Call for revolutionary hacker movement – Interview with Amir Taaki

Crypto-Anarchist, Bitcoin Pioneer, Rebel, Hacker, Video and Software developer, Technology Anarchist, Freedom Fighter, Professional Poker Player, YPG Soldier and advisor and hundreds of other labels are true facts for his personality. But all these classifications and labels are not enough to complete the impression from meeting Amir face to face.

Four years after we made a contact with him for first time in Barcelona and five years after he was charted in Forbes’ list of “30 under 30 who are changing the world”, he is back – stronger, wiser and more dangerous than ever. That’s how we found him in Aurea Social in Barcelona.

We used the meeting to ask him few urgent and globally important questions. Here we share our conversation with Amir Taaki-our guiding light keeper, during the dark and evil times we living in.

Shanomag: How Old are you now?

A.Taaki: 30.

Shanomag: Did you learn Kurdish?

A.Taaki: Yes. I’m learning Kurdish. My Kurdish is probably as good as your English. I’m just complimenting myself, your English is very good.

Shanomag: What changed with Amir Taaki for the last 5 years? 5 years after we met for first time in Casa de la Montana?

A.Taaki: When I went to Rojava, I went there thinking that I will bring my knowledge, my skills to help the people there, but that was the time when Rojava came under attack by Kobane and I tought it was my duty to go and support this people in their hour of need and if I did not I will be hypocrite. But actually being in Rojava I learnt and understood what Revolution is, how Revolution works and came to understand the meaning of life and many different things. I was nearly two years I was in Rojava.

Shanomag: What change globally with the world for the last 5 years?

A.Taaki: There is a theory that we are entering in bifurcation point which is a point where in the last one hundred years or so, it wasn’t possible for a person to be able to change the course of history, for instance if you look at the bitcoin market and you see the price is going up it is pretty easy to predict where the price is gonna go, cause it is just going on linear predictable part, but when the market reach a point of instability become very difficult to predict how far it is going down, or to what level it is going down. What bifurcation means is when you have chaotic and very similar starting points, and the paths of these systems following very similar trajectory then, they reach a point where they start to diverge and then there is like tipping point which they diverge off in radically different, unpredictable directions. So we are reaching this point in human history, where this western world reduced the world to appearance of what we can sense, what we can see, what we can touch, which denying any kind of in essence of reality, it reached its limit because this world of reducing, not only the world but the human beings are just agents in gigantic computer simulation where they are maximizing their own short term gain, which is deeply paranoid cynical view of the human being, this is something not able to account for the full range of human society which including – religion and culture. Human beings are not just slaves to the based desires, but people also inspired to greatness, to bigger ideas and now this way of understanding the world reached its limits. Now the forces that rising up opposing this system of modernity, it is outside of the logic of the system and it is not only for system to be able to fully comprehend, and what we seeing now is rise of new ideological movements around the world-the rise of national movement, the rise of ISIS, the rise of the right wing and meanwhile what the west has done is construct this illusionary bubbles or dream worlds, which people have gone along with or withdrawing to, because the comfort that they give people is reassuring and what that allows to happen is this increasing, dark forces are rising up and now threaten to penetrate back into our reality. The more we ignore this crisis the more we keep the pretends of liberal values, keep recycling liberal values in new form, the more these problems are gonna worsen, and hit the crisis point where there is gonna be huge amount of human suffering, catastrophes and disasters.
But on the other hand is also an opportunity for people who now are preparing themselves who are developing the comprehension and analysis and working on what is called human shared vision. They can gain the power to significantly affect or drastically changed the course of history. And that’s something we haven’t had an opportunity like this, maybe in the entire human history of modernity that you can break free out of this iron cage.

Shanomag: What happen with “Dark Wallet” Project?

A.Taaki: Before I left my team was very close to complete “Dark Wallet”, so I gave them everything they need: money, resources and technical things, but then when I left, people just stopped working on it and that was because I was not there to be able to managed the project, to be able to give the vision to people who works on it. So more important than the initial work with the technology itself is the vision of the ideas driving the development of that technology. Now I have a lot of pressure, a lot of people who coming to trying get me to work on Dark Wallet, even now they are asking me to come to Paris next month to start work on Dark Wallet, but what I first want to do is to establish this core group of hackers, coordinate a much larger work together and then at that stage once we have this organization running and when we have headquarters, we have a logistic, then I can start to devote some of my attention to working on technical projects like Dark Wallet and I will be able to use a much larger group of people, technical resources, coordinating them through my team and then I start project I can put one of my kind of political officers or cadre to manage that project. All the people in the organization will coordinate between each other, because the problem with a lot of projects is that they have poor coordination, poor management and actually there need to be like core group of people who are really focused and dedicated and able to managed much larger network, not just make another product outs of many other products. Then we need to have bigger transformative vision and that is going to require much larger spread or wide variety of technical projects, but to be able to do that without dispersing ourselves it is gonna require a huge amount level of coordination.

Shanomag: Are you still seeing yourself as Crypto-Anarchist?

A.Taaki: I think the Free Software, Crypto-Anarchy, and the Hacker Movement, there are a lot of things we can learn from them but we need to deconstruct them, we need to find why these movements failed, what are the limitations of those ideologies, to be able to recombine them into new sympathized division which is the concept of “Polytechnics”, first proposed by Lewis Mumford in the 1960’s. We want to take his proposal and re-invigorate with new ideas to continue the work with his first proposal, about how we can use technology to construct a new Democratic technics. There is documentary about that called – “Authoritarian and Democratic Technics”. Also we need to develop us as complete human beings and give us aspect of inspiration and knowledge, not to be just techy, this is really important…Because ISIS is not a bunch of stupid guys, I think that one ISIS ideologist probably has a clear idea what is wrong with the world, not like these baby boomers and tourists walking on the streets as “La Rambla”, they don’t know why they are there. It is tragic, they are like robots.

Shanomag: How the community of Global and European activists can help Kurdistan in this difficult moment? (The interview was recorded during the first days of the Turkish operation–“Olive Branch”).

A.Taaki: One of the British volunteers called Jim Matthew said something I like in a speech at the funeral of Jack Homes: “Rojava doesn’t need support, Rojava needs friends”. And to understand what Rojava is, what is this movement, the most important thing that people can do now is to study the ideas of Ocalan. He has two books that been translated to English, one is “Manifesto for a Democratic Civilization”. People needs to start understanding and comprehending these ideas and popularizing them, spreading them.

Shanomag: What we can expect from the Global Liberalist in 2018?

A.Taaki: All I see is that there is no attempt to reconciliation of understanding. Literally the liberals become very dogmatic, not trying to understand where the crises of the civilization in the West is. The more that they are continuing, the more badly the problem is gonna get. On the right wing we have these movements started to reviving the culture, started as conservative movements trying to bring back the values of the society, now they start to be more about nation and recently about the race. This seems to be the direction. They have paramilitary organizations, they do marches across the cities, and I don’t see anyone else doing that recently. The only interesting political things I see happening in Europe are happening in the right wing.

Now there are many different groups from the entire world and I think that the rest of the world realizing this re-arrangement of power and capital doesn’t serve them as well as serve a core group of nations and all the periphery of the world now is rallying to opposed the liberal structure of power and there are many diverse forces as well, making maybe not even alliances, but something like you know… the komodo dragons, when they hunting animal they don’t hunt in packs. The one go and bite the animal, and attracted more komodo dragons and they start running after the animal until they got it. This is the situation we are in.

Shanomag: Can you explain Autonomous Polytechnics in few sentences? We will add the PDF file with the full text, but it will be great to explain the basics inside the interview?

A.Taaki: The hackers and early free technologists created a movement with huge amount of social and political influence and they did changed the world. When you build a large scale piece of technology…that’s a really complex work and to build something like Linux, take huge amount of people working on many different areas: writing code, documentation…you know… there is a large scale of collective efforts draw on and following a shared vision.

Unfortunately there was another side of that movement which is about playing with technology, the random acts of creative self-expression. It is the same as Thomas Edison’s – the invention of creativity is 99% perspiration and 1% flash of inside. So what has happen is that side of the movement which is about the self-expression and the creativity completely overtaken the free technology world and the ability of this movement to transform the society around us was greatly lost.

It is kind of being turned into commodity, like a fashion, the people adopt, to call themselves a “hacker”, when they simply made toys, the term lost all sense of meaning and purpose.

They are many people developing many different technical projects, and nobody really have a clear idea – “what is the world we are living in?” … “What are the problems in the society?”. In fact they are so into over particular way of seeing the world in terms of 1’s and 0’s, a very rationalistic way of seeing the world. They are manipulated by invisible forces, they can’t perceive outside of their immediate vision of reality. There is no common vision behind them to unify these works to what singular objective is. It is just completely dispersed and random in many different directions.

And on other side of that there has been a lot of work by sociologists and philosophers for more than a century talking about technology, posing really fundamental questions about technology, “how we can use technology?” and unfortunately nobody is really taken these ideas and thought about how we can actually apply them to the technology world to actually transform the technology world into a community, that has influence and power.

We have to realize with crypto-currencies now, it’s a very unique first time in history. There is a huge class of people…geeks who suddenly have huge amounts of money that they don’t know what to use it for. There is a cross of technology with huge amount of resources and technology as an instrument of power able to influence and shape politics and society. If we can bring these two sides together with proper analysis of what we are doing with technology, what we are trying to construct, what is the true effect of that technology on the world. That is something what can have huge transformative potential, and if we don’t do that its potential will be completely lost and this movement will disappear, it is going to lead to nothing.

Feb. 14 2018, Aurea Social, Barcelona


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