chuck at mutualaid.org
Fri Mar 7 09:38:00 PST 2008
A few criticisms. I'm very much for openness and transparency, but there
are some significant issues which limit how much a radical organization
can be "open."
Aaron Kreider wrote:
> I wonder if it'd be useful to get a small group of people to write up a
> short manifesto calling on activists and activist organizations to Share
> as much information as possible?
> What Should be Open
> -all your publications (books, videos, leaflets, images, etc)
I'm generally for this and think that more publishers should make their
content available as much as possible. Making content available publicly
broadens the audience for your materials. Too many projects are so
restrictive that it actually ends up hurting themselves.
On the other hand, the needs of organizations to recoup costs involved
with publishing projects *has* to be respected. A smart organization
will make available excerpts and individual pieces from their published
content right after publication. But organizations have every right to
embargo the release of the rest of new content if they need to make
money to recoups costs.
One of the things that hurts all publishing these days, especially
radical publishing, is the idea that everything should be available for
free. If my project gives away everything for free, how are we going to
raise money to cover the costs of creating that content? We are already
face to face with that hurdle with our publishing project. We don't have
the capital to get our publishing project off the ground. We don't want
to run advertising on the website. Most of us are underemployed or
unemployed. We don't have a pool of wealthy liberals that donate to us.
We don't have access to trust funds like other radical publishing
projects have access to. Disinformation.com funded their publishing
project with a million dollar payout from a lawsuit. The ISO draws on
hundreds of thousands of dollars that was given to them in the form of a
> -all your programming code that you produce (or hired consultants to
Don't have a problem with this.
> -internal organizational documents that would be of use (ex. fundraising
> letter, strategic plan, budget)
Generally, this is a good idea, but there are some limitations. Given
that we are radical media projects which are subject to repression from
the state and legal sanctions from corporations, there is just some
stuff that groups shouldn't share. I'm a big transparency advocate, but
there are some limitations, given the current political climate.
> This fits with the IMC vision as IMC sites are already sharing. And it
> fits with our goal of including networking in a future imc-alternatives
> site. As more and more activist networking sites appear, we need to
> mobilize thousands of grassroots activists to take a strong stance in
> favor of sharing data - otherwise organizations won't make it a
> priority. In the ideal future, organizations will prioritize sharing
> and integrate it into their websites from day one.
I'm skeptical about sharing data and information with other projects.
It's not a two-way street.
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