Text inspired by the recent action against G4S

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Faking capitalism: communication, hacking and information disruption in order to attack the immaterial dimension of production

Some obstacles in the contemporary social struggles, how they connect with the “immaterial” dimension of capitalism, and the need to overcome them.
Communication and hacking techniques as a chance of experimentation for overcoming the repression and finding new tools for social struggles.
Different reasons why these tactics can be useful in our fights against contemporary capitalism.
Proposals for basic experimentation.

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Faking capitalism: communication, hacking and information disruption in order to attack the immaterial dimension of production

Some obstacles in the contemporary social struggles, how they connect with the “immaterial” dimension of capitalism, and the need to overcome them.
Communication and hacking techniques as a chance of experimentation for overcoming the repression and finding new tools for social struggles.
Different reasons why these tactics can be useful in our fights against contemporary capitalism.
Proposals for basic experimentation.

For the people involved in social struggles and movements, it is not less than a fact-and sometimes rather bitter- that as the movements grow, the repression that follows is harder and harder to bear or to overcome. At the same time the new industrial organization is more and more decentralized, flexible and based on outsourcing. The hierarchical structure of enterprises and of institutions is shifting from the form of the internalization, to the form of the external control, based on subcontracting, indirect control, flexible systems of production and interim work. In this framework, many former tactics come often off less sharp. For instance the strike (If the company is able to deal with the stop of the production quickly recurring to a subcontractor or to a temporary agency, it is much less harmed). And also it is much more difficult and less clear organizing a strike in a reticular structure with asymmetric and flexible relations more than in the classical fordist large company. Some similar reflection can be done about the post-fordist transformation of repressive institutions.

Through history we can be surprised from the inventive ways people have found to resist, but we have to realize that these “inventions” are not automatically generated. They are practical answers to issues that appear in the the struggles as in the everyday life itself.. In our opinion,in the present moment there are many issues that become serious obstacles in our way , and we consider it vital to evolve our means of struggle and to experiment trough different mediums and ways of action to go through these obstacles. If not, the shortcomings that we do not solve can come back and haunt us. Capitalism never rests. It always “learns” from our strong and weak points.

This text was made because of the reflections of some individuals around the transformation of society and power. We want it to be a contribution to the experimentation that we just mentioned. It deals with certain strategies in order to attack the immaterial dimension of capitalism, and thus the informational aspect of power. It is not a coherent work. Theoretical reflections are presented here in a loose way and we don't present something ideologically defined, even though we have our own ideas. This is because we consider that the strategies that we are dealing with are useful instruments for a large range of social struggles and present an opportunity to act overcoming repression. We don't wish to push a specific strategy as the ultimate right one. Everybody can decide for themselves how they want to fight. We don't oppose the traditional means of resistance, but we think that many practices are becoming from useful tools, rooted traditions that stop being questioned. In the end some of these traditions, regarded as “safe and politically correct” tend to repress innovative efforts. For us there is no evolution without (self)criticism. In this text you will find our ideas about the strategies that we want to talk about in a very basic form, followed by tips and ideas for undertaking new ones.

More specifically, we are talking based on the examples of actions in the last years involving communication guerrilla, hacking, creation of fakes.... Some of these practices have been already widely experimented, while others have in our opinion a very interesting potential not unleashed yet. Therefore what mentioned here can be connected with many different practices but we will focus here on what we call Information Guerrilla (IG). (This a bit constraining, but it is just a conventional definition aiming to the clarity of the text).
We define IG as a form of direct action aiming in diffusing information or creating confusion in order to cause economical or political damage. IG relates to communication guerrilla and hacking activism , but it has some peculiar features that in our opinion are worth exploring.
We think that a mixture of some basic informatics tools, a mimetic of the enemy's communication strategies and a bit of information gathering can produce very interesting and effective tactics, that are often easy to experiment with.

And why we consider these tactics interesting or effective?There are several reasons.
Information is profit. Or to say it differently increasing amount of profit is based on information. In the current phase of capitalism, the cognitive dimension is increasingly important. The immaterial dimension of production is taking more and more a central role in the process of valorisation. At the same time every aspect of life is becoming increasingly commodified. Be it about social relations, values or imaginaries, knowledge has become a very valuable source of profit. The image of a firm towards customers, retailers, shareholders, and its capacity of generating immaterial value are often more important than the efficiency in physical production of goods. Information is an important resource for companies to control customers, foresee the strategies of other companies and to be able to draw scenarios about the financial market. Furthermore, the success of a financial institution stands on it's capacity of influencing the flows of information on financial markets and of accessing them in real time .

In the post fordist economy the creation of flexible marketing strategies targeted to every single consumer is a central aspect of profitability, and this is the reason why the capillary control and the traceability of the individual behavior of everyone are so valuable. For instance, Google is collecting its huge profits spying the Internet users habits, selling them and providing targeted advertisements.
As the complexity of the world economic system is increasing together with the uncertainty, access to information in order to make a good forecast of the future has an immense economic value. Especially in the financial markets, -where the valorisation process is linked to the expectation of the financial actors and to strategies based on a behavioral rationality-, information gathering and rapid scenario drawing play a crucial role. The expectations regarding a company and the courses of its stocks, its reputation and the information circulating over it are heavily influencing the attitude of the market toward the shares and therefore the plus valences related to financial valorisation.

As the profit is becoming more and more dependent on immaterial production, the tactics aimed to hit the immaterial aspect of profit will become increasingly more powerful. If a company spends millions building their reputation, for drawing a good marketing strategy and for building a good information management system, that is a good weak point to hit.
Furthermore, these kind of actions may lead firms or institutions to rearrange their operative procedure/communication system/working environment, in order to protect themselves in the future.
Even physical sabotages or attacks against property, are often producing more indirect damage (loss of reputation, need to rearrange a working procedure) than direct damage (often company goods are insured, and anyway property damage is often negligible compared to the large turnover of a company). In a post fordist capitalist system, post fordist tactics of struggle seem to give us some good chances to fight back effectively.

They exploit our brain - our rationality, our social skills and emotions – our whole life- as an instrument of profit. As they involve our brains in their immaterial production (with work but not only), we often dispose of several information and skills(eg. people who work in a company can know, at the same time the policy and the language of a company and possibly possess the skills to use its technology and systems). Why not to share the information and the skills we have to counter attack?

Some people find it difficult to be openly involved in struggles. Many don't feel like taking part in a social struggle or exposing themselves, but have relevant information and can be keen in smuggling them. In a precarious condition (in a broad sense), it is not always obvious to start a struggle openly and in first person. But struggle can be also sharing information we have and using them to conspire against them.
Loyalty is a growing strategy of corporate and institutional power for controlling people, and just refusing it can be a form of resistance. In the 70's, the massive disloyalty in the work environment proved to have a huge impact, and for sure we can not assume that all the people who were claiming sick or going late to work had the same political ideas..

Finally, the social movement often has this dilemma: how to deal with the mainstream media? Refusing to communicate with them – as they are completely embedded- involves a risk of having our message or our action less visible. Communicating with them, has the risk of being manipulated and of the message being deformed. What about striking back and trying (just for a moment) to revert the relation between radical movement and press, trying to turn their constant disinformation against them? what about to trying for once to use them, as a vector for spreading fake information?
They are rewriting the reality every day, because they are submitted to the politic and economic power and have an almost religious reliance on big press agencies. Many journalists let themselves to believe and reproduce all the information they get from certain sources.
Why not to take advantage of this weakness for a subversive use, and to use the media without being used for once? Why not playing around with them and intervene in their 24 hour propaganda?

For the reasons above, information is a strategically good terrain to attack. Of course in the last decades already many people are experimenting in this field: hacktivism, communication guerrilla, subvertising, etc...

Many actions have already taken place diffusing fake press releases, but they usually had as main goal the creation of awareness over an issue, denouncing the policy of a specific company/institution, detouring the dominant discourse and unmasking the daily order of things (even though some of them had without doubts tangible economic impact).
Other actions involved cracking, blocking servers, sabotaging websites, etc, causing several damages.
What rarely activists tried to achieve, is causing a negative economical impact by spreading fake information on a company. And doing this may be requiring really simple informatics tools, a meticulous study of the "target", some knowledge of the sector and sometimes the help of some "insider" willing to pass some information, templates, etc.

Some ideas could be:

- Fake news to be published on the media in order to affect the reputation of a company and disrupt it's communication strategy.
- A fake mail from your boss, from a public servant, etc can create conflicts or make evident some hidden behavior. It can be a powerful weapon of retaliation or a way to come off their hidden deal.
- A fake press release from a company under campaign reporting some fake financial facts in order to affect the stock market.
- Etc - according to your creativity!

These examples can serve for every kind of campaign, social struggle, daily problems...

They exploit our brain - our rationality, our social skills and our emotionality -and our life as an instrument of profit. They daily mess around with our life through financial markets, media spreading irrational fears and rotten ideals, kafkian bureaucracy. Why not counter acting at that level and messing up with their beautiful models and their woderful procedures?
Let's organize!
Let's share their information and the skills we have to counter attack!
We can turn their immaterial processes into their material nightmare!

For our stolen time and for all the reasons of the world,


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