wiki:projects/leadership-committee/meetings/2015-01-10/workers-assembly/ny

Version 3 (modified by Enrique Rosas, 4 years ago) (diff)

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NY Breakout Group Notes

https://support.mayfirst.org/wiki/projects/leadership-committee/meetings/2015-01-10/workers-assembly

Synthesis of the notes

(Elaborated by Josue)

NY Group Suggested Edits

Political Environment document

We had a lengthy discussion about our political goals behind this document, stemming from questions related to the phrase “original, progressive purpose.” Given current rising awareness about the role of the military and capitalist interests in the internet's development, including how internet communications can be used for control, should we assert this without some backup? Alfredo offered a clarification of the political importance of asserting that the people's labor is the central driving force of the development of the internet. We agreed that defining the progressive purpose of the internet must mean understanding threats to this purpose as well. The paper needs to reference the arc of the history: the military's role in the creation of the technology, grassroots people-to-people development of the internet as a functioning human system (as articulated in the Organic Internet document), and the private sector's role in capitalizing on this people-led development. The part that we focus on is the people-to-people development, though we need to provide basic documentation of the other two stages to make the document more effective as an organizing tool. We also need to add the very, very early examples.

Specific suggestions to achieve the above:

  • clarify references to technology – especially in the paragraph that begins “technology is the driving force” and the subsequent paragraph
  • the term “original, progressive purpose” seems too broad and needs clarification vis a vis the above summary
  • Paragraph near end that starts "At the same time,..." should be emphasized more to achieve above goal.
  • "Theft of resources" needs documentation, and also needs to be plural.

Needs a thorough going over to tighten up, reduce redundancy, etc. There are two paragraphs making the same points such as the crisis one and the "Technology is the driving force..." one.

Mission document

  • We discussed the question of whether the mission should refer to either our membership structure or our cooperative hosting / tech labor structure. Although there were different opinions in our group, we agreed its ok without references to these constituencies/structures, since that is addressed in the structure document.
  • We agreed that the word "participates" should instead be the word "engages".

Values document

  • Last item needs to have the first "to" removed.
  • We identified a missing item about the value of conflict resolution. Proposed language that needs wordsmithing: "Humility, openness to criticism and commitment to conflict resolution create a culture of resilience for our organisation and movements."

Goals document

  • It seems like kind of a laundry list and a little hard to follow. To address this, we propose a reordering of the list, based on categories. Proposed categories: Organizational related, tech politics related and politics related.
  • #6 can be interpreted in many different ways. Needs some focus but probably the "engage members" part is the crux of the goal. So it puts this one in the first and we should avoid the overlap of #6 and #2.

We also had a suggestion to change "advocacy" to "movement building".

Structure document

  • We found the centers section a little confusing and spent some time discussing it. Agreed that more attention to this in general would be beneficial.
  • We suggest incorporating clear references to control of budget at each level – membership's role, center's role, leadership committee's role.
  • We deliberated about the sections concerning representation. We are unclear if the numbers outlined in the second bulletpoint under center will actually work if we add more centers. We did not come to a specific recommendation on this.
  • One suggestion to highlight: We need to evaluate our merge with LaNeta to learn from that and prepare for more mergers with other organizations.
  • The lack of reference to the support team – ie. the tech workers – was noted, but no recommendation was made based on this.

Intentionality Statement

we never got to this one.

Notes

Introduction

Present: Maritza, Liz, Josue, Rob, Mallory, Amy, Alfredo, Jamie, Jerome, Walda, Steve R, Kendra, Juan Gerardo, Enrique, Sandra, Pablo, Jaime V

Enrique: several challenges in the organisation, in addition to the ongoing DDoS attack. challenges related to political development of our own membership. There are documents and questions about those documents to help discussion in small groups. There's a wiki page of the agenda, documents and questions. There's a pad and each group should have a note taker.

Jamie: Report on three infrastructure and support developments. (1) We've been under DDoS targeting member NAAF and particular thanks to Jaime. Four sites are behind Deflect of partner EQ. (2) Steve R helped to change our email infrastructure to make it faster and (3) owncloud file and service sharing is working for all members and is extremely useful in a variety of ways.

  1. Break into four groups Brooklyn-NY, MexDF, Online-English, Online-Spanish. Presentation in each group of proposed foundational documents by a LC member: Political Environment, Mission, Values, Goals. Discussion and agreement on common opinions.

Questions to promote discussion:

  • Do this documents reflect our collective analysis of current situation and main contradictions in our societies?
  • Do they reflect what we all want to do collectively as an international association?
  • Do they address MF/PL best possible contributions to the social change movement?

Political environment

Different motivations of the development of the internet that most people don't know about. If we could include evidence of that. Are we saying that the original use of the Internet is progressive? Or was it militaristic? Maybe it's not a useful approach to qualify it as good or bad. What is the "it"? The theory of the organic internet is that it's fundamentally a human invention for progress. But that's a tweaking of the definition of internet from the technology (military) to the people using it (progressive purpose).

Amy: We need to be upfront about the militaristic beginnings and give people a response. We have to have authentic ownership.

Jamie: This is a rhetorical problem.

Alfredo: We can't say technology, we have to say communications technology. We have to make it clear.

Mallory: It's progressive because it's democratised communication. Democracy is not inherently progressive. Also, democratic capitalism is an impure structure. And at a conceptual level, communication is about control. People are resonating with that a lot more today because of surveillance.

Alfredo: What's really resonating is the need to communicate with one another. Much of what people do today has nothing to do with the military.

Liz: Can we just make this more nuanced.

Jamie: It's clarifying to think through communications and rather to think through democratic communications (the Roman empire was not

Mallory: They're also hyperaware of surveillance. And have succeeded despite communications. What people do today has a lot to do with capitalism.

So how do we act on these suggestions and comments?

Summary: The progressive purpose of what-- how to define that-- means understanding democratic communications including the military's role in the creation of the internet and the private sector's role in capitalizing on internet communications. Positive part that we pick up on is the progressive use and the very, very early examples. Needs a thorough going over to tighten up, reduce redundancy.

Amy: Paragraph starts "At the same time,..." seems too ancilliary and should be emphasized more.

Josue: "Theft of resources" needs documentation.

Liz: Gone through as an edit to tighten it up. There are two paragraphs making the same points such as the crisis one and the "Technology is the driving force..." one.

Mission

Mallory: I wish we didn't use the term participates.

Liz: Play a role in many different movements that have their own entity and existence. We build MFPL but we participate in building Brecht.

Jamie: It starts with building movements and that's the important thing. We need to use this to evaluate our work. Does this help us do that?

Engages in, advances, involved in. Or are we contributing to it.

Amy: How does a mission statement relate to an identity statement I want to say "MFPL is a member-based technology collective that mobilises resources to..." And what is the we-- as is who has this as a mission?

Jamie: But is it our mission to be this thing or is it our mission to accomplish this thing.

Josue: We cannot always be moving things forward.

Mallory: But if it's our mission it means we're always trying.

AMy: I came here because of the name that the people who do the work are taking the org forward. The question is how do you organise? We need to be upfront about who we are.

If the mission is static then we probably want to define the "we" elsewhere because it could change. All of the documents need to be taken as a whole. Based on the mission we might not always have this structure. We take this as the most fundamental of the documents.

Jamie: Doesn't mean this is the most fundamental document, but it should be our fundamental basis for our evaluation.

Summary: doesn't say membership organisation (but we're okay with this) and use of the word "participates" and instead should use the word "engages".

Values

Mallory: On the last one, the first "to" should be removed.

Amy: Maybe there is one missing about the value of conflict resolution. This can be relevant for power dynamics.

Proposed language that needs wordsmithing: "Humility, openness to criticism and commitment to conflict resolution create a culture of resilience for our organisation and movements."

Goals

Liz: Could clump things together based on their focus, like political issues, technology issues. Makes this easier to read.

Categories: Organizational related, tech politics related and politics related.

Jamie: Is there a political agenda here or is it a preconceived political statement inherent in the execise of reordering them.

Amy: I think this is about how humans can relate to information. Also dislikes advocacy and should be movement building instead.

Two points in summary: (1) Categories: Organizational related, tech politics related and politics related. (2) #6 can be interpreted in many different ways. Needs some focus but probably the "engage members" part is the crux of the goal. So it puts this one in the first and we should avoid the overlap of #6 and #2.

Structure

Jamie: How we add new centers is part of the reason for our structure. We host and pay for all of the services in NY and Mexico gets the dues. We might need to ask Mexico for that money but that betrays our political goals.

Liz: What do they do in Mexico?

Jamie: They teach people how to do things and participate in political movement building in Mexico.

Mallory: We need to evaluate our merge with LaNeta to learn from that and prepare for more mergers with other organizations.

Amy: Each gropuing in the structure needs some relationship to budget.

The 2/3 is to make sure each center should have balanced representation. But how do we (and should we) put this in the structure to achieve our goals of numeric representation?

Mallory: Why are we replicating electoral politics and representative democracy in this organisation when every member should be able to represent themselves?

Summary: Need to look at the centers structure more, address explicitly control of budget at each level/center and address representation.