Software prefiguration

Software prefiguration is a high-potential, relatively low-risk route to a liberated society.

Software prefiguration

Prefiguration is an idea within the libertarian and anti-authoritarian left that essentially states that the route to a free society is to build the structures and solutions that such a society would need and push for people to start using said structures and solutions. This idea of prefiguration is perhaps best summed up by David Graber's saying to "act like you are already free."

Prefiguration is in direct conflict against the authoritarian left, whose ideology primarily based upon the idea that communism (or whatever other preferred end-state) will come when the state has amassed enough power to make it so. It also offers a peaceful, or at least potentially peaceful, avenue for libertarian left revolution to occur by allowing people to build the world they want to live in without necessarily having to take part in the breaking and burning bits.

Prefiguration is also perfectly attainable within the technology space. We have the capability to build the solutions and systems that would be required in a decentralized, non-authoritarian world. We also uniquely live in a space where experimentation is incredibly low-cost and low-risk. If I build a software solution that doesn't work, or doesn't reach adoption, the only thing I've wasted is time and effort, and perhaps some capital. In the biological, material and chemical sciences, the risks and costs are much higher.

You can see some of this technological prefiguration in community mesh networks, DeFi and ReFi, DAO's, community garden automation and more. It's already being done, even if the doers are not explicitly aware of it. This is why I am so heavily interested in the idea of liberatory technology, because at worst it offers a secondary avenue for people to choose to take to feel more empowered and involved, and at best it offers an avenue to create a more generally liberated and individually empowered society.