msGNU - “Disciplindex” [Track 5]

Accompanying Essay (PDF)
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Accompanying Essay (PDF)

Thesis Essay: Discipline and Index: The Tension Between Control and Freedom on the Internet


once upon a time there was a big bad war
or two or more, i’ll stay vague so i don’t bore
combat influenced the invention of hardware
parallel to oppenheimer’s nuclear death stare

then in comparison, similarly harrowing
initial internet infrastructure carried in
by the US department of defense,
cos ARPANET made a lot of sense
as a failsafe plan for when the damage got dense

“mission control come in, come in,
the phones are down, but did we win, we win?
Decentralized networks, we can rebuild again….”“

So we can trace computers’ roots to top-down control
It’s a chunk of the picture but it’s not the whole
We owe an equal debt to hacker academics who worked hard with their heart and soul

Typing till carpal tunnel sets in with the allnighter blood sweat and tears,
the software we share is free as in knowledge, and not free as in beers
the tension between surveillance and liberation
structural constraint and grassroots innovation
has been twisting and shifting for ICT’s last hundred years.

of course I’ve got a crush on richard stallman
teeheehee, MIT, please give me a call when
you need more troops for the FREEDOM battles
expose the source code till the corporate brat tattles
proprietary infant putting patents on the rattle
sensible folk see that knowledge isn’t chattel
every time they knock us down we’re back in the saddle.
solving puzzles like scrabble they call us filthy rabble.

i write to honor the memory of aaron swartz
targeted as a scapegoat by archaic courts
we demand progress and significant change
in the current laws which seem dark and strange

right now sharing information gets you more jail time
than stabbing up a stranger in a night crime
might not change much, short rope double dutch
but it keeps me stuck on this sad rhyme.

So if we relegate cyberspace to top-down control
giving an inch at a time takes its toll
databases expand
while they’re shaking your hand,
while they’re choking your soul.
while they’re shaking your hand
and it’s choking your soul.

past data profiles a perfect picture of you
what you think, what you say, what you’ll probably do
today and then tomorrow, if you beg steal or borrow
infinite history, inquisition’s sweet sorrow

your microchipped arm is no cause for alarm
the warlords in charge, they don’t mean you no harm
and you can check your email as long as they can look too
missing fliers posted up on youtube cos they took you
into super secret custody, indulging their police state gluttony
didn’t even say goodbye so it flustered me
wish i could have helped you to escape cos you trusted me

if my white hat heart heard their jackboots coming
we coulda grabbed our hard drives and got to running
it’s feeling like time to hide, to hide
from what this world’s becoming

and all human history was a fight for control
davey versus goliath,
maybe john connors versus skynet
we can stay defiant
try to slay this giant

pocket full of bitcoin to buy ourselves a boat
encrypt that little ship,
use tor to ford the moat
but i know if i left it all without a note
the regret of not fighting might close up my throat.

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msGNU - disciplindex

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