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.

14 thoughts on “Approval Economy: In Practice

  1. Thanks Heather for translating the feelings of many of us. The old and on going struggle of ‘abolishing waged labour’ is nowadays converging with the struggles for right to dignity and thrive, and the understanding of ‘productive labour’ is expanding outside the previous liberal political economy descriptions, Michel Bauwens recently reformlated the question as ‘how can we put labour out of market’. Land, resources and money needs to be taken out of the market too for a compleet solution of course. Bitcoin and transnational peer production and commons – sharing networks are i.m.o lkely to be parts of the solution, There are many interesting discussions going on and your contribution to these debates deserves also in practice!


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  3. Is there a way to donate regularly? I know some people have this setup so that I can have an automatic small donation setup in PayPal. It is much easier to donate small amount regularly.


    • Ah thanks for the example. I think a global … something, if not basic income then basic essentials, is going to be a necessary transition tool. Waiting on Greece and others to work out alternatives. Interesting watching Golden Dawn create their own society above a society by passing out basic essentials to their own. That is a bad example, but I can see that coming too, where people agree to a social contract and become part of a network. So much to work out because the roots of everything not working now are so deep.


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