[bestbits] OFF-TOPIC - Brazil: Return to Terror

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Mon Nov 5 12:19:58 EST 2018

Hi David

Sorry for the delay, was busy. My responses are below ...

On 30/10/18 8:31 AM, David Cake wrote:
> snip
> 	Thinking of it as left/right is simplistic. 

Ian called it a lurch to the right, and I just followed up to ask --
since this is an IG discussion list -- whether trying to take the
epicentre of global IG to the WEF was not a lurch to the right? You dont
think it is a fair question?

> Authoritarian governments come in both left and right varieties.

They absolutely do.... Left -- or starting as left -- has in fact much
more than an equal share here.

>  The UN has proved to be very good at providing a way for authoritarian governments, such as the Saudi and PRC regimes, to have strong international influence. 
> 	The UN system has the Saudis as active, influential member of the Human Rights Council - do you think that Internet Governance would be better off if regimes like KSA were more influential? 
> 	Following the UN system is to empower anti-democratic states, and thus weaken civil society. Why do you think that is leftist? 

Why would I say the UN is leftist? Not sure how you are applying this
terminology here . As for propping Saudi regimes -- dont tell me you
dont know who really props the Saudi regime... Ok ,let me give a cue...
It is the country that sits at the top of the global governance of the
Internet, both formal kinds like the ICANN system, and informal kinds,
like the private governance run by its global corporations. BTW, just
the last month, Trump in his typically boorish way said that Saudi
regime would not exist but for the US, and this was one of the rare
moments of Trump speaking what is considerably true (with all respect to
the Saudi people).

So, my question is, why do you oppose the role of the UN in global IG
just bec Saudi regime is one of about 190 members of the UN, and by turn
participates in its bodies, but seem to have no opinion on the fact the
global IG is today largely run by a country who fully props and keeps
alive that regime (which will quite well survive without the UN but not
without the US)...

At least at the UN there is some logic for Saudi regime's participation.
It is like, say, in India (as well many other democratic countries),
there are people with criminal records in the parliament, but for that I
do not oppose the institution of parliament itself but would like to see
how at the electoral level in the districts such a selection or election
does not take place..... But US's propping of the regime you seem to
have great problem with is for the most narrow and selfish reasons, to
get oil supplies, bec Saudi's the biggest buyers of US arms, and one of
the biggest investors inside the US,  and so on.... When during the IANA
transition, there was a demand at least to get immunity for ICANN from
US jurisdiction (the one that props saudi regime), at least under its
own immunity laws, I did not hear you , or other UN haters here, at all
give any opinion, much less support.....

Politics is an art of the possible, in choosing between the US and the
UN to lead or anchor global IG (or, well, the WEF), my choice is
clear... What is yours? (Pl dont give me any bottom-up fokllore, lets
stay in an adults discussion, I mean lets stay real)

> 	Or to put it another way - why are you still simplistically equating the UN system with ‘the left’ or ‘democracy’ after all these years, when the arguments that that is a simplistic and problematic position have been made again and again, and never really answered?

I answered above, as I have often and always answered... To which answer
I am eager to hear your response ... In fact, what you and others have
never answered is how US, or global corporate, leadership of global IG
is better than the UN's? Would you care to answer it now?

>> The current Trumpian phenomenon is precisely the product of a trans-national elite seeking their common economic advantages often using the cover of social liberalism without economic egalitarianism -- where market without political governance was to be the defender of rights!
> 	And you won’t find many defenders of neoliberalism here - but there is some value in defending actual liberalism, such as valuing democracy over authoritarian states.

Absolutely so. Real liberalism is one the greatest achievements of human
civilisation (I am currently reading the brilliant 'The liberal hour' by
JK Galbraith) . And yes  democracy has to be valued over, and saved
from, its political suppression in authoritarianism, as well as its
economic suppression in neoliberalism. (There are people here who
opposed putting the world 'democracy' in a UNESCO IG related declaration
in 2015 claiming that it 'carries baggage'!

>> This is a direct result of promotion of an one-sided talk of human rights -- only civil and political ones and not social and economic ones, which have openly been flouted even ridiculed on , yes, IG civil society lists.... Dot ask me for real examples, bec I have followed this and I know many….
>> Ok, take two, the very concept and not just the real implementation of 'public interest' has been ridiculed on the NCUC (of ICANN's)website, to which many CS stalwarts of IG belong.
> 	Indeed, because the concept of public interest has been coopted within ICANN to justify policies that have no real connection to the public interest, such as expansion of trademark interests. The PICS (Public Interest Commitment System) has been gravely abused to enforce policies like a globally protected trademark list that have been rejected through community policy processes. In other words, NCUC has doubts about the use of public interest arguments because they have been used to justify the sort of policies I expect you would oppose. 
> 	It is fair to say that NCUC is divided over the question of whether the public interest can be defined in a useful manner that is meaningfully defined yet limits its potential for this form of abuse. But I don’t think you would be in disagreement over the problematic use of public interest arguments. 

People have misused the concept of democracy, in fact many despots do
so..... we do not therefore junk or question the very term or concept of
'democracy' but question how it is implemented or distorted...
Similarly, 'public interest' is often mis-used, but in response one does
not critique or junk the term 'public interest' but question its use or
distortion, etc. My problem is that NCUC ridiculed the term 'public
interest' on its website... To ridicule 'public interest', is to
ridicule democracy.

>> And so lets not assume innocence about this creeping death of progressive and democratic ideals that the global trans-national elite has brought on us in blind pursuit of their global economic interests (Zizek's 'Clinton not Trump is the problem' precisely captures it). 
> 	And that you find neoliberalism implicitly more problematic than authoritarianism is consistent with your positions in IG, and I will continue to find authoritarianism the bigger enemy. 

Would you care to back your accusation please. I insist. Thanks.

Meanwhile, let me tell what my position is: suppression of civil and
political rights is much worse than denial of social and economic
rights, and therefore authoritarianism much worse than market
fundamentalism or neoliberalism.  And unlike civil society free lancers,
I work full time with a CS organisation (IT for Change) and global
networks like Just Net Coalition, Our World is Not for Sale, and a few
others... And the positions of all these are very well explained in many
documents publicly available on their websites.. So, perhaps you will
like to educate yourself on these positions before making nasty
allegations. I hate to be making defences of such a kind, but I have
often said on lists like ISOC that for instance the social credit system
of China, the perfect embodiment of digital governmentality, is the
single biggest threat in the world right now....

> Which isn’t to say that we shouldn’t push away from neoliberalism back towards more liberal democratic ideas - but that is precisely why I support governance mechanisms in which civil society has a strong voice, because it allows us to have a voice in policy so it is not simply dominated by commercial and (early lobbied) government voices.

That same multistakeholder system that stood silent when people proposed
that ICANN be given jurisdictional immunity under US's own international
organisations immunity act, and had not the guts to speak up in front of
the master!? Or the one that happily tried to transport global IG's
focal point to the WEF vis the NetMundial initiative? It is a joke..

You want to know where civil society has voice... there is something
called participatory democracy, a much older concept that
multi-stakeholderism conveniently upstaged in the IG space. It has a
rich history of both theory and practice.Going through a few pages of it
will easily tell you what is wrong with IG's MSism..

best, parminder

> 	Regards
> 	David
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