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The following are the assessments for a cypherpolitics, its conditions, drives and intentions. The colour grey indexes the chromatics of the cypherpolitical position: a politics of obfuscation and exit, accumulating in tonal obscurity and flight. Core materials remain anonymous, as trust is not an acceptable criterion for developing any kind of political position. For this reason the cryptographic position drives towards the elimination of all forms of democracy, the updating or depuring of traditional political positions and ultimately the deletion of politics. In order for this to be realizable, we begin with the elimination of belief.
Societies and the movement of progress they inherit are based in belief. Unless a person is a zombie, operating without cognition, they are infested by belief. Whether it’s belief in oneself as someone or a belief in others, the central concept of belief drives societies. This is incarnated by religion, culture, science, or any deity to which society gives its arbitrary credence. Adjacent, and corrosive of belief, is the concept of trust. Trust between two or more people amounts to a handshake- a simple assessment of threat. Trust encodes the belief that two or more people have a mutual understanding of what they are saying and deem it to be true. Eye-contact helps. A third party can verify this in more developed elaborations of this central conceit, especially involving money. By replacing physical trust quotas with immutable code, the blockchain resolves this issue. This is why the blockchain is a central material tenet of cypherpolitics.
The rejection of belief and trust conduces to skepticism regarding people and society as a whole. To believe is to be naive and take at face value what is said and done. While cypherpolitics believes the dice is already loaded, and aims for privacy and obfuscation at a standard personal level, other political positions show an abundance of trust- a multiplicity of handshakes on every level at once. The cypherpolitical enterprise offers no such thing. It does not aim to signal to any other kind of politics. It aims not to signal at all, or signal indeterminately (white noise). Traditional political positions do not work because they work in earnest, with strategic opponent destruction at their core. Due to transparent logging systems this becomes dangerous. Acting in earnest, a statement of political preference is logged and effectively given an identifying signature- fastened tight by the belief held and trust felt within their political context. Such statements make them vulnerable to attacks by opponents or by the political system itself.
Therefore a rejection of belief is one of the undergirding principles of a cypherpolitics. The system of trust on which politics is based is fundamentally flawed. It cannot function alongside transparency. Any attempt to signal transparency is suspicious and will be met with outright rejection. Trust is the irritant around which the pearls of paranoia take shape. There is no human way of knowing if someone has expressed the truth. This can only be verified through technology. The only way for someone to subscribe to a cypherpolitics is to leave all traces of belief systems behind and only maintain the absolutely essential approximation of the ‘truth’. Heuristics follows- belief is avoided and we gain ground through strategies of obfuscation and indeterminacy.
Cypherpolitical positions mobilize with a strong sense of operational security. In politics, there is no system worth believing in. But we operate within these systems, as we must. Regardless of pleasure or necessity, people cannot remove themselves from politics. In order to do so it is necessary to create multiple identification signatures, or digital camouflage. Not identities- identities are too holistic. Given the girth of information required to create a stable identity it is liable to be interrupted at any time. One slip, an out-of-character information leak, and the chosen identity falls apart. In order to shut down security leaks it is necessary to remain voiceless. In the digital, it is laughably easy to execute anonymity through camouflage. Expression comes at a cost, and the cypherpolitical agenda offers freedom through fracture: multiplicity.
Compartmentalized identities are possible, but not desirable. Compartmentalization demands strong discipline and does not guarantee indeterminacy. If someone sniffs enough data packets, there is a strong chance of your constructed identity dissolving. Because not even you understand why you believe what you do, insight into the basis of a belief is rare. Beliefs are arbitrary, transient and prone to collapse. Positions you held fast can disappear at any second; and if you are not tracking these developments, someone or something else is.
The main rationale behind the use of cypherpolitical camouflage is the notion of disguise. Camouflage is a protective measure which ensures an ongoing interrogation of the site of belief is possible- free from the idle, empty accusations of the politically stedfast. A plurality of identities, serving as effective camouflage, works because of, not despite, its instability.
Whereas in the past tongue mutilation was the last resort to use in order to preserve your secrets, the digital realm has developed a material base where multiple identities can flourish and harden into protective obscurity. Cypherpolitics is advanced by these tools, but only to an extent. Technological migration is a necessity. The minute one tool is compromised, depleted, it is best to find a replacement. Resorting to deletion is not succumbing to an opponent’s or system’s pressures, but something cypherpolitics actively encourages. Deletion immediately refreshes anonymous intergrity and anonymity is the backbone of cypherpolitics- its most powerful feature. If your identities coincide across various platforms, forming patterns, your traces will lead clues. The data sniffer forms beliefs from this picture; denunciation follows. To avoid this, it is necessary to encrypt yourself.
Encryption is the most sophisticated aspect of cypherpolitics. Because it is a word that originates from other disciplines and is not fully understood, it carries an additional obscurantist quality. In the fields of engineering it is well known. The general public may hear the word occasionally or even use it. Do not believe they know what they are talking about when the word is used carelessly without qualification, as it can afford a false sense of security to the person using it. Encryption should be thought about in personal terms of the particular services or mediums of communication you employ.
An argument can be made that encryption is only possible digitally, so a piece of paper is not an immediately obvious encryption device. As both the average user and the highly experienced software engineer knows, we all have secrets- things that we do not want to communicate, or desire to communicate securely. As a rule, communication with other parties is unavoidable. A secret between two parties is based on a guarantee of trust, and the confidence that no one will intercept your communication. Sadly, you cannot absolutely guarantee either of these options; but you can safely manage the context and method of communication. Operating wisely, you can control the other party and hold them accountable if the shared information becomes public. This is why we use a piece of paper as an example of a medium over which you can both communicate securely and insure that it is destroyed after use. This way, not even your voice is implicated. The only element that could possibly reveal you are implicated is the other party; or someone or something listening in.
You can make this process more complex. A simple system of equivalence between numbers and letters (A=1, B=2, C=3…) can be exchanged between the two parties. However, this requires time to develop and decipher. The solution becomes simpler when you use technology- encryption is automated, which means your communications are private and you can share them more easily with other parties. But the simplicity of digital encryption becomes more complex as third parties are sensitive to secrecy. Corporations, platforms and governments want the information to be publicly accessible for their use. The use of encryption denies this request. But this does not mean the third parties will stop trying to decipher your exchanges. To the contrary, third parties increasingly desire everything you communicate.
It used to be the case that cracking a cypher was, in the end, just a contest of force, and any party that was willing and able to bring the necessary amount of force to bear could spill their enemy’s secrets in time, simply by exhausting the space of possibility until telltale patterns emerge. But a threshold was crossed with modern encryption technology that has changed the situation entirely, and has introduced into the world a new asymmetry that cannot be conquered by brutality. Correctly implemented encryption algorithms with keys of sufficient complexity, cannot be defeated by any amount of brute force — at least none that any power in this universe would be capable of, even if it had until the end of time, and could burn out every star in the galaxy as fuel. A correctly encrypted secret is inviolate, beyond the reach of violence, even if the full power of the state is behind it. And the tools for implementing such encryption are ubiquitous and free, usable by essentially anyone.
Public key encryption went one step further, making it possible to share a secret without having to first share the keys for decrypting it (a decoder ring, for example, or some more sophisticated symmetric key) on an unencrypted channel, further dissolving the need for trust.
Not everything can be encrypted, at least not yet, and so violence slips quickly from the message to its environment, ferreting out side-channels- signals, inadvertent residues left in the noise produced by our encryption technologies, subtle differences in heat, sound, or electromagnetic resonance, that any physical implementation of these algorithms might generate. And, of course, we still have bodies that force can target. Encryption is strong, but the flesh is weak. The state might not be able to crack your private keys, but they can certainly put you on a waterboard until you give them up yourself.
Where encryption holds, trust is unneeded and force has no meaning. But it always seems to leave a frontier: establishing a channel where symmetrical encryption can take place required first exchanging keys outside that channel, and, there, force could be brought back to bear. Public key encryption beats back that frontier, allowing key exchange to happen under the cover of an impenetrable darkness, where force has no foothold. The problem of force, which is ultimately the problem of violence, is still with us, so long as some frontier to encryption is exposed, so long as we live in the clear. The task, then, at least in the most abstract terms, is to relentlessly expand the spheres in which we are not simply spared violence out of mercy, or allegiance, or trust in the powers that be, but out of necessity spared because we have carved out channels in which force loses all meaning. The choice is clear: encryption or religion, right to indeterminacy or surrendering to the idiotic caprice of transcendental powers. Positive freedom is our choice, and decentralisation is vital.
The way your communication is handled matters because it might be liable for interruption, capture and leaking. Decentralisation is a word that has been talked about extensively, and matters broadly because of its logical, architectural and political consequences. If all our conversations take place in a room and we record our conversations so as to revisit them in the future, then our conversations are effectively centralized in one unique place. The risk is that centralization makes the room an easy target. All your recordings may be erased or stolen by a third party. Decentralisation is important in communications, transactions and information sharing practices because while it does not block all possibility of interception, it makes it more difficult for any third party to intervene with your communications.
With digital technologies the situation is more complex. While you can spatially decentralize your communication (by leaving a room, for example), your oral communications cannot be decentralized in time. This is a limitation, one that has been amplified and complicated by digital technologies. You now have new ways of communicating with other parties, but the medium lacks confidence and trust. It is unknown. Decentralization provides a method in which the platform can partition, in political, logical and architectural modes. This makes it possible for your information and communication to be logically and architecturally decentralized. But it also enables you to partition your political beliefs: to compartmentalize. The complexity of this mechanism, given way by technological substrata, needs to be understood as an epistemological and ontological shift: how you access the system vs what the system is. This is an active metaphysics in the political field, an aspect that has been ignored due to the various third parties that in exchange for shallowness, and reprehend and punish any attempt towards ideological depth.
As the traditional view of politics becomes ever more fractured, it becomes increasingly shallow and without practical purchase. Activism at a local level makes sense when interconnected with other focal points, otherwise it descends into parasitic and corrosive hysteria. For the most part, we are beyond discourse with each other, choosing instead to highlight our differences in the hope of tribal self-identification -the congratulatory ingroup pat in the back. In this shallow water we have to watch as useless discourse gets elaborated on niche banalities. It is under the guise of terms such as ‘camaraderie’ and ‘solidarity’ that traditional political positions find themselves. Under such relations these positions portend to find use in their ideas, but they are practicality limited by their lack of engagement with other, rival positions.
Battalions of the blind circle islands of outliers, forcing rogue and maverick voices into silence, or worse, swiftly cornering their thoughts until they break. There cannot be true progress without the resurrection of those voices from elsewhere, from outside. The refusal of rogue voices to be drawn into the pitiful set of ideological options that are traditional political is not born out of stubbornness. It is a response to the lifestyle politics and rudimentary signaling towards a solidarity of the ingroup that now dominates political discourse without any sense of indeterminacy. The word crypto is currently in use in computer science, military, privacy services and most crucially to signal that someone believes something they do not seem at the surface to represent: hence the proliferation of the term crypto-nazi as a signaling mechanism for morality to come to the charge and eliminate this deceitful indeterminacy, a plateau of shallowness encrypting another political option. The cypherpolitical position is an affirmation of encrypting your political alternative in the space of indeterminacy and greyness. It is not the right of a third party to push you in the direction it believes you should go. Encryption mechanisms give you the right to uphold variable positions without showing allegiance to any of them. Traditional political positions, even at their most sophisticated and contemporary, espouse a sense of correctness and righteousness that limits one’s enemies to mere caricatures, summoned solely to demonstrate this correctness of thought.
The childish gleefulness now melting the minds of a confused body politic results in the detachment of the cypherpolitical. They do not need the trouble. Their minds are already elsewhere. They have seen how it all ends, how techonomic time operates, and they will spend their time preparing for the cold winds coming. Keep moving or die.
Exit, as any simple dictionary would have it, is a way out, a departure. Those with an inclination towards cypherpolitics rationally choose to exit. There are no easy routes out of the ruins of civilization, society, culture or politico-economic systems, but there is an strategic intelligence in this mindset that renders the discovery of exit routes possible. Cleanly enunciated, without hope, belief or trust (elements which must be kept at a minimum and with maximum discernity), the universal acid of cypherpolitics sees a way in and a way out. How you navigate the system is entirely up to you.
The process of exit is already in progress, hiding in plain sight and available when inquired coldly. One of the salvos is economic, that is, the decoupling of monetary currency from third parties, as undertaken by Bitcoin and underlyingly, the blockchain. Another element is territorial, with its most contentious advice is to plot floating islands of liberty at sea. However, the most important way in which exit is already happening is internal- the encrypted mindscapes that grow ever more impenetrable to transcendental miserablism. This mindspace exit is the exit from politics as traditionally conceived between the polar opposites of the left and the right. The transcendental miserablist position is a clear cut, political tradition that must be espoused by both the left and the right. It amounts to a general disillusionment in the present moment and the conditions in which thinking is enclosed. Transcendental Miserablism sees no exit from this mindspace. It is an isolated and depressive position.
However, even at the times when the people that advocate for transcendental miserablism see a glimpse of light, they move in the coordinates that make exit entirely difficult. The negation of any possibility of exit is not entertained by cypherpolitics. In the last instance, the cypherpolitical position makes possible for you to navigate mindspace, encountering entrances and exits from systems you may or may not agree with. The programmatic assessment of the cypol is clear: you can depart. There is no fight, only flight.
The Union of Researchers for a Collective Commons.
- Marta Fleming.
- Jean Jones.
- Paul Fraser.
- Aaron Collins.
- Bruce Rogers.
- Sandra Wood.
- Dr. Rose Loayza
- Carl Barnes.
- Arthur Morris.
- Jack Ross.
- Alexander Ennis.
- Luca Leary.
- Roberto Carneiro