In a grandiose display of Foucauldian irony, one of the greatest anti-capitalist debates of our time has been reduced to an intellectual commodity.
We wish to emphasize one important point. We do not contest Icarus Films’ exclusive legal right to distribute the debate within the narrow confines of our present legal order; what we do contest, however, is the very nature of that order as it prioritizes the private ownership of public knowledge over its widespread dissemination among the very public that helped to produce it. The creation and use of knowledge is a collective enterprise that cannot be jammed into the suffocating straitjacket of a privatized intellectual commodity. The video we shared was broadcast on Dutch public television in 1971. The production itself was paid for by Dutch taxpayers and made possible entirely by the creative input of two of the world’s most staunchly anti-capitalist thinkers, whose intellectual product was subsequently alienated by producer Fons Elders (a “professed anarchist” who also acted as the incapable moderator of the debate) and appropriated by international companies that did nothing to make the debate possible. Now the entire world is barred from seeing it just because this company owns an exclusive legal right to its distribution in North America. Again, our issue here is not with a distributor of great documentary films that clings on to a somewhat outdated business model in the hope of squeezing a few bucks out of a 40-year-old public debate. Our issue is with a system that forces the employees of such a company to chase us down the streets of cyberspace in order to satisfy the profit motive that the market imposes upon their boss. This is precisely the “private tyranny” of the marketplace decried by the great thinkers of the Left, including Chomsky and Foucault in this debate. Ironic, isn’t it? (via Chomsky-Foucault debate removed due to copyright | ROAR Magazine)