Local Organization

How can (digital) technologies help people and groups organize on a local scale?

From the top of my head, I would say: they barely can, since many are used by the police to watch activists, and others are not censorship-resistant.

I know @heathermarsh has another idea about it, especially in the case where people can leave traces for other people to pick up – which is, in a way, what we’re trying to do with #engagement:offdem this year, and in a larger scope with /run which would require some love in order to become of any use: only by showing there is life while the government and media outlets focus on death – and only a single kind of death – can we demonstrate that this situation is not a fatality.

This question really stems from the recent events: censorship on mass-social-media, the wave of right-wing activists flowing through the Fediverse, government repression craze and the crisis of democracy ; as well as our current focus with IN COMMON and DREAM. It will be useful to make this more concrete and focus on actual needs rather than try to answer this question on an abstract level – at least this is how we intended it, in a situated way. See also the other #offdem-topic discussions.

Hey How,
I respectfully disagree: they surely can, and they definitely should. Many people think that not going into the mainstream consumption model equals living with candles in a cave. I want to stand as a living proof of the opposite (and so are many people in this community I guess). Similarly we can’t find gun-armed right-wingers with knives, and so we can’t fight big tech monopolies and organisations with with old means. It seems to me that’s why we are here, having this discussion.
As experts and actors we can provide privacy-safe grassroots tools and collaboration means, and my belief is that if we can provide these tools and means to the people, those who daily run local organisations, services, communities, then we can altogether weight in, and have our data, algorithms and lifes back. Not only for us, but for the people we love and care about as well.
Yeah sure monopolistic power uses these tools, but it’s also up to us to bring that to light, discuss it, and ultimately fight it. It’s up to us to setup this counter-force, make education and knowledge available, rise awareness and propose alternatives. Because if it’s not coming from us, the people, then whom from?

It’s not the tool, it’s how you use it.

Just my 2 cents btw, I’m still a guest here. :slight_smile:

Have a wonderful day!

Yes I think this is exactly what this topic is about, and also what petites singularités is about. Indeed we organize to work with local organisations not only providing tools but also supporting them in understanding how those tools offer different possibilities and can support coordination and organisation models for resistance.

Afaik, there are many tools out there, and often both very sophisticated and underused, and as @how says not used in a secure manner. Mostly I would say it is the understanding of the people and collective to transform their relation to technology that makes a difference, and this is a human factor. We are not only talking about adoption here, but also about transforming the practice to rethink organisation models.
This is what we will discuss during this session:

  • What are the local organisation models and what is their approach to digital tools.
  • What are the experience in the digital sphere that have served local organisation models
  • Presentation of existing projects that deal with local organisation such as: https://incommon.cc/

@dawal is there a discussion/concern/topic you would suggest in this thematic, that we could develop during OFFdem?

I respectfully disagree: they surely can, and they definitely should.

I guess it’s a question of degree: when I say “they barely can”, it’s not because the tools do not exist, but rather that they do not have the means to use them (and that can stem from many reasons, from time to invest to general knowledge of the alternatives to default applications, to imposed applications in their environment, etc.)

It’s up to us to setup this counter-force, make education and knowledge available, rise awareness and propose alternatives. Because if it’s not coming from us, the people, then whom from?

Totally agree, but again we’ve been doing that for decades. Maybe there’s another problem, and that would be: people are elsewhere. Maybe we need to meet them where they are, not try to bring them where we are.

It’s not the tool, it’s how you use it.

I do think the tool matters anyway. I would not use proprietary software not because it’s not a good tool, but because its purpose does not match my need: I do not need any of Facebook’s features. But I do need a lot of Discourse features.

Thanks to both of you for the kind and quick replies.
It’s good to see we share these values, and that we still have some room for discussion. :wink: I’m eager to continue the conversation further during the offdem. :slight_smile:

On a more practical tone, I’m not sure how this will be organised (my poor understanding): if the ‘local organisation’ is a track, then there shall be talks submitted, right? Or is it more like an interactive workshop?

I can surely propose a talk, or participate to a debate/workshop. My topics would be around software ethics, grassroots tooling, structures of resistance and resilience. It also depends on the audience.
May I kindly ask for a live (phone-, signal-, jitsi- or whatever-) discussion to help me understand how I can best help?

Thanks again! :slight_smile:

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There is no talks with attendance (as they are explicitly forbidden) this is a work meeting and the preparation is happening here.
Amazing if you feel like proposing a workshops.

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