Τετάρτη, 18 Νοεμβρίου 2015

Washington’s War on Russia*

by Mike Whitney


    “In order to survive and preserve its leading role on the international stage, the US desperately needs to plunge Eurasia into chaos, (and) to cut economic ties between Europe and Asia-Pacific Region … Russia is the only (country) within this potential zone of instability that is capable of resistance. It is the only state that is ready to confront the Americans. Undermining Russia’s political will for resistance… is a vitally important task for America.”



    -Nikolai Starikov, Western Financial System Is Driving It to War, Russia Insider

    “Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

    -The Wolfowitz Doctrine, the original version of the Defense Planning Guidance, authored by Under Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, leaked to the New York Times on March 7, 1992

The United States does not want a war with Russia, it simply feels that it has no choice. If the State Department hadn’t initiated a coup in Ukraine to topple the elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, then the US could not have inserted itself between Russia and the EU, thus, disrupting vital trade routes which were strengthening nations on both continents. The economic integration of Asia and Europe–including plans for high-speed rail from China (“The New Silk Road”) to the EU–poses a clear and present danger for the US whose share of global GDP continues to shrink and whose significance in the world economy continues to decline. For the United States to ignore this new rival (EU-Russia) would be the equivalent of throwing in the towel and accepting a future in which the US would face a gradual but persistent erosion of its power and influence in world affairs. No one in Washington is prepared to let that happen, which is why the US launched its proxy-war in Ukraine.

The US wants to separate the continents, “prevent the emergence of a new rival”, install a tollbooth between Europe and Asia, and establish itself as the guarantor of regional security. To that end, the US is rebuilding the Iron Curtain along a thousand mile stretch from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. Tanks, armored vehicles and artillery are being sent to the region to reinforce a buffer zone around Europe in order to isolate Russia and to create a staging ground for future US aggression. Reports of heavy equipment and weapons deployment appear in the media on nearly a daily basis although the news is typically omitted in the US press. A quick review of some of the recent headlines will help readers to grasp the scale of the conflict that is cropping up below the radar:

    “US, Bulgaria to hold Balkans military drills”, “NATO Begins Exercises In Black Sea”, “Army to send even more troops, tanks to Europe”, “Poland requests greater US military presence”, “U.S. Army sending armored convoy 1,100 miles through Europe”, “Over 120 US tanks, armored vehicles arrive in Latvia”, “US, Poland to Conduct Missile Exercise in March – Pentagon”

Get the picture? There’s a war going on, a war between the United States and Russia.

Notice how most of the headlines emphasize US involvement, not NATO. In other words, the provocations against Russia originate from Washington not Europe. This is an important point. The EU has supported US-led economic sanctions, but it’s not nearly as supportive of the military build up along the perimeter. That’s Washington’s idea and the cost is borne by the US alone. Naturally, moving tanks, armored vehicles and artillery around the world is an expensive project, but the US is more than willing to make the sacrifice if it helps to achieve its objectives.

And what are Washington’s objectives?

Interestingly, even political analysts on the far right seem to agree about that point. For example, check out this quote from STRATFOR CEO George Friedman who summed it up in a recent presentation he delivered at The Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs. He said:

    “The primordial interest of the United States, over which for centuries we have fought wars–the First, the Second and Cold Wars–has been the relationship between Germany and Russia, because united there, they’re the only force that could threaten us. And to make sure that that doesn’t happen.” … George Friedman at The Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs, Time 1:40 to 1:57)

Bingo. Ukraine has nothing to do with sovereignty, democracy or (alleged) Russian aggression. That’s all propaganda. It’s about power. It’s about imperial expansion. It’s about spheres of influence. It’s about staving off irreversible economic decline. It’s all part of the smash-mouth, scorched earth, take-no-prisoners geopolitical world in which we live, not the fake Disneyworld created by the western media. The US State Department and CIA toppled the elected-government in Ukraine and ordered the new junta regime to launch a desperate war of annihilation against its own people in the East, because, well, because they felt they had no other option. Had Putin’s ambitious plan to create a free trade zone between Lisbon to Vladivostok gone forward, then where would that leave the United States? Out in the cold, that’s where. The US would become an isolated island of dwindling significance whose massive account deficits and ballooning national debt would pave the way for years of brutal restructuring, declining standards of living, runaway inflation and burgeoning social unrest. Does anyone really believe that Washington would let that to happen when it has a “brand-spanking” trillion dollar war machine at its disposal?

Heck, no. Besides, Washington believes it has a historic right to rule the world, which is what one would expect when the sense of entitlement and hubris reach their terminal phase. Now check out this clip from an article by economist Jack Rasmus at CounterPunch:

    “Behind the sanctions is the USA objective of driving Russia out of the European economy. Europe was becoming too integrated and dependent on Russia. Not only its gas and raw materials, but trade relations and money capital flows were deepening on many fronts between Russia and Europe in general prior to the Ukraine crisis that has provided the cover for the introduction of the sanctions. Russia’s growing economic integration with Europe threatened the long term economic interests of US capitalists. Strategically, the US precipitated coup in the Ukraine can be viewed, therefore as a means by which to provoke Russian military intervention, i.e. a necessary event in order to deepen and expand economic sanctions that would ultimately sever the growing economic ties between Europe and Russia long term. That severance in turn would not only ensure US economic interests remain dominant in Europe, but would also open up new opportunities for profit making for US interests in Europe and Ukraine as well…

    When the rules of the competition game between capitalists break down altogether, the result is war—i.e. the ultimate form of inter-capitalist competition.” (The Global Currency Wars, Jack Rasmus, CounterPunch)

See? Analysts on the right and left agree. Ukraine has nothing to do with sovereignty, democracy or Russian aggression. It’s plain-old cutthroat geopolitics, where the last man left standing, wins.

The United States cannot allow Russia reap the benefits of its own vast resources. Oh, no. It has to be chastised, it has to be bullied, it has to be sanctioned, isolated, threatened and intimidated. That’s how the system really works. The free market stuff is just horsecrap for the sheeple.

Russia is going to have to deal with chaotic, fratricidal wars on its borders and color-coded regime change turbulence in its capital. It will have to withstand reprisals from its trading partners, attacks on its currency and plots to eviscerate its (oil) revenues. The US will do everything in its power to poison the well, to demonize Putin, to turn Brussels against Moscow, and to sabotage the Russian economy.

Divide and conquer, that’s the ticket. Keep them at each others throats at all times. Sunni vs Shia, one ethnic Ukrainian vs the other, Russians vs Europeans. That’s Washington’s plan, and it’s a plan that never fails.

US powerbrokers are convinced that America’s economic slide can only be arrested by staking a claim in Central Asia, dismembering Russia, encircling China, and quashing all plans for an economically-integrated EU-Asia. Washington is determined to prevail in this existential conflict, to assert its hegemonic control over the two continents, and to preserve its position as the world’s only superpower.

Only Russia can stop the United States and we believe it will.

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MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.
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http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/03/18/washingtons-war-on-russia/

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/15118f6f2ae22527,

Δευτέρα, 9 Νοεμβρίου 2015

THE NEW «GERMAN QUESTION»



By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για δημήτρης κωνσταντακόπουλοςThe other day, while reading an article published in the major German newspaper FAZ, I could not believe my eyes. It was a direct threat against the Chancellor of Austria! More or less the article was telling him to mind his country not becoming Greece, suggesting to him to cut social expenses. His crime was that he showed some sympathy for Greece, which suffered during and because of its “rescue”, an unprecedented economic, social and national disaster, losing 27% of its GDP, which is more than the material losses of France or Germany during the 1st World War.
Inevitably my mind made automatically the connection with Anschluss, the annexation of Austria to the German Reich before the war. You see, events run sometimes faster than the ability of mind and soul to analyze and ‘metabolize’ them!
The European policy of Berlin is not however the only example of Germany’s drastic shift, of the radical differentiation of the basic parameters, which determined Germany’s policy for the whole post war period. A year ago the editor of its biggest financial newspaper Handelsblatt Gabor Steingart wrote an article pointing out the similarities of the anti-Russian tone of the articles published by the German mass media on Ukraine and of those published in August 1914, when Kaiser was starting the 1st World War.
Historic experience shows that massive attacks by the mass media towards countries are nothing less than the necessary preparation of the public opinion for war. The vulgar and almost sadistic attack by the main German press against Greece in 2009-10 preceded the “markets” attack against Athens. The “economic war” against Greece followed suit, by a coalition of Finance Capital, Berlin and EU institutions and led and justified the subjection of our country to the Troika of the Creditors on May 2010. The media’s attacks against Serbia, Iraq and Libya were nothing else than the preparation of public opinion for the bombarding and the destruction of these states. The anti – Russian campaign of the western European mass media is the preparation of a big war against Russia, cold or maybe hot. The indications of “friendship” towards Moscow of a portion of the German establishment, risk to have finally no better future than the Ribbentrop –Molotov friendship, which made simply easier the attack against USSR in 1941. Of course, campaigns of the press and of the television use real events or arguments, particles of truth, but only to give credibility to the lies.

Germany, West and Russia
The existence of the Russian atomic arsenal makes very difficult (but not completely impossible) a direct military conflict between West and Moscow. However, we see already the western encouragement of the civil conflict in Ukraine and an economic war with use of sanctions and with the aim, finally, to cut off Europe from Russian energy. This dual “strategy”, aims both at the containement of Russia and to overthrowing Putin, as well as to the destruction of any Euro-Russian cooperation, which is the conditio sine qua non of European independence.
One would normally expect Berlin to oppose such a course. But even if we assume it wants to do so, it doesn’t seem that it can. Berlin does not possess an integrated view of the international situation, capable of opposing the “vision” and the determination of the extremist “neoliberal core” in the international establishment, which was expressed so clearly in the Ukrainian crisis by Mrs. Victoria Nuland (“fuck the EU”), while it seems too dependent on these forces.

Germany’s awakening
Personally, I always considered as completely unfounded the expectation of the postwar European, Russian and American elites that Germany would accept to remain forever divided, essentially under some form of occupation, a second class power, with only mission to apologize for its past. Not only was such an expectation unfounded, it was also not in the best interests of Europe as a whole – that is including Russia.
Germany, with its educated and disciplined human resources, its technological achievements, its sensitivity to issues concerning the protection of nature and peace, would be necessary for the rescue of the biggest social conquest of European civilization, namely the welfare state, which has allowed until now Europeans to live in circumstances of relative security and dignity. Germany can still, at least in theory, play a leading role in defending this very important achievement from the onslaught of “globalization”, which is nothing else than the attempt a planetary dictatorship of Money. Germany may also contribute to a Europe that, in cooperation with Russia, it can prevent the tendency to push humanity to chaos, war and ecological disaster.
The unprecedented leveling of a number of important Arab states, the return of the specter of war over Europe, the extent of Greek socio-economic disaster, the refusal to take any measures to tackle the ecological threat, reveal to any serious observer the severity of the risks facing mankind.
Germany could theoretically play an important positive role in all these matters. No European could oppose this. But, if it is absolutely necessary to hope and dream and act for the Good, it is also necessary not to have illusions and to dare compare Utopia and Reality, drawing the necessary conclusions. Unfortunately, the ruling political elites in Berlin have made the opposite choices, without meeting so far any significant resistance from the German establishment and the German people.
Many in Europe hoped for the regeneration of the continent when Schröder, in close collaboration with Chirac, Villepin and Putin opposed the US-British invasion of Iraq. Unfortunately, this act of resistance was left without a follow-up, at least by Berlin and Paris. The same leaders, who undertook it, they got so scared of their own courage at a moment, that they ended up apologizing for long after to Washington. The forces of transatlantic dependence returned with a vengeance, in an unprecedented manner, together with international financial capital, the continent’s political elites over the last decade.
Economy and geopolitics
This proved something deeper, the organic unity of the neoliberals’ and the newconservatives’ projects in economic and in geopolitics. That is why politicians are not opposed to neo-liberal plans of deep deconstruction of the social State and democracy, because they cannot effectively oppose the oncoming war.
At least theoretically, there are two roads ahead for Germany. The awakening of German nationalism may be the starting point of an effort to lead the resistance to globalization and war. Instead of trying to subdue the other European people in conjunction with the markets, Germany can lead the resistance against them. Instead of rallying to, or at least not opposing to the neoconservatives’ war against Russia and the Arabs, it could counter them, thus championing Europe’s autonomous role. This would be a splendid victory for a new Germany. Such an option would constitute a historic victory in the best traditions of the German Spirit against the “counter-powers”, to use the terminology of Nietzsche, which persecute this European nation, unique among the major, historic nations of Europe, to failed accomplish a victorious revolution in its history.

Faust’s ghost
But Merkel and Schäuble, assisted in a critical manner by Gabriel, chose another road. In order to “discipline” the Eurozone, Berlin concluded a Faustian alliance with the most extreme forces of global Money, organized around the most extremist neoliberals (and passively tolerating the most extremist forces of the international establishment, the “neoconservatives “).
Allowing the “markets” to attack Greece, a Eurozone country, in 2009-10, armed with the debt and the threat of “bankruptcy” and bringing the IMF into the Eurozone, Berlin acquired the political-economic weapon that it was lacking and also the convincing “ideological” guise (the debt must be paid!) to “discipline” and dominate Europe – or so it thought!
Symbolic of this “immoral” alliance is the appointment of a former Goldman Sachs banker as a President of the ECB’s, the economic supra-Prime Minister of Europe, and the solemn entrance of the IMF in the governance of the Eurozone.
For their part, the “markets”, the major global banks and other financial institutions, organized around the political-ideological core of neoliberals, acquired, through their alliance with Berlin, the political, economic and ‘institutional’ (through the EU ) means to intervene directly in Europe. ‘Not only they did not record losses due to the great crisis of 2008, which they caused, but they made profits, which have to be paid by the people of Europe by increasing sovereign and private debt. They turned the financial sector crisis into a EU crisis and fueled political conflict between the European people.
Faust is a tragic person. Insisting on the roads he took, captive inevitably to its allies, who do not want to see Germany as a leading power, (allies who have a global strategy and “vision”, contrary to the dominant, very “provincial” and historically delayed version of German nationalism), Germany risks paying in the end a terrible price, comparable to that paid twice in its history. The possible outcome of all this was depicted with perspicacity of Homers’s Cassandra by Günter Grass, in the last two poems he wrote.
Always hoping for a timely change in Berlin, the nations of Southern Europe (including France), the Russians and all the good intentioned citizens of the world do not have many options if they want to survive and avoid the worst. In this respect the example of Chamberlain, Daladier and Molotov, but also of modern Greece, is instructive, proving that only a resolute resistance to the above-mentioned plans is perhaps the only way to modify them. This game, so decisive for the future of humanity, as well as the various lesser games in Europe, Ukraine and the Middle East will be won in the end only by whoever has a comprehensive and global strategy.
 -----------------------------------------
(I dedicate this article to Hayo, my great German friend, a democrat, a friend of Greece and fighter for humane architecture).
July 23, 2015
Published by the ANA-MPA news agency
Translated from the Greek by Stathis Habibis

Παρασκευή, 26 Ιουνίου 2015

God and Capital (Essay on the relationship between religion and power), By Kostas Lampos PhD



God and Capital
(Essay on the relationship between religion and power)

By Kostas Lampos PhD

*

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

- George Orwell
 *


There is a myth of the immortal soul, of the omniscient, almighty and most merciful God, of life after death, of heaven and hell, of the moralistic role of religions, of the charitable purpose of the churches as well as the “holiness” of priesthoods and priests. This is just a hypocritical facade which helps the minority retain its control of the majority. The great disease of lies and hypocrisy ruined the human vision of happiness and prohibited the human civilization from seeking social equality, leading it instead to the current state of capitalist barbarity. This obscurantist and authoritative myth, based on ignorance, fear, deceit and violence must be revealed. Humanity must abolish it in order to follow once more a path towards knowledge, conscience, compassion, struggle for social equality, global peace and an ecumenical humanist civilisation.

*

Lies cast a shadow on truth only to become the “one and only truth”. The obscurantist myths and ruling class ideologies usurp history and replace all the authentic experiences, as well as the people’s Logic and memory. The dominant power strangulates all kinds of scientifically proven and socially useful knowledge and presents instead a so called science-investigation-discovery fusion masked as a mixture of religion-faith-apocalypse. Hypocricy replaces nobility, fake and virtual things are being presented as genuine and real. At this point, darkness becomes the light of ignorance, a “holly enlightenment” that is blinding. As a result, human beings become shadows of themselves, mere instruments that produce wealth for their tamers, while their lives tend to become even worse than the lives of working animals.
Humans comprise packs of fanatics which undiscerningly regurgitate myths, obscurantist nonsense and ruling-class ideologies. The victors used violence to impose slavery and the ruling powers formed a state which legislated individual ownership of land and means of production in general. At that time, the obscurantist myths became soteriological religions, the ruling class ideologies became instruments of intimidation and violence, coercion and submission of the subordinate subjects. Likewise, the subordinate subjects have been trying ever since, through countless struggles and sacrifices, to improve their living conditions and create the necessary requirements for permanent liberation from the obscurantist myths and ruling class ideologies, which originate from the obscurantist elitocracy of their exploiters. Social equality has always been their objective.

In this struggle, the subordinate subjects needed the help of all those who, despite standing on the other side of the fence, have been willing to offer their knowledge in this claim for a better life.

The result has always been a tiny step towards improvement but their complete liberation would take a very long time to come, much like old age or the ripening of fruits on the trees. Disappointment and hope walk together hand in hand, forming a relationship where hope grows bigger at the expense of disappointment. This happened because the forces of Employment, Science and Culture, through their struggles and experiences, gained knowledge, came up with ideas, created utopias and constantly dreamt of a better world. Thus, as they gradually became wiser, more and more people started to increasingly comprehend that the social equality they claimed would only come as a result of their social liberation, which would never be offered as a gift by their incumbent rulers. This could be exclusively their own accomplishment. The new struggles contributed to the accumulation of new knowledge, new experiences and new ideas. At a certain point the question, “why so many people were stuck on obscurantist myths and ruling class ideologies”, started to touch upon “holy and inviolable taboos” and to demistify the authoritative role of religions.

Hence, by disputing authority, we started to dispute its grand creation, its secret symbol and fetish, the concept of God, revealing that the myth of God is substantiated through the myth of the “immortal soul” and the supposed life after death. This revelation disrupts the vicious circle that connects authority with religion. The latter is gradually losing ground as refuge for all those persecuted by dominant authority and as a supplier of voters and followers to the ruling elite, along with political and social legitimacy. As a result the ruling elite itself is weakened.

This subject is still a taboo for many fellow citizens and mentioning it is “an insult to their faith”. As for the obscurantist ruling elitocracy, this is considered a “high treason” crime. Perhaps, this is the reason why many notable thinkers avoid talking about it. Partly they do not want to embarrass well-intentioned, devout people, but mainly they do not want to challenge the obscurantist elitocracies which have proven to be ruthless and do not play around.

It is well known that no person has chosen his religion or faith. It was planted on them, it has been systematically cultivated in their head, purposefully, by the incumbent obscurantist elitocracies. We also know that very few people manage to permanently get rid of their religious beliefs. Some may change their faith under conditions of direct or indirect violence to save their lives or to keep their work.

On this particular subject, which has its roots in violence, in lies and private/class interests, I believe that silence is not golden; rather, it is a conscious complicity in a crime which has been committed intentionally against humanity and its civilization for a very long time. Therefore, I wished to write this book in good faith, in order to raise the issue again to the public debate. Nobody ever lost from this, except for people with an interest to cover up situations and keep them away from the public debate.

I also wish to declare responsibly that it is not my intention to insult anybody’s well-intentioned faith, with which I may disagree but I respect it as their fundamental personal right. I feel that I have a moral obligation, in defence of the deceived but well-intentioned devout people, to accuse all those institutions, like the ruling classes, religions, churches and elitocracies who act hypocritically, intentionally and shamelessly manipulating and exploiting the faith of naïve people for financial, social and political gains.

I feel an even greater moral obligation as far as the young people are concerned, the newly born generations that come into this world, unable to judge, to compare, to choose or reject. They end up, unprotected, following a sterile and stupefying “religious tradition”, becoming part of a foul class-oriented educational system which fights their genuine curiosity for knowledge and lobotomizes their brain so that it prefers myths and ignorance.

For all the above reasons, I would like, in this book, to protest against the obscurantist ruling-class elitocracies which use the youngsters’ minds like trash cans, stuffing them with toxic, rotten ideas, with expired and useless intellectual and cultural byproducts, with nihilist, individualist, ruling-class ideologies. I also wish to protest because the naivety of the “devout” and the malevolent activity of religions, churches and elitocracies does not only influence adversely my life among others; it also mangles humanity as a whole, pushing it towards a theocratic capitalist barbarity and obstructs the future of our children and of humanity. Still, I am glad because the human mind resists. It manages, slowly but steadily, to push developments ahead, giving way to the optimistic view of history, according to which a new, better world is possible.

The modern forces of Employment, Science and Culture must utilize their brain and adopt this kind of historical optimism to break the vicious circle of decline; to pave the way for humanity’s next step towards social equality. For exactly this reason, they need to realize, sooner than later, that the youngsters’ mind is not a trash can. Hence they must stop violating young minds. Instead they must protect them from obscurantism and ruling-class ideologies. They must help them become part of society, cultivate their critical thought and make their own choices in life; teach them to love life and fight for social equality, freedom and humanism, even if they must clash with all the authorities, religions, ideologies and their fancy scarecrows.

The only worldview for the person of the 21st century can be the defence of concepts such as: life, survival of the human race, progress of societies and humanity, dignity of the individual and harmonious co-existence of society and Nature, in conditions of social equality, self-management, peace and freedom. Only this perception of the world, beyond religion and power, may provide an answer to the eternal question: what happens to people, who are born free and equal but end up spending their lives like slaves in conditions of extreme economic and social inequality?

The elitocracies, along with the rulers, claim that there is an answer to the above question: it has to do with the “imperfect human nature” which comes from “God’s will” and hence there is no solution to the problem of social and economic inequality. Others claim that the answer to this question is not the “imperfect human nature” because human nature is not an arbitrary and unchanged creation of non-existent, imaginary, metaphysical forces, like “Gods and demons”, but the product of specific historical social forces and conditions. As for the “incomplete human nature”, it is the creation of social forces which act like a “selfish, unjust and inhuman class manipulated type of social organization”. Hence, there is a solution to the problem in this present juncture of the 21st century, towards the abolition of obsurantist myths, religions of hatred and authoritative ideologies. A natural consequence of this would be the abolition of the selfish capitalist organization of society which works at the expense of society and humanity.

However, in the end, the course and direction of history is not determined by the obscurantist elitocracies, which may come and go, but from the timeless forces of Employment, Science and Culture, which are steadily focused on social equality and ecumenical humanist civilization. The misrepresentation of truth as a lie and vice versa, to promote the authoritative ideologies, has become a lethal Gordian knot which must be cut in order for humanity to finally breathe and for civilization to shine.

This sums up the orientation and skepticism of this book and I trust that many of our fellow citizens share the same thoughts. Anybody who has something better to suggest regarding humans, the society-humanity and its civilization, should not keep it to themselves but speak out. This would be their moral contribution to the struggle of Man for a better world, a world striving for social equality, a classless society of direct democracy and for an ecumenical humanist civilization.


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KOUKKIDA PUBLICATIONS, 
Themistokleous 37, 
106 77 ATHENS GREECE.
Telefon: 0030 210 38 02 644. E-mail: koukkida.edit@yahoo.gr

Σάββατο, 20 Ιουνίου 2015

Copyleft and The GNU Manifesto

Copyleft Definition

 http://www.linfo.org/copyleft.html,

Copyleft is a type of license that attempts to ensure that the public retains the freedom to use, modify, extend

This is accomplished by the copyright holder granting irrevocable permission to the public to copy and redistribute the work in the same or modified form, but with the conditions that all such redistributions (1) make the work available in a form that facilitates further modification and (2) use the same license.

A copyright is a designation by a government that grants the author of a creative work (e.g., a musical composition, painting, poem, product design, movie or computer software) the exclusive (but transferable) right to copy or perform that work. Its original purpose was to provide a financial incentive for producing such works in order to benefit society as a whole. Copyright does not protect facts, discoveries, ideas, systems or methods of operation, although it can protect the way they are expressed.

The term copyleft is a play on the word copyright, and it may superficially appear that it is because the concept is favored by some people who consider themselves to be leftists in a political sense. However, in reality, people from throughout the political spectrum, including many who consider themselves to be true conservatives1, have high regard for this concept because it is not at all about socialism or other political philosophies; rather, it is about freedom, the advance of computer technology, and benefiting the economy and society as a whole.

In the case of computer software, the form that facilitates further modification is source code, and thus copyleft licenses require that the source code be made freely available to anyone who wants it. Source code (also referred to as source or code) is the version of software (usually an application program or an operating system) as it is originally written (i.e., typed into a computer) by a human in plain text (i.e., human readable alphanumeric characters). There is no requirement to provide the executable (i.e., ready-to-run) version, as it is a relatively easy matter to compile (i.e., convert) source code into runnable programs.

Most copylefted software is issued under the GNU General Public License (GPL), which was the first copyleft license and by far the most commonly used license for free software. Free software is software whose source code is freely available to anyone to use for any purpose, including studying, copying, modifying, extending and giving away.

Not all free software licenses are copyleft licenses. For example, BSD style licenses and the MIT license are not, because they do not require that redistributions of modified versions in compiled form make the source code available along with them.

Copyleft is a somewhat controversial issue. Those objecting to it claim that it is viral in nature (because any works derived from a such works must themselves be copylefted) and that it contaminates all derivative works by forcing them to likewise be subject to copyleft. They claim that this destroys intellectual property. This term viral is considered derogatory, because it compares copylefted works to harmful computer viruses and biological viruses. The most vociferous opponent of copyleft has been Microsoft Corporation, which, according to advocates of copyleft, is because it feels threatened by Linux and other free software.

In addition to becoming popular because of its ideology, copyleft has also proved to be an extremely practical concept for the promotion of the development of high quality computer software. This is because it assures software developers that no dominant company will be able to take over their work and that such work will always remain available to everyone to use. The success is evidenced by not only the vast number of copyleft projects currently in various stages of development, but also by the substantial success of individual projects, such as Linux, MySQL, Open Office, Ruby and Blender.

The origin of the term copyleft is not certain. It may have first appeared in a message contained in Tiny BASIC, a free version of the Basic programming language that was written by Dr. Li Chen Wang in the late 1970s.

________
1The term conservative is used here in the traditional sense to refer to people who place emphasis on individual liberty and the free market. It does not refer to the recent phenomenon of so-called neocons, who claim to be conservative but who actually favor more government control at the expense of individual liberty together with the creation and strengthening of monopolies and oligopolies at the expense of the free market.
and redistribute a creative work and all derivative works (i.e., works based on or derived from it) rather than to restrict such freedoms.

________________________________


The GNU Manifesto, 

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