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12th October: Counter Cloud Action Day

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Why is October 12 another Counter Cloud Action day?

On the 12th of October, communities and individuals involved in Counter Cloud Action (re)join ongoing struggles against genocidal, ecocidal and epistemicidal forms of oppression, extraction, erasure and depletion.

The 12th October marks the trans-oceanic invasion of Abya Yala (aka the Americas) and is nowadays actively celebrated by many as “Columbus Day” or “day of Hispanity” (sic). Activists have reclaimed the day to remember the atrocities of colonialism and to celebrate Indigenous and anti-colonial resistance instead: “nada que celebrar” (nothing to celebrate)!

Historical colonial capitalism was built with stolen resources and labour; it also imposed logics and ways of thinking. Today’s capitalist Cloud Regime relies deeply on the continuation of global chains of extraction, exploitation and dispossession:

Global network infrastructures follow the paths of imperial, colonial infrastructures (the same ones that were being sailed on October 12th, 1492). The first submarine communications cable between the African continent and South America was built in 2018.

The Cloud continues Euro/Westerncentric, paternalist modes through imposing techno-solutionism in response to all difficulties: ecological, social, economical, epistemic.

The Cloud, as a catalyst of contemporary digital technology, is monocultural. It relies on a central, major and unique narrative. In this way, it deprives from the vernacular, situated, specific technodiversities that are fundamental for resistance and survival.

Expanding computational infrastructures and increasingly cheap devices brings with them enormous environmental costs through extraction and dumping: The Cloud depends on huge amounts of minerals, water for cooling and power for running energy hungry datacenters. The profits of The Cloud do not return to the depleted sites of extraction. Instead, the systems of cloud capitalism grab land around the world to dump its toxic electronic waste.

US Big Tech has surpassed the Big Oil energy giants such as ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, and Shell. The Cloud drives capitalism by promoting growth and disposession, creating ever larger disparities the ultra-rich and the rest.

AI and algorithmic Cloud technologies are made to feed The Cloud. They are first of all resource intensive and require ongoing processing on-line, in The Cloud. Secondly, they are trained on big datasets which are gathered from non-consenting users, in The Cloud. Last but not least, AI is biased to prioritize privileged subjects: able bodied, white, heterosexual, male, affluent, English speaking. These issues are not a side effect, they function exactly as planned.

The Cloud reorganises work in ways that optimize precarious labour, breaks Unions and externalizes all the risks and costs of production. This highly exploited, racialized labour enables the Cloud’s wonders of AI and automation, but is obscured by their smooth and agile interfaces.

The Cloud extends the reach of capitalism into all areas of life. As we know, capitalism is based on colonial exploitation and structural racism.

The Cloud depends on moving its operations outside the Global North, allowing Big Tech to avoid legal regulations, and extract even more data. Just as lax labour protection laws enabled the still existing global Fordist production chains, lax consumer protection and net neutrality laws enable the even more powerful and intrusive capture infrastructures of the Cloud.

The Cloud supports the extension and fortification of borders by becoming a prerequisite for getting through life, but also by providing technologies and infrastructures for targeted surveillance by nation states and their murderous border regimes.

The expansion of computational infrastructures makes some lives more convenient at the cost of others (Remember, behind Manchester stood Mississippi). Because the colonial logi(sti)cs of The Cloud are deep in our pockets, in our schools, in our collectives, we will have to work even harder to organise against oppression. Anti-colonial struggle intersects with Counter Cloud Action, and this is why we will join the actions organized at 12th October, and why we will add some more.

  • no clouds to celebrate!
  • cloud abolition
  • down with the walls of Fortress Europe! bring down the cloud!
  • end fossil clouds now!
  • for more elastic anti-colonial solidarities!
  • if abolition is a place, it is not AWS
  • pay up for loss and damage
  • antifa infras
  • dreaming in the ruins of Big Tech
  • tech where you stand
  • the end of the worlds has never been more profitable

To adhere to the action day, individually, collectively or institutionally, please engage by signing up to this mailing list.

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