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Snippet of critique of Amsterdam 2.0 constitution (Alamut)

Oct 01, 2001

On Alamut you find the Amsterdam 2.0 constitution. (Amsterdam 2.0 is not a piece of software—it seems to be a virtual–possible–future city at the place of today's Amsterdam—so, in that sense, it is a piece of software).

This snippet of a critique looks at the first paragraph only. It does not intend to do justice to the whole - that may come later. It is just a first reflection and it may miss the point, so please be told here that it does take this risk knowingly. More is to follow.

Here is the first paragraph of the constitution:

We the Shareholders of the country known as AMSTERDAM 2.0, in order to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, and secure the blessings of variation and diversity to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the country known as AMSTERDAM 2.0 as its deriving its just authority from the law of nature and the consent of the governed.

domestic tranquility: desirable in an utopia, but firmly preserving an unjust status quo in any future posterity derived via any imaginable peaceful–tranquil–permutation of the system we happen to live in: its sometimes called capitalism and seems to grow ever more resilient through what has been labeled the economisation of the social (in the context of gouvernementality studies, a term originally coined by Foucault).

Economisation of the social (cf. Roger M Buergel in 'Texte zur Kunst' Sept 2001) describes a shift of control away from traditional power structures to a situation where any social relationship tends to be converted into a quasi-contractual relationship between service providers. Just like institutions and bureaucracies mutating into service centres, the individual is asked to become self-organising, to turn himself or herself into a free-standing entrepreneur (shareholders?) ensuring that he or she will get education, health insurance, a pension etc. Norms are unnecessary for that unless certain crucial terms of the 'social contract' are violated (private property anf the rule of law).

variation and diversity, these surely positive-sounding things, are of course desirable on one level but in the political context described above they are as well the inverted masks of oppression and control. Nothing could be more removed from the law of nature than this parody of autopoiesis.

Last update: 9 Aug 2004 | Impressum—Imprint