wiki:csisac_membership_app

Version 4 (modified by Mallory Knodel, 8 years ago) (diff)

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Membership Request Form

CSISAC – Civil Society Information Society Advisory Council

The Voice of Civil Society at the OECD ICCP
http://csisac.org - liaison@…

Endorse the Seoul Declaration (http://csisac.org/seoul.php). The name of your organization will be added in the list of signatories. Send your endorsement to liaison@….

Endorsement via email sent on August 31, 2011:

May First/People Link endorses the Seoul Declaration and its recommendations and policy goals, which advocate both for people who are on the Internet and those who are not, especially the following recommendations that protect human rights: freedom of expression, protection of privacy and transparency, promotion of open standards, and cultural diversity.

Signed,
May First/People Link

Organization Description / URL

May First/People Link is the largest progressive Internet technology organization in the United States and among the oldest providers of Internet services in the world. With over 550 members, about 400 of them organizations, MF/PL brings to users of the Internet an alternative approach: members pay dues, which are pooled to purchase equipment and pay maintenance costs, and all members share those resources by hosting their websites, email accounts, and mail lists with us. An MF/PL member does not pay for any of these resources, no matter how many they use.

MF/PL has also revolutionized the concept of technical support as a "shared responsibility" of members. Our approach is to organize and develop a special team of technologists who work on the organization's infra-structure. We are a member-run organization with yearly membership meetings and an elected Leadership Committee making key strategic decisions.

Aside from our basic mission, to share and protect members' Internet resources, May First/People Link is active in many campaigns and activities principal among them the World Social Forum and the U.S. Social Forum, for which we are members of the leadership bodies of both and provide extensive technology support and resources for the organizing processes and forum events. We are also very active in the international Climate Change movement. MF/PL is a member of the Association for Progressive Communications and sponsors and does workshops in about a dozen conferences and events every year.

Additional information can be found through our main page: http://mayfirst.org

Please indicate the themes of interest of your organization

Our core values are a belief in democracy, transparency and respect of all individuals and movements, the complete reliance on and strengthening of collaboration as a natural and productive interaction that is the foundation of all successful political work, and a belief that Internet work as political work reflects these values inherently.

Our work is developed out of our core values and can be described with three distinct levels: resource sharing, activism, and policy. While they are separate, we relate them together as part of the same work that we do on behalf of our members and, by extension, our members' user-base.

Resource Sharing: Resource sharing is what would normally be called "services". In this area, MF/PL has been involved in Internet service provision for over 14 years making us one of the oldest "providers" in the world, certainly among the oldest politically progressive providers. But we are not a provider. Aside from membership dues, our members pay nothing for services. Our members collaborate on everything including provider "technical support". All our processes, including discussions about our policies and future plans, are transparently carried on on system that encourages participation by all members.

Significant achievements include surviving and growing as an alternative Internet organization with decided left-wing politics and done so without any foundation money or grants of any kind and developing within our membership a group of technologists whose interaction with the rest of our members is based on a respectful, collaborative culture.

Activism: MF/PL works in coalitions of all kinds, participates in events, and works on campaigns of all types. Most prominent among these is our leading work at the US Social Forum of 2007 and 2010 during which we organized and led the technology work group that provided for all technology (on and off line) at the events. We've sponsored and/organized dozens of events over the last three years and are represented at public events in the United States virtually every month.

Our activism program is design to develop consciousness within the left about the political struggles related to the Internet (around free software, web of trust vs. hierarchical security models, data retention and privacy issues, etc.) Our goal is for activists to think through the decisions they make around their use of the Internet as carefully as they think through their work in other areas, with care made to ensure that their activities are consistent with their mission, goals, and values. Over the last two years, we successfully placed free software as a vital issue during the technology development of the US Social Forum, we've developed an innovative workshop on Internet Rights that demonstrates the democratic potential of the Internet while raising consciousness about the politic issues facing the Internet.

Policy: As active participants in coalitions and networks, including our own, we have gained enormous experience, both technical and organizational. We use this experience to inform networked campaigns and policy work on regional, national, and international levels as representatives of both our membership base of Internet users and progressive technologists that have helped to build open standards and software.

Our participation in policy work is in its early stages. We have signed numerous statements, contributed to the drafting process, and conducted our own campaigns within our membership to elevate the voice of civil society within governing bodies. Most notably is our recent participation in the drafting of a letter to attendees of the eG8 in France in May 2011 on behalf of the peculiarly absent voice of grassroots and civil society organizations.

Members of the organization who will join CSISAC's work

The leadership of MF/PL is comprised of two Co-Directors, Alfredo Lopez and Jamie McClelland, and a 12-person Leadership Committee. Any one of these leaders may be asked to represent MF/PL, although the actual number of those able to commit to consisten participation are fewer. We have strong mechanisms for accountability to ensure that continuity is present throughout our participation in any network.