I Love Free Software Day 2015: GnuPG

If you went through regular education in the Netherlands like me, then you most likely ended up in a situation where what you’ve been thought and what is happening around you now are two completely different things.

What happened behind the wall in the ’80s…

While people in East Germany were being robbed, and tax money went into
walls and tapping of communications of the whole population, the Dutch
government, state media and education have shamed such a kind of
society. We, the Netherlands, were a free social market economy and as
such much better than that. At least, that’s what we were led to

On demand of my school back then, I’ve visited Berlin and the
surrounding area in the late ’80s. In my memory of East Berlin, streets
were clean, prices low, and people very friendly. There were almost no
ads in the streets or on buildings. There were no big company slogans
on people’s clothing. A PR lady of the GDR was with our group all the
time, explaining the advantages of communism and what great things the
state had achieved. East Berlin looked like a small city in the province
that happened to have over one million inhabitants.

…and the reframing of what happened next

Societies can only produce a limited amount of resources (labor time,
tax money). If a lot of creative energy is under social oppression and
money is going into surveillance and the upkeep of walls, then you’re
not going to win it economy-wise. That’s why the Soviet Union went down.

But in that era, the beginning of the ’90s, it was not longer about
maintaining and if possible exporting the free social market economy. It
was about laying the foundation for the dismantling of the welfare
state in Western Europe, pushing Russia back as far as possible, and
keeping the Germans in a situation were they were only allowed to win
economically. Which they did.

In the Netherlands, that had no enemy anymore, the state could have
chosen to become a real democracy, where for example you could chose
your mayor. It didn’t.

So “the West” had a one chance period to change everything for the good
and they blew it completely.

Instead of that the people in power wanted to stay in power and were in
need of a political excuse. Exports of weapons to unstable countries
where madman rule everything are guaranteeing that there is terrorism,
and terrorism is the excuse to not become a full democracy (yet) and put
the whole population under mass surveillance.

As a subject of the Netherlands, I can do almost nothing. But what I can
do, I do:

  •   Free Software, as it stands for everything dictators do not like
  •   no commercial “social media”
  •   choose a bank that is not financing the weapons industry

In the ’80’s, my history teacher said that because of what happened in
1940, the Dutch state would never hold population data with personal
information about everybody. I hope for him he’s waken up from his
fairytale and join me in supporting Free Software.

On this day I want to thank everyone involved in Free Software, and
especially those who develop and work for GnuPG, as it is in the end
about Freedom.