on to the more serious business of … business and all that … to try to write a program to rectify the economy and the State. It seemed to me that only a democratic voting system would end up being a toy in an ever more unstable and dictatorial society. It is all a bit difficult to write a summary, because it gets complicated rather quickly. The basic idea is that power should be spread to all people, to give people the ability to easily start businesses, while the centralization of power in the economy should be prevented. This leads to a maximum on the size of a company, the amount of wealth one person may own (although it should be fairly high, but not so high that rich people can buy the State as easily as they do today), and other issues. Land (natural resources) do not belong in an economy, because it is not the product of human work (and other reasons). Land needs to be distributed for free to all. To bring back the benefits of the market, there should be a land rent market, and a swap market. With real land in hand, people can become free. The power drops to the population level in the economy. To rectify the problems with politicians who do whatever they want, after lying a bunch during the latest election media show, we can organize the vote by grouping people by 50, who elect a delegate, delegates group by 50 to form councils, etc. This program I have written has taken a long time to develop, it is very detailed, in order to prevent the usual suspects from warping a political movement to their personal aims at the point of achieving power. This all may sound a little loose, but it is impossible to put nearly 700 pages in one email. Anyway, I thought maybe it could interest you, because we won’t have real freedom, or a meaningful vote, as an isolated thing within a centralizing economy and a State bought up by the ultra-rich. This could even be viewed as a way of going on the offensive, rather than being on the defensive against the Capitalist ruling class (as we would call it). Perhaps you don’t like this, perhaps you do, either way I could send you a free copy, or you could of course download the book for free and even improve it if you like, and then print and sell it if you like. best regards, Jos Boersema The Netherlands https://market.socialism.nl/ P.S. I make a habit of publishing political communication to my website, and to record the answer – if any – there too (minus personal information and such). It is my opinion that the people in general should know what is going on with something political they may want to support or not.
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[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider ]]] [[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies, ]]] [[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden’s example. ]]] It sounds like you’re proposing several big changes together. It is hard for me to think about the consequences of such changes, especially if there are no past examples of them. I am overwhelmed with mail, so I don’t have much time for reading. I could read a short article but I wouldn’t have time to read a book about such a proposal. We had a GNU package for voting over the internet. I and the author decided to withdraw it because we concluded that is a very dangerous practice. Voting over the internet is too risky. See stallman.org/evoting.html. — Dr Richard StallmanFounder, Free Software Foundation (https://gnu.org, https://fsf.org) Internet Hall-of-Famer (https://internethalloffame.org)
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Hello Richard Stallman, Thank you for your e-mail. I understand that this proposal is large when taken in full detail, thanks for at least taking note of it. From the few ideas you have that I have seen, it seems to be fairly similar to what this book is proposing.Reply received, quote … [[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider ]]] [[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies, ]]] [[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden’s example. ]]] I’m sorry, I am too overloaded to read the 150 lines of text you sent. I have 2500 messages that accumulated since October which I have not even seen. I don’t have time to spend hours thinking about the issues you raise. — Dr Richard Stallman Founder, Free Software Foundation (https://gnu.org, https://fsf.org) Internet Hall-of-Famer (https://internethalloffame.org)
book “Distribute Power”I can only say that real Revolution is not simple, and if we go at it simple we will not likely successful. There are and have been lots of political movements, whose programs are usually not much more than a few slogans, with lots of emotion, the rest “to be made up as we reach power.” The program I am suggesting we think about will have to be studied part by part, from the principles to major elements to the details. The book is written in a way to make that easy. The idea is to have something functional and detailed enough, that it cannot be wrecked by corrupt people at the point where “the movement” takes power (as happens so often). The basic idea is that all people should have power, rather than centralize power in a few hands. That is something a person can think about for a while, without going any further. Then the question comes up: how do we do that, is it an election system, what about the economy. At that point one could start studying the economy, and slowly learn about market value coming from work and why it is in principle such a good thing if everyone has land for free. It also prevents a few people to own all land. This could be something to think about for half a year even, before going any further. These are big changes, but needed ones. Eventually one may wonder: but how exactly are we going to do that, and what are the dangers, problems ? Then one can progress to some more detail. I merely take one issue now, but there are many. This book is structured in this way: a fairly short part about general things with economics (mostly). Then most of the book is worked out details of Constitutions. The first Constitution only has 7 laws fitting on half a page or less, not even one paragraph. This page makes it obvious: http://www.socialism.nl/law/ I think that real change in the world, only comes from a kind of action that is possible for an individual, for groups and for masses in general. It needs to both have general principles that are good, and fine detail to actually make sure such principles are not debased when and if they might make it into law.
voting program “Sede”GNU did have a voting program, called GNU.FREE, which you did withdraw. However my program is a very different implementation, and is not risky, rather it requires the Internet to be free and private for it to function properly (!). My program was put on the list of GNU programs to fulfill the voting issue, although it was not active because I could no longer go on with it (it is in a usable state). Sede is quite a large program already, with its own ballot expansion language, and allowing every voter to have their own encryption command(s) registered. It follows Unix doctrine (do one thing well, and interface with other programs). I still regret how this whole thing went, because it seemed to me that because the author of GNU.FREE failed, he had decided that everyone else also was forced to fail at this problem, and the result has been that they started to campaign against internet voting in general, and that my program was partially a victim of this campaign. Here we are today, and we still do not vote on the Internet, even though we could have a shiny GUI voting program right now with a decade of work put into it already (sede – secure democracy, or a variant). It seems to me that the mistake on the part of GNU.FREE has been to try to emulate or recreate the paper ballot system for general elections. You cannot succeed at that, in my opinion, because the anonymity demand on that system is very high. It seems to me that no digital networking form of voting can achieve the anonymity required. Incidentally I am also very much against voting machines, and done my best to ban them. There are basically two important things in voting: anonymity, and the certainty of the result. These two things more or less bite each other. If you use hand raising to vote, the certainty of the result is high (at least in terms of how many did raise their arm, for whatever reason), but the anonymity is low. If you use secret paper balloting (modern elections), the anonymity is high, but the certainty of the result is relatively low. It is relatively easy to manipulate paper balloting. My program does not even attempt to implement paper balloting anonymity levels on the internet, perhaps also because it is impossible. However there are other modes of voting, where anonymity is a little less important on the one hand, while on the other we may like the effect that we can have other benefits such as more certain results, or more voter participation by doing more than merely voting A, B or C. This does and should not challenge the modern election system, which should always be on paper, even if for no other reason than that most people lack the skill with computers to have any clue what is going on. Paper ballots can be understood by almost anyone, and that implies their power to control and inspect it. What I have done with the sede program, is make a system where we can be very certain of the result because every voter gets a unique code, and the code comes back in the public results to be searched and verified. Every voter can then verify their own vote from the public votes, and for himself at least be sure their vote was counted correctly. It does not matter if this goes against certain rules for modern election (where you should not be able to proof what ballot you voted), because it is not meant to replace that kind of voting. The result is very certain with this “voter code” system. There are ways to increase the anonymity of the vote as well by using a secret paper ballot system wherein people can register the place where their ballot should be send and how it should be encrypted. Doing it that way is one of the most secure ways, and perhaps in some cases almost entirely anonymous or pretty hard to break. This is where the issue of the Internet as a whole comes back. A system like sede *demands* the Internet be as anonymous as possible, because then the ballot destination and encryption is as anonymous as it could be. If the Internet gets mass surveiled and every connection is cross correlated with a human being and all that, it would hurt the operation of the sede voting system. The secure results come from public verification, just people downloading the result pages wherever or even printing them in a book and passing them around. The registration of voters can be done offline (if a maximum anonymity effort is needed). This system is not risky for the Internet, rather the opposite, it becomes a force which wants the internet to remain free and open, and anonymous. Some examples of voting can be: a group who votes together is for example a group of friends, a small company or even a big one, a garden association, even a political party internally, or a local section thereof, etc. These people might be running many votes, perhaps one vote a week, or a whole ballot with 10 voting issues every year. If they do not care so much about anonymity, they could register their e-mails online as well, in which case the system anonymity is broken at the administrator level, but not at the user level. That is a cost and benefit that may be right for some groups, and not others. If they want paper ballot registration (for example with a ballot destination of some free and easy to get e-mail address), they could do that once, and then run many votes over that single registration, making the system more usable in practice. One very important – i think – feature of this system, is that people can add a comment on their vote, so that they can protest being asked the wrong question, and so on. All these comments end up in the public result, for all to see. Needless to say, identifying information, including the ballot destination and so on, is stripped from those result pages. The system is still there, it still compiles without error (I was recently informed by someone who compiled it), and it works. We tested it with a Dutch political party D66, and they found it a system of choice. I think that may say more than what the GNU.FREE people say ? I think the GNU.FREE people eventually even admitted that sede is different than their program, and can be succesful, since after all it was put on the GNU list. The system was unfortunately not further implemented, due to corruption in the leadership of D66 (they flat out did not implement the decision by the D66 Congress, which is in breach of their party rules, and since nothing has been done about it.) Sometimes it pains me to see how much work people put into making their desktop shiny and slick, how much effort goes into side issues, and here we have this major thing of democracy in our world, yet nobody seems to want to do what it takes to make it work. Then on the other hand, we get wars wages supposedly for democracy. It is a very strange world, isn’t it. “Sede” was also published about in Linux Magazine, where they made an unfortunate mistake about the anonymity issue. It seemed like they had rushed their article. They did not comprehend how the anonymity can work with paper registration of ballot destination. [[[I could also add something for the NSA spies … (hehe) … when you read this, and you know you are becoming guilty of waging tyranny as well as foreign criminal wars, I suggest you get out of the NSA while you can, before the trials begin. I also hope you realize that with your games of edging the world toward World War Three, you could quite easily die in the Russian nuclear defense if it came to that, while the crime lords you work for are toasting white whine somewhere in South America. It is time to get out of the system, or be judged with it.]]] Nice to also have the opportunity to write to the NSA ! Have a great day, everyone, Jos Boersema The Netherlands P.S. Sorry about writing long stuff often, I like being complete and accurate, usually a little too much. The issues at hand seem important though, so please forgive me.
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