Version 22 (modified by alfredo, 11 years ago) (diff)


Overview: A Proposal

The connection between the current, global progressive movement and the Internet was made manifest in the success of the World Social Forum process. A sustained convergence of this scope would never have been possible without the Internet. Yet, as global crisis depletes the resources required to sustain geographical convergences of large numbers of people, the possibilities available with the Internet ensure the progressive movements' continued collaboration world-wide.

At the same time, 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 committess have brought humanity to a point of urgency and the Internet, a community of more than 1.4 billion people world-wide, is one of its responses. When all else fails, human beings come together to communicate and figure out how to survive. That's what's happening today with the Internet.

In that context, the role of technologists becomes critically and centrally important. Techies are the leaders of the Internet because we run its technology and lead the work on its software. Progressive techies have a very special role to play: our political perspective prioritizes the use of the Internet and development of its software for organizing (rather than merely commerce); our commitment to Free and Open Source Software makes us central to a struggle that is fundamental to the Internet's future; the fierce opposition we have long had to controlling and interventionist government policies help assure the Internet's essential independence and freedom; and our politics gives the progressive movement a leadership position within the Internet.

The impact of our work, and the importance of the Internet, has never been clearer. It has drawn together all kinds of organizations (the Association for Progressive Communications, for example) and has driven the World Social Forum to its current situation. And, as the progressive movement has outgrown the Forum structure, an expanded format to the Forum process, first used at the Belem, Brazil WSF, is emerging. At Belem, organizers from all corners of the globe were encouraged to participate in the Belem Forum from their local communities via Internet media.

Simultaneously, a new concept in collaboration on-line became popular: used all over the United States and at various world and localized Social Forums. The "Collaborative Democracy Workshop" was first used at the first United States Social Forum in 2007 where technologists collaboratively developed a progressive approach to maintaining the Internet as a secure and open platform for movement building.

These two processes have merged into what is known as a Techie Congress, an open virtual space led by and involving progressive technologists. The ultimate goal of the Techie Congress is to discuss and establish some principles about progressive techies responsibilities toward our movement, our rights in relationship to that movement and the social and political rights of all Internet users.

Because of the traditional isolation techies have had within the movement (and from each other), this type of gathering has been very infrequent and an international movement of these gatherings is unprecedented.


Create accountability: Respond directly to the causes of global crisis enabling fully collaborative and democratic problem-solving in response to late-capitalism crisis. The format and nature of social forum versus civil responsibility. Fortify the movement in the face of deepening crisis, severe rationing of resources, and reducing costs for communications and convergences.

Vision & Strategy: To develop an international progressive techie "organization" to serve as a resource for the entire progressive movement internationally. To dramatically increase the presence of women in the technie community. To stress the leadership of the global south.

Action Approach: An international convergence of technologists creates a network of access. The Techie Congress is an ongoing project, which builds sustainable open virtual space. The building process begins with core activists able to mobilize networks of techies all over the world. Dovetailing with open, simultaneous convergences of technologists, the growing network aims to empower politically-engaged technologists to embrace principles for implementing open virtual space. While growing the scope of the techie congress, focus is given to increasing access to technology in as many regions of the world as possible. Increased access carried out by empowered community leaders enables for an open online convergence with the highest degree of democracy ever seen in humanity's history.

The tools developed for the Techie Congress will be free, open, and available for application in all social forum, and forum-like events. While growing our own network and building our campaign, we will be enabling, technologically, for similar movements to use our tools to connect activists and communities across the globe.

Open weekly meetings are being held between Social Forum activists to plan Principles & Goals, Vision & Strategy, and building open Tools for expanded formats. A year's campaign will begin with the First Congress in Paris for early sponsorship and capacity building of the project. The first major, global Forum-endorsed event will then be held at the Social Forum of Alternatives in Mexico, City. The Techie Congress of the US Social Forum will be a major event centered in Detroit, Michigan. A few more events will be scheduled in 2010 with the current stage's final event at the 2011 WSF in Dakar, Senegal. Each event will grow stronger networks of progressive technologists globally with one another and locally between techies and the movement.

Movement Building, Sustainability, & Ongoing Vision: After this initial campaign, next year will bring the focus to empowering the Techie Congress network to lead and stage an international movement towards problem-solving global issues on various scales with simultaneous collaborative moments.

First Convergence, Paris Meeting (April 2-3, 2010)

  1. Principles: Collaborative Democracy Workshop
  2. Vision: Strategies for use of technology in any social [forum] movement
  3. Action: Skill-share, project exchange, and building together

Second Convergence, Thematic Forum on Alternatives in Mexico (May 2-4, 2010)

Our proposed seminar for the Thematic Social Forum on Alternatives highlights a crucial aspect of our movement today: the Internet. With over a billion people engaging in a collective activity, today's Internet is one of humanity's largest social movements, reflecting the kind of social interaction and collective achievement activists like us struggle for world-wide: fundamentally collaborative, democratic and based almost entirely on tools and software that has been produced collaboratively, developed by large, democratic communities and distributed freely. It is truly international and resilient against constant attempts to control its direction and curtail its positive growth.

Seminar Description Politically progressive techies from all over the globe will gather together to develop a set of "principles" describing our responsibilities and rights to our movement and the responsibilities and rights it has towards us. Our goal is to publish and distribute these principles through our networks and submit them as a document produced by the Social Forum process. On that basis, we will begin to build the kind of relationships inside the movement that will move us all forward.

Logistics The main session will be a collaboration between Seminar attendees and international participants via the internet. Using a internet-connected laptop and web browser, small groups of 3 - 4 will work face-to-face in a larger, collaborative session. For 2 hours, 10-15 minutes for an introduction, 45 minutes for a collaborative online session, 30 minutes for review and global discussion, and 30 minutes for local discussion and wrap up. Materials needed that can be provided by seminar organizers include enough laptops (supplied by participants or rented) for all groups, projector, microphone, camera, and speakers. Requested support from forum organizers: internet connection.

In Spanish

Creemos que “otro mundo es posible”: un mundo en que se respetan los derechos humanos universales, espacios plurales e abiertos y diversos porque estamos interesados en conocer las experiencias sostenidas y los alcances posibles en todos espaces incluyendo espacio virtual.


Colaborar en la elaboracion de una declaración de principios que establece la relacion entre los tecnologos progresistas y el movimiento progresista del cual forman parte e a la vez plantea sobre varias preguntas particulares. Tales como: Cuales son sus derechos frente el movimiento? Sus deberes? Cual es el papel que jugamos en la lucha mundial?

Parte de un proceso que va durar un ano, los congresos de technologos se estan celebrando en varias ciudades del mundo y en el Foro Social de EEUU en junio de este ano. El plan es unir los resultados de todos los congresos en un documento en el lugar del web que tenemos e, si es posible, hacer un Congreso mundial para unificar las ideas en un documento.

El documento que surge sera en primer documento escrito por technologos que trata del "derechos y deberes del technologo progresista".

El nombre de el seminario (como es en todos eventos participantes es "Techie Congress").

Descripcion de Actividad [machine translated]

Nuestro seminario propuesto para el Foro Social Temático sobre Alternativas se base en una realidad: no se puede ni pensar del futuro y de un lucha hacia el futuro sin considerar al Internet. Con más de mil millones de personas colaborando en una actividad colectiva, la Internet de hoy es uno de los mayores movimientos sociales de la humanidad. Como su tarea principal, ha desarollado una tecnologia, basada en sus mejores instintos basicos (colaboracion, discusion and apoyo mutuo), para hacer posible nuestra sobreviviencia y el desarrollo de una sociedad sana, justa y colaborativa.

Los technologos forman la direccion de este gran movimiento y eso subraya su importancia politica.

En su caracter y conducta, el Internet refleja las practicas que ha caracterizado el ser humano por todo su historia: colaborativa, democrática y basada casi totalmente en las herramientas y software que son productos de colaboración, desarrollados por grandes comunidades democráticas y distribuidos libremente. Es verdaderamente internacional y capaz de resistir a los intentos constantes para controlar su dirección y reducir su crecimiento positivo.

Tecnologos progresistas de todo el mundo se reunirán para elaborar "principios" que describen nuestras responsabilidades y derechos frente al resto del movimiento progresista. Nuestro objetivo es publicar y distribuir estos principios a través de nuestras redes y presentarlos como un documento producido por el proceso del Foro Social y el Congreso de tecnologos. Esto con el proposito de adelantar la relacion que tiene el tecnologo con el resto del movimiento.

Utilizando una erramienta que se llama "democracia colaborativa", grupos pequeños de 3 a 4 trabajarán cara a cara. Durante 2 horas, de 10-15 minutos para una introducción, a 45 minutos para una sesión de colaboración en línea, a 30 minutos para su revisión y discusión a nivel mundial, y 30 minutos para el debate local y concluir. Materiales necesarios que pueden ser proporcionados por los organizadores del seminario incluyen ordenadores portátiles suficiente (suministrado por los participantes o en alquiler) para todos los grupos, proyector, micrófono, cámara y altavoces.

Peticion de apoyo de los organizadores del Foro: conexión a Internet.

Metodologia de trabajo Tipo de actividad propuesta es seminario o taller. Propuesta duracion es quatro horas. Esperamos participacion estara cero personas. Idiomas: Espanol, English, Francais, y Portuguese. Traduccion de presentacion en Mexcio estara Espanol y Ingles. Requieremos proyector y mampara, sillas, y conexion a Internet.

Third Convergence, USSF Techie Congress: Workshop Proposal

Politically progressive techies from all over the United States and from several countries of the world will gather together to develop a set of "principles" describing our responsibilities and rights to our movement and the responsibilities and rights it has towards us.

We will then distribute the principles to everyone at the Social Forum and propose them to the USSF's People's Assembly for ratification. On that basis, we will begin to build the kind of relationships inside the movement that will move us all forward.

Techie Congress Description

In this gathering, "techies" (the progressive movement's technologists) will join together to examine and discuss strategies for growing one of the largest, most important and powerful human movement in recent history.

With over a billion people engaging in a collective activity, today's Internet is one of humanity's largest social movements, reflecting the kind of social interaction and collective achievement activists like us struggle for world-wide: fundamentally collaborative, democratic and based almost entirely on tools and software that has been produced collaboratively, developed by large, democratic communities and distributed freely. It is truly international and resilient against constant attempts to control its direction and curtail its positive growth. Techies have been fundamental to this movement and will continue to play an increasingly important role in the progress of humanity.

Even more inspiring, the Internet has grown in this progressive way against considerable relentless opposition by powerful forces that don't want a "better world" for most of us. As such, it represents one of the progressive movement's most significant and important victories. An international Techie Congress seeks to strategize against this growing opposition.

In this gathering, we seek to hold an open space for technologists to collaborate on a set of "principles" for organizing the Internet. Modeled after the Collaborative Democracy Workshop at the first US Social Forum, this event integrates virtual participation with organized in-person events in local venues. At each location, the audience breaks into groups of 4 - 5 people. Each group will speak with one voice via a "scribe" who will be tasked with entering the group's proposals into a web-based system. A dynamic, projected display of the current state of the document is viewable by participants in the room and anyone in the world with access to our website.

All ideas belong to the group: any group can edit any proposal, whether they wrote the original version or not. All revisions of a given proposal are stored, but only the most recent edit is projected to the group as a whole. The group which creates a new version automatically endorses that right, but otherwise holds no special connection to it.

Each group also has the ability to endorse any proposal that seems worthy. When a proposal is edited, existing endorsements are cleared, which requires solicitation of new endorsements for the new version. Proposals with more endorsers float to the top, while the proposals with fewer endorsers sink to the bottom of the projected list.

To keep the document direct and concise, only 10 distinct proposals can exist at a given time. If 10 proposals already exist, the only way to add a new idea to the document is to edit an existing idea, which requires engaging other groups in a dialog to ensure an adequate number of re-endorsements.

A Call for a U.S. Progressive Techie Congress

Never has our work been more important.

A system struggling for its own survival, at the expense of humanity, greedily seeks to turn every idea into a distorted profit-making caricature of what it originally was.

The Internet humanity has built, under our collaborative leadership, is now threatened by a morass of profit-making schemes, rabidly self-protective proprietary software, and repressive laws that obliterate the spirit and letter of the First Amendment from on-line activity.

With their avalanche of limited, glossy and ultimately entrapping social software, corporations are profiteering on human communication while fencing it into a superficial, choiceless chorus line of faces and self-descriptions.

All the while, the human race continues to make and change history by using the Internet for the reasons humanity created it: the massive communication of our ideas and knowledge and the collective, collaborative search for the truth of our world and its future.

And it continues to look to us, its techies, for alternatives, information and leadership.

But, while our importance has never been greater, we are also often alienated by the progressive movement's dismissal of our politics, thinking, perspectives and experiences.

In addition, much of the movement doesn't respect our work choosing to under-pay us or to hire large, flashy companies whose work doesn't build the movement (and frequently isn't as good as ours).

Finally, most of the movement has no respect for the principle of Free and Open Source Software.

As a result, too many of us shy away from movement work. "Burned out" is now a common condition among prgoressive techies. And our political work has now been divided from our tech work. And the movement loses the political thinking and leadership of a group of people who are the leaders of the largest mass progressive movement in human history: the Internet.

Now is the time to change this.

We want to build a set of principles that we can all share and that the progressive movement will agree to live by. We want to write and ratify an "agreement with the progressive movement" that is a commitment the entire movement will live by.

And the entire movement will be together, in one place, in June, 2010, at the United States Social Forum in Detroit.

So we are making this call to all techies who support the principles of the Social Forum to gather in Detroit at the US Social Forum for a four-hour Progressive Techie Congress that will wrap up a process of discussion and thinking on-line around these principles.

After the Congress, we will distribute the principles through our networks and to the Social Forum process as a consensus document. On that basis, we will begin to build the kind of relationships inside the movement that will move us all forward.


  • Contracted software development: includes website, collaborative democracy software, server maintenance $5,000
  • Coordination staff: Two, part-time organizing positions for 1 year $60,000
  • Travel: includes fees and travel/accommodation to outreach events as well as travel/accommodation for 6 major Techie Congress events in Paris (April), Mexico (May), Detroit (June), Palestine (October), India (December), and Dakar (January 2011) $8,000
  • Equipment: ongoing costs for rentals and purchases at events $4,000
  • Advertising and networking $3,000

Sponsoring Organizations

  • May First/People Link
  • Alternatives
  • Social Watch
  • Agaric Design
  • (email mallory at for Sponsorship Inquiries)