Smash Capitalism - buy Amazon

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Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
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Dec 5 2006 11:45
john wrote:
For the record, my objection is to the promotion of Christmas Shopping, rather than to a link to Amazon.

duly noted

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
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Dec 5 2006 11:49

i mean, i don't think we're going to persuade anyone to xmas shop who wasn't going to anyway. nor do i have an ethical or political problem about participating in a formerly-christian-now-consumerist festival for the sake of family and that. and xmas has sparkly things ffs!

Mike Harman
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Dec 5 2006 11:50
john wrote:
yes, this is true. In fact, in practical terms, the only issue of contention that I can really think of is who and when to ban people. I think there should be an e-disciplinary committee, that is open to all people averaging at least 5 posts per week for the previous 4 weeks, to decide on these issues as they arise.

With bannings - 98% of them are either far right trolls or spammers (often the spammers are bots). I think we've permanently banned about 3-4 people in the past couple of years, with one or two temp bans as well.

So it'd probably come up about once every six months, although presumably such a committee would also be able to nominate people for banning and therefore it could happen more often. I think it could lead to all kinds of nastiness to be honest - like people running campaigns for others to be banned etc. I'd be the first to agree that the way it works now isn't perfect - but a lot better than it was say a year or two ago.

john
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Dec 5 2006 11:53
Mike Harman wrote:
I think it could lead to all kinds of nastiness to be honest - like people running campaigns for others to be banned etc.

I haven't seen any of this kind of behaviour so far. Most people here seem to get along relatively well. And I think if someone did attempt that they would also lose the vote.

ticking_fool
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Dec 5 2006 12:14
raw wrote:
Difference is that those that are involved decide. And your examples suggest that individuals have decision making powers. If someone does walk off the street and has an idea which makes sense and resonates then it doesn't matter how long they've been involved. Point is its a collective decision.

I don't see how it's different on Libcom. Those that do the work make the decisions. In the social center example, the person walking in off the street with the good idea doesn't make the decision, the people who have to implement it do - which can include that person if they're prepared to do the work. Something similar happened here with the CPE blog and similar things are happening with the news posts.

These forum posts are no more work on the site than someone coming in for a cup of tea and a natter is work on a social centre. I don't see why posting up crap while you're bored or putting something else off (I have a job application to fill out right now and I don't want to do it, hence LibCom) should give you the same input into decision making that those putting in hours maintaining the infrastructure and content of the site have.

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madashell
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Dec 5 2006 12:15

Going from my experiences of TTG, direct democracy doesn't work online for a number of reasons.

For a start, you can pretend to be virtually anybody on a bulletin board, it's not like a community where everybody knows each other and knows where they live, what they do, etc., anybody can sign on to a bulletin board, pretending to have that boards best interests at heart and fuck things up. Restricting voting to people who've been on the boards for a certain amount of time or who have a certain number of posts just doesn't work either, you would be surprised the number of sad fuckers there are wandering the internet, looking to fuck things up for the hell of it. Leading on from that, what's to stop somebody setting up a load of multiple identities?

To cap it all off, with a bulletin board, you're never going to have to meet the other members unless you want to. Safely out of striking distance, nobheads can fillibuster, derail and troll to their hearts content, after all, the worst thing that can happen is a banning.

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Rob Ray
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Dec 5 2006 12:15
Quote:
Difference is that those that are involved decide.

This for me is the crux of the matter. As a forum user you are not 'involved' in the same way as you are not 'involved' if you go to a cafe and chat to your mates (in this case you aren't even expected to buy a coffee).

To extend the metaphor, the space is provided for free and the only rules (ie. not starting fights in the cafe, not disrupting people having a nice conversation) are very clear from the outset. You have the choice to go into the cafe or not, and can talk about pretty much whatever you like, up to and including how crap the cafe is.

If you choose to help out in the cafe a bit, you get more input as you have a stake in decision making, and if you become a permanent member of the colective, you have full input. I don't see how this is any different from how any other collective works, anywhere and the fact it has a wide outreach is an indicator only that the collective is doing its stated job quite well, it doesn't suddenly change their remit.

If people don't like it, they go elsewhere - eg. Class War - or they complain until the collective decide to take action - eg. the anti-flaming campaign various people waged through most of last year, which would loosely equate with asking Freedom not to stock Hakim Bey for example (you wouldn't presume to dictate what is stocked in Freedom btw when you don't help out in the bookshop?). What they don't do is demand full voting rights solely on the basis they buy the odd coffee.

Jason Cortez
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Dec 5 2006 12:16

john

Quote:
I haven't seen any of this kind of behaviour so far. Most people here seem to get along relatively well. And I think if someone did attempt that they would also lose the vote.

nah,i will be running a campaign to get you, revol and all the libcom admins banned as soon as the opportunity arises.

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jef costello
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Dec 5 2006 12:24
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Thankfully I can disagree with him about the libcom collective, it isn't meant to be a fecking Soviet, that doesn't mean to say it shouldn't have some feedback or participation mechanisms.

You're in the feedback forum.

ticking_fool wrote:
I don't see how it's different on Libcom. Those that do the work make the decisions. In the social center example, the person walking in off the street with the good idea doesn't make the decision, the people who have to implement it do - which can include that person if they're prepared to do the work. Something similar happened here with the CPE blog and similar things are happening with the news posts.

Exactly, Libcom works because people get involved. Joseph K. has just joined, catch only joined the collective last year.
There is a difference between someone making a contribution and someone demanding that their voice be heard. If someone is a participant and what they want is possible then libcom is pretty helpful. For example Class War were given their own boards and one of their members modded them (with help from the collective) Lots of groups have done this. Honestly Raw, following your logic I could walk into your social centre and suggest that it needs to provide housing, cause that's important and then ask for my romm to be ready on monday. The fact that you are still allowed to post here is significant. I doubt any of the libcom collective would be very welcome at any of your meetings.

edit: Libcom are not encouraging people to take part in Christmas, but recognising that most people will do it, and that many will use Amazon, then this is a way to channel some cash to libcom without spending money.

ps. I thought server costs were higher than 1000 p.a. that's £2 a week subs for the collective.

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madashell
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Dec 5 2006 12:39
revol68 wrote:
my only problem is the amazon link, i mean it's not good that there is an overlap of interest between libcom and amazon, it cheapens the site somewhat. I mean a link to a radical bookshop is different in that it atleast shares some of the aims of the libcom project, with amazon the only link is cold hard cash (i'd be interested to see how much though cos i'm sure it couldn't be that much!) and as such you might as well just put some google ads in or even a ring tone one?.

I'm quite curious as to how much money libcom are likely to get out of this, it strikes me that it'll probalby end up being a tiny trickle of income. Probably not as much money as libcom would get if a few more people set up standing orders, mebbe if you guys had something about it prominantly displayed on the site? I'd be happy to bung a few quid a month to libcom once things are a bit more stable at work (with an income that can vary between £40 and £200 from one week to the next, it's not really feasible embarrassed ).

A libcom ring tone would be well cool

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
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Dec 5 2006 12:43
jef costello wrote:
You're in the feedback forum.

was in libcommunity, i moved when it didn't turn into the intended flamewar wink

Thora
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Dec 5 2006 12:43
madashell wrote:
A libcom ring tone would be well cool

The Internationale?

the button's picture
the button
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Dec 5 2006 12:45
Thora wrote:
madashell wrote:
A libcom ring tone would be well cool

The Internationale?

Third one down of these would be more appropriate, surely.

http://www.clarencecourt.co.uk/ringtones.asp

Thora
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Dec 5 2006 12:49
the button wrote:
Thora wrote:
madashell wrote:
A libcom ring tone would be well cool

The Internationale?

Third one down of these would be more appropriate, surely.

http://www.clarencecourt.co.uk/ringtones.asp

Did you google 'cock ringtone' for that?

jef costello's picture
jef costello
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Dec 5 2006 12:51

I do agree that having such a prominent link is a bit cheap. I wouldn't have done it that way myself. There is a contradiction but honestly you're not going to buy something just for the sake of libcom.
As libcom get 5% it could really add up although I'm not sure that it is.

madashell's picture
madashell
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Dec 5 2006 12:51
the button wrote:
Thora wrote:
madashell wrote:
A libcom ring tone would be well cool

The Internationale?

Third one down of these would be more appropriate, surely.

http://www.clarencecourt.co.uk/ringtones.asp

http://tinyurl.com/yygyy4
roll eyes

the button's picture
the button
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Dec 5 2006 12:52
Thora wrote:
the button wrote:
Thora wrote:
madashell wrote:
A libcom ring tone would be well cool

The Internationale?

Third one down of these would be more appropriate, surely.

http://www.clarencecourt.co.uk/ringtones.asp

Did you google 'cock ringtone' for that?

Nah, I googled 'farmyard ringtone' as I thought there was (marginally) less chance of inadvertantly looking at porn from work.

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Steven.
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Dec 5 2006 13:01
jef costello wrote:
I do agree that having such a prominent link is a bit cheap.

Yeah, it was only going to be for a couple of days, it's just we forgot to start a thread in good time + bump it to let people know, and it was getting very close to the last time when people would be able to order stuff. It'll be gone in a couple of days.

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Steven.
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Dec 5 2006 13:02
revol68 wrote:
(say for example amazon workers strike and call for a boycott, yes, yes I know it's hypothetical but still)

Then of course we'd back the boycott and remove it.

ticking_fool
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Dec 5 2006 13:04
revol68 wrote:
the problem is that either the amazon link is considerable substantial to the finances of libcom and hence represents a conflict of interests (say for example amazon workers strike and call for a boycott, yes, yes I know it's hypothetical but still) or it's insubstancial and therefore not worth cheapening the whole libcom project over.

The boy has a point. To answer my own question from before, it is different from a one off blagged grant because there is this ongoing relationship that, at least potentially, could compromise things.

ticking_fool
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Dec 5 2006 13:07
John. wrote:
Then of course we'd back the boycott and remove it.

Which if the money was a significant chunk of running costs could mean that LibCom collapses as a result. If it's not a significant chunk then is it worth something which is compromising and ongoing? Not asking you to open the books or anything, but it's not a great arrangement.

ticking_fool
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Dec 5 2006 13:08

Leave it to revol - we're saying exactly the same things.

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Rob Ray
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Dec 5 2006 13:11

Or alternatively, is it an alternative revenue stream which temporarily (ie. over christmas) adds to their coffers and helps them chuck a bit extra in come the new year?

I think you're underestimating the intelligence of the collective here revol, I doubt they are organising their finances around the potential income of an amazon linkup, when it would make much more sense to have it as a supplementary income to help boost bank balances for a rainy day not only because of what you've said above about conflicts of interest, but from the other direction, because amazon could at any point pull the plug for whatever reason.

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Rob Ray
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Dec 5 2006 13:37
Quote:
your overlooking the fact that amazon are getting something for it, or do you think they do this shit for giggles. Your userbase is essentially being sold off as potential consumers to amazon in return for 5% of any orders.

Revol this is an absolutely bizarre assertion. You think radical bookshops don’t sell through amazon? You think AK, or Freedom doesn’t have a tie-up to sell their titles? Would you object to libertarians working for amazon as employees and then paying subs?

Everything that goes through amazon is making the company money, the only point at which this becomes an issue is if it compromises Libcom’s, or any other group’s actions, which it won’t if they’re not relying on it as a main source of funding. The only thing that matters in this context is libcom’s ability to operate freely and without constraint, and this restricts neither.

Also, how exactly is it ‘selling off’ users? Last time I checked they hadn’t opened their database of users to a multinational company, they’d put a link up, which people can, amazingly enough, click on if they wish to. Voluntarily.

john
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Dec 5 2006 13:54

the link does look like a promotion of amazon, though, which I think would look pretty weird for someone coming on to the site for the first time.

Personally, when I first saw the link i thought it was odd that there was a link to huge MNC on here. Couldn't the link be "subvertized" - and say something like - "we know Amazon are blood-sucking exploitative bastards, but they've got all the money and we need some (this is capitalism after all), so buy through this link and we'll get some of the scraps left over when Amazon have finished enriching their media retail empire".

Rob Ray's picture
Rob Ray
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Dec 5 2006 13:55

You could have a link put in underneath to a critique of amazon and how it’s destroying independent bookshops wink

john
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Dec 5 2006 13:57

or a critique of capitalism and how it's destroying humans' creative (and book-writing) potential

sphinx
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Dec 5 2006 14:27

Without Amazon, I would have forgotten English. Keep the link.

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pingtiao
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Dec 5 2006 19:25

I don't think this really matters, but I'm half-way glad that there has a been a civilised discussion on here about it.

None of us in the collective minded the idea, and it gives us some extra cash. Put it this way: I'm going to start buying Christmas presents tonight, and some of them will come form Amazon. Other libcom collective members will no doubt do the same. The fact that we set this link up means that we get to do exactly what we were going to do anyway but now get to divert 5% of that to our site.

My brother bought some SD cards for his camera off Amazon on Saturday, and I forwarded him our link so we would get something out of it. It makes sense for us- from a practical point of view- to make the link available to any of our users that are going to use Amazon anyway and are happy to kick 5% to us.

Does this compromise us? Not as far as I can see.

And for the record I don't think revol was trolling, but it seems fairly clear that raw was.

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georgestapleton
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Dec 5 2006 20:57

just to say, although revol has a point, i personally don't have any problem with there being an amazon link. Take what you can get. And the site is run kind of democratically, at least in so far as that there is a feed back forum and if the site users have a problem then it is discussed and often action is taken. For example with the introduction of strict non flaming rules in all but the libcommunity forum or the repeated bannings of revol.