George Walford: Freenetwork

Andre Spies, of Belgium, sent us a package “Introducing the Freenetwork.” It started off:

The Freenetwork is being organized as a world-wide means for Freepersons to establish contact with one another, so they can develop effective ways (including enjoyable and profitable ways) of promoting individual freedom. The motto of the Freenetwork is: FREEDOM IN ACTION.
Some Basic Values of a Freeperson:

1. I am free;
2. I am sovereign;
3. I am responsible;
4. I choose the moral code by which I live;
5. I live my life the way I want to;
6. I want others to enjoy the same freedom.

This looked interesting, but freedom is a tricky concept; people sometimes attempt, in the name of freedom, to impose restrictions. Anarchists, for example, present themselves as the supreme promoters of freedom, but in an anarchist society nobody would have the freedom, which we all possess now, to live in a non-anarchist way. We raised the question with FREENETWORK, asking in particular whether the principles announced include the freedoms to abdicate sovereignty, to have somebody else run one’s life and to forego freedom. (To judge from the way people behave, these are the freedoms valued by the majority).

Andre Spies replied that FREENETWORK does indeed support these freedoms. Emphasising that the organisation imposes no restrictions at all, he said the ideal formulation would be a blank piece of paper. With this, of course, one cannot disagree; it offers nothing to disagree with. Andre Spies continues: “But we need to say something” and this, while true, seems inadequate. In order to realise its ideal the organisation has to say not just something but everything; it has to support all freedoms. Relating it to our own concerns it must support the free development and,expression, both in theory and in practice, of every major ideology. At present it does not seem to be doing this.

The Register of Founders and Correspondents lists their interests and, activities; the listings are brief and not always ideologically distinctive, but they indicate a marked concentration around the centre of the ideological range, being mainly parastatic. (“libertarian” occurs repeatedly); in a few entries terms appear (“alternative,” “rebirthing development”) that may indicate the protodynamic. But there are no indications of support for the more developed eidodynamics, no mention of the freedom to revolutionise or abolish society. Nor is there any mention of the freedoms valued by the great majority identified with the less developed eidostatic ideologies, the freedoms to identify with the social group, to submit to government, to comply with the law, to obey an employer and to engage in sport, family life and entertainment.

The formulation given by Andre Spies is one that nobody committed to absolute freedom can refuse to support; it amounts to the suppression of nothing but suppression. The Register gives a different impression; it suggests a concern to promote one ideologically-determined conception of freedom (or possibly two of them) to the exclusion of all others. Since the organisation appears to be recent, this may be a temporary imbalance
which time will correct.

There is a great deal more to be said about FREENETWORK, but we are free to leave you freely to do some of the work yourselves. Write to:
Andre Spies, FREENETWORK, [address] BELGIUM.

from Ideological Commentary 19, July 1985.