March 2006

We were asked a series of questions by a Bulgarian activist about the general philosophy of Dictator Watch. The questions and our responses follow.

1. What are you protesting?

Dictator Watch is not really a protest organization. Our goal is to effect change, specifically in the values and principles on which human behavior and society are based.

My approach to activism is different than most. Of course I care about this specific problem or that, but what I also recognize is that most activist causes are actually just symptoms of much deeper, and systemic, issues. The basic philosophical approach of humans to the life experience is flawed, and this extends to the social structures that we have created and through which such philosophy is manifested.

Our fundamental value is personal selfishness, and we view competition, rather than cooperation, as the principle means by which we can achieve our selfish objectives, both as individuals and also in groups. We therefore have a society dominated by institutions that have as their primary directive competition with other institutions.

This situation is linked to our evolutionary past, about which I have written extensively in my book, Freedom From Form (FFF, which also answers all your other questions). It is also succinctly described in the article, Roots of Dictatorship, on the Dictator Watch homepage.

So, we compete rather than cooperate, failing to recognize that through cooperation a greater abundance would be made available to all.

Secondly, we say that we have as our goal equality, i.e., the end of class structure, equality between men and women, etc., again failing to recognize that a society based on competition necessarily has inequality as its goal, and result. Competition produces "winners," people who in one way or another are more than equal.

Thirdly, we have an incorrect approach to nature, viewing ourselves as separate from and in competition with the natural world, when in fact we are part of an ecology. By destroying our environment we are actually destroying ourselves as well.

My approach to activism therefore revolves around education, since to accomplish real change we must find a way to convince a critical mass of the people of the world that what I have just written is true: that we must renounce competition, and inequality, and what I term human chauvinism.

Further, we also have an incorrect appreciation of how this change may be accomplished. Another foundation of Dictator Watch is that real change requires chaos, that our situation is such that reform-based efforts at change will never work. This is also discussed in detail on both DW (see Introduction to Chaos Theory under the articles link) and A101 (The Inevitable Failure of Institutional Reform under the clearinghouse link).

2. How do you fund your activities?

DW is an Internet-based advocacy organization (i.e., no office) run on a shoestring. It is my life, and I live life very inexpensively. The alternative to human chauvinism is biocentrism, that all forms of life are equal and have rights. It therefore follows that the only way to live is with the least possible impact. This leads one to reject consumerism/materialism. It is also the foundation for veganism.

This also has an implication for the human population, since having children is a form of consumption. Each new child represents an eighty-year act of consumption of the planet's natural ecology. It therefore follows that you should not have children, or only one or at most two, and then only beginning well into your twenties (so the overall statistical effect is that the human population will shrink from its now hyperinflated level).

I'll answer this another way as well later (when I respond to another one of your questions), but in general the funding requirements of DW are limited.

In my experience, the organizations that are big money activists, e.g., Amnesty Intl., Human Rights Watch, etc., have the least effect. One of the reasons for this is that they base their efforts on a flawed theory of change, i.e., that reform can work.

3. As far as I could understand you are not against free movement of people, information or cultural influence, but against the global concentration of power and money in the hands of a small group of people and corporations. According to you why and how do corporate bodies want to rule the world?

About corporations, selfishness leads to dictatorship, and dictatorship is a self-perfecting system. In other words, it continually evolves to more efficiently achieve its end, which is overwhelming and impregnable power. Dictatorship is channeled through institutions, and institutional dictatorship has evolved from political/military, and religious, to economic. (Some political and religious dictatorships survive, but the general trend is towards economic oppression, which is more subtle, systematic, and hence more effective.) For a variety of reasons, which I won't go into here, but which are extensively discussed in FFF, it was inevitable that corporations would undermine and ultimately supplant these other institutions.

4. Is there a difference between “antiglobalism” and “alterglobalsim”? Where is your place between the two positions?

Influences necessarily spread, so the question is which do we want to promote, and which do we want to suppress? Based on the forgoing, one can conclude that we want to suppress institutional, and personal, selfishness. For the former, we want to shrink the institutions, to regain our control over them. I'm an anarchist, in the sense that I'm "against rule," meaning institutional rule. I therefore oppose large government, militaries, businesses, organized religions, etc., and also states, i.e. countries. The evolution of nation-states has been a horrific trend. Countries serve no useful purpose as far as I can see. They are a means of competition, both military and economic (and religious) to pit one group of people against another. They are also a recent phenomenon, one that with activism we can work to make only temporary.

What we want is a reversion from countries to cultures, a world of interconnected cultures that have as their foundation a spirit of respect and cooperation.

We also want to suppress any patterns of behavior, both institutional and personal, which have as their consequence environmental destruction. This extends to many different things, i.e., industrial development, residential housing development, commercial globalization, the arms trade, factors that promote having children, etc.

Regarding what we want to promote, this includes education, ethics (ethics are a form of education), personal creativity, and sophisticated cultural behavior. We also want to suppress cultural traditions that are ignorant and superstitious if not barbaric, for example, Islamic (and Catholic) treatment of women.

5. How do you create your network of followers? Could you give me some demographic characteristics for your community - number of members, country of living, age, education?

I believe I am able as a leader, but I don't think of myself this way. I don't want followers. Rather, I aspire to be an educator. I hope that my ideas are convincing, to young and old, and to people all around the world. My goal is that other people will think about these ideas, and act on them.

Because of this there is no DW or A101 community, at least at the moment, although I do receive a lot of correspondence from people who find my ideas attractive.

This is also where I can address the earlier question. There are many different type of activist groups, including cause specific and multi-cause, membership-based, coalitions, and movements. From another perspective, there are strategic think-tanks, grassroots organizers, and direct action affinity groups. DW concentrates on strategic analysis and organization. When we are involved in on the ground initiatives, this is at the front lines, or behind the lines, as a DA affinity group.

We are also part of the Earth First! movement.

6. How do you organize protest actions all over the world?

We don't organize protests. We do organize various initiatives, though, using a process that applies to virtually anything. In other words, we have and then develop an idea, communicate this to others and build a consensus for action, and then plan and implement the appropriate steps.

7. You speak often about “corporate media.” What is the difference between “corporate” and “independent” media? According to you are there officially published independent media?

Corporate media is any media entity, video, audio or print, that is owned by a corporation, that is structured and registered as a corporation. The problem is that corporations are driven by the profit motive. True journalism is divorced from this consideration. In corporate media, the need to make money undermines journalist objectives, to report with objectivity and in-depth, i.e., to have integrity. Corporate media is superficial and biased, e.g., towards corporate objectives, such as the elevation of the desirability of consumption, the idea that progress is based on economic growth, in support of technology, etc.

Also, private voices are barred, censored, from corporate media. Only institutional representatives and views are given a forum.

Independent media means free media, media to which anyone can contribute. This is available through the Internet in many forms, and through a few other conduits as well, e.g., community radio. For the Internet, there are such things as Indymedia, Craigs List, and thousands of other individual websites, blogs and email lists.

Regarding official independent media, what is "official"? I don't know how to answer this question.