Jaromil on Thu, 26 Sep 2019 17:17:02 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Open letter to the Free Software Movement

This is an open letter to all the people who, in their good faith, are
concerned about the recent events which have shaken the long-standing
leadership of the Free Software Movement and the GNU project.


RT: https://twitter.com/DyneOrg/status/1177233578771591168


Dear hackers, first and foremost let us say that, as a collective and
in the true uncompromising spirit of the teachings of Free/Libre
Software/Society, we are capable of doing much better than what has
just happened.

Many of us work everyday towards ensuring that everyone, regardless of
their ethniticy, religion, gender, or neurotypicality, can
participate, learn and share in our communities. We do not claim we
are perfect, we sometimes make mistakes, some of them guided by
systemic patterns and structures of power still entangling us, and
some of them just due to our human nature . But we claim our right to
learn every day how to become better at including all contributions
and opinions, and this implies the ability of making mistakes without
being destroyed by them.

In the past years it has become clear that our movement and our ethos
has transformed the world as we know it, with all the courage and all
the mistakes considered; some of us rose to fame, while some others
wore masks, both as a message and as a protection from the regime of
global espionage.  In any case, many of us have sacrificed a great
deal of comfort in life to change what needed to be changed.

Let us not be mistaken about the cause that brought us here and let us
not forget where the injustice comes from.

Let us not forget then what we, the people, have successfully built so
far, resisting to the incredible pressure that corporate corruption
and military regimes have put on us. Let us not forget that the battle
is still raging and we are losing sight and positioning.

Open Source, as an economic model based on knowledge acquisition by
corporate powers, is part of the problem.

Free/Libre Software, as an uncompromising philosophy and ethics
focused on knowledge sharing and participation, is an important part
of the solution.

The era of benevolent dictators for life in Free software projects is
probably coming to an end. And we shall be relieved as well as
empowered by that: it is now our turn to stand strong, united as a
movement, to defend our values without compromise and to improve the
quality of our interactions. It is now our turn to look beyond
personal responsibilities, to acknowledge that if a context is
poisoned by bullying, machism and sexist behavior, it is not just the
fault of a single person, but of all those who tolerate and support
those conducts. We have now the opportunity to point to the problem
and to solve it and this will improve our movement, the Free Software

What we really don't need to do is to ignore, denigrate or disown the
values of the Free Software movement.

We need to honour the pride of the people of India who had the courage
to stand up against the "free basic" campaign. We need to support the
courage of all those defending network neutrality from attacks capable
of putting under control the political integrity of entire continents.
We need to facilitate the synergy between community networks in Oaxaca
enabled by software written by activists all around the World.  We
need to empower the self-determination of entire populations in an age
in which computing is as pervasive as our own social relationships.

We need to reclaim our freedom from an ever-watching system of control
and prediction that judges us from the algorithmic projection of our
own intentions.  We need to defend our freedom to be able to denounce
all of this and speak freely by means that connect us, all over the
world, without borders, intermediaries and censorship.

We need to be conscious of where we are standing in this fight.

As a trans-national movement, united by solidarity, awareness and
ethics, we shall not negotiate the motivations we fight for.

We would not publish this letter if we would not think it was
extremely urgent to do so. The Free Software movement is losing
ground, grip and resources, and the scarce resources available to the
movement are not even shared equally. Global meetings that are vital
to our legacy and development are at risk of being shut down or
assimilated by corporate corruption: the Free Society Conference and
Nordic Summit (FSCONS) will not take place this year, after many
iterations that have hosted outstanding standards of diversity. The
biggest community-based event for free software developers in the
world, FOSDEM, is at risk of violating many of its foundational
principles by welcoming corporate sponsors, who contribute to the
dilution of meaning and ethical urgency of Free Software by supporting
corporate Openwashing campaigns.

And this is just a small account from Europe. We know that, wherever
you are in the world, if you have been in this movement, you are
probably struggling as well. Believe us now when we say that it will
not help to burn the Man, to obliterate the memory of our cause, to
expunge someone's contributions to it by means of an angry mob; that
would be an act of harassment we cannot be able to accept.

We will start improving as a movement when we show the highest notion
of what a movement can be: capable of reflection, understanding and
healing its wounds, ready to evolve and progress while maintaining the
integrity of its aims.

We are not the problem, we are part of the solution.

The Free World needs the Free Software movement.

  Denis "Jaromil" Roio      https://Dyne.org think &do tank
  Ph.D, CTO & co-founder    software to empower communities
  ✉ Haparandadam 7-A1, 1013AK Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  𝄞 crypto κρυπτο крипто गुप्त् 加密 האנוסים المشفره
  ⚷ 6113D89C A825C5CE DD02C872 73B35DA5 4ACB7D10

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