Nope, we're not crowdfunding/herdfunding/stormfunding


Ok, I have been suggested a multitude of times that I should go crowdfunding to obtain production funds for Total Rendition. In fact, I've tried it a couple of times and it always managed to raise some money, to relive the issues caused by the hostile environment policy, never enough to a significant difference for Total Rendition. Eventually, I decide to axe all crowdfunding services you could find Total Rendition on, which included GoFundMe and Patreon. And I have noticed, from my own experience, that crowdfunding is simply not the revolution in participatory economics that these are hyped as. In fact, it crowdfunding may be a symptom of one of the most sinister and insidious forms of capitalism in existence.

Just to be on the same page, crowdfunding is not the same as fundraising. This is a mistake the Wikipedia article on crowdfunding seems to make, for instance, as of February the 22nd 2021. Fundraising is actually a bottom-up effort. Crowdfunding is astroturfed, even if creators aren't aware of it; the main beneficiaries of crowdfunding most definitely are. Maybe we should call it herdfunding instead. Or stormfunding. Crowdfunding is never a grassroots effort to help capitalism restrain itself. If anything, it brings out the worst in capitalism.

First things first, why didn't either work? 

GoFundMe did not work, because it demanded that I had to have National Insurance Ponzi Scheme Number. However, due to the hostile environment policy (the McStalking case was already ongoing and Dundee Sheriff Court had just ordered me to be bailed out of HMP Perth when I first entered GoFundMe), I have never been issued a national insurance ponzi scheme number, although not for lack of trying: In July 2018 I applied and was refused a national insurance number on the ground that I did not prove I was "self-employed". Back then I tried to sell 3D printing filaments, admittedly to raise the necessary funds for Total Rendition's production myself, although I did discovered there was hardly a market for that, at least not one I could tap into. 

When I tried again to apply for a National Insurance Ponzi Scheme Number, the excuse was changed into identification issues, notwithstanding the police found me sufficiently identifiable to press criminal charges over a karen's nagging campaign, which became the McStalking case, which, like the McLibel case, shows everything wrong about British justice. In fact, I was even sufficiently identifiable for the Evening Telegraph owned by the Trump-stanning DC Thomson to make their disingenuous insinuations that Lynne McBride is supposedly not a karen, even as going as far as protecting the latter's anonymity. Yet after bail, the DWP still used the same lame excuse in late 2019 to not issue a national insurance number, even though I was sufficiently identifiable for police and the Scottish crown office. Ah well, I'll shall not pay any taxes then! Maybe Schizotypy will pay Corporation Tax, provided the Home Office does not deport me. And I've got a dead man's hand to accomplish that; in such eventuality Schizotypy's accountancy firm would deposit all otherwise taxable profits it made to an immigration solicitor (i.e. attorney). Since the current generation of Tories are very very greedy and are willing to break laws to sate their greed, I suspect this will work Priti well in averting deportation.

Anyway, I did manage to find a work around for a National Insurance Ponzi Scheme Number: Have a friend's National Insurance Ponzi Scheme Number filled instead. Only problem is, that GoFundMe portrayed it as a fundraiser for him and not for enhancing my ability to work on Total Rendition. I understand GoFundMe wishes to be compliant with the demands set by a voluntary regulating body, yet if that voluntary regulatory body demands that its UK-based users are part of a Ponzi scheme that is also being used to exclude people on racist grounds, what's the point? Now, I understand the National Insurance Ponzi Scheme is UK government policy, just like the Windrush Nuremberg laws, the spy cops bill, murdering innocent men, women and children in Yemen and the internal market bill (a.k.a. the "rule of law is for paedos!" bill). Yet, the thing is, there is no obligation for any crowdfunding platform that serves UK users/useds to give up the National Insurance Ponzi Scheme Number. In fact, it is a failed Ponzi Scheme already, because benefits (including UK state pensions) and the NHS are already being paid from the UK treasury directly. In other words, the National Insurance Ponzi Scheme has been depleted and doesn't earn enough to create a buffer anymore. Surprisingly enough, despite I have been arbitrarily detained for two months at HMP Perth even though I have never been convicted in the McStalking case, no one has ever been jailed even a few hours for instituting the National Insurance Ponzi Scheme.

So, Patreon? Ah yes... looks like I'm not a target creator of Patreon, although I did befriend a target creator, so please give Samantha Preis a listen if you can, and tell your friends about her music by email, as to make sure she won't have to rely on Facebook and Twitter in the future! The thing is, promoting myself on social media is just not my thing. I much rather promote my work and even then, only to the extent necessary to live on, not more. I think personally, while it's great if you can be successful on Patreon, I could never be, nor could anything that I make could be. Because I absolutely hate social media. Sure, Total Rendition is a game I want to make, with some of my favourite mechanics that I have seen in other games with an original story that I am eager to tell world. Yet, it is also just as much an indictment on the popularity of the alt-right which social media promoted. Medium is the message. Or the massage. Or whatever. To be successful on Patreon, you must be successful on (anti-)social media. Ignorance is a bliss I can no longer afford, however. Parler and Gab and often portrayed as forming the opposition to Twitter, Facebook and Reddit, yet I am instead inclined to think that instead, Parler and Gab are the ideas of Fuckerberg and Dorksey taken to their logical end-result. 

In 2016, I was red pilled. Now, red pilling is an idiom is often misused by Neo-Nazis, although the Wachowskis really meant connotations of wokeness by it: I for one, was red pilled to the dangers of social media and I deleted Facebook that year. Then Trump was elected POTUS... thanks to Fuckerberg. And the worst part is, that he then banned Trump after the capitol riots, as if Fuckerberg somehow can disown responsibility for that: Fuckerberg can't. And he clearly hasn't shown any progress in owning up to it either and neither did Dorksey. I can no longer live with the idea that would need to use social media. I want to SMASH it. Completely. Indeed, that's how I pitch Total Rendition to investors. I don't like to deal with them and as a matter of fact, (too) many of them believe I'm going to run with their money and that I'm pain in the ass to work with. Nevermind. My message to venture capitalists is essentially, that you're going to become rich from Total Rendition because a lot of people will want to buy the game to become (anti-)social media's undertaker. 

Besides, if I weren't so allergic to (anti-)social media, Patreon probably still wouldn't be the place where Total Rendition would raise enough funds from its fans to fund production all the way. As long I don't die prematurely, not getting funding will only slow down Total Rendition, yet will never derail it. I actually am a one-person studio to a large extent, by necessity. Sure, I work together with collaborators of which I feel honoured to call fellow Total Rendition Dev Team members, such as Julien Hauville, yet the project's progress rests on my shoulders and I am fully responsible. So, I possess the time and the ability to make investors change their minds. Because venture capitalists do not have a monopoly of violence, yet have individual needs and back about anything they feel will fill their pockets, provided their shortsightedness ("market penetration", *yawn*) doesn't get in the way. Even without their funds, I will still persist and there is still stuff I can do, although it will take their investment to build Total Rendition to the end-result I had in mind.

And speaking of investors...

Most game development projects crowfund from Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, although I had decided this was a no-go early on already. Because crowdfunding on these platforms, if not done to supplement income from government subsidies we are not going to get anyway, is essentially tantamount socialisation of risks and capitalisation of profit. Basically, a miniaturised Fascism, a term often abused as an insult although this time, it's Fascism the way historians and political scientists think it is. Isn't Fascism about control, about nationalism and in some cases about sectarianism? It is. However, ultimately, the bottom line is in the bottom line; Mussolini got financial support from the Italian arms manufacturer Ansaldo Breda, while Hitler got his support from the German Rupert Murdoch, Alfred Hugenberg. 

The basic idea of Fascism is that some rabble rouser like Hitler appeals to some mystical and ungraspable thing, a crowd of people that nevertheless is not universal in that it can exclude people on ethnic, racial and/or sectarian grounds, in order to cut costs for capitalists by letting the people pay for them, in the name of that mystical and ungraspable thing; stuff like race, religion, nationalism, etc. In fact, racism and hatred of political opponents fits perfectly in that, because you will have ideal victims you can start looting to enrich you and your cronies. To use neighbourhood watch or Nextdoor to go karen on ethnic minorities, the homeless and people with mental illness so you can sell that McMansion of yours at a good price to racists or classists, are some of the most notable example of how Fascism is trying to re-establish itself in the 21st century. I mean, go figure how top-Nazi Hermann Göring got all his collection of paintings from. Fascism is essentially a particular form of Capitalism where the capitalists themselves do not play by the rule book of capitalism as advocated by Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Adam Smith or Milton Friedman and instead chronically (and even from a capitalist perspective) cheat on the defenceless, letting some rabble rouser preach fantasies about racial or national pride, religion or pseudo-medical concerns; remember homosexuality used to be considered a mental disorder; because Fascists want fecundity, so more cashcows can be born; Fascists want lockdown, so they can control your movements to ensure you'll remain a profitable cashcow and Fascists are anti-vaxxers too, because they want to keep an excuse to keep society under lockdown over "Kung Flu" forever! And so on. 

To go back how this relates to crowdfunding: It is not unheard of that game developers engaging on these platforms in crowdfunding already had investment deals that from Kickstarter or IndieGoGo's perspective are completely off-the-record, except for the money wired over itself. As a matter of fact, that's almost a requirement for a successful crowdfunding campaign to fund a large-scale undertaking the projected size of Total Rendition, once it goes gold. And this is indeed what crowdfunding on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are intended to be: Socialisation of risks, yet with capitalisation of the profits, under the pretext of a goal that purportedly is bigger than money. Fascism in action! Of course, Kickstarter and IndieGoGo do not necessarily lead to violence on the streets; that's what Nextdoor, Parler and Gab are for. The problem with using platforms like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo is that the only successful campaigns that raise a million or more, are those where players are essentially footing the bill for investors it if it goes wrong, that is, if it fails to make any profit. That is both wrong and unnecessary. Investors can bear the risks, so they should: Socialism may be superior to Capitalism, yet unfettered Capitalism is still superior to State Monopoly Capitalism or any other form of Capitalism where the capitalists themselves are breaching their own professed rules; we're not going to appeal to a greater ideal in order to let you - dear player - pay up for bets capitalists are taking and are losing. In fact, that would be fundamentally against the spirit of Total Rendition. Even Milton Friedman did not believe that the small fellows should pay up for the big boys, which paradoxically makes Friedman a lot more Socialist than Fake-Lefty Crypto-Fascist Mariana "space karen" Mazzucato (and btw, Emma Goldman, Piotr Kropotkin, Noam Chomsky, David Graeber and Franz Oppenheimer all make for much better and convincing Socialists than Jezza or AOC anyway).

Dear players, you're not investors' packmules!

So, we are not going to make you into an unwitting investor: Collectively, you couldn't raise enough to make Total Rendition the way I intended, the way venture capitalists could (and ok, theoretically speaking, you could, although considering communications are currently dominated by Twitter and Facebook, it's out of the question for practical purposes), yet we can't play by the rulebook of Socialism (a.k.a. participatory economics) either. The silver-lining of COVID-19 (which relates to coronavirus as ADHD and Autism relate to compulsory education) is that governments are feeling pressure to suspend the enforcement of landlordism, yet this is probably temporary. Sooner or later, the buy-to-let thuggees, banksters and other landlords will charge you rent or interest payments on mortgages, if you aren't brave enough to gun for adverse possession or lucky enough to buy your house lump-sum. Yet, if you stand up to landlordism, police will usually be on your landlord's side, not yours. Thus, it's unfair to ask you to pay up for us. Investors will fund us because they believe it will make them richer and if we want Total Rendition to succeed, we will have to play that game along and ensure their bet pays off if it does. However, the risks will be fully on them. Not on you dear player. Nor should the money used for production depend on oppressive or failing government policies or on (anti-)social media either. Apart from the fact we would fail in it, it fails because we are working against it anyway.

If we can raise funds from venture capitalists and we can, we should not let you become investors' packmule to shoulder their risks if Total Rendition's profits turn out to be disappointing to them, which is why Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are such terrible platforms. I can only urge to not back any projects on Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, with the possible exception of developers that are simply seeking to supplement their production funding from cultural institutions. Yet, given that Total Rendition is (among other things) a big middle-finger to the Tory-ism which permeates all of British society, don't expect the British Film Fund or Creative Scotland to back Total Rendition anytime soon, if ever. In this sense, Total Rendition is still way out of the Overton Window of polite British society. Or the European or Israeli societies for that matter.

Hopefully, that should make it clear why we aren't crowdfunding. Or herdfunding. Or stormfunding! Or whatever.

-Mordechai Gabai

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