Mike Hales, Frederic Sultan, Jason Nardi : Florence, Italy : 13nov2022
This project announcement was made by Mike Hales of meet.coop in the third session of the 2022Firenze Assembly of European Social Forum groups
Buongiorno compagni, a tutti voi qui. I’m privileged and glad to be speaking here this morning, and to make you an invitation, to participate in an action of self-organising in the commons, around digital infrastructure.
My name is Mike Hales, and I’m speaking for an alliance of three European and international organisations:
- meet.coop - a coop with a practice in providing digital resources to movement organisations,
- Remix - which has a practice of building the commons, and
- RIPESS Europe - with a practice in the solidarity economy.
We three organisations share a focus on the capability of organisers in our diverse and distributed movements: which is to say, a focus on the practice of formación/formazione/formation. We English don’t have a word for it!
We also share a focus on the dependence that we all now have, as organisers, on digital means of collaborating. We hope that you all here share our recognition, that our effectiveness in cultivating and mobilising our forces of transformation and resistance now depends significantly on how we handle this digital stuff.
We also believe you’ll experience, as we do, how confusing the tech can seem to be, and how fragmented our use is, across our movements, of our digital means of collaborating.
So . . we fully endorse the concerns of this meeting’s organisers, to assemble a coherent and self-governed infrastructure for organising. We also bring to this concern a commitment to develop such resources, in the commons, under commons stewardship, moving beyond the fragments.
Why in the commons? Well, it’s a profoundly oppositional politics, beyond the market, beyond the State and beyond consumerist choice. We hope we don’t have to explain in this gathering, how contradictory it is, politically, to allow ourselves to continue to depend on the platforms of global capitalist corporations, under the supervision of tech oligarchs:
- Zoom. Twitter. WhatsApp. Facebook, Google docs. And so on.
. . all this work of ours, done under their surveillance and limitation, without privacy or security, locked in to their regimes of extraction.
So today meet.coop, Remix and RIPESS inform you of an action of self-organising that we are about to undertake - a project - and we invite you to participate in it.
This is what we will do. It comes under six points.
- We will curate and facilitate a timetabled series of online discussions, monthly, on this challenge of how to provide digital means of organising, under commons governance.
- We will invite experienced and insightful users and providers of digital resources to open each discussion, leaving plenty of time for the open floor.
- We will carry out this series, not as any kind of academic seminar, but as a practical design workshop, for a commons of digital means, which can be mobilised under the diverse conditions of our diverse organisations across the regions.
- We will include the awkward question of paying for access to digital resources, versus free platforms and free software. What is at stake are significant matters of fairness and sustainability, privilege and labour.
I emphasise . . this is not a technical project. It’s not a playground for geeks. It’s about the things that we organisers do . .
• It’s about relationships, and facilitation, and making and holding spaces, where people can find a voice.
• It’s about the real economy and livelihood, and
• It’s about design justice. And formación. And prefigurative work in the commons, putting our visions into everyday practice, under altered social relations. A politics of production.
- The governance of the project will model or prototype, as far as we can, the governance and the contribution economy we are making.
- And, final point - we curators will invite you - your organisations - to participate in the series of design justice workshops, and to animate and enjoy the commons of capability that we mean us to weave, together.
Through the mailing list for this gathering [2022Firenze], we will make an invitation to you all, as soon as we can - before the end of this year - to join us in the collective design process for a commons of digital means, beginning at the start of the new year.
Grazie a tutti. Procediamo! [Let’s do it!]
Benvenuti nella danza delle infrastrutture. [Welcome to the dance of infrastructure.]