Evaluation of 2016 Priorites

The priorities we formulated in 2015 were partly in response to a situation characterized by the crumbling of economies and social orders world-wide, the increasingly deadly threat of climate change and the looming threat of fascist movements in many countries including the United States. At the same time, there has been a powerful push-back from movements of resistance and response -- particularly those in the communities of color in the U.S. and the campaign of Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Technology is at the center of all those developments, both positive and negative, and our work in 2016 has reflected that fact.

As a whole, this year's Leadership Committee was succesful in meeting these priorities.

After considering all the priorities together, and taking into account the resources available, the Leadership Committee chose to focus our programatic work around building an anti-surveillance campaign since that topic encompassed many of the priorities identified at the meeting.

With some priorities, however, we were not able to make progress. One problem we encountered was the breadth and scope of the priorities identified made it difficult for the Leadership Committee to address all of them.

We encourage the membership to generate a shorter list of priorities as a means of better focusing the efforts of the organization.

Mesa on Human Communication Technology and Art

  • Given the current urgency for data sovereignty in the light of escalating cyber attacks on our movement, dialogue among activists and technologists is pressing. MFPL will conduct a campaign to promote dialogue between activists and technologists to together define technology & communication movement policy.
  • survey to identify what technology MFPL members currently use for communication beyond what MFPL offers (specifically use of social media; how concerned are members around data security)
  • popular education for members and the movement around race and class & cultural issues which get in the way of the conversation
  • Continue & expand the techie of color training program
  • Develop & launch campaign of educational & informational videos around MFPL issues & services


MF/PL successfully promoted dialog between activists and technologists (specifically around race, technology and other related issues) in many contexts: 11 radio interviews, two documents submitted to the United Nations, two major on-line meetings (one on denial of service attacks and one on surveillance), co-signed 7 statements with other movement organizations. We also presented dozens of workshops at various conferences, including the Human Rights Network, Rights Con, Left Forum, Allied Media Conference, two major Alternative Economy conferences, Hackers on Planet Earth, and the Free Media Forum and World Social Forum in Montreal.

In addition, we promoted dialogue via our participation on Board of Center for Media Justice (via Leadership Committee members Alfredo Lopez), as anchor organization of MAGNet, as member of advisory committee for Allied Media Conference, and as a member of the Association for Progressive Communications.

We have also participated as a major partner in a Rosa Luxemberg (Mexico) funded project to produce a documentary on alternative service providers.

We were not successful in a few areas on this topic:

  • People of Color techies program: Through a partnership with the Progressive Technology Project (PTP) we have developed a new foundation proposal to fund the POC techies project, however, it was rejected by the New York Foundation. We continue to work with PTP to fund this program.
  • We were not able to organize popular eduction around race/class nor send out a survey on technology use to our members.

Mesa on International / Earthcare

  • Using Jitsi and/or other open source tools, institute sessions where members across borders can share information on how Internet privacy threats are manifesting in their respective communities. Use content from these sessions to create political education resources, including international panels at various meeting such as the Left Forum.
  • Strengthen relationships with major international movements, including Internet Social Forum, World March of Women, WSF in Montreal, Climate Convergence
  • Coordinate learning from each MFPL member to learn what work they are doing, how they use MFPL technology, what gaps and needs they have, with a goal of identifying and building links between members and especially across borders


As part of our surveillance campaign (see evaluation of item above), we took special care to emphasize cross-border and international participation. One of our five Left Forum panels was exclusively organized by activists in Mexico on the topic of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and presented, via Jitsi, to participants of the Left Forum in New York. Leadership Committee member Juan Gerardo came to the US twice to attend international solidarity economy conferences, bringing a cross-border perspective to the US.

In addition, one of our two major online meetings - on surveillance - included Leadership Committee Member Jacobo who discussed the impact of surveillance in Mexico to the mostly US audience.

We also brought in Hamid Khan, from Stop LAPD Spying to address participants at the Free Media Conference in Montreal, to bring a local perspective to a mostly International gathering.

In Mexico, a series of workshops was conducted to train members on how to use May First/People Link resources.

The Internet World Social Forum did not fully materialize, so we did not make any meaningful connections to it.

In addition, we failed to make connections with either the World March of Women or any climate convergences.

Mesa organized with various online participants

  • Link an “Internet privacy campaign” to local, day-to-day sureillence (street/building cameras, criminal records, police surveillence)


We are successful in making this connection, specifically through our work with the Media Action Grassroots Network. In particular, our surveillance online meeting featured two local anti-surveillance activists speaking to a national audience about their experiences. Similarly, Hamid Khan presented in Montreal about the relationship of local surveillance to national and international surveillance.

Mesa on Human rights, peoples rights, and democracy

  • Increase membership fees in a tiered and equitable manner that does not exclude anyone. This should be done for the purpose of growing Mayfirst’s membership, infrastructure, capacity for outreach, and to provide resources for driving priority issues.
  • Engage members from marginalized communities for capacity building and education, to increase engagement and nurture leadership within the collective.
  • Build a voice to fight against the oppressive use of technology. This includes developing an analysis of how technology is used oppressively, and using that analysis to educate our membership base.


We did not increase dues, but we did agree to break out membership dues from service fees so new members can join without services as a way to expand membership (decision made, but not yet implemented). We also organized our annual membership meeting specifically around the role of technology in society and how we can use it for revolutionary purposes.

We also welcomed new members to the leadership committee (creating one of the most diverse leadership bodies of any technology organization in the US) and rigorously held to a standard of gender and race diversity on every panel we organized, including involving our leaders in panels specifically addressing both sexism and racism in tchnology.

Mesa on Technology, Media, Gender, and Culture

  • May First must have as a political strategy for the collaboration and alliance and the strengthening of the alternative media movement and free media.
  • May First should promote the work of and messages from the organizations within it at the base, the grassroots, which will serve to strengthen the May First organization.
  • Make communications more clear with a deliberate campaign to communicate joint common interests and how these interests can be advanced/implemented through common tools.
  • May First should have as a priority to break the language barrier in its work.
  • May First should offer clarity about the way and logistics of documentation, and promote member participation. Especially technical documentation and also organizational documentation.
  • Think of strategies of popular education that can generate resources to sustain the infrastructure. It could be community parties to host workshops to share knowledge and promote linkages between our organizations that are members.
  • Due to the importance of MFPL, our organization should help shape main agendas of internet /related organizations and find common positions.


We engaged heavily in the Free Media convergence that took place in Montreal just before the World Social Forum, operated as an anchor for the Media Access Grassroots Network, and made significant improvements to the Mexlca conference system (now supports up to 50 simultaneous phone calls, better language switching).

We failed to make real improvements to documentation for promoting member participation or develop popular education methods to generate resources.

Mesa on Countryside, Social development, social economy, and human rights

  • We propose to design methodologies and diagnostics about information risk and security. Should include analysis and case studies.
  • Grow MFPL infrastructure with the organization, assess server needs/operations in Mexico and in other countries.
  • We believe it is necessary to promote Free Software tools and include training. To present to the members a table of the tools that MayFirst has as Free Software compared with those available in the commercial market, so we can see the differences.
  • It is necessary to research to minimize the problems we’ve been having with communication systems, in particular Mezcla software.


Work was done to fund-raise for purchasing servers in Mexico and discussion began on purposes for such servers and strategies for maintaining them.

In addition, we heavily promoted ownCloud and other tools in Left Forum and via anti-surveillance campaign in general and made major improvements to Mexcla, our interpretation-friendly conference system.

In Mexico, a series of workshops was conducted to train members on how to use May First/People Link resources.

We did not design methodologies and diagnostics about risk/security.

Last modified 5 years ago Last modified on Oct 27, 2016, 2:54:37 PM