Bitcoin: A Utopian Response to Nightmare Capitalism

I recently ran across this piece, “Bitcoin: utopian reflection of a capitalist nightmare” on Upon reading it I felt deeply saddened that comrades in the struggle against capitalism could be so misled from the facts of what bitcoin is, and how it is the most powerful tool we have ever had to fight capitalism. Sadly, the author lacked the technical understand of bitcoin, which has allowed for him to write bitcoin off as having flaws that are not actually there. I will take this opportunity to respond to this erroneous essay with many inaccuracies, and offer an explanation for why marxist of all colors should radically embrace digital currencies, and organize around them.

Bitcoin as a Currency

bitcoin-revolutionFirst and foremost, we need to dispel the myth of what bitcoin is, and is not. Bitcoin is a commodity money. It is disingenuous to state that it is backed by nothing when there is a very real energy cost that it takes to create each new block of bitcoin’s blockchain.  What makes bitcoin just like gold coins, silver bars, oil barrels, or cigarette cartons is that these are all commodities which are very uniform, have a commodity use-value, and a standard count or measure, which in-turn creates an exchange value. This exchange value is separate from the commodity value, and creates its additional value through ease of exchange. This ease of exchange and measure is what makes these commodities special: they are commodity-monies.

The commodity value of bitcoin comes from the real physical electrical energy that must be spent in order to create bitcoins. For each block of bitcoin that has been mined, there is an explicit amount of electrical energy that it took to create that new block reward of bitcoin. Bitcoin is not just a currency, but it is a commodity money, and a fully self-contained payment and storage of value system that needs no third party arbitrators because of the real commodity value that is imbued into bitcoin.

Means of Exchange

It is important to note that like other commodity monies bitcoin also has a concentration of socially necessary labour time. It does this in a two ways through having both a commodity value, and a use-value via exchange. The explicit electrical cost to ‘mine’ bitcoin creates the base commodity value of bitcoin. The use-value of bitcoin is created through the divisibility of value, ease of exchange, and advanced security of bitcoin. These features allow for bitcoin to act as a universal equivalent in which the value of all other commodities can be measured, while offer a total security that no fiat money, or other commodity can ever offer. What sets bitcoin apart from all other commodity monies is that it is impossible to seize bitcoin if they are stored properly.

83882-governmentthebrilliantideathatweshouldstoplunaticsfromlyingmurderingstealingfromusbyhiringlunaticstoliemurderstealfromusAll other commodity monies and forms of wealth throughout all of history have been perpetually seized by force–stealing under the banner of government is as old as society itself.

In the United States executive order 6102 was issued in 1933 to allow for the US government to seize all gold on deposit in US banks. This was the start of the global government scam to make the storage of value that money was, into an ever inflating debt bubble backed only by the force of government. This is what allow for the financing of the great wars of the 20th century, and for the great extension of transglobal imperialism under the banner of capitalism and democracy. Never has so much been taken by so few, with such a great cost to the whole of society.

Money now only exist as government issued debt tokens. The whole modern economic machine hinges on people using and exchange these ever-inflating government tokens in order for them to keep their value, as there is no commodity value–only exchange value by the decree of law. This is especially true for the United States Dollar, which due to its exorbitant economic privilege allows for it to continually expand its money supply dramatically, while having it sucked up by other nation-states which have struggled to issue their own currency, so they use the USD. Money is no longer a social agreement, but an imperialist tool that governments and corporations alike have forced on to their populous.

We must understand that state-issued currencies are the objects that allow for the perpetuation of corrupt, state-based transglobal capitalism. It is through the state’s monopoly on the issuance of money which allows for government debt financing, costly illegal wars, and the fusion of state power, and capitalist power into a single totalitarian power. This power is based upon the willingness of the general populous to use the state’s debt tokens as their form of exchange. If people simply refused to use the state’s money, their entire economy system would collapse overnight.

It is only through creating economic exchange outside of the confines of the state that we can realistic create independence and sovereignty for ourselves. Through using digital currencies as the primary mode of economic exchange, we can nullify the state’s ability to steal from us through taxation and inflation, but we also banish them from our sphere of economic activity. The internet and digital commons are sovereign; bitcoin and digital currencies are the mode of economic exchange that explicitly disallows for the participation of the state.

Money as Social Relations

Money-From-SocialBitcoin is the money of the internet. Digital currencies can allow for all economic transactions to be self contained within the digital sphere of the internet–no governments, no banks, no Gods, no Masters can dictate what you can, or cannot buy. The real question at the end of the day, is who do YOU want to control your money?

Banks and governments who have proven time and time again, that they will inflate the money supply, steal from their own citizens to make war, and are more than happy violate any and all laws to enrich those that are part of the established order. Again, and again through history we can see that every single government that has came into existence has used the power create money as a mode to enrich themselves while impoverishing their people. The social relation of money under state governments is one of their ability to force you into their economy system–it is not a relationship of choice or economics, but one of power and corrosion.

Money is a social tool, and we cannot separate it from the societies that are part of it–yet, somehow, that is the exact world that we live in today. Money today is not some democratic project of economy agreement; it is a relationship that has been forced on to every individual with no choice whatsoever. The US dollar is freely printed at the will of those that are part of the federal reserve, and money can be freely seized by the state for pretty much any reason it wants. That is not a social relationship, but one of power. If we truly want to be free people, we must first have economic freedom, and that can only be achieved when we are not subject to poverty by the whims of government bureaucrats, and exploitation at the hands of capitalist.

Governments and Central Banks

Capitalism today is not merely an economic force that displays itself in the world of commerce, but it is a total panoptic zeitgeist. Every facet of our individual lives are decided by this total force that has made itself the predominate mindset, lifestyle, and the very bases of law and government in our society today. Capitalism has merged with the state itself to create state-capitalism–the fascist merging of state and corporate power to further the exploitation and environmental destruction all in the name of corporate profit.

strike_down_capital_by_party9999999-d4d1h23Banks and financial institutions work directly with governments to steal money on-behalf of them, and to also give themselves unfair advantaged in business. The close relationship that finance has with governments allows for banksters to freely violate the law with the known expectation that very little, if anything, will be done to stop them. Banks like HSBC can work directly with terrorist and violet drug cartels to launder their blood money, and even when found guilty, our government refuses to stripped them of their assets, or their power to bank. Governments work hand-in-hand with powerful transnational corporations to allow for and facilitate crimes and human rights violations.

I cannot understand how after so much betrayal, corruption, and outright constitutional violations by the state how anyone could trust these psychopaths who claim they are here to help. It should be clear and obvious to anyone who is paying attention that these are the very people and organizations that rob us, keep us oppressed, and seek only to have power over us. The relationship between the state and oligarchic corporations is fused together with money–the capital which the state issues, and banks inflate via debt. Understand the domination of the political class by the bourgeoisie is done with fiat money. The sooner we can come to understand that this money system is their money system and not ours, the sooner we can set to work at building our own.

A Utopian Fantasy

We now have the tools to create a world-wide global revolution where there no more Gods or Masters of the economic system. We can allow for our peer-to-peer relationships via the internet to become a new paradigm for social, economic, and political organization. No longer do we have to believe in the false divisions of nationality, obey the repugnant laws of states that keep us oppressed and impoverished, nor tolerate governmental theft via law, or the exploration by capitalist allowed by their laws. Through forging a new economy that is built on top of non-state based currencies, we can create a new way forward free from the hands of both statist and capitalist, and their desire to exploit others for their own gains.

The macroeconomic money system has been built in such a way that it ensures the conditions of exploitation exist, and that governments and capitalist alike can systematic steal from the whole population. So long as governments have the power to issue currencies, and work in alliance with banking and finance to enforce their laws; economic power will continue to concentrate itself in the hands of those with that power. This economic system was designed to ensure that 85 people can own more than the bottom 3.5 billion people on the planet–its not a mistake, but by design.

If we are ever to throw off the yoke of capitalism, and to have lives that are more than working at bullshit jobs that we hate, we must first have objects of exchange that are outside of the control of the state, or their crony allies. Bitcoin, and other digital currencies present the most powerful opportunity in a century to create a new, alternative economic system that is outside the control of the state.

We now have the tools to build our exit from the awful system of exploration and purposeless consumption. Together, we can make a choice to reject the state-based system of money, and choose our own kind of money that works best for ourselves and the communities we choose to be part of. Freedom and liberty can only be created when the conditions of oppression are forbidden from existing. By pulling money into the digital realm outside of the hands of states or bankers, we can create a new system of economic exchange and money that does not need the violence of the state, or the exploitation of capitalist.

Bitcoin and The Internet as Ideological Apparatuses

Bitcoin is not about money–it’s about power. Bitcoin is a political force, technological ideal, and mode of economic independence for the internet itself. Using Louis Althusser’s concepts of ideology and ideological state apparatuses from, “On the Reproduction of Capitalism” we can analyze bitcoin and the internet as as anti-state ideological apparatus.

10f96-althusser160x220tHere is an excellent introduction to Althusser’s concepts and an explanation of what exactly is ideology, ideological apparatuses(IA), and repressive state apparatuses (RSA) are.  In his work, Althusser offers a powerful way of understanding the organizations of capitalism. He shows how various ideological apparatuses operate in conjunction with repressive state apparatuses to create, organize, reinforce, and reproduce the conditions of society today to serve the current capitalist paradigm through the state.

For our purposes we can apply this same logic to understand where the internet fits into the capitalist society. From this we will see how paired with the  power of bitcoin, and other digital currencies may develop.

The Internet as an Anti-State Ideological Apparatus

The Internet is a new territory, and today is controlled by States for the use of capitalism; but they are quickly loosing control. This occurred by design as the internet grew from the small U.S. government project it once was; and developed into the global world wide web it is today. Today they internet rivals G7 states in terms of its population, GDP, and most importantly its ideological norms.

Though there are many internet cultural groups today, the original ‘internet culture’ would be the cypherpunks. From the cypherpunks came publications like, “Security without Identification: Transaction Systems to Make Big Brother Obsolete” wrote in 1985.  Even before the world wide web existed, the anti-state principals of the digital movement were already entrenching themselves.

Those involved in the cypherpunk movement would later go on to write the declaration of independence of cyberspace, and would help advance the internet at every new crossroads it came to. This early vanguard of the internet operated on tenacious, uncompromising principals of freedom of information, communication, and the right to privacy. These ideas imbued themselves into the internet and became an ideological backbone that allows for the open web to function.

The Internet is antithetical to the State.In this realm people can create new identities that could not exist within the physical realm.We given the right to developed our voices and identities free from the constraints of the panoptic police state. Our physical bodies no longer constrain our ideals; we have moved beyond being mere sinew and flesh and into the Noosphere. Here exist a mode of communication where we are stripped of our human bodies and become only the political body of the words and information that we convey here. Our names, national identities, religions, educations, and every other form of inscription that we are subjugated within contemporary society are secondary within the internet.

The identities that we are allowed to created for ourselves on the internet, unmolested by the forceful ideology of the various state apparatuses and under the guise of anonymity; we become more than mere objects to be subjugated to the desires of a capitalist society. We are allowed an entire universe where we can choose who to become, and to seek out the information we desire to know. Everything that defines us as subjects, and the territory of physical space that we occupy becomes secondary. Our physical bodies cannot exist within this medium; nor is it definitive of who we are in this space–we are truly free here. These are the murmurs of the new class consciousness that is forming inside of the internet itself, and it cannot be stopped.

Althusser believed that the education was the most powerful ideological apparatus that there was. Education as an institution is a tool exclusively owned by the ruling classes explicitly to control the dialog of what is knowledge and what is education. The so-called fields of factual hard sciences focus their narrow pursuits in the name of capitalism, to the same degree that fields like history, economics, and political science seek to justify the capitalist world we live in. What is considered ‘education’ becomes part of a great dialog that is no longer about facts, critical think skills, and self-empowerment; but learning obedience as truth.

This has profound and far-reaching ramifications when we consider that scientific knowledge is the bases of power in a advance technological capitalist society such as ours. With unrestricted, unfettered access to information, along with the assurance of what one is search for and coming to understand is private; one is freed from the ideological chains of the system that controls every aspect of lives. Here it is possible to develop one’s own truth without the taint of capitalism– we can form truths of the world from our own standpoint without fear from of the panoptic police state watching us.

Education as Ideological Entrenchment of Capitalism

Do as I say, because as I say is correct

The internet stands in direct contrast to the educational establishment and its ideology. The education establishment is reliant on authoritarian knowledge official, state-sanctions communication channels (teachers, libraries, degree programs, etc.). Whereas the internet is antithetical to that. There are no minders or masters to deem what is appropriate ‘knowledge’–only facts that present themselves for what they are.

This implies that ‘education’–or the acquisition of knowledge via the internet–is something that must be done autodidactically. One must disseminate information for oneself, and to compare and contrast sources to discover the difference between what is ideology, and what is fact. This can only be done alone, and using one’s own faculties.

The Internet is an endless well of information for those who seek it. There are no minders or masters to approve of fact which establish themselves by the truth of their being, rather than the sanction from official sources. This destroys the ideological monopoly that education institutes have on the source for knowledge, which can call the paradigm of  classic education institutes, and their relationship with capitalism. The impact of this is not unlike the Protestant Reformation challenging what was the authoritative source for knowledge.

Through the domination and monopolization of ‘what is knowledge’ vis-a-vis educational institutions, there is a wicked contortion of knowledge. Knowledge is no longer fact, but idology. This is reinforced repeatedly incessantly to such an extent that one becomes confused between what they know to be true for themselves, and what one has simply been told so much, that one believe that to be true.

Money as an Ideological Apparatus

So how does this all relate to bitcoin and money? Money as a concept is deeply, deeply embedded into us as a ideology and religion. Due to the constant bombardment of misinformation about how money works, from all ideological state apparatuses (media, school, work, etc.); money becomes a very complex and convoluted topic. Due to all of these various influences, money ends up taking on its own mystical weight, and becomes a powerful ideological component of the current economy paradigm.

Through the education system we are taught that governments are good, and the world works the way it does for good reason. We learn from this system that economist can explain why the economy functions as it does, and why we all must work hard to take home our day’s pay. Included in this ideology is the notion that  our noble business leaders, who lift the world upon their shoulders, are entitled to a king’s share of the wealth for directing his firm to make a profit; even if this is at the expense of many.

This ideology serves to alienate and divorce economics from its original purpose as part of philosophy. Today almost all economist are exclusively modern monetary theorist who are heavily relent upon complex mathematical modules to explain economics. Any economist who does not accept the concept of seigniorage as fact, are simply disposed of as not being ‘real’ economist. From the get-go, we are taught to believe in the righteousness the economic system and to not question it on a fundamental level.

This is how government are able to control the money supply and keep huge portions of the globe under the despotism of poverty without anyone blinking. We have been taught to believe that capitalism in its current form, backed by the state, is the only way to organize the economically and politically. We have been told that money functions perfectly being controlled by bankers and the state, despite all factual evidence against it.

Bitcoin as an Anti-State Liberative Apparatus

Due to the influence of the internet, and the way that people use it to discover information for themselves; there is an autonomous space for an non-state money to exist. Bitcoin is the antithesis of both repressive state apparatuses and ideological apparatuses.

The main purpose of bitcoin is to act as the central bank of the internet. Like the Internet, bitcoin is distributed, decentralized, and ran by a protocol which allows for communication anywhere in the world. Its first and primary economic loyalty is to the internet itself–no internet, no bitcoin. Its secondary function is one that represents the ideology of the internet itself.

Digital currencies are revolutionary because they were built with revolutionary ideology at their core. Bitcoin is money built for the internet, and the internet alone. There were plenty of other digital monies that came before bitcoin, they died because they did not have the capacity to stand against the state. Bitcoin was built on top of strong crypto because Satoshi knew that if any money for the internet were to truly gain traction, it would become the implicit enemy of any and all states.

What I find the most fascinating about this ideological function of bitcoin, is that it uses the logical exploit of capitalism, and how capitalism holds the sanctity of itself (capital) above all else (or as Marx put it, the valorization of value) to turn capitalism against the state. Through removing money from the hands of the repressive state apparatus of banking, bitcoin makes money more effective than it has ever been.

Bitcoin can do this not because of the powerful ideological argument it offers, but because of its economic efficiency over other moneys. Bitcoin and other digital currenices have the capacity to take on all of the economic roles that the states, and can do it for a fraction of the cost.

As we catapult into this brave new world, we will find that other ideological apparatuses will slowly change their perspective about bitcoin. This will not be because there will be some radical awakening to understand money; but rather the reproductive purposes of capitalism will fulfill the role that Althusser predicted it would. The capitalist paradigm will shift from that of being in alliance with the state, to being in conflict with the state. And this will be because the state itself will become inefficient to the service of capitalism via the internet, and thus can be disposed of like everything else that does not serve capitalism.

As bitcoin gains more economic power, it will also gain political, and ideological power. It will utilize this base of power to pull back the veil of corruption and expose the powers that be for the banality that they are. Another world is being build where the State is not allowed, nor any of the ideological apparatuses that serve it.

Next: The Magic of Money, The Science of Bitcoin