Decentralization is recognized as an important measure in computer systems in order to ensure their security. It’s lauded as bitcoin’s most important feature. Because we recognize that when a computer system or almost any system is decentralized, it’s much harder for malicious actors to gain control over it. They might be able to steal bitcoins from one person, or hack one website, or even take over the power-grid to one region. But they can’t take over the entire bitcoin system, or the whole internet, or the entire U.S. power-grid. Because the decentralized nature of these systems means that those malicious actors would have to repeat the method that they used to take over one part of the system and do it over and over again in its entirety with every part of these systems if they want to take over the entire system. And that is nearly impossible with decentralized systems. This is in contrast to a highly centralized system, where the malicious actor only has to take control of the core organizing or distributing center and they have control of the entire system. If the internet was a centralized system, where the whole thing was controlled from one processing center, one website or controlling computer, then a single hacker could take control of the whole thing simply by hacking that one computer.
So why do we continue to insist that so many other organizational systems be so highly centralized, like our Governments? We claim it’s to fight against corruption and reaction, but we can see in Computer systems how centralization actually more easily facilitates corruption. In a decentralized system, a malicious actor has to take over ever part individually. But in a centralized system, they only need to take over one part. In a decentralized Government, reactionary forces have to take over the entire government, wholly. But in a centralized government they only need to take over one or two offices.
And it’s not like we don’t have examples of organizations working in this decentralized manner to protect against this very reactionary corruption, even Marxist-Leninist organizations. The partisans that operated all over Europe during World-War-Two, even the Marxist-Leninist partisans, operated using a highly decentralized organization. No cell even knew the identities of individuals in other cells. They shared information and supplies through dead-drops and by using aliases. All this was to foil any attempts by the Nazis to infiltrate and disrupt the entire movement. Because even if the Nazis could capture or infiltrate one cell, they couldn’t use it to gain information on other cells. If partisans were eąptured, they couldn’t give up the identities of anyone outside their cell even if they wanted to. In a decentralized organization when one section is corrupted or destroyed, the other sections can adjust accordingly to stop the damage from spreading. Maintaining the organization as a whole.
Of course it goes without saying that a Government cannot operate with the secrecy of the partisans, every member of the Government must know the identities of every other member and work directly with them. But the principles of decentralization remain the same. If no single part of the Government has overreaching power or influence over the other parts, then that actually fights against the forces of reaction in a more effective manner than a centralized system ever could. Because the reactionaries have to take over every part of Government individually, instead of a single office.
It’s also important to remember that decentralization does not mean separation. Just like the internet, which is recognized as the epitome of connection, and not despite of its decentralization, but because of it. A decentralized organization allows people to operate and engage with the organization in accordance with their local material conditions. This encourages participation in the organization because it does not alienate anyone from the organization. And that builds an environment of camaraderie and loyalty to it, and that makes people want to participate because they directly see the benefits that the organization provides to them , and no downsides. The organization is only a boon to their lives, and does not become a burden. This is the very environment necessary to exist in order to facilitates the principles of mutual-aid. It builds natural networks of interdependence, building bridges between people and communities that cannot be destroyed by the forces of reaction. Because love motivates people in a way that fear never can. Fear can motivate a person to do what you want for a short time, but only so long as they don’t see a way to fight back, and never to the best of their ability. A fearful person naturally seeks a way to attack the source of their fear. But if a person is motivated by love, they will work with a fervor unknown to the fearful person, and will gladly throw themselves on the very gates of hell to protect what they love.