The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

A conversation on reclaiming power

What follows is a dialogue—not in the sense that we actually said all of this, but in the sense, as they say, that the answer is in the parallax.

Marcus Eagan ’12: I read something once about the history of radio—It was a story about an Afrodescent veteran who fought in World War I, on the side of these United States. And in that war he lost a leg. So, upon returning home with one leg, and the psychological scars of modern war, the soldier found that he’d jumped from the frying pan into the fire. Jim Crow didn’t give a damn about patriots. This man struggled with that reality, found it harder to live as an afrodescent civilian than as a solider in the trenches of Europe.

Isaac Wilder ’13: What does this have to do with wireless mesh networks?

Marcus: Well…um…Well…Day by day he struggled to cope, and had tried six sects of Christianity, the black bottom of a bent spoon and corn liquor, but the only thing that soothed his soul was the sound of a radio.

Isaac: The radio?

Marcus: Yeah, the radio. Fireside Chats, Orson Wells, Duke Ellington, and the Gershwins.

Isaac: Yeah, Marcus, but what’s that got to do with the network? This is for freenet.

Marcus: It is the network, at the apex of its potential. Radio is one means of mass communication, information—

Isaac: encoded on electromagnetic waves and sent whizzing on by. Only difference between then and now is that we moved from 1400KHz to 2400Khz, and switched from analog to digital. That’s why we call it freedom at 2.4GHz.

Marcus: Stop. Why you asking me what this has to do with the network?

Isaac: Because we’ve come a long way, Marcus.

Marcus: Like, from Gene Greene to LCD Screens.

Isaac: I think I’m starting to get it. Go on.

Marcus: When king had a dream, he took to the airwaves, to organize a march on Washington, and broadcast that dream to the world. And when the youth of Egypt had a dream, they too took to the airwaves. Only this time, like you said, the signals were digital, and the radios were…umm…

Isaac: Routers.

Marcus: Exactly.

Isaac: So, but, you said this was about the history of radio. What’s the guy in the story got to do with free networks?

Marcus: This government owed him consolation, and when it finally came, it came over the airwaves. You know, we hesitate as a nation to provide health care for our citizens, and I can understand that…but what I can’t understand is why we deny our citizens spectrum.

Isaac: What do you mean?

Marcus: I mean that freenet is a way to reclaim the airwaves. To give the people what they want, what they need, what they deserve: A network of, for, and by the people. What do you think?

I: I think it’s just a matter of time, Marcus. King said that the arc of history is long, but that it bends towards justice…

Marcus: On this campus, asere!

Isaac: …Right here, in fact. What we are doing is part of that same struggle for justice. Our cause is humanitarian—our struggle is for freedom—our mission is to build a network that no one can control.

Marcus: Our strategy is gainsharing.

Isaac: The network, Marcus, the network. It will let us speak our minds, even when the balance of power is stacked against us. It’s gonna do a lot of good.

Marcus: It already has. Look at the old warrior, sitting by his radio, realize that our struggle is not a new one, but rather the same sorry struggle that we’ve always had to fight. This is the struggle of every morning, simply to make due, when the grass makes dew.

Isaac: This is the struggle for breath, for air and for airwaves. The right to free speech, the right to free transmission, nothing but a unity. This is our struggle, and our struggle is timeless. We are building a network for the equitable transmission of all data. We will bring this network to as much of humanity as possible. With this freer mode of transmission, we will help to build a freer world.

-Marcus Eagan ’12 & Isaac Wilder ’13

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