A Call for a U.S. Progressive Techie Congress ¶

Never has our work been more important.

A system struggling for its own survival, at the expense of humanity, greedily seeks to turn every idea into a distorted profit-making caricature of what it originally was.

The Internet humanity has built, under our collaborative leadership, is now threatened by a morass of profit-making schemes, rabidly self-protective proprietary software, and repressive laws that obliterate the spirit and letter of the First Amendment from on-line activity.

With their avalanche of limited, glossy and ultimately entrapping social software, corporations are profiteering on human communication while fencing it into a superficial, choiceless chorus line of faces and self-descriptions.

All the while, the human race continues to make and change history by using the Internet for the reasons humanity created it: the massive communication of our ideas and knowledge and the collective, collaborative search for the truth of our world and its future.

And it continues to look to us, its techies, for alternatives, information and leadership.

But, while our importance has never been greater, we are also often alienated by the progressive movement's dismissal of our politics, thinking, perspectives and experiences.

In addition, much of the movement doesn't respect our work: choosing to under-pay us or to hire large, flashy companies whose work doesn't build the movement (and frequently isn't as good as ours).

Finally, much of the movement has no respect for the principle of Free and Open Source Software.

As a result, too many of us shy away from movement work. "Burned out" is now a common condition among prgoressive techies. And our political work has now been divided from our tech work. And the movement loses the political thinking and leadership of a group of people who are the leaders of the largest mass progressive movement in human history: the Internet.

Now is the time to change this.

We want to build a set of principles that we can all share and that the progressive movement will agree to live by. We want to write and ratify an "agreement with the progressive movement" that is a commitment the entire movement will live by.

And the entire movement will be together, in one place, starting June 22, 2010, at the United States Social Forum in Detroit.

So we are making this call to all techies who support the principles of the Social Forum to gather in Detroit at the US Social Forum for a four-hour Progressive Techie Congress that will wrap up a process of discussion and thinking on-line around these principles and will feed into the large People's Movement Assembly process of the US Social Forum.

After the Congress, we will distribute the principles through our networks and to the Social Forum process as a consensus document. On that basis, we will begin to build the kind of relationships inside the movement that will move us all forward.

Here's What You Do

1 -- Register for the United States Social Forum. If you're with an organization that is going, it can register and you can included as one of its members. If you're going as an individual, register in that capacity:

2 -- After you're registered, log in and then join the Group for the workshop. Go to (you can click on workshop to see its description) and then click on "my membership" and join the group. Once you've joined the group, you will be able to participate in the Congress's preparatory discussions.

3 -- Spread the word. Please forward this email to all relevant lists.

If you have questions, email techie-congress@….

Last modified 12 years ago Last modified on Apr 6, 2010, 5:33:40 PM