This example is inspiring, amazing, but unfortunately it has a very sad ending. It's the story of the Socialist Internet.
The internet as we know it is a relatively modern invention. It started as a military project, ARPANET, in 1969. However, it wasn't unique or even the most functional modern network of its time.
This takes us to Allende's Socialist Chile in 1971, where with the help of British inventor Stafford Beer, they developed CyberSyn. This was an information, simulation and decision-making network in real time (as real time you could get in 1971 under the US economic blockade).
Cybersyn was designed to connect #Chile, track specific indicators, alert the workers of significant events or deviations, transfer that info to a control room in Santiago, run economic simulations (short- and long- term), and make decisions.
During its development Beer prepared his design in the UK and traveled to Chile to personally show it l to Allende himself. Since Allende was a physician, Beer used the human body to create a simple way to explain his model for the project.
When showing the diagrams to Allende he ended pointing to the “brain” of the network. Before he could say that the brain would be Allende, he was interrupted. An excited Allende said: "Finally, the people." This experience deeply impacted Beer.
The network encompassed 4 major projects:
Cybernet: interconnecting telefax machines (which were bought and never used by the previous government) distributed all over the Chilean territory to transmit information in real time.
Cyberstride: a statistical simulator to monitor production, materials, assistance, etc with previously defined values that kept workers informed and allowed them to make corrections. Only informing to central control if values were out of range or corrections weren't made.
CHECO (Chilean Economic Simulator) was designed as a long-term economic simulator that would help those workers in the Control room to have clear and valuable information to make economic decisions.
OpsRoom: It was a decision-making room where all the information collected and analyzed by the other projects was displayed in simple graphics. The room was designed as a thinking space, without tables or even paper to write.
All this sounds great, but how much was actually achieved? A lot, even though the project had only 2 years of being deployed, all the projects already worked together. Pinochet’s coup came a couple days before the OpsRoom was to be moved to La Moneda.
In fact, Cybersyn was the reason Allende’s government was able to survive the truckers’ strike of 1972. This strike was pushed by the truck owners to paralyze the movement of all products throughout Chile, thus choking Allende’s government.
This strike, commonly known as “the strike of the bosses” was, as always, directly supported by the US. Millions of dollars were poured into the destabilization of Allende by Kissinger and the CIA. Nixon himself said that Allende’s election was “unacceptable”.
Using Cybersyn, the Chilean government was able to efficiently use around 200 state-owned trucks to deliver basic goods to the people and breaking the trucks owner’s strike that paralyzed around 40,000 trucks. 200 versus 40,000!
But this wasn’t the end goal of Cybersyn. Allende and Beer envisioned a system that could transmit and use the level of happiness of people as an input for the system and its decision making. This was CyberFolk, this was Direct democracy!
This was already being tested. Two cities, Tome and Mejillones, had this system implemented through TVs and connected to their local government. Thus, people could directly vote on legislation that would affect their daily lives.
Unfortunately, all this was destroyed...
As we mentioned, just days before the Cybersyn control room was scheduled to be moved to La Moneda, Pinochet led one of the bloodiest coups in Chile’s history. Allende refused to resign and thus La Moneda was literally bombarded by the Chilean Air Force.
Once Pinochet’s coup gained control of the government, Cybersyn was completely dismantled and destroyed. And with it, the potential to use a modern network, “the Socialist Internet”, for the benefit of the Chilean people and the whole world.
This has to be a lesson for us, greed and competition are definitely not the only forces that can move forward innovation. Especially when the purpose of that innovation is to improve the lives of the people. Solidarity, intelligence, and love can be drivers of innovation.
We in LSA believe this example clearly shows the potential of Socialism as a system that will foster innovation in the benefit of the people, create autonomous and decentralized decision-making networks, and increase the democracy, participation and happiness of all people.
This thread used information and resources originally posted by @radioambulante: https://radioambulante.org/transcripcion/transcripcion-la-sala-que-era-un-cerebro-2 …
CIA intervention in Chile: (use VPN if possible) https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/document/cia-rdp77-00432r000100340007-3 …
Keep strong #Chile, keep stron Socialist of the world.
Published Oct. 20th 2019