2nd place in the Free TON Positioning Essay contest.
About fifty years after William Shakespeare wrote these words, the first banknotes native to Europe would be issued. Trade, markets, forgeries, exchanges, and speculation already existed. As did political repression and censorship. Yet economic life was not yet fully bound to a central source. So Shakespeare, and his London, and his King, took for granted that, for some things, power has its limits. He could perform a play named The Tempest where, veiled in its humour and denunciations, those three words found their home.
Today, to our ears so attuned to modernity, the claim smacks of misapprehension. The Tempest has spent the last four centuries frequenting pages and boards unchanged, yet the constitution of thought has undergone a metamorphosis. In every way, thought has become a commodity, the trading of which is the business of every apparatus used in the contemporary synthesis of finance and technology. But with this phenomena came the progress presented in blockchain systems, now presented in their most advanced form through Free TON.
Both in its theorem and organization of Twenty First century direct democracy, community organization, and effective cryptocurrency, Free TON is not a tool only to change the monetary and organizational status quo. It has an equal role in inviting anew the emancipation of thought from invasions into privacy without requiring people to resort to hermetic and luddite solutions. It is imperative that Free TON’s contrivance continue to be freedom. Economic freedom, digital freedom, and freedom of thought.
A common contemporary interpretation of The Tempest suggests that one of the subjects it so expertly deals with is colonialism. In our age, the subject is, at times, invoked in a reactionary manner. At other times, justifiably, as the world has not yet been spared the sword of cultural and economic domination by one nation over another.
The banking structure is certainly a major tool to this end. It has a role in the specific application of this domination in a roundabout manner which subverts good wishes and bad history. Allow us to examine further with the explicit example of the ever so contentious subject of reparations for slavery in America.
For a rough backstory: On January 1st, 1863, at the middle point of the American Civil War, President Abraham Linclon issued The Emancipation Proclamation, legally ending the enslavement of African-Americans in the United States. At the beginning of 1865, a few months before the war would end, Union General William T. Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 15. This was a proposal for land redistribution to each former slave in the form of “40 acres and a mule”.
This proposal was never enacted, meaning that the majority of slaves didn’t have the economic means to effect the political emancipation they had just achieved. As a result, most of the plantations kept churning out the cotton the now former slaves were harvesting for a fraction of a dollar a day. Many American historians, black and white alike, claim that this cataclysmic oversight is what laid the groundwork for today’s wealth disparity in the United States, where white Americans have ten times the average wealth of African-Americans.
Over the past few decades, however, there have been renewed calls for the reparations in the contemporary value of “40 acres and a mule,” which is estimated to be around two trillion dollars. How it is necessary to ask: Whom would a lump sum payout of two trillion dollars benefit? To understand the answer one proposes to look at a problem Free TON seeks to solve.
We all know the encrypted phrase of the Bitcoin Genesis Block: “Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.” It is a double ended phrase, and the first subject it treats is that money has become political. It is impossible to disconnect any political question from its monetary value. And most voters make this connection without understanding that political money is not the same as personal money. Political money often has little to no asset value. It’s debt. It leads to speculation becoming a means of production.
This process is held in place with the second end of the phrase: banks. Their role today has become to maintain this paradigm. To secure the ephemerality of political money by means which to a Seventeenth Century Londoner might well have seemed like witchcraft. This has led the role of banks to have mutated into becoming something akin to ‘financial police.’ And personal money has mutated into only having one function: consumption.
Thereby, in this context, would not reparations for slavery simply become reparations to Amazon? And, in turn, simply strengthen the hold banks have on communities of colour? And communities of colour have often been hit the hardest by the banking structure’s role as financial enforcer. The financial abuse of black Americans by banks, many of which are even legal, has been well documented. From mortgages and zoning practices to absurdly prudent requirements for credit scores, the personal money of black Americans is tightly interwoven with political intentions.
Now many cryptocurrencies have already begun the essential task of liberating the value and use of personal money from bank oppression, and provides a more asset based form of currency not purely operating by speculation. But there has been limited action on reorganizing the political structures which have led to, and benefit from, the classic models of oppression which go beyond just banking. Until now with Free TON, which incorporates both existing economic and new political alternatives.
By centralized power and economy, the best of intentions eventually, inevitably end up benefiting those who already have means. The community-based government structure of Free TON has the potential to counteract this reality, and this must continue to be its focus.
United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once said that the Bill of Rights was an afterthought in the drafting of the US Constitution. “Every tin pot dictator in the world has a bill of rights.” That it is the structure of power that determines whether a nation will survive.
In some ways, though there is a lot spoken of human rights, it has become a fetish. The goal is not human rights but rather, to build economic and organizational structures which will allow communities to emancipate themselves. The Free Ton Governance model has developed a tangible alternative to this end with its consensus building foundation of decentralization. Now it is on to the Free TON community to continue expanding its principles.
Emancipation is non-ideological, and it is something which people must decide for themselves how to enact. A perfectly compatible principle. It is true that blockchain technology has become synonymous with an alternative to today’s economic systems. However, emancipation is not just structural, it has deep emotional (and even ideological) roots. We must make sure that we do not perpetuate a reality which American philosopher Francis Fukuyama called ‘The End Of History.’ Is the main issue only protecting economic rights? For the future to establish less tread upon systems, it must first occur.
What do I mean? Well, let us once again take the hypothetical example of reparations. A community of color, in the United States, the members of which could benefit from said reparations. Even if those lump sum payments instead are made more thoroughly. Through investments in, say, schools and hospitals; will the inhabitants of that community escape the trappings of an economic tradition which has led them to this juncture?
Aside from the aforementioned logic or debatable macroeconomic implications of such a process, what is essential to note is that any act of such magnitude will not immediately recover the dignity and justice lost to the centuries. The future will nevertheless still herald a continuity of present ailings. A diamond studded wheelchair.
Now, we have a new model. It invites efficiency and safety which are very beneficial. The focus should be to add to this model a praxis of personal and digital liberty. Any deeper alternative must be guided not by models but by people. The members of such a community of colour can use Free TON to liberate themselves from the general economy, to a point of even deeper autonomy, in a profound way not only economically or politically, but also emotionally. This is something which is far more valuable than reparations; something which the current structure, no matter its good intentions, cannot offer; something which our politically communal innovation could provide. But we must grow it from the bottom-up.
A large part of this project is the protection of privacy; another essentially non-ideological paradigm. Despite every United Nations decree, privacy is nevertheless considered fair game. It is impossible to secure liberation when a central power invades, tracks, manipulates, any movement you make. The blockchain has been touted for its inherent construction of privacy for users. We hereby hold a responsibility with great care. For while the reaction to this is understandable, it lives in different shells for every member of the Free TON community. We must note that not every outlook is compatible with every different form of organization present in the communities we wish to have discourse with.
The blockchain has generally had difficulties in developing the necessary pluralism. It has, to some degree, due to its relative youth, remained nestled within the trap of its own ideology. Free TON has hitherto been spared this effect. The sub-governance principle is actually one of the more crucial innovations Free TON has pursued. It is an essential element of any current and future positioning. Plurality is key. No particular ideological group should have domain over such revolutionary technology.
It has the potential to liberate, and liberate by means of enfranchising communities, allowing them to determine their own basis for their own liberty and their own implementations of this technology. This freedom is what we must advocate, not any single pre-existing determination as to what the solution should be.
Many communities in developing countries currently living with a stranglehold on them by invasive and centralised agents of what some may call colonialism can now turn to our model and structure to liberate themselves how they see fit. People in revolt against oppressive governments can actively create alternate applied and economic models of government. Likewise, individuals can keep their earnings in a secure structure free of bank policy and schools can organize lessons and tests more effectively. While the latter is indebted simply to the course of history, the prior requires conscious effort.
For this technology to work equally effectively in countries that are less developed, the founding of future hegemonic structures is required. Not self-promotion simply in the context of already existing systems, even on the blockchain.
Whatever part of the work to build hegemony that has already commenced, must continue. A large emphasis should be put onto developing the reach of sub-governance models. Because the goal is not simply more participation but ultimately a structure by which communities, large and small, can effectively have autonomous governance, which is where one feels Free TON should direct itself in the future.
One proposes the next stage to this end to be a kind of post-technological programming. Not in the sense of an automaton, rather by which the code of the virtual society growing on Free TON can expand to include communities beyond those that founded it. Systems created by and for the future users who, through no fault of their own, have never heard of Free TON or even blockchain. So that they can benefit from its potential for autonomy. The technology now present is capable of operating in vast scopes, therefore there cannot be a shortage of the creative thinking now occurring in Free TON contests and forums. Let us encourage this.
I was born a few years after the internet was created. Yet it strikes me, as I look back to the internet of my youth, how much it has transformed itself, and my generation with it. A lot has been said about how it has become monopolized and compartmented into the annals of the new ‘tech giant.’ Yet it is not merely the disturbing fact which deserves notice, but the effect it has had in completing the metamorphosis of thought so that, in many cases, it can no longer be called free.
Now we must speak about how to avoid a similar, and arguably even more tragic phenomenon, from occurring in the next stage of the internet we are here heralding with cheers and chatter. This is not something we may have an answer for, except that we must observe and discuss with vigilance and swift decision making lest any progress be made by the architects of the new orthodoxy of control ever present in the dealings of those who today control the mechanics and content of the internet. Free TON, unfortunately, cannot avail itself simply in positive-minded positioning. A certain defensiveness must exist as well. This yin-yang connects the end goal herein described as emotional also. For when communities grow into autonomy, free thought lies in confidence beside.
One feels it necessary to make the following point not to unsettle but simply to note. When we look at the future of Free TON, let us imagine that it may become the primary sources of many communities’ interaction with the blockchain. In order for this to happen we must make sure not to graze grass too close to the one that grows in the echo chambers which have stifled the development of recent technologies, hitherto heralded as liberating which have resulted in little. Just as today the internet works best when there are multiple opinions and an open, safe environment; so we must always make sure that Free TON keeps precisely those values at heart.
The actions here are many, and we are not alone. I often lament the loss of a time when individuality was not seen as progress, inspired in its vain and method though I am. For we rightly treat Free TON as a continuation of a revolution in process, but it is not its end. No platform is. Rather, the end rests at the feet of the members. It is a tool for radical change, which must continue to be developed in an open and plural manner. The sub-governance models and community involvement are key means to this end.
My favorite part of William Shakespeare’s genius is the consistent quality of his poetry, be it in the form of sonnet or play. Open up any page of The Tempest at random and read a few lines. Stunning, right?
Yet what role does the poet hold today? Does nobody need him? Well, the automaton speaks the language of hell, its laws, and reason. And hell does not reason like people. I have stated herein where I hope Free TON will be in the future. The part of that future I look forward to the most is the poetic inspiration I will find at opening any link to a Free TON forum and reading a few lines. Then sitting back and saying to my dog: “Stunning, right?”
We continue to publish the Top 5 Free TON Positioning Essay.