wiki:aboutus

Version 1 (modified by alfredo, 12 years ago) (diff)

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May First/People Link is a membership organization of progressive people who use the Internet. We have joined together to pool our resources to assure ourselves quality equipment, mutual support, Internet tools that meet our needs as organizers and activists and secure, reliable communications.

As an organization, we believe that the Internet is critically important to the future of humanity and therefore must be a priority for the progressive movement in this country. For that reason, we are involved in many activities and campaigns to to improve access to the Internet, enhance its function as a tool for mass communication and organizing, develop new technologies and uses for it, and help progressive movements use it effectively to communicate with each other and with the world.

Two principles drive our work: the principle of equality and the principle of collaboration.

The importance of Collaboration

While members enjoy all the services commercial Internet providers offer, the stress we put on collaboration makes us a unique kind of organization.

For example, at MFPL, members don't pay for services. Resources are a central part of the collaboration and mutual support our members engage in. We pay yearly dues and purchase equipment and other necessary resources and then each member takes as much from the shared resources as the member needs. There is never a charge for “extra services” within the list of basic membership benefits.

Technical support is another instance. Here we have systems members use to get help with specific problems that are affecting thei9r work, general technica issues, questions or discussion of the organization itself and its work. And any member can answer. Our “tech staff” is our members; whoever knows the answer to an issue can log into our system and answer it based on their knowledge and involvement. Obviously, the issues about system software and hardware are most often answered by the members who are in charge of our server system but even here other members will often chime in.

While this approach may seem dangerously unstructured, it not only works but has made “tech support” one of the things for which MF/PL is best known and respected.

And member-driven work is the centerpiece of MF/PL's “outside” work in coalitions and campaigns and events of all kinds. From our work as leaders of the technology workgroup (37 strong) at the United States Social Forum to our “internet rights workshop” presented at events like the Grass Roots Media Conference and the Anarchist Bookfair, to our Statement of Internet Rights, to coalitions like the one we're building to develop ways to work on political technology hemisphere-wide.