Thinking about #OMN from 4 years ago

I have found memories of fighting the Power Politics of the “undead left” during the London Social Forum many years ago – lots of knotted strings of organic garlic around the top “taking the power table” to highlight the uncomfortable “undead left´s” grasping for power.

Then the ad hock crew taking away the top table altogether during the lunch break and arranging all the chairs in a circle. Their faces were a delight, coming back after lunch and it kinda/might have worked… but the splits of “not thought of here” took over and the undead were permissioned to take back the space at the next meeting.

The ESF movement faded and now is a shadow – no alt was built.

The use of cultural myths and traditions will mediate and disempower “power politics” but it’s a chicken and an egg to get these embedded in groups that are already ensnared in “power politics”.

The rainbow gatherings used to work this way till they were “disrupted” by the digital shift and capture by the #dotcons now the gatherings themselves are broken due in part by being organized through #failbook

The #OMN could fail from the same issue. The myths and traditions are in place PGA and #4opens. But the project does not have deep roots to weather the inrush of success. And on the other hand will likely not last the slow growth needed for the roots to dig deep.

In activism when you have a shitty stinky process situation due to control freekery. You have two options:

  • Open
  • Closed

If its a open process project, the closing things down and hiding the crapness/mess will not help at all. The stink will leak out of every bit of the project from relations of core personals to the compromises involved in every piece of design/interaction during the project. This “low” misama might not to be immediately visible but it will cling to everything the project touches.

Open projects become dysfunctional when controlled by closed process, this is a feedback loop that this dysfunction is solved by more closed working/thinking till you are running a closed project.

If it’s a closed to start with then kick the people out – information can be controlled – power kept – and agendas pushed through till the funding runs out or people lose wider goodwill. Opening up a closed project without a revolutionary explosion is nearly impossible – all the repressed and hidden crapness that is needed to keep a closed project going will feed on itself when let loose.

Almost all NGO and activist groups are a mixture of open/closed.

The NGO´s falsify openness in consultations and meaningless focus groups. But always work closed at the core to continue funding and careers of the benefiting group – those who control the closed – not the community the NGO is setup to serve.

Activist by their nature tend to start out open then grow closed as they grow bigger – it’s a human scale thing. Interestingly affinity group organizing is trust based and another subject.

Hopefully we get an idea for the “dogma” of open and the clear rejection of “closed”.

Churning of pointless tech projects

Why #indymediaback is not a pointless radical tech project.
#nothingnew mediates the churning of pointless tech projects by building things that already work.
In the #fedivers we use this tradition to replace existing #dotcons projects as new #openweb projects
This replicating the #dotcons with #openweb versions has its limits. All code is “ideology” so bringing in the #deathcult to the #openweb by direct copying has its own issues to work through.
We mediate this problem by recreating a widely used radical tech project #indymedia with good existing workflow and embedded in wide radical social networks/agreements.
The value balance in #indymediaback is not in the tech though that is needed. It’s in the #nothingnew social side of the project, without this continuity we have a pointless tech project.

Food for thought.

The #geekproblem is not actually interested in the #openweb as a human value network. Instead, they often feed off the current mess in different unhealthy ways. Feeding off the dying #openweb is bowing down to the #deathcult

Looked at it this way the need for change becomes more obvuse and active carrot and stick work important.

The #OMN is a shovel to compost this inhuman mess.

Rolling out the test #indymediaback projects

We have a #activertypub codebase ready for testing, we have two campanes that asked for instances. We have stable hosting paid up for the next few years.

What we don’t have is any on the ground outreach/training/networking due the covide shutdown. We have limited tech dev needed to update the code from user feedback as a part of the roll out.

With this level of commitment we would be in danger of taking focus away from their current #dotcons outreach and taking up energy rather than helping with good outcomes for the campanes.

What do you think we should do next?

#indymediaback #OMN

The #OMN is built from the experience of 30 years of working at the coal face of grassroots media and tech.

Just about all tech and political projects are pointless “A river that needs crossing political and tech – On the political side, there is arrogance and ignorance, on the geek side there is naivety and over complexity”

A solution to this churning is “nothing new” as most of the issues we face have already been solved or at least mediated. #nothingnew and #4opens is a way of stepping away from the current tech mess. Politics is a bit more complex.

What is not pointless is an interesting challenge for tech and politics. To start this conversation you HAVE to use the #4opens to remove 99.9% of the #dotcons #NGO and #fashernista fluff.

The is NO conversation before you do this. When this is done you need to look at the #geekproblem which is both a curse and a delight.

The #OMN is built from the experience of 30 years of working at the coal face of grassroots media and tech.

What do you mean by “mainstreaming”

Q. what do you mean by “mainstreaming”.

A. we all worship the #deathcult (neo-liberalism) in polatics, economics, most of the food we eat, our jobs and social lives are all mediated/mostly created by this invisible world-view. In progressive terms #mainstreaming is pushing this agender to build carriears and social structures to further the personal #stupidindividualism created by the #deathcult we live in. This is a circle that is going to kill and displace billions of people over the next 100 years from #climatechaos and the social feedback loop of political #fascism

#stupidindividualism is created by the social disintegration of the last 40 years of neo-liberalism, fascism is an outcome of this.

Examples from the UK groups @NovaraMedia while producing fab content its all distributed through the #dotcons and in the end they aspire to be the new @guardian to take the role of #traditionalmedia This is fair anufe but the wider “we” need to balance this with #grassroots media which is a non #mainstreaming mission.

Most #NGO agrenders are #mainstreaming this is an easy to see view.

I played a role in training thousands of grassroots “journalists” over the last 25 years at #undercurrents, #indymedia, #visionontv and now #OMN the majority that are still creating media went onto build there carriears in the mainstream and #NGO sectors few stayed in non #mainstreaming production missions. Cant blame them for this, though no alts were sustained from this which was why we did the training.

In each case grassroots/alt structures were devoured by the #deathcult pushing the need for mainstreaming survival – cant blame people for this.

BUT we need a working alternative if we are going to change the world that does not kill and displace billions of people over the next 100 years #XR

learning for expirence the #OMN is a political/tech tool to mediate this issue.

Security concepts tend to be from the conservative ideological viewpoint

#OMN building progressive alt tech we cannot repeat the behaver of the #dotcons as it’s a different environment, we need different agenders.

“The security context is the relationships between a security referent and its environment. From this perspective, security and insecurity depend first on whether the environment is beneficial or hostile to the referent, and also how capable is the referent of responding to its/their environment in order to survive and thrive.”

Approaches to security are subject of debate.

For example, in debate about security strategies, some argue that security depends on developing protective and coercive capabilities in order to protect the security referent in a hostile environment (and potentially to project that power into its environment, and dominate it to the point of supremacy). The #geekproblem strives for this outcome without putting it into words.

The #OMN argue that security depends principally on building the conditions in which equitable relationships can develop, partly by reducing antagonism between actors, ensuring that fundamental needs can be met, and also that differences of interest can be negotiated effectively.

Some traditional view of security

* Access control – the selective restriction of access to a place or other resource.

* Authorization – the function of specifying access rights/privileges to resources related to information security and computer security in general and to access control in particular.

* Countermeasure – a means of preventing an act or system from having its intended effect.

* Defense in depth – a school of thought holding that a wider range of security measures will enhance security.

* Identity management – enables the right individuals to access the right resources at the right times and for the right reasons.

* Resilience – the degree to which a person, community, nation or system is able to resist adverse external forces.

* Risk – a possible event which could lead to damage, harm, or loss.

* Security management – identification of an organization’s assets (including people, buildings, machines, systems and information assets), followed by the development, documentation, and implementation of policies and procedures for protecting these assets.

* Threat – a potential source of harm.

* Vulnerability – the degree to which something may be changed (usually in an unwanted manner) by external forces.

If we are building projects for progressive ends we need to balance the conservatism in these ideas with #4opens approaches.

Why use the hashtags?

The #OMN is based on “nothing new” as a core project process. Though we do describe things in different ways than they are normally described, we use everyday metaphors for the language of computing and coding where necessary, we use nature metaphors where possible.

We have lived in a deeply damaging era for the last 40 years in economics we have neo-liberalism (metaphor #deathcult) in thinking and education post-modernism these two have created many bad effects (metaphors #geekproblem #encryptionist #stupidindividualism #dotcons #fashernista etc) that have shaped how people act and think, we have internalised these post-truth into normal everyday worldviews. These are going to undermine our cultures, society, and most impotently destroy our ecology (metaphor #XR)

We change the language to brake out of this “normal” world-view to build an opening for people to see a different view (also am dyslexic and can only think by making up ideas so its a good fit for me). The current “normal” thinking and expressions are too damaged to be of much use in real social change.

A conversation on #OMN issues around metadata

* Capitalism wants to privatise metadata to the #dotcons and the capitalist then control the government – fascism is back into fashion.

* Chinese communism, wants the state to control the metadata, so they can control capitalism, we are back to the command economy just digitised.

* Liberalism want to privatise metadata to the individual to return to a mythic free-market past, a better outcome than the first two but clearly not the one we are building with the #OMN

* What does anarchism want #4opens #OMN is an attempt to answer this last one.

CB. My thinking here is that Anarchism wants the social conditions for free association. The implication for metadata is autonomy over how that’s shared and used

HC. Am thinking about power. Metadata has power in aggregation so bad power is about hoarding the aggregation to use for your power agenders. Good power has to be a diffrent outcome.

CB. So fragmentation of metadata (decentralized storage and tactical use of aliases) is a way to defeat accumulation of power through accumulation of metadata. An interesting quality of power is that it is relative, rather than absolute. So an entity doesn’t have power *over* you unless it has more power to wield constructively relevant to the situation.

HC. ‎in the #OMN we are using metadata to replace the market – the only interesteing question is who has the aggregated metadata power. The capitalists, The state or the Commons – if we divide and privatise the metadata we have nothing to replace the market with. Its all about building a post capitalist economy. We need to replace the “free-market” and it’s police man with a commons and its community – the metadata replaceing the “invisible hand” with visible knowledge in #4opens commons.

CB. Here’s a thought about how a knowledge economy works that may be relevant to the metadata issue. You have transparency and trust building at the local level.

HC. We using social/tech to replace capitalism, not just do social networking the #4opens is a VERY political project that is soft/strongly ant-capitalist. Yep the #OMN is a trust based network of flows (community/subjects/people). We do need a good explanation of the political nature of the project, but also do not wont to terrify the NGO crew, tread softly. Thinking about this, we are pro “power” just wont to horizontalize it. Were meany people, asperly #geekproblem are against power and wont to minermise it (while having total power of there code).

CB. For a press release? “It’s about promoting individual and community autonomy”. For me, the #geekproblem is trying *too* hard to have a perfect system, a way that the bad thing never happens.

HC. Yes but that’s unbalanced, and rebalancing individualism/community in a world of neo-liberal individualism…

CB. That’s unrealistic. You want to make the bad things selected against statistically. Emphasizing autonomy (including community autonomy) is transient.

HC. being less human – its the blemishes were buty lie and its the users saying your code is unusable that make it better etc. if you don’t have any users you can do any code you like – almost all open-source projects are built this way.

CB. We have situations that are unbalanced currently, and the way to achieve balance involves building force in opposition to the current power.

HC. Autonomy comes for stable/trust based society – not from isolated (control) individuals – but yes we talk about the same thing just different processes.

CB. Yeah, I phrased our shared value “for a press release” and you said that’s “neo-liberal individualism”. Well, yeah. 😀 But it introduces the idea of community autonomy, which isn’t quite anarchy ready, either, but it’s a step towards free association and away from thinking about autonomy as strictly an individual value, which is my *estimation* of the most that words can accomplish tactically in that situation.

HC. OK “community autonomy”… am trying to expand my whole composting metaphor to cover this stuff, shovels.

CB. There’s shovels, spades, pitchforks, and dung forks. You can do everything with a shovel, but your back will thank you if you don’t. Either way, it’s the worms who do all the heavy lifting. I’ve been tackling the metadata issue with a friend doing some tech work for a Native American resistamce movement, and who’s very interested in making dirt. The most important aspect of metadata for em (pronoun) is being able to reliably communicate intent. It’s not sufficient or practical to say who should read it and who shouldn’t. There’s aspects of communicating approach to the topic and assumptions about sharing and replying that social networking, including Activity Pub, doesn’t address. These are communicated by a language like Lakota in introductions and closing on speeches, like formal practices in business correspondence.

HC. What do you think about replacing capitalisms free-market with a metadata “commons” as the free market is based on selfishness and access to exclusive knowledge, were the data commons is based on sharing the “open” knowledge for “community” ends. Both are based on “invisible hands” just one is human fucking each other over for a mythical good outcome and the other is more “democratic/diversity” that word “community autonomy” 🙂

CB. The most important aspect of metadata for em (pronoun) is being able to reliably communicate intent for both individual and social communication and trade. I do agree with that. I’m also working with some old school coop-style communists on adapting economic vocabulary to Activity Pub. It’s not sufficient or practical to say who should read it and who shouldn’t. There’s aspects of communicating approach to the topic and assumptions about sharing and replying that social networking, including Activity Pub, doesn’t address

HC. We are purposely not doing social networking for the #OMN only news and archiving as it has a much less privacy issues. News is done in the open/trust by default and sources are protected when needed. And archiving is history, you can choices to add information or not.

CB. And, assuming that you’re talking about locally generated data being propagated through networks of relationships (as opposed to being global by default), then you have a situation where parties local to one another can reliably leverage the advantages of openness, without centralized accumulations of metadata for fascists (or capital) to capture and leverage to exert control. That’s economic activity, which also has differences as well as similarities relative to OMN

HC. Its open data and open license by default so the enemy can take all the metadata by working there way into the syteam. We don’t recommend doing anything hardcore in #OMN or online in any way. The project is about assuming the world CAN change then building in that direction.

CB. But the general shape is that metadata linkage is unavoidable (geek problem), metadata accumulation is undesirable (capital), “metadata is evil” lacks necessary nuance, and communication of metadata is a necessary part of the model and likely a certain amount of verification.

HC. The whole project is built by adding a metadata tail which you can queryed to build trust and serendipity as well as organize in an affective way. You would be right to point out it has NO power to resist the repression of the state if they turn fascist. Though its is a fabulous tool set to build a tool to have power against the state if that happens. So its a race of human creativity vs the “invisible hand” backed up by police with rubber truncheons… the key word is race, if push comes to shove.

CB. Authenticity of metadata in that case is primarily establish through the trust network. It’s hard to corrupt metadata *if* you get a lot of copies distributed quickly.

HC. Metadata is going to happen no matter what you do, to think the geeks can solve this is a fantasy. The ONLY question is who controls this open/closed. Some basic certification to each addition to the tail based on user accounts. The are lots of widely used standards based ways of doing this.

CB. For the example of a state actor trying to control the narrative…. there’s maths to describe the circumstances under which that can occur. And situations where you’re distributing stories to 3 or more peers look bad for the state if they don’t shut it down in the first 2 generations.

HC. Then as you say use this “trust network” to quray the tail. For example how meany people do i know who trust this adition to the tail. You can do the same to get an idea if the tail is trusted over all ect. But the question has to be asked who let the state actor into the trust network… they lose lots of trust (links/flows) etc then rerun the query and you are back to trust. Its all lossy, but this is a how trust works. In this we get away from the #geekproblem ideas of trust.

CB. For the state to suppress a story, they need to identify the source then trace known associates (metadata) to shut down those repeating it. If police don’t discover the story until there are 10+ stations replicating it, that’s not likely to happen.

HC. The network is built up of trusted actors – how dose the state have a voice inside this grassroots level project.

CB. So policing involvement *after* the story breaks is unlikely to be effective in suppression, which is what you want

HC. Yep you are talking strong AI based state manipulations- we don’t have a defence against that.

CB. You actually have the best defence possible.

HC. Yep it will spread widely across the bottom in uncontrollably directions after the first few jumps the is practically no censorship with out visible repression then non effective then as it will bubble back up from the darkweb.

CB. Even if police infiltrate a peer to an activist cell, they still don’t necessarily have enough knowledge to prevent replication through other peers.

HC. But they can pre-empt and kick you door down based on metadata… will happen. We have sudo-anonimerty to mediate this issue. Somebody would have to trust your account with no tail… then the police kick there door down…. Notice the us an escalating level of door kicking.

CB. Takes time to knock down doors, even electronically. With every door they knock down, there’s 3 times as many doors as there were before – potentially. Then you’re crossing lines in jurisdictions and there’s no putting a cork in that

HC. In this it will be censorship resistant. But we make no #geekproblem lies that the “security of the network” will protect you. But you can protect yourself by sudo anonymity and the use of tor. And whispering in the forest to your friends to share the content from the sudo anonymous account. In this way we move security from hard to soft. From #encryptionists to social trust.

CB. Right. Making the network less efficient by routing it over Tor or otherwise requiring cryptography defeats the plan.

HC. Yep, this removes the tail so no trust, no community, no social change. But how to persuade paranoid activists and control freak geeks that having your door kicked sown is socially useful 😉 Also the is no way to root the media objects, no need for federation, no need for community. With one to one encryption you just have isolated individuals and no media

CB. Crypto solutions are fine for first hop in highly sensitive situations, but once you hit a peer that’s outside of your opsec control, infosec is a moot point and you need to go for speed.

HC. Mixed with trust.

CB. I may have overstated “speed”, but yeah. Reasonable assumptions of trust. You only need absolute assurances in specific situations (that you are better off trying to avoid)

HC. With the #OMN we do both the open and the closed path. But we change the balance to 80% open and 20% closed. Yep, best whisper in the forest, second best use the p2p encryption tools in the 20%

CB. That’s a ratio that pops up a lot in various contexts and I agree with it here.

The senate “insurrection” and the media

We are seeing a stinking mess of shit posting from the left and the right on the role of tech big and small in the senate “insurrection” . The voice of the centre right #traditionalmedia will push us back to the #dotcons gatekeepers they have started to criticized over the last 10 years.

The opening we have is this mess is, light, transparency building trust. What we do not have is darkness building fear as an option. In the battle of open/closed the sides to fight on are far from obvious on the surface – we have a tool the #4opens to lift the lid, and we have a shovel to shift the shit to the compost heap #OMN

We need you, the crew, to build this out to change the world for the better.