wiki:projects/membership-meeting/2018/evaluation

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Evaluation of last years priorities

Last year's priorities are listed on our web page.

Our priorities for the year are broken into four major areas:

Educate

Our most prominent technology education initiative was the Defend our Movements web site, which provides detailed information on digital security practices uniquely framed for movement organizations. Launched in collaboration with the Center for Media Justice, Defend Our Movements gained a lot of media attention and we received a lot of positive feedback (as well as critical feedback which helped further improve the site).

The project also included a help line which we staffed. Although it did not generate a lot of phone calls, it did provide unique opportunities to connect with activists struggling with security issues and learn more about our movement's needs.

In addition, the Mexico office conducted several workshops on using the control panel and other aspects of May First/People Link's technology [please add more].

Despite the success of these projects, technology education, was our least successful priority. Our members made explicit requests around developing a technology training curriculum, involving our members in designing needs and training priorities, identifying barriers to people adopting technology, and targeting technology used by children and media makers.

Ultimately, our staff and Leadership Committee were not able to put together the resources to make all of these aspects of this priority happen.

Increase members involvement

Until this year, the only opportunities for member involvement in the organization have been the membership meeting, the leadership committee, occassional workshops and interaction via conferences and movement meetings.

This year, for the first time, we implemented a new vehicle called "Need to Know." Organized monthly, Need to Know is a webinar series that brought together our membership with speakers on a wide range of topics relevant to technology and the movement. It provides a forum for members to get together in real time, ask questions of the speakers and learn more about May First/People Link. Topics this year included: Google, the Technology of Surveillance, and the Spectre/Meltdown crisis.

In addition, in keeping with the priority of using alternative media to reach a bigger audience, we made the Need to Know available as a podcast, along with another podcast-only series called Points Taken. Points Taken is a series of interviews with movement organizers about their work and use of technology.

Strengthen Technology capacity of the organization

We made significant progress on this priority, but not exactly in the way defined in our membership meeting. In the membership meeting, we identified decentralization as an important theme. However, over the course of the year - and as we collaborated through a coalition with other alternative providers - we shifted our focus to shoring up our general infrastructure. As part of this program we developed an ambitious plan for re-building our infrastructure in a way that is faster, more flexible and more efficient. We organized a member webinar on the topic and we've already made significant progress and expect to complete the project by mid 2019.

Through this project, we did significant research around new technologies related to containers and network filesystems.

In addition, the Brooklyn office has joined the NY Mesh network, although we are still waiting to be properly connected. This initiative is building a network for connecting to the Internet that is independent of the major phone and cable companies that have a near monopoly. We are actively studying ways to support this initiative and others like it so we can build an independent net from your computer to our servers.

Organize

We have been actively working toward the technology congress envisioned in this year's priorities - however, most of that work has been in planning mode. As of this writing, we have 5 regional technology congresses planned (New York, Boston, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Albuquerque) with a final congress planned for Mexico City in February 2019. We have secured funding from the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and the Center for Media Justice, which is co-organizing with us. In addition, we are working closely with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Mexico City to organize the final congress.

Despite several attempts, we have not been successful in organizing a team of techies to work on decentralized technology. It failed to gain traction with the techies we sought to organize and did not receive the support and consistency necessary to make it happen.

However, there are two other techie organizing initiatives that were are actively involved with:

  • The meeting of technologists in Highlander produced a successful sign on letter and a full day meeting prior to the Allied Media Conference. This group is continuing to organize and work together.
  • We continue to work with an informal coalition of alternative independent Internet service providers from 19 different regions around the world to collaborate on improving our infrastructure, sharing resources, and developing mutually beneficial strategies for maintaining technology safely and securely for the movement.
Last modified 13 months ago Last modified on Sep 8, 2018, 10:30:42 PM