International Technology Support

May First/People Link seeks funding to democratize and expand participation in the World Social Forum (WSF) and Climate Justice movements through the Internet.

As Peter Waterman points out:

The WSF still has one foot firmly in the 20th century: NGOs, Organisations, Institutions, Funding Dependence, Ecologically destructive transcontinental flights and equally anti-ecological forum sites. It has also been having the greatest difficulty, I think, in placing its other foot in the agora offering the greatest freedom – cyberspace.

For the last several years, May First/People Link has been working on the "other foot" by sending teams of technologists to build bridges between global convergence attendees and the vast majority of people unable to attend in person, via live video and audio streaming, multi-media web sites, and our collaborative democracy tool. Through our work, we've prioritized building local capacity for supporting the technology and have contributed to a culture of inclusive participation into the very planning of international gatherings.

May First/People Link seeks funding to continue and expand this work over the next year. There are four critical meetings in the next year - Cochabamba + 1 in Montreal, the Paris World Social Forum IC meeting, the COP17 convergence in Durban, South Africa, and Rio + 20 in Brazil. In addition, we seek funding beyond the convergences themselves, to provide follow up capacity building for the local anchor organizations. This follow up work is critical to ensuring the sustainability of the technology infrastructure developed during the convergences.

May First/People Link is seeking: $71,820 to help build diverse international participation and sustainable technology in these meetings.

May First/People Link is a membership organization based in the United States. It is one of the oldest progressive providers of Internet to non-profits in the world. Our membership consists of over 500 members, most of which are organizations (the rest are individual members). By joining as a member and paying yearly dues, a member receives free, unlimited website and email hosting. Our vision is to build a network that values an Open Internet by committing to the use of Free and Open Source Software and making principled decisions regarding policy and practices that affect online communication.

We believe that the Internet is humanity's way of facilitating the communication necessary to build movements to save the human race and the world. The converging crises in the major capitalist economies, the precarious state of the world environment, the political crisis in government in so many of the world's countries and the usurpation of government authority by international banks and committees have brought humanity to a point of urgency and increasing certainty that something must be done to save itself. When all else fails, human beings come together to communicate and figure out how to survive; that is our legacy as a species.

Our Work: Democratizing Global Convergences

Our movement work with the Social Forum began with the US Social Forum in 2007, where we helped lead the technology sub-committee overseeing the first social forum with full online registration from beginning to end. In 2008, at Social Forum of the Americas in Guatemala, we held our first collaborative democracy workshop linking participants in Guatemala with participants in New York, in real time. We repeated this workshop at 2009 World Social Forum in Belem, Brazil (this time brining in Belem, Guatemala, Quebec and New York in French, Spanish, Portuguese, and English). In 2010 we were invited to support the Global Conference on Climate Change in Cochabamba, where we provided a free video stream of all major events using all free and open source software. In June 2010, May First/People Link was central to the organizing of the technology working group and media center. Our Social Forum work continued in October at the World Education Forum in Palestine. In December, the UN Bolivian Mission sponsored our tech support work during the COP16 meeting in Cancun. And, most recently, we provided support to both the World Social Forum in Dakar (where we were accepted onto the International Committee) as well as helped organize the Indymedia Africa center taking place during the forum.

Through our work, we've developed important relationships with local organizers around the globe. Most notably in the Middle East through our work at the World Education Forum and in Africa through our work at the World Social Forum and the Indymedia Africa media house. In both regions we are in communication with coalitions of groups requesting additional support to build on the technology developed during the convergences. Rather than outsourcing technology work, these organization wish to create in-house expertise around their Internet use, yet lack access to training.

Goals for Ongoing Work

This year, our work will focus on reaching our goals of:

  • Increasing participation:
    The core goal of our work is to transform the global movement, helping us reach our potential as truly mass and inclusive movements. We will provide web site support for blogging, recorded video and audio; local media center networking support; and live video and streaming support.
  • Using Experience:
    Our past experiences and technical knowledge that we've accumulated over the past few years are specifically crafted to this historical moment's crises and the political goals of the alter-globalization movement. We will:
    • continue to use this experience to provide guidance and assistance to local organizers that host large convergences for social movements and networks.
    • create a Technology Group within the WSF Communications Committee to coordinate with other organizations invested in software implementation
  • Building Capacity:
    It is important for other participating organizations to effectively implement and use Internet technology such as social media and communications for their ongoing movement work. We will:
    • pursue follow-up work that helps to build capacity with social movement organizations such that expertise and access are shared tools for social change.
    • outreach to organizations to join, and therefore strengthen, our network of protected Internet users at May First/People Link.
  • Spreading Awareness:
    The ownership, control, and use of corporate versus alternative social media, Internet technologies, and communications has an impact on our international networks. Our politics around an Open Internet will ultimately raise consciousness about technology choices that will ensure that the power of communication over the Internet remains a force for social change. We will:
    • advocate for and support the use of Free and Open software
    • engage in critical debates on the future of the Internet within various communities, organizations, and institutions

Work Plan and Timeline

  • April 2011: Cochabamba +1 convergence in Montreal
  • May 2011: World Social Forum IC meeting in Paris.
  • July 2011: Follow up training, Palestine (continuing work from World Education Forum in 2011)
  • December 2011: COP17 will take place in Durban, South Africa
  • March 2012: Follow up training, Place to be determined, Africa (continuing work from WSF in Dakar and COP17 in South Africa)
  • June 2012: Rio + 20 in Rio, Brazil

Not all convergences have been announced and often our assistance is requested at short notice.

Budget Summary: Expenses

Work stipends: $500/week per person Food and Accommodations: $50/per day per person

Environmental Movement Convergences

Montreal Convergence (April 2011)
Travel (4 people by train from NY) 650
Food/Accommodations (space donated by Alternatives Intl) 560
Support work (Minimal stipends for 4 people, 1 week) 2,000
Technical Equipment 250
Montreal Total 3,460
COP17 Durban Convergence (Dec 2011)
Travel (airfare 4 people) 8000
Food/Accommodations (4 people, 3 weeks) 4200
Support work (Minimal stipends for 4 people, 3 weeks 6000
Technical Equipment 500
Durban Total 18,700
Rio + 20 Convergence (June 2012)
Travel (airfare 4 people) 8000
Food/Accommodations (4 people, 3 weeks) 4200
Support work (Minimal stipends for 4 people, 3 weeks 6000
Technical Equipment 500.00
Rio + 20 Total 18,700

World Social Forum Meetings

Paris Meeting/G20 (May 2011)
Travel (4 people) 2,400
Food/Accommodations (2 people, two weeks) 2,880
Paris Total 5,280
Estimated Cost of 1 Other WSF Meeting 5,280
WSF Total 10,560

Post Convergence Capacity Building Work

Each training includes costs for one trip, with two trainers to assist four organizations during a two week training

West Bank training (July 2011)
Travel 3,000
Translation 1,000
Food/Accommodations 1,400
Trainer compensation 2,000
Website hosting 800
Equipment (laptops and A/V equipment for organizations) 2,000
West Bank Training Total 10,200
Africa training (March 2012)
Travel 3,000
Translation 1,000
Food/Accommodations 1,400
Trainer compensation 2,000
Website hosting 800
Equipment (laptops and A/V equipment for organizations) 2,000
Africa Training Total 10,200


Total sum requested $71,820
Last modified 10 years ago Last modified on Jun 17, 2011, 2:18:17 PM