The Declaration of Global Education For A Future

The Defense of Doctress Neutopia
Against the University of Massachusetts Dictatorship

Recalling the Conversation between
Deputy Chancellor Marcellette Williams
and Doctress Neutopia

 
 

Glossary


Earth Bank:

A world computer data base that takes account of the world's resources forming a commonwealth accounting system. Buckminister Fuller envisioned an "omni-world-integrating electrical-energy network grid" powered by free-flowing solar energy becoming the currency of the Earth Bank.

arcology:

A word coin by architect Paolo Soleri combining the word architecture and ecology. Arcologies are self-contained opend and closed structures that evolve our present post-modern cities from wastelands and places of environmental destruction into a network of biospheric wonderworlds of high-technology. Arcology is the evolution of city.

lovolution:

A non-violent, world-wide spiritual revolution; the evolution of revolution; world movement for social and economic freedom, a romantic rebellion for planetary peace and justice.

massgasm:

The feeling of ecstasy caused by global enlightenment as the people liberate themselves from the dictatorial bureaucracies and begin to understand our organic unity and the inward powers of communication such unity brings to the human species.

Neutopian Transversity:

Advancing from the idea of Chancellor David Scott's idea of the transversity--an interactive, connected, transcultural, transdisciplinary, university of the future which is based on the global corporations image of development--the goal of the Neutopian Transversity is to base education on a feminist cybersocialist mission of building a network of arcologies.



First Day of Classes 1995

I didn't know if I had the nerve to call the Deputy Chancellor after I found out that she had terminated my account at the OIT (Office of Information Technologies) computer center, but I decided that I needed to know from her the reason why she had taken such severe action against me for allegedly violating Copyright Law. After Duncan Chesley left a message on my telephone service that I had lost my account, I was in shock. I had arranged my entire life around my research account and now to have lost it meant losing the intellectual life I had established for the past several years over the Internet. Nevertheless, by the afternoon, I was ready to call the Deputy Chancellor.

It was the first day of school and I knew that the Whitmore Building, the headquarters of the Administration, would be an insane place with all the students running around trying to find enough financial aid to go to school. So, I left several messages with Marcie Williams' secretary for Marcie to call me back. When I was away from the phone, she did. She left a message that the University had decided to terminate my account, but she had the phone numbers of the local commercial services where I could pay to get back online. That was not the kind and quality of information that I was seeking from her as if she were an advertiser for the commercial sector!

Everything at Umass had become a commercial. When I was part of the Chancellor's Civility Commission several years ago, I was horrified when members referred to the students as customers who were educational consumers of their educational products. I objected to this language, but no one seemed to agree with me that the purpose of education wasn't to make consumers. In my mind, the purpose of education is to create critical thinkers who would not serve the profit motives of the elite at the top of corporate management, but who would serve the interests of quality survival for the human race.

Finally, I called her in the late afternoon when she was available to answer the phone. She is a well-spoken woman who seemed opened to discussing the issues with rebel me. The problem she said was that since I posted Clarinet news articles on the women's movement to my public newsgroup-- alt.society.neutopia--the Clarinet corporation, who Umass pays for their service, might threaten to cancel Umass' Clarinet connection, and could possibly sue Umass for Copyright Law violation. In an attempt to avoid these consequences, Umass had decided to terminate my account. She explained to me that she had talked with the Clarinet owners and that they were pleased that she had inflicted such severe punishment upon me.

I explained to her that the termination of my account was too strong a punishment and that I would not be able to finish my research on the women's movement in China if I could no longer get into my account. I tried to get through to her that I didn't know about Copyright law because there were no courses offered at Umass about such things and that OIT never gave me any information about such policies. I told her that I realized the entire field was new because I had heard, only that afternoon, over National Public Radio that President Clinton had assigned a task force to draft up new recommendations for such Electronic Copyright laws. Those facts didn't seem to change her mind. She kept on repeating that I had broken Copyright Cyberlaw and that I had to pay the price by being dropped from my research account. She said I had to be terminated since I was a not a registered student and that I was not employed by the University, so they had no way to control me. I wondered, "Is that what the university structure is all about, controlling the actions of people as oppose to offering the opportunity for free interchange and self-expression?"

She and I figured out that it would cost about $120 a month to use the Internet the way I had used it at Umass for a least six hours a day since this was before the time when services charged fate rates. I explained to her since I was unable to get state or corporate support for my research. If I didn't receive money from my father, I would be a homeless woman or I would be working at some miserable job making minimum wage working for some patriarchal boss, forsaking the scholar/activist/artist within me. I had a car to keep up, student loans to pay off, plus I was living without health care. When I said that I was living without health care, she gasped and said that I really need health care. As she talked, I felt the breast lump that I needed to see a doctor about. But without insurance, I certainly couldn't go. Health care was going to cost $160 a month.

I told her that it was probably difficult for her to realize how hard it was for me as a scholar to make a living as a Futurist since she, as a top university official, was making more than $120,000 a year. I needed society to care of me so that I would have time to be a truth-teller for the public. But, in a capitalist society, the work that I did was not valued. My research account had made it possible for me to continue my work of building a more humane world.

Williams reply was that we were not here to discuss her personal finances. All I was trying to do was to point out the class divisions between us and why $120 a month would be difficult for me to come by, when she had more money than she knew what to do with. "Was my work less valuable than her work?" I asked myself.

In a Neutopian meritocracy, everyone would have access to the information technologies and everyone's basic human needs would be provided for, so that people had time to do the creative work the universe was calling them to do. But Umass was certainly not a meritocracy! The bottom line was, no matter how talented or gifted you are, if you don't have the money to pay for tuition, the university could care less if you got the education you needed in order to develop your gifts, talents, and skills. They talk a lot about the benefits of life-long education, but the reality is that the university doesn't support the concept. Even alumni are not permitted access to the Umass computers, though the four other Ivy League-type colleges in the Five College system give accounts to their alumni to enable them access the Internet. This seems like a definite class war issue to me, since the rich private schools give access to their alumni while the poor state university does not.

I tried to explain to her about my work on alt.society.neutopia. Also, I told her about the sexism and hatred I had experienced on the newsgroup and how one of the administrators had even posted hateful and sexist things towards me. It was obvious that my posting were being monitored by Peter, the patriarchal sysadmin. Since I was given no warning message that I had violated Copyright Law, I felt the violation was just an excuse for kicking me off the air.

I explained, "I am struggling to create a loving consciousness so that we can have the solidarity to build a truly literate world. The work I am doing on alt.society.neutopia is good work. Cyberspace is dominated by capitalist patriarchal thugs and female impersonators who are uncultured misogynists, whose greed is consciousnessly destroying the world."

The Deputy Chancellor said that she realized that Cyberspace had been compared to the Wild West and that there was a lawlessness about the place, but nevertheless, I had broken the law. "Doctress Williams," I stated, "I don't think that you realize that there is a war going on in cyberspace right now." I recalled the poem I had written the week before:

On Usenet, I am in the trenches. There is a war going on within the market place of ideas. In the trenches, I am a truth teller in a world of vicious lies. Is it WWI or WWII, Korea, Vietnam, El Salvador, or the War in the Persian Gulf? Maybe it is all the wars together-- the bomb, the nuclear tests in the Pacific. the war on the poor, the war against women. I am in the trenches. Fighting for my right to be a Visionary, visualizing the Internet as a medium of love and peace where people from all over the world lay down their mental weapons and begin to build Neutopia, the world of our collective dream.

I asked the Chancellor if she had read the article in August 25, Time magazine on Cyber War. When she said that she had not, I pleaded with her to take a look at it. If she read it, she would see how men are again using technology to plan out another generation of immoral war games. They weren't thinking about how to use the technology to feed the hungry or stop the causes of war, poverty, and environmental devastation. No, they were thinking in terms of "computer logic bombs", "jamming the enemy's TV with propaganda messages" (that sounds like commercial TV), "EMP bombs" (non-nuclear electromagnetic-pulse) which would fry the electronics of the communications systems and bank computers of the opposition, feeding electronics-eating microbes into the enemy's infrastructure to destroy the enemy's phone system. It was this militaristic patriarchal thinking that I was hoping to stop on alt.society.neutopia, and that is why I was so unpopular to the supporters of the status quo, because I opposed the whole idea of nationalism, militarism, money, war, poverty, and the root cause of it all, the patriarchal marriage.

I explained to her that the reason why I had posted the Clarinet articles about the women's conference in China was that I'd hoped to educate the brutal part of my readership that women ARE powerful and that we were demanding radical changes in our lives. I posted the articles there to help educate the public. I asked, "Is it really a crime to help educate people by passing on enlightening information? Isn't the role of the educator to bring forth such information for the public good?"

The response was the same. I had broken Copyright Law and that teachers were not free to give out Copyrighted information. The information that I had taken was only intended for paid customers. I had given it out free to the public, and who knows how many people read it without paying for it. She said that I shouldn't have acted on my inspiration, but should have contacted the publisher and gotten his permission to post it into my newsgroup. It was his intellectual property and it wasn't mine to do anything I wanted with it. I explained to the Deputy Chancellor that I didn't know that that was the procedure. I didn't even know that Clarinet was not a public domain! I thought everyone in Usenet had access to Clarinet! She insisted that the Copyright message was on the bottom of every Clarinet article when the fact was that on the four articles that I had taken from Clarinet the warning was on none of them.

It was obvious that she had not even seen the evidence against me! If this had been a public hearing, and I received due process guaranteed under a democratic constitution, then the evidence could have been presented in my defense. But, of course, Umass is a dictatorship of the plutocracy. The Deputy Chancellor had no desire to share power with me through serious dialogue about the problems. Under her regime, leadership was not recognized as a comradeship of the ideas and ideals which make up universal patterns, a common ground to guide students to beneficial political behavior. Oh no. The autocrat had power over me in a master/slave relationship. She began to flex her muscles with every word she said, the muscles which controlled the technocracy.

The situation of the enormity of what I had done was becoming very clear to me. I had acted like Robin Hood. I had "stolen" information from the haves and given it to the have-nots. Copyright was the way capitalism was going to control the "information superhighway." People who had the money and credit card numbers available to them received passwords to the "information superhighway," just like they are the ones who have the bank cards to flash past the tellers at the grocery stories to buy food. In this barbaric society, if you don't have money, you starve. And at a time when most of the jobs are being automated away, or are being exported to Third World countries in order to extract huge profits from slave labor, it was the job of Futurists to come up with an alternative purpose of education for the Computer Age and that is what I had been doing on alt.society.neutopia.

I had come to realize that censorship had more subtle forms than just stopping the flow of information by blocking off one's computer account. The first level of censorship is economic censorship. If you don't have the money to pay for a computer and the time and resources to learn how to use the machines, then you are blocked from getting on the Internet because of your lack of resources. Once on, if you don't follow the policies set by the provider, then you could be kicked off for whatever reason, any time the owners felt like it without a public hearing. The founder of the Electronic Fronter Foundation, Mitchell Kapor, writes in Scientific American (Sept 1991): "Our society has made a commitment to openness and to free communication. But, if our legal and social institutions fail to adapt to new technology, basic access to the global electronic media could be seen as a privilege, granted to those who play by the strictest rules, rather than as a right held by anyone who needs to communicate."

I tried to appeal to the woman in Marcie, a sister struggling for justice against male abuse and violence toward feminist thinking, by explaining to her that I had no experience with Copyright. For nearly twenty years, I had been struggling to penetrate into the "malestream" press only to find no publisher willing to print my ideas except for a few left-wing ones who had no money to pay for the writings that they publish. If I wanted to share my vital vision of the future with the people, I had no choice but to give my labor for free. Now I had found the technology which allowed my voice to be heard without having to submit and be rejected by publishers.

The Deputy Chancellor rebutted by saying that my dissertation had been Copyrighted and that I wouldn't want anyone to take it without my permission. "Doctress Williams," I said, "I feel that what I wrote about in my dissertation is important information which the public needs to know about. Since I have not been able to find a publisher for it, I have given it out for free. Thanks to my Umass computer space, I have placed it on my Web page for anyone to download. As a scholar, it is my duty to work for humanity, not to horde my knowledge in order to make a profit. To hold back knowledge in order to make a profit is an act against humanity."

Giving out my writing into which I had put so much labor for free had been a difficult thing to accept as I witnessed my contemporaries becoming rich on their royalities. Writing on alt.society.neutopia is not even recorded since it is not archived. So writing on alt.society.neutopia is like a sand painting used by the medicine men and women of the Southwestern Native American tribes to cure the sick. Beautiful paintings are created with sand to psychically heal the illness of the patient. After the paintings have worked their miracles, they blow away in the wind just like my words disappear when the computer eliminates them from Usenet after their time is up. But, in Western Culture, since one can make money on words, many authoress and authors don't think of giving their words for free, just like many MDs don't see the sick for free. Holding back enlightenment for whatever reason is another form of self-censorship, a crime against humanity.

The result is that we have ended up with zillions of words without any spirit. It is the spirit behind the word which is the essence of language, not the product of words on a book or on a computer disc. As the word becomes more electronic and as we begin to understand our specieshood as text flys across the world at near the speed of light, we realize that all the world is one, and all our words lead us to the same conclusion...to love, care and work for one another. In order to do so, we need to restructure the world into a sustainable network of arcologies based on a leisure/learning economy.

I then quoted from a book I had been reviewing from for the Society of Utopian Studies newsletter, Earth Follies: Coming to Feminist Terms With the Global Environmental Crisis, by Joni Seager. She writes "All elites use secrecy to privatize access to knowledge." Isn't this what is happening now on the Internet at Umass? The economic elites will have a wealth of information at their finger tips, while the lower classes are completely left out of the entire new world of the Net. Shouldn't the university come out against the information elite? I reflected on the quote of inventor/poet Buckminster Fuller next to my computer screen, "If man [sic] chooses oblivion, he can go right on leaving his fate to his political leaders. If he chooses Utopia, he must initiate an enormous educational program--immediately, if not sooner." It is time for such an educational program, making it possible for everyone to have access to the information technologies. As we enter the Age of the Internet, universities should be the centers of such a massive educational conversion, since it is now possible for a world-wide spiritual democracy to be formed as the creative minority begin to recognize one another.

But the Deputy Chancellor repeated the University party line, "You violated Copyright law and now you must be terminated." I wondered if there was any way to communicate with a woman of color who had bought the entire white male academicians' enslavement so thoroughly. I had hoped that somehow I could break through her armor to make her see the principle involved here: why scholars, cyberactivists, and intellectual dissidents needed protection, and why the University needed to support free thought on the Internet by granting them an intellectual tenure. As far as I can see, free speech and free access are the same thing. If our mission is to create a world-wide spiritual democracy, then our goal is to create ways for everyone to have access to the information technologies. In a logical world, her job is not to kept people off the Internet, but to help them find a way on.

"Umass ought to be happy that I am struggling for social justice," I said. "By giving me a computer account, you are helping liberate the world. And besides, isn't communication a human right? Isn't communication as essential to our mental health as nutritious food is to our body?" I could easily think of a solution to the problem, working within a capitalist framework of economic reformation. Cut back the salaries of the administration so that they earn the same pay as a child-care worker. With the surplus money, buy more computers so that Umass can be the center of community access for the Pioneer Valley. Then Umass can hire more computer instructors to teach the community how to work the technologies and offer everyone in the local area access to the Internet. But as someone who has had years of experience with the state bureaucracy of Massachusetts, I knew that the trend of the administration was to give themselves higher salaries while cutting out such positive programs as Future Studies.

The more I thought about the social and economic injustices and the propagandistic lies of the global corporations with which Umass indoctrinates into its students, the more I began to think in revolutionary terms. Copyright Law made absolutely no sense to me just like ownership of land was against my basic belief system. The ideas that flow through my brain are not my own. I gathered these ideas under Umass professors. They are part of the collective wisdom of the ages. I do not own them, but embody them. They are channeled through me by creative powers greater than myself. I simply work as a tool of the Great Ideas, an instrument of their Vision. It is not my goal to get rich from "my intellectual property" but to spread the message of love and peace. My goal is to work like a cultural meme, passing on the way to Neutopia, a world freed from the tyranny of money. If my meme virus works its magic, then a neu spell will take effect as we move into a feminist cybersocialist Neutopia. How much money one has in the bank will be rendered completely meaningless. In Neutopia, what counts is one's character. A sell-out, talent-prostitute, rat-race conformist like Doctor Williams would have no power in Neutopia.

I was beginning to see myself as a Cyberspace Outlaw until the true law of justice for the people could be established. Then I could claim my natural role as a CyberQueen directing the spiritual democracy into the glories of the Neu Millennium. There seemed no way to reason with women like Marcie who had totally accepted the Old Boys Club ideology. Revolution was the only solution. We would have to force her and all the other anti-human beings out of positions of power.

Closing our conversation I said, "Deputy Chancellor, I know that your decision to terminate my account was a move on your part to suppress my free speech. There is an ideological problem which stands between us. I am a socialist feminist and you are paid by the patriarchy to maintain the status quo. I have seen the Administration expel some of the best minds from Umass year after year so that now the creative spirit at Umass has been suffocate. I have studied university governance and I know that your regime is not a good one looking out for the best interests of the student. It is a kakistocracy, government by the worst people. I could imagine her at the end of the school day calling her stockbroker to find out about her latest financial investments and making an appointment with her accountant to discuss tax shelters on her most recent vacation home, all of course, paid for legally by the tax payers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Chancellor Scott writes in The Campus Chronicle(May, 1995), "I have chosen as a rally cry for the vision of the future--Towards a Commonwealth of Learning, which seems appropriate for the Land Grant University of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in an information age. The original idea of a commonwealth denotes shared wealth, a public good accessible to all. We need to create such a Commonwealth of Learning, which will call for a commonality of purpose, of conviction and of direction in the complex, expanding and dynamic universe of learning. This will be our vision-- not a commonwealth of independent states, a federation of autonomous disciplines and intellectual activities accountable elsewhere for the satisfaction of their claims and subject of competing external as well as intrinsic demands and goals, as Hannah Gray has said. It is a truism to say that we are in the midst of the Information revolution."

A commonwealth of learning, yes, I think that is a noble idea. But after talking with Scott about his transversity, I soon realized that he is not talking about creating a commonwealth of learning where everyone can access the information technologies. His transversity is being funded by the transnational corporations to train workers to be able to compete in the global economy. His vision of unity is the merger of the university and the transnational corporation in order to make the rich richer.

"Oh dearest Goddess of Love," I pleaded with the invisible forces after getting off the telephone with the heartless and mindless Deputy Chancellor, "help me connect with the people who are trying to create a just world. If only the social hackers (people who carry revolutionary messages) and the physical hackers (people who know how to break into computer systems) would unite! Please, grant us the way to bring our forces together so that we could organize massive actions to shut down the computers used to run the anti-intellectual Establishment..."

With the heart of a peasant guerrilla, I wished I were part of a world-wide revolution to collapse the unbalanced economic system. If a group of dedicated lovolutionaries had thousands of those EMP devices, using email we could arrange a time to go to the financial capitals of the world and fry their goddamn evil economic system, paralyzing the temples of capitalism by crashing their stock markets. Then we could re-organize the wealth by putting it into an Earth Bank. We could reprogram the computers that run the banks, insurance companies, educational institutions, credit unions, prison systems, state bureaucracies etc., to provide the systems needed to get people online so that they can find their place within the context of the global Neutopian Transversity.

The thought of such emancipation gives me a massgasm! Finally, a bloodless revolution for a Neu Epoch! Can you hear the electronic music of the sounds of crashing international bank systems? Crone Goddess, I feel like doing the snake dance on the top of Bill Gates desktop during our illustrious victory party!"

After Dame Phyllis, my 81 year old mentor read the "Declaration of Global Education for A Future," she sternly looked at me and said, "You know you are taking a big risk by posting that over the air. Did you see the movie JULIA from the story of Lillian Helman? Do you remember what happened to Julia?"

A deep silence fell between us until I said, "Yes, the Nazis came into her house while she slept and killed her for her socialist ideas."

Phyllis replied, "Just as long as you know that you are dealing with the same kind of people. But the important thing is that you have the knowledge to write what you do. You learned a great deal from Umass. You are up against the top guys now. They are afraid of change."

I gave her a good-bye hug and kiss. On my way home walked alone on the long dark road past the brutal architecture of the School of Education. I stopped to look up into the starlit night to nurture my dreams of a Neutopian Future.

 
 

 

 
 
Human Extinction or Lovolution ?