The TeleCommunist Manifesto

A Ukrainian-born Canadian "Telecommunist", Dmitry Kleiner, has joined with some comrades to start a telecommun(ist)ications company in Berlin. No investors, no bosses, no business plan, according to this article in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. However, unbeatably low prices for a small firm: 109 Euros for a full setup, including 2-cent-a-minute long distance and a suite of telecommunications services.

Kleiner is practicing what he calls "Venture Communism," in which small cells of entrepreneurs colonize and "buy back" little sections of capitalism, one piece at a time. Kleiner is no Marxist, however — he’s following the teachings of the Russian libertarian Socialist Mikhail Bakunin who, "like many top executives today, considered any form of state a kind of slavery."

It’s all run out of a tiny room in the former Berlin Central Telegraph Bureau, a "weathered and rusted-out" building in the Oranienburgerstrasse. Kleiner and his Canadian friend William Waites claim to be experts and to be dead serious about this venture. Any money they make over and above what’s needed to pay their salaries goes to Hurricane Katrina victims and to help fund other projects, such as Internet courses for immigrants.

I find only one thing scandalous about this entire story: there’s no entertaining website for me to point you to. www.telekommunisten.de and www.telecommunists.com are still free. Doubtless some capitalist will soon buy them.

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