Wow, has this blog not been updated in a minute and half. But all this Wikileaks stuff has been making me nostalgic for junior year, when I spent a whole semester with the illustrious Prof. Chris Kelty organizing ROFLCon reveling in the accounts of hackers/activists thinking seriously about the ethical and political ramifications of their actions.

In particular, I went digging for a paper that was absolutely fascinating even before the Internets totally went to war and stuff–a paper written in February of 2000 (ten years ago!!) by the ElectroHippies collective, a cyberactivist* organization, about client-side distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and whether they were a legitimate form of political action for the internet, whether the bots sending repeated requests to a server was the same as a physical occupation or a sit-in. The fascinating thing here, you’ll note, is that it’s not a declaration: the ElectroHippies were genuinely interested in sparking a debate, and the paper was their opening argument in it. The other interesting thing is that they were also attacking Amazon.

From their own mouths: “We must make sure that both the positive and negative aspects of Internet activism are clearly debated, and that cyberspace is not excised from the everyday realm of constitutional rights and freedoms.” (The paper then goes on to laud JavaScript as the enabler of a “client-side revolution”. I think no one has said anything nicer about JS since.)

Thanks to some derp-assistance from Alex Leavitt, I was able to find the paper. It’s here. Read it if you care about the WikiLeaks thing.

That semester, my research into hippies and hackers took me to a strange publication–the forefather of the illustrious 2600. Given 2600‘s image and community nowadays, it was shocking to me that its ancestor, the Youth International Party Line, was actually founded by none other than Abbie Hoffman, leader of the disruptive-performance-art-hippie-group Yippies! I ended up writing my junior paper about the evolution of this oft-neglected publication, and rereading it was useful to me for being reminded of the many historical contexts in play when hackers go to war. Maybe it will be useful to you, too?

Download it here: The Secrets of the Little Pamphlet (pdf)

* Please note, I can use “cyber-” as a prefix here because they were active in the 90s and that’s what they called themselves. Arbitrarily adding “cyber-” in front of nouns now makes you look like you are wearing adult diapers. I’m looking at you, New York Times.

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