Our right to communicate

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The first right of any person in any society must be the right to communicate. Without communication there is no way to safeguard our other rights or for us to participate fully in a society. When your right to communicate is interrupted by those who would be your voice, your face or your representative, you are being subjected to the governance of another.

Horizontal governance does not mean no one gets a voice, it means everyone does. A person or group who attempts to suppress the voices of others is attempting to seize control. Official group channels are representative governance, regardless of consensus that may or may not lie behind them. A person who interprets another’s voice instead of amplifying it is assuming control over the originator.

People giving a foreign ‘face’ to a cause are standing between us. Media who pretend to write stories about groups whose voices are never heard but write almost universally through the lens of western men instead, are ensuring that all interpretations and solutions come from the same small segment of society. Wars are told from the point of view of arms dealers and politicians, disasters are interpreted by NGO’s, most issues are never covered at all. Official channels decide what will or will not be revealed and media are rewarded for their obedience by access to more official information.

New media in its current form has made this worse instead of better. Journalists write about those powerful in social media to have their stories amplified by the same people. The news – celebrity symbiosis has only escalated as writers vie for page views. We are at risk of having increasingly narrow news coverage as platforms like Twitter move to increase amplification of already powerful accounts and hide the less powerful opinions from view.

Concentric groups, knowledge bridges and epistemic communities outlined the pitfalls of celebrity replacing epistemic communities and the need for peer ranked value of expertise. It also discussed the potential scope of shunning, photoshopping and trolling to prevent all voices from being heard. As information and voice amplification become the new symbols of power, those who would assume control of society have moved to hoard voice amplification and control the message received by the public in new ways.

The pressure for marginalized groups to stay in their marginalized roles increases as does their opportunities to escape. While it was once possible to simply identify people in relation to a more powerful figure, as assistant, wife, staff, servant, serf, slave or other, the Internet provided the opportunity for all to have an equal voice free of relation to others. The backlash to this freedom has been violent.

Depending on the group, individual voices are told their message will receive greater amplification if it comes from another, the danger of speaking openly is so great they must be protected, their individual voices disrupt the harmony of consensus, or they are part of a collective and will be shunned if they dare speak with their own name. Most importantly, the free information beliefs of many groups which threaten power have been twisted to conflate credit theft with free information.

When you are told that the actions and thoughts you know were your own belong to the group or the cause and you will be punished for claiming your own voice or actions, you know you belong to a cult with a cult leader(s). Devoting all of your work to a brand that will be used to create a bloated central figure who will then be able to control the messages of everyone while dining out on ill-gotten celebrity and collecting brand donations is no different than passing all your money to the Unification Church. The cult leaders of the 1970’s demanded money; in the age of the internet they demand fame and information control. In the 1970’s anyone who did not sign all material goods over to a cult leader was called greedy and materialistic. Now anyone who does not assign all credit to the cult leader is called vain and fame-seeking. The irony and hypocrisy is seen in the multimillionaire cult leaders of the 1970’s or the internet and offline famous would-be cult leaders of today.

It is possibly pure coincidence that every movement today that threatens the powerful is taken over by those that seek to suppress individuals and control the messages which are heard. It is undeniable that as soon as those voices come under centralized control they have ceased to say anything that comes close to challenging authority. The lack of recognition for the real source of any work makes it possible for the opportunistic to claim credit and very quickly build a following with too much celebrity and power for anyone to challenge. In the case of an internet entity such as FBI informant Sabu, this can be disastrous for the gullible.

As discussed in Idea and action driven systems, it is frequently necessary or desirable for the origin of ideas or actions to be unknown. It is essential that ideas and actions branded as unknown origin remain that way and no one is ever allowed to assume credit for them either personally or under a group umbrella. It takes only the slightest glance through all past attempts at societal change to see where every group that subsumed individual credit to ‘the cause’ has ended up, from the Communist Party of China to every Brother Leader and Guide of the Revolution that became the new tyrant.

To reiterate once more what was said in Idea and action driven systems, credit theft has absolutely nothing to do with free information. Credit for one’s work or ideas is the right of every person, the human dignity of societal recognition and belonging and an inherent part of their identity. There is no need to ever hide the origin of information unless the ultimate goal is to isolate them and suppress or twist their messages or use their work to glorify another.

To allow local governance and solutions, local voices must be the ones which formulate problems and create dialogue. When there is a need of emergency response of the world to local problems, we must have a way to immediately amplify local voices to a global volume. For this we do not need new media or any media at all. People who are currently faceless and voiceless do not need another to be their face and voice. We need a system where urgent local news can be collected and amplified globally when necessary, and where the people of the world decide which news is important, not official news channels or celebrity nodes.

A person who takes your idea and information to use and build upon is your collaborator, tester and colleague. A person who takes your credit or your voice is your enemy, a thief who steals your societal recognition and approval for themselves and would be your tyrant.

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Approval Economy: In Practice

Approval Economy background.

I have talked a lot in this blog about money and society and the need for new solutions. My opinion from years of volunteering is that money ruins every volunteer effort. As soon as a need receives funding, it becomes a noun and a product instead of an action. As soon as a project is allowed to fundraise, there is a need to manufacture scarcity, to withhold work until payment is received and to continue the need for the project. And as soon as a project receives money, the motives of the person receiving money are suspect.

I do not want to go to a ‘crowd funding website’ and ask a centralized go-between to stand between me and anyone who chooses to support me. I do not want to waste my time creating glossy videos and applications to explain to strangers what you already know, my work. I do not want to ally myself with corporate media or NGO’s, I am trying to make both obsolete. I do not want to develop a persona, tell you all about my personal life, appear on panels and talks to become a character and a brand; I am an action not a noun and I value my right to privacy.

I do not want to be the designated official person for any action I initiate, I want to be free to let others take my place whenever I find people willing. I want to continue to promote others instead of seeking to enhance my own reputation for a livelihood. I want to give freely my ideas and work to anyone who can use them instead of hoarding them to myself for profit.

I do not want to ask you to support every action I take. I will not delay my work waiting for approval or funding. Most of what I work on are things that nobody knows of or supports, that is why I give them my priority. I do not want to jump on popular, widely supported causes to gain support. I want to continue to speak even when everyone disagrees with me as they very frequently do. I want to speak for Gaza when the world says it is anti-semitic to do so, I want to speak for the DRC when the west doesn’t know or care where that is, I want to speak for the Rohingya when no one believes me. I want to criticize democracy, consensus, peer to peer economies, libertarianism and Marxism when everyone I know supports them. I want to advocate for people who have no supporters or funding behind them and tell people about things they may not want to know about.

I do not want to sell you a book, a talk, art, advocacy, a button or a T-shirt, anything I do is available to you as always, for free. But I want it recognized that what I do is not ‘unemployment’, that I am a contributing and valuable member of society entitled to the benefits of society. I want to have the human dignity of societal approval and recognition. I want to be able to support myself and others in society without any of us becoming a product.

If you do approve of the actions I have taken in the past and the work I do, if you trust that I am a valuable member of your community and I would not take more than I require, and if you agree that my time is better spent on my work than in trying to justify my work to strangers, please consider supporting me. If you are unable to support me directly please vouch for my work to others who may be able to.

My work

For those that do not know me well, following is some of what I have done, since 2010, under this name, online. I also do a very above average amount of community and individual support offline, and I have done this work for many years, under a variety of names. I have worked for many years to amplify voices of those unheard in society and to create political change that would prevent the abuse of power.

I wrote a book about you.

I ran the Wikileaks news site, Wikileaks Central from 2010 to 2012. I acted as sole administrator and editor and I wrote half the content on the site. The content I did not write, I sought out, edited and fact checked. I found stories and interviews for others, did background work, and taught writers, most of whom had not used html, did not speak English well, or were not accustomed to writing to a professional standard. I taught basic security procedures to both writers and sources. I did all the work on the site which was not writing, including sysadmin, correspondence, spam control and community building. I worked with activists around the world to organize mass protests under the Action section. I dealt with a daily stream of people with proposals or communications for Wikileaks and forwarded those that I had vetted. I created connections between many people that resulted in action of significant political consequence.

I promoted News, Analysis and Action. After I found stories and did all the background research into them, I then promoted action taken where necessary. I worked with a huge variety of groups to promote peaceful and legal action on stories, from grass roots supporters, lawyers, NGO’s, Anonymous and anyone else willing to act, on stories from Wikileaks and Tunisia in 2010 to Gaza, DRC, Rohingya and Gabon recently.

I advocated for individuals such as Abdul Ilah Shayi, Ai Wei Wei, Marc Emery, Tal al-Mallouhi, Rudolf Elmer, and many more.

I advocated for movements such as Day of Rages, Hope Riders, Jasmine Revolution, Take the Square, Occupy and Anonymous.

I have deeply researched documents such as the US State cables and the Palestine papers to tie information not widely known to the current news.

I have covered human rights and political news extensively and attempted to move the news conversation from personal gossip to the news we require in order to govern ourselves.

I have supported and promoted the actions of any group or individual fighting for the same results as I am, from human rights organizations and journalists I find effective to grass roots campaigns such as Cryptoparties, the Bradley Manning campaign or Guantanamo action groups. I worked with Balkanleaks and Bivol to promote their work in Bulgaria, recommended them to Wikileaks as a media partner and helped amplify their work on Wikileaks Central. I used the news site to help amplify many other individuals and organizations working towards the same goals, including whistleblowing sites.

I have worked for years to get the facts of Omar Khadr’s case to Canadians and the rest of the world and to expose the extreme corruption and complicit media coverage which has surrounded his case.

I have worked to expose corruption in governance and justice systems and biased media coverage.

I attempt to create immediate global action on urgent humanitarian causes that the mainstream media is misrepresenting and ignoring, such as the openly announced plan to attack Gaza, originally billed as Operation Cast Lead 2, the M23 crisis in the DRC which the world’s largest UN peacekeeping force declined to stop, and the Rohingya genocide in Burma/Myanmar.

I have done extensive research into human trafficking, paedosadist rings, slavery and ritual killings, including initiating and providing all the background research and connections for the OpGabon campaign.

I have worked to create action for social change with many international movements, on Mumble, mailing lists, irc, skype, and every other communication venue, in every time zone, for years. I have worked with Spanish indignados movements and MENA day of rages to create solidarity in the US and Canada. I have helped run many collaborative pages, pads, ops, events, twitter accounts, etc.

I have tried to develop a methodology for collaboration that would work on a global scale. I hope to finish this series in the next few months and publish it as an e-book for activists who wish to take the discussion further. This incomplete work has been translated and used in online courses, social movements and discussion groups internationally already, so I am hopeful it will be useful.

I have worked to expand access to communication from areas left out of the global conversation. I have networked with activists in many African countries, indigenous South American groups, China, and South East Asia to encourage increased global communication. I am working with Tribler and others to create a free software peer to peer platform for global collaboration to enable both discussion and collaborative research.

For all of the work described above and much much more, I have never received any funding at all. I truly believe that to seek funding attached to any of this work would create a motivational conflict and make a product of both me and the people I work with. Since we are still in a world which requires currency to participate in society, I would like to suggest we start using that currency as a confirmation of approval instead of exchange. I can no longer continue my work without assistance; I am seeking your approval to allow me to participate in society.

Through Paypal
Regular donations through Gittip

Random media quoting me:

Sydney Morning Herald about Occupy
BBC about Global Square
VICE about Rohingya
Daily Dot about Rohingya
Daily Dot about Gabon
GlobalPost about Rohingya
GlobalPost about Gabon
VentureBeat about Rohingya
The Diplomat about Omar Khadr
Global Post re fracking protest and OpSWN research.