CORY DOCTOROW – WHEN SYSADMINS RULED THE EARTH

I was deep into “Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse” by John Joseph Adams when I stumbled onto a small story from Cory Doctorow – When Sysadmins ruled the earth. I must say their declaration of cyber-independence and their elections for an internet prime-minister moved me.

“My name is Felix Tremont,” he said, getting up on one of the tables, drawing out his PDA. “I want to read you something.

sysadmins8“‘Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.

“‘We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.

“‘Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions.’

“That’s from the Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace. It was written twelve years ago. I thought it was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever read. I wanted my kid to grow up in a world where cyberspace was free-and where that freedom infected the real world, so meatspace got freer too.”

He swallowed hard and scrubbed at his eyes with the back of his hand. Van awkwardly patted him on the shoe.

“My beautiful son and my beautiful wife died today. Millions more, too. The city is literally in flames. Whole cities have disappeared from the map.” He coughed up a sob and swallowed it again.

“All around the world, people like us are gathered in buildings like this. They were trying to recover from last night’s worm when disaster struck. We have independent power. Food. Water.

“We have the network, that the bad guys use so well and that the good guys have never figured out.

“We have a shared love of liberty that comes from caring about and caring for the network. We are in charge of the most important organizational and governmental tool the world has ever seen. We are the closest thing to a government the world has right now. Geneva is a crater. The East River is on fire and the UN the potential to rebuild a better world.

“I have nothing to live for but that.” There were tears in Van’s eyes. He wasn’t the only one. They didn’t applaud him, but they did one better. They maintained respectful, total silence for seconds that stretched to a minute. “How do we do it?” Popovich said, without a trace of sarcasm.

Link to Google Play book

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