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BusinessWe are the team from Power Ledger, creators of the world’s first blockchain based P2P energy trading platform, ask us anything!

Oct 3rd 2017 by Powerledger • 24 Questions • 656 Points

I'm Will Carless, a reporter at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, where I cover hate and extremism in the U.S. I recently embedded with anti-fascists and discovered that they have a "hit list" of alt-right activists, which they disseminate ahead of protests. Many of them believe that pre-emptive violence is the only way to shut down hate speech.

Read my latest: https://www.revealnews.org/article/antifa-has-a-rapid-response-team-that-targets-alt-right-organizers/

Proof: https://i.redd.it/yj1cela4fboz.jpg

Q:

I see it on my son's face book all the time. SOUNDS COOL!!!! keep it up guys!

Does anyone know how i get to google from here

-dad

A:

If you had a magic wand, what single amendment would you add or edit to the U.S. Constitution? Relatedly, what one U.S. Supreme Court case would you overrule?


Q:

Most people think that non-violence is the way to go and that violent, aggressive responses could backfire, that is play into the hands of white supremacists by using violence. What do you have to say about that?

A:

We think using crypto to trade energy is the future. It allows neighbours to buy excess renewable energy by making tiny, and very fast payments completely autonomously. This leads to less reliance on mains power sources whilst also netting a profit for those who have invested in solar energy. Hopefully that clears things up!


Q:

I would overrule San Antonio Board of Education v. Rodriguez (1973) and hold that education is a fundamental right and that discrimination against the poor should receive heightened scrutiny. I would add an explicit right of privacy and autonomy to the Constitution.

A:

I agree. Most people do think that. But some elements of the antifa don't think that. I think we've already seen even targeted violence blowback onto antifa's image among the general public. But I also know that the people committing this violence aren't really concerned about their perception among the general public. I would agree that they have "played into the hands" of some white supremacists. I think that's kind of inevitable. And I know that's of concern to some within the antifa movement. I think that's why we saw so little violent action in Berkeley this week.


Q:

Yeah, and those early "Crypto" posts were obviously "in on the lingo" of the company. I thought it was odd when there were only 5 comments, one the "This is an IAMA", mine that was actually curious/critical, and three more glowingly "in tune with the subject"...

A:

What can students like myself do when even professors and faculty at universities are calling for legal limits on free speech? For instance, at the Berkeley panel discussion on free speech at which you spoke in September, Professor john powell openly advocated for restricting speech that may be psychologically harmful, to the resounding endorsement of both students and faculty in the audience.

If the onus to firmly challenge this viewpoint falls on administrators, professors, and deans like yourself, do you feel that your support for free speech on campus is sufficient without naming and condemning exactly those people who want to restrict it, like Professor powell?


Q:

So as per your experience what do you think can be done when you’re at the early stages of struggle, before you get to the point where there are tanks, artillery and heavy weapons?

A:

Hi flaghacker! Many of the new users are likely coming from our existing community where we have been broadcasting this AMA.

As for the differences between answers, we have multiple team members getting involved and some are newer to Reddit than others but we're working on that.


Q:

I think it is so important to separate a discussion of what the law currently is from a conversation about what the law should be. Hateful speech IS protected by the First Amendment. But we certainly can and should debate whether this is desirable. john powell and I agree as to the current law, but disagree on what the law should be.

A:

What some antifa believe is that by disrupting groups like the alt-Right while they're in the organizing phase -- by shutting down their meetings, blocking their protests and violently confronting their spokespeople, fascism can be "nipped in the bud." That's how anti-fascists have traditionally operated for almost 100 years. TBC: I am not condoning. I am passing on info!


Q:

How does a smart contract work with electricity? I've skimmed your white paper and I couldn't see any specifics

A:

What are your thoughts on the weird discrepancy in search and seizure rules where police can't compel a person to open a phone with their password versus compelling them to open it with their fingerprint or other biometrics? Is this something that will change?


Q:

In the media we see a lot of Antifa protesters using violence to oppose other views. Do the majority of members use this tactic, or are they a loud minority with in the group itself?

A:

It's a digital token contract, it can look up things like electricity price via oracles


Q:

I think that this is an area where the law has not caught up with the technology. In Riley, the Supreme Court held that police cannot search a cell phone without a warrant (unless there are emergency circumstances). I think this must mean that police cannot force people to give a password or a fingerprint to open the cell phone. I believe the law will catch up to technology here.

A:

Definitely the latter. There are many, many people who describe themselves as "anti-fascist" to some extent. The people willing to engage in violence are a vocal minority. But I would say they're largely accepted by the majority.


Q:

yes

A:

What are your thoughts on lowering the CA bar exam passing score? Do you think it'll help or hurt the legal market in CA?


Q:

what was the socioeconomic background of most of the people you encountered? are any at risk of losing their jobs or livelihood because of their activities?

A:

That's actually how we power our entire office. Please see our office mouse who heads these operations: Katie the POWR mouse

Side Note: Mice are more efficient than humans if we use a measure of watts produced per gram of feed.


Q:

California has the second most restrictive "cut score" of any state in the country. I favor lowering it. If the cut score is lowered a reasonable amount, it will mean that people who pass the bar on the second try will make it on the first. That won't really affect the legal market, but it will improve a lot of people's lives.

A:

All over the place, from proud working class to middle class kids. As for losing their jobs, most of these activists don't do anything illegal, and they're very careful about being doxxed. If they are doxxed, I would say they're less likely to face social ostracizing because of their beliefs than, say, closet neo-Nazis!


Q:

Why?

A:

Hello, Dean Chemerinsky. I’ll echo other lawyers here in thanking you for your excellent Con Law and Federal Jurisdiction supplements—the Federal Jurisdiction supplement got me through Judge Pryor’s class more or less in one piece.

With how overburdened the federal trial courts are right now, do you see Congress pulling back federal jurisdiction by raising the § 1332 solar floor or only allowing diversity jurisdiction where there’s an out-of-state defendant?


Q:

what would you guess the race/gender breakdown is as well? also, in general, do their friends and family know what they're doing?

A:

That question might be more suited for /r/philosophy but I'll give it a go!

We're not trying to change the laws of physics, but we are trying to change the laws of the market. Ultimately we want to bring the power back to the people who invested their money in solar. This should provide better economic incentive for the installation of more distributed renewables, such as rooftop solar, which will be critical for the future.


Q:

Thanks for the kind words.

There have been proposals for years to eliminate or significantly reduce diversity jurisdiction. I don't see any significant movement in this direction. And federal district courts vary greatly as to whether they are overburdened.

A:

I don't know about the overall race/gender breakdown because the reality is that when these guys amass in large numbers, they almost always cover their faces. I spoke to mainly men, but also a few women. Most of the people I spoke to were white, but there are POC in the movement too.


Q:

Hi team,

Do you have any details about exchanges you can reveal at the moment?

  • How many are you in discussions with?

  • Do you have any confirmed (don't need to name, just whether or not any are confirmed yet)?

  • Can you name any?

  • Is there a rough ETA on when you can reveal all these details?

A:

As a textbook author, how do you handle rapid changes in the courts/constitutional law? Just for example, gay marriage or the Civil Rights movement. During the early 1900s and 1950s-1960s there were multiple issues being heard, overturned, heard again, etc. Now in law school we have the ability to learn a brief history and a few select cases regarding race equality. How do you handle that when the changes are happening in real time within a relatively short span?

I hope explained my question, but I am not sure I did. Thank you so much for doing this AMA. I look forward to reading through it.


Q:

what would you say is the most divisive issue within the movement? also, have you spoken to any people who have recently left the movement, or people who have recently converted?

A:

We are not allowed to confirm until the work is done, but we are working with a number of exchanges, trying to get the best ones.


Q:

One of the great joys of teaching constitutional law is that it is constantly changing. One of the frustrations of being an author of a casebook and treatise on constitutional law is that it is constantly changing. To answer your question, I follow the Supreme Court very closely. I follow the cert grants and often read the briefs and transcripts of oral arguments. I watch for the decisions. I prepare a supplement each year and a new edition of the book every four years. I don't know if that answers your question. I guess the bottom line is that I follow the Court closely and try and have the changes in the law reflected in my books.

A:

I've spoken to people who recently converted. I think the most divisive issue is probably how to organize effectively and whether violence is ok or not and whether it's helpful or not to the overall cause.


Q:

For any regular consumer with installed solar panels, how much will current infrastructure have to change in order for them to buy and sell their energy on this decentralized energy market? Furthermore, on the individuals' level, would we need to install special hardware? Or will currently installed solar systems be ready to go with just installation of some software etc?

In short, once the POWR blockchain is up and running, what does the individual consumer have to do to connect their panels/batteries/hardware and will we have to wait for electrical companies to upgrade our households/suburbs to do so.

My second question would be: whats the approximate radius that you expect consumers could buy/sell their energy to? In the short term will people be able to trade energy with only their apartment residents? neighbours? suburb? Across towns? Or would this be issue be approached by allowing consumers to be able to price in personal transmission costs in a trade proportionally to the distance electricity must travel? (e.g. sending energy from say, Geraldton to Perth etc) How are you guys approaching this?

A:

How do you feel about the comments made by the Attorney General on Georgetown Law's campus last week? Are your feelings on his comments changed at all by the fact that he was making them specifically at a school?

Also, thank you for your Barbri Con Law videos they really helped me during finals prep!


Q:

What's the most dramatic conversion you've seen (e.g. ex-KKK member etc...)?

Were there any unusual signifiers you noticed cropping up (e.g. a disproportionate number of members are into Bojack Horseman or something like that)?

A:

There is no special hardware required, just smart meters. You would need to be registered on the platform by an application host which would generally be a utility. there is no hard limit to the radius you will be able to trade, it will depend on the size of the trading group you are in which is determined by the application host.


Q:

Thanks for the kind words about my Bar/Bri lecture.

I certainly agree with Attorney General Sessions that free speech on campus is crucial and that all views should be expressed at colleges and universities. I do not agree, though, that there is a serious problem with regard to speech not being allowed. There are a number of high profile incidents, but they are the exception. I also think that Attorney General Sessions ignored some of the hard issues that campuses now face concerning freedom of speech.

A:

I didn't see any really dramatic conversions. Although the to-and-fro between Alt-Right provocateurs and antifa provocateurs is interesting and something to watch. As for unusual signifiers -- nothing specific comes to mind. Although obviously a lot of these people are anarchists as well.


Q:

Could you give an approximate to the amount of bandwidth required to accommodate the data collection of say a mix of a million consumers/prosumers "trading" electricity?

A:

Not quite a collegiate matter, but related to the Constitution and presidential indictments:

Do you think the 25th Amendment's provision allowing the President to cede control to the vice president—e.g. as used by Bush while undergoing medical treatment—is a viable counter to conventional wisdom that sitting presidents cannot be indicted without impeachment?

As far as I've heard—Ronald Rotunda's recently publicized memo to Kenneth Starr notwithstanding—current thought on the unindictability of current presidents rests on claims that such an indictment (and associated defense) would preclude the president from carrying out the duties of his office, but I'm wondering if the 25th Amendment provides a legal counter to this thought. Have there been any research or arguments made to this effect?


Q:

Thank you for this AMA. After spending time with antifa activists, how much do you lean towards the view held by some that both they and the (alt)right are "violent extremes" and practically the same?

A:

There are lots of ways to deal with this. State channels for scaling or other techniques to reduce the bandwidth.


Q:

Of course, there is no law concerning the 25th Amendment. I may be in a minority, but I believe that a sitting President can be indicted. I think the most basic teaching of Marbury v. Madison is that no one -- not even the President -- is above the law. Your point about the 25th Amendment is a good one: if defending a criminal suit would interfere with the President carrying out the duties of the office, he or she could temporarily relinquish the office under the 25th Amendment.

A:

That's a GREAT question. Firstly, as my reporting shows, there are clearly elements of antifa who are willing to use violence as a last resort against people who might threaten vulnerable members of their community. But antifa as a concept, and as a movement, is primarily defensive. I think the two-sides thing is very misleading. On the Alt-right side, you have groups who want to actively disrupt and harm large numbers of people (immigrants, minorities, feminists, LGBTQ population, etc.). On the other, you have people who are willing to do very limited violence to stop a greater harm from happening. I don't think the two are in any way equate-able on a moral or practical plane.


Q:

Hi, how will the storage of the token work ? Will there be any wallet or is it stored just an ERC20 token. Did not see anything about this in roadmap.

A:

The Cal faculty, Antifa and BAMN appear determined to shut down all conservative speakers at Cal. In your opinion, if they were to be successful in this attempt, would this negatively affect Cal's reputation and school ranking?


Q:

On the other, you have people who are willing to do very limited violence to stop a greater harm from happening.

How do they quantify the potential of this "greater harm"?

Let's face it, you can't predict the future anymore than I can, or they can: so how do they measure the possibility and at what point is it suddenly "violence is okay now"?

A:

JB - Yes just as an ERC20 token


Q:

The University of California is very committed to ensuring that speakers of all views -- conservative and liberal -- can speak on campus. The campus went to great expense to ensure that Ben Shapiro and Milo Yiannopoulos could speak on campus without disruption. Chancellor Carol Christ expressed her commitment to free speech, while protecting safety of students, staff, and faculty. She did a superb job in this regard.

A:

This is a very complex question to answer, and the reality is that the line is different for everyone, both within the movement and outside of it. But I know there are people within antifa who believe that the US is facing a legitimate "fascist creep" and that they can prevent lives being lost in the future by using calculated and isolated violence now. I'm not endorsing that view, but it's out there.


Q:

Hello Team, Particularly intrigued with the 'crowdfunding of renewable energy assets ' Is this crowdfunding done by users acquiring a unique token? Is the intention to create solar farms that investors will receive proportionate revenue from?

A:

I agree with Justice Jackson's statement that trying to determine the interpretation of the founders "must be divined from materials almost as enigmatic as the dreams Joseph was called upon to interpret for Pharaoh." But, given this, is it possible for constitutional interpretation to be something other than a purely partisan battle?


Q:

That sounds super wanton and random to me, with very meager attempts to color it otherwise.

A:

Yes users will acquire a unique asset token and they will receive a portion of revenue


Q:

The Constitution is written in broad, open-ended language. What is cruel and unusual punishment? Moreover, constitutional rights are not absolute; there almost always is balancing of competing interests. What is a compelling or an important or a legitimate government interest? There is no way to answer that except by a value choice of the judge or justice. There is no such thing as value neutral judging and there never has been. I don't think that makes it a partisan battle, though it does make it an ideological one.

A:

I disagree.


Q:

Hello Professor! I'm currently using two of your books, in my Con Law class, and my Crim Pro class.

What was it like to work with Laurie Levenson? Any thoughts on the cases during the current Supreme Court term? I'm particularly hoping to hear your thoughts on Gil v. Whitford and Carpenter v. US.

Thank you for doing this AMA! =D

A:

This reply seems rather disingenuous. I think we've all seen videos of antifa activists engaging in unprovoked violence, and altogether seeming like they're enjoying themselves. That's far from a last resort protecting the greater good.

Those may well be a small minority of antifers, but to portray that minority as some defenders of the peace who only use violence when it's called for is just false. At least take the reasonable route and say there are bad people involved, just like pretty much every other group in human history.


Q:

Laurie Levenson is wonderful and a joy to work with. I have expressed my thoughts on Gill v. Whitford in answering some of the other questions. As for Carpenter -- whether the police must get a warrant before accessing cell tower location information -- I am unsure. Every Circuit to rule has said that no warrant is required. But the Roberts Court has been protective of electronic information (like in Riley and Jones). I am hoping the latter.

A:

I said elsewhere on this page that there was a lot of indiscipline in early months. I think antifa are working on that! And yeah, I'll agree that there are people within the movement who act rashly and stupidly, as there are in almost any group of protesters. So, yeah, wasn't meaning to downplay that.


Q:

Do you see any hope for a "fix" to the second amendment? I think most of us can agree that there's a problem right now, but at least half of the country won't let anyone even approach the issue. What can we actually do, from a constitutional perspective?

A:

I hear that for every confrontation in the streets, there are a bunch more events they got shut down or cancelled by lurking in fascist forums and outing the nature of the event to the community.

Did you see a strong online component to the people you interviewed?


Q:

I do not believe that the primary problem is the Second Amendment; it is political. So far, the Supreme Court has held only that the Second Amendment protects a right to have firearms in the home for the sake of security. There is NO Second Amendment limit on the ability to require gun registration, limit the number of guns purchases, prohibit automatic and semi-automatic weapons, or forbid large capacity magazines. The problem is that the NRA and pro-gun lobbyists have great influence and block even quite modest gun regulations.

A:

Thanks for the question! Yeah, there's definitely a lot of activity by antifa online. But I think that's unsurprising. A lot of these people are young and live much of their lives online. So, there's certainly a proxy battle going on on the internet, as well as on the streets.


Q:

After spending time with members of antifa are you more or less sympathetic to their movement and why?

A:

Good question. And a difficult one to answer. I would honestly say that I'm sympathetic to an overall fight against fascism. And I would say that traditionally, some sort of violence has inevitably been an element of any successful struggle against fascism. But I would say that the antifa, especially those practicing violence and property damage, have been more damaging to their movement than positive. I think in the early part of this year, there was a lot of indiscipline within the movement. I think that's changing.


Q:

Good and well thought out answer. It would be interesting to see how you feel antifa in general are evolving at some point in the future. Glad to hear that the more violent element if antifa are disapearing i mean i strongly believe in violence at the right time and for the right reasons but so far from the little that ive seen this hasnt been the case.

A:

Thanks. Yep. And I would strongly recommend reading Mark Bray's "Antifa: The Antifascist Handbook" if you're interested in the history of the movement.


Q:

Which regional Anti-fa did you embed yourself with?

A:

I spent time with the antifa in the Bay Area, California.


Q:

What do you think the predominate political affiliation of Anti-fa members in the Bay Area are?

A:

I don't think most of them have any time for either of the parties, tbh.


Q:

I guess I mean to say: what political philosophy do they most associate with?

A:

Most believe in some form of anarchism and/or socialism.


Q:

I've seen a number of folks on twitter talk about the danger that reporters put people in when they report and take pictures at anti alt-right demonstrations. Did you encounter any resistance towards your reporting due to similar criticisms?

A:

I did. On a couple of occasions, I was told not to take photos of antifa. And I think there is some legitimacy to the fear antifa have of getting doxxed. Read up on what happened to Eric Clayton for more details!


Q:

I think there is some legitimacy to the fear antifa have of getting doxxed. Read up on what happened to Eric Clayton for more details!

You'll forgive me for thinking that you could have chosen a better example.

A:

My point was that Clanton was doxxed (if it was really him) via 4Chan. It was a pretty massive, organized effort.


Q:

To what extent are there different groups - with different agenda - operating under the antifa banner?

A:

Yeah this is definitely happening. There is very little actual organization or coordination going on between different antifa groups, as far as I have witnessed. (Although of course, that may have been kept out of my sight).


Q:

how did you get started and interested in this case?

A:

We first started seeing antifa as an interesting group after the big protests in Berkeley in the Spring. As a reporter covering extremism, this seemed like a group I should look into. So I did!


Q:

where you scared at all during your time embedded

A:

Not really. I was with known antifa when I was in crowds.


Q:

If we need an 'antifa' movement to fight fascists, that assumes that there are fascists around every corner just waiting to take over the country. How many fascists (on a percentage basis) does antifa think there are in the US and how close are the fascists to taking over?

A:

Good question, and obviously the answer is different for each individual. But I will say that many antifa feel that there's been a remarkable increase in proti-fascist sentiment, rhetoric and activity since the election of Donald Trump. I've heard that time and time again. Antufa point to the fact that Hitler's political party was tiny when it started (a few dozen people) and they look at groups like the Alt-Right and it worries them. My point is that these people are legitimately concerned about what they call "the fascist creep." It's not just some crazy concept to them.


Q:

Do you feel antifa would be better served using a more leaderless resistance model, ala the weathermen, to be more effective?

A:

Thanks for the question. I'm not sure the antifa could be more leaderless. Everyone I spoke to in the movement said it is a horizontally structured organization (to the extent that it's an organization at all). I didn't see any evidence of hierarchical leadership.