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Why worry about fashionistas in activism

The problem of #fashionistas in activism within activist circles is the priority of style and appearance over substance and meaningful action. These people are more concerned with projecting a certain image or brand of activism rather than engaging in genuine effect for social change. The phenomenon of #fashionistas in activism manifests in various ways and poses challenges to the efficacy and integrity of grassroots movements. Some aspects of this:

  1. Superficiality over Substance: Fashionistas prioritize surface-level aesthetics and trends over substantive analysis and action. They focus more on creating a visually appealing image of activism, such as through trendy protest attire or social media posts, rather than engaging in deep-rooted grassroots activism that addresses systemic issues.
  2. Performative Activism: Fashionistas engage in performative activism, where their actions are more about signalling commitment to a cause rather than making contributions. Participating in protests or events primarily for photo opportunities or social media validation, rather than working towards tangible change.
  3. Exclusionary Practices: The emphasis on fashion and style in activism creates barriers to participation for people who do not conform to slavish aesthetic norms. This marginalize people from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and identities who do not fit into the narrow standards set by fashionistas within the movement.
  4. Distraction from Core Issues: When activism becomes focused on appearances and trends, it detracts from the issues and objectives of the movement. Attention and resources are diverted to superficial aspects of activism, rather than towards addressing the root causes of injustice and inequality.
  5. Reinforcement of Consumer Culture: The influence of fashionistas reinforce consumerist attitudes and behaviours within activist circles. This involve promoting consumer-driven solutions to social problems or aligning activism with commercial brands and products, rather than challenging the structures of capitalism and exploitation.
  6. Dilution of Message and Impact: Activism that prioritizes style over substance risks diluting the movement’s message and impact. When the emphasis is placed on spectacle and aesthetics, the underlying principles and goals of the movement become obscured or watered down, leading to reduced effectiveness in achieving meaningful change.

Addressing the problem of fashionistas in activism requires a commitment to centring authenticity, inclusivity, and meaningful action within grassroots movements. This involves a culture of critical reflection, accountability, and solidarity. By prioritizing substance over style, activists work to building resilient, impactful, and inclusive movements to challenge systems of power and oppression.

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The Rise and Fall of Grassroots Activism in the UK: A 40-Year Retrospective on the Openweb

Grassroots activism has undergone significant ups and downs over the past four decades, particularly within the realm of digital communication and organizing. This essay seeks to provide an overview of the challenges and successes experienced by grassroots activists during this time period, focusing on the evolution of the open internet and its eventual decline. It explores the ideological underpinnings of internet projects, the impact of funding and #mainstreaming efforts, and the shifting dynamics between open and closed systems. By examining these trends, we can better understand the complex interplay between technology, ideology, and activism in the digital age.

The Rise of the Open Internet: In the early days of the internet, there was a surge of enthusiasm for and decentralized communication platforms. Projects like early #indymedia, blogging platforms, wikis, and peer-to-peer networks flourished, driven by an ethos of democratization and empowerment. These offered people and grassroots movements unprecedented opportunities to connect, collaborate, and mobilize on a global scale. The ideology of the #openweb, rooted in principles of decentralization, transparency, and freedom, captured the imaginations of many activists seeking to challenge established power structures.

However, alongside the growth of #openweb projects, there were also significant challenges and tensions. The influx of funding from state, foundation, and #NGO sources brought both opportunities and risks. While funding provided vital resources for development and expansion, it also introduced pressures to conform to #mainstreaming norms and intrenched #geekproblem agendas. Additionally, as open internet projects gained popularity, they became susceptible to co-option and manipulation by corporate interests seeking to capitalize on the growing community interest.

The Fall of the Openweb: Despite early successes, the open internet eventually faced a decline, marked by the erosion of its ideological foundations and the resurgence of closed, centralized platforms, the #dotcons. One key factor in this decline was the failure of many openweb projects to align with the dominant ideology of the web itself. The pushing of non-native common sense. While some projects embraced the principles of trust-based anarchism and decentralized governance, others veered towards more hierarchical and exclusionary models.

The rise of a new generation of technologists and entrepreneurs, shaped by #neoliberal ideologies of individualism and competition, led to a merging of open and closed systems. This shift towards closed platforms, controlled by a handful of corporate giants, undermined the diversity and resilience of the openweb. The very chaos that once protected the openweb from vertical integration and monopolization was replaced by a homogenized landscape dominated by a few dominant #dotcons.

Challenges and Opportunities: In the face of these challenges, grassroots activists must grapple with the complexities of navigating a digital landscape that is increasingly hostile to their values and principles. The siloed nature of many media projects presents a barrier to collective action and solidarity, limiting their impact and longevity. However, there are also opportunities for resistance and resilience, through the cultivation of networks based on mutual aid and cooperation like the #OMN

Conclusion: The trajectory of grassroots activism in the UK over the past four decades reflects the broader shifts and tensions within the digital realm. The rise and fall of the openweb mirror the struggles of activists to carve out spaces for dissent and resistance in an increasingly corporatized and surveilled environment. By critically using the , examining the ideological underpinnings of internet projects and exploring alternative models of organizing, activists can work towards reclaiming the promise of a truly open and decentralized digital future.

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A script #makinghistory

[Opening Shot: A montage of radical historical photographs, documents, and footage representing social movements and political activism throughout history.]

Narrator: In a world where history is written by the victors, a new #openweb project emerges, aiming to democratize the process of archiving and storytelling. This is the story of #makeinghistory, a groundbreaking initiative within the Open Media Network (#OMN).

[Cut to Interview with Project Lead]

Project Lead: The #makeinghistory project is about empowering communities to take control of their own narratives. It’s about recognizing the importance of grassroots movements and ensuring that their stories are preserved and shared for generations to come.

[Cut to Footage of Archiving Process]

Narrator: The journey begins with the digitization of historical archives, like the Campbell Family archive, containing invaluable materials related to activism and political movements.

[Voiceover: Setting up the Application]

Narrator: The first step is setting up the application for #makeinghistory.

[Voiceover: Uploading Digital Files]

Narrator: Users create accounts and start uploading directories of digital files from the archives, adding basic metadata to organize the materials.

[Cut to Community Building]

Narrator: Building a community of users is essential. Family members, activists, and allies are invited to join the project, seeding an affinity group dedicated to preserving history.

[Voiceover: Column Structure]

Narrator: The application features columns like “new” and “recent,” along with others added by users, organizing the data based on boolean logic lists and metadata.

[Voiceover: Data Interaction]

Narrator: Users actively interact with the data, organically adding metadata, information, and editing hashtags to categorize items effectively.

[Voiceover: Categorization]

Narrator: Through collaborative efforts, items move into category columns, creating cohesive narratives and facilitating engagement.

[Voiceover: Story Feature]

Narrator: The story feature transforms categorized, metadata-enriched data into cohesive narratives, providing overviews and linking multiple items and categories.

[Cut to Exhibition Setting]

Narrator: But the impact of #makeinghistory extends beyond digital platforms. In exhibition settings, visitors can participate in archiving and storytelling, creating a participatory space for engagement.

[Voiceover: Sharing History]

Narrator: The stories created through #makeinghistory are shared with the wider world, providing grassroots quality history in addition to normal traditional top-down narratives.

[Closing Shot: A group of people gathered around a digital display, discussing and engaging with historical materials.]

Narrator: Through #makeinghistory, people are reclaiming their stories, inspiring real and lasting social change by recognizing the power of history in driving progress.

[End Credits]

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Criticism of Post-modernism and Neo-liberalism

  • Post-modernism: Over the last four decades, post-modernism has pushed subjectivity and the rejection of universal truths. While it aimed to deconstruct grand narratives and challenge power structures, it has led to a fragmented world-views where reality is ignored, and truth is relative. This has challenged the building of coherent social movements and addressing systemic issues effectively.
  • Neo-liberalism emphasis on deregulation, privatization, and market-driven policies, has exacerbated income inequality, weakened labour rights, and commodified social services. It has prioritized profit over people, leading to financial crises, environmental degradation, and the erosion of social safety nets. The relentless pursuit of economic growth has come at the expense of social justice, environmental sustainability, and democratic values.
  • Identity politics: While this has played a role in raising awareness about marginalized groups’ struggles and experiences, it has also fostered divisions within leftist movements. The focus on individual identities leads to a fragmentation of collective action, as different groups prioritize their interests over broader solidarity. Identity politics has been co-opted by #mainstreaming institutions to tokenize diversity without addressing systemic inequalities.
  • OMN project: To counter the negative impacts of post-modernism and neo-liberalism and identity politics, the OMN project prioritizes collective action and solidarity more than individuals. By acknowledging the interconnectedness of systemic oppression and capitalism, the project resists co-optation by the ruling class and promote deeper understandings of social justice issues. Critical discourse of identity politics within leftist movements will strengthen the commitment to values.

While post-modernism and neoliberalism contribute to societal challenges, the #OMN project navigates these issues by prioritizing collective action, resisting co-optation, and promoting critical discourse around identity politics and systemic oppression.

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Women & Online Television in Senegal – Screening of Mistress of a Married Man + Q&A with director Kalista Sy

St John’s Cinema Club and the TORCH African Languages, Literatures and Cultures Network are excited to welcome Senegalese online television series screenwriter, director and producer Kalista Sy.

The event will start with a brief introduction by Dr Estrella Sendra (Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King’s College London), followed by the screening of the first episode of the series Maîtresse d’un homme marié (Mistress of a Married Man) and a discussion with the filmmaker. Khadidiatou Sy, known as Kalista Sy, is a Senegalese screenwriter, director and producer, who became famous in Africa and beyond following the success of her first series, Maîtresse d’un homme marié (Mistress of a Married Man), known as MDHM. MDHM is the first Senegalese women-led television series where women are placed at the very centre of the narrative. The series, first released on 25 January 2019, and broadcasted online via YouTube, became viral, with over 5 million viewers per episode, and being compared to Sex and the City in international media. In 2019, following the international success of MDHM, Kalista Sy made it to the BBC’s list of the 100 most inspiring and influential women from around the world.


The trubbles of middle class African life, dressed in postmodern feminism. A Women’s view of plastic black consumerism.

It’s the #deathcult playing out in the current mess, dressed in western ideas of social norms. It’s not that the life and experiences are not real, it is that the culture they push, and it’s assuming are the problem that I am talking about. The videos try and mediate a “better” path within this #mainstreaming “common sense”.

The is no #lifecult in this TV, the reflection of mess makes more mess. The ideology of the era, the filmmaker says I am the radical, the feminist, people look to me.

The filmmakers are funded by product placement, this is thought out the videos, part of the middle class assumptions and binding to the subject. “People buy their identity” the brands push this into the film’s. This is a #NGO path being pushed throughout Africa. This is the “sex in the city” world view translated to local “common sense” in this it is pushing liberal norms.

One question, “very middle class, is this represented as aspiration. She says this look and aspiration is “normal” there, bueity is their strength. Mental health and sexuality to grow the couching and Therapy industries.

A question of the capitalism of the production, the root story is a reaction agenst male repression, seed money from the husband, then support from the women, it is run at a local level, now it is “sponsored” to tell the stores of the people who pay the bills, this is the sustaining push.

It ends in heroic liberalism, and individualism fighting the good fight, by pushing western #mainstreaming

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Copper the chameleon – earth processes generating critical copper.

A seminar in Oxford today.

This presentation of the green alternative within capitalism. Recycling and doing better from mine wastes as a B company.

VC funding is flooding into this area.

A moral question, mining copper is a core part of allowing our current dysfunctional society to continue without the needed fundamental change. This is going to kill millions and displace billions of people over the next 50 years due to #climatechaos and ecological and social disintegration.

Question do you think you have moral and practical responsibility in this?

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indymedia back

Bringing back the #Indymedia project is essential for several reasons, rooted in its historical significance, its potential for grassroots activism, and the need for independent media platforms. Here’s why we need to revive and support the Indymedia project:

Historical Significance:

Indymedia played a pivotal role in the early 2000s as a decentralized network of independent media collectives. It provided a platform for activists, journalists, and citizens to share news, reports, and perspectives outside of mainstream media channels.

The principles of equality, decentralization, and local autonomy upon which Indymedia was founded are still relevant today. Reviving Indymedia would uphold these principles and continue the legacy of alternative media movements.

Counterbalance to Mainstream Media:

In an era of increasing media consolidation and corporate influence over information dissemination, independent media platforms like Indymedia are crucial for providing alternative narratives and perspectives.

Reviving Indymedia would create a counterbalance to #mainstreaming media narratives, offering diverse viewpoints, grassroots reporting, and coverage of marginalized communities and issues.

Grassroots Activism:

Indymedia empowered grassroots activists and community organizers by providing them with a platform to amplify their voices and share their stories. By reviving Indymedia, we can reinvigorate grassroots activism and support community-driven initiatives.

The principles of non-hierarchical organization and consensus decision-making embedded within Indymedia’s ethos serve as a model for participatory democracy and collective action in the digital age.

Media Democracy and Freedom of Expression:

Indymedia embodies the principles of media democracy and freedom of expression by promoting exchange of information, transparency, and accessibility.

Reviving Indymedia would contribute to the democratization of media production and distribution, empowering people and communities to create and share content on their own terms.

Resistance to Corporate Control and Surveillance:

In an era of pervasive corporate surveillance and control over online platforms, Indymedia offers an alternative that prioritizes privacy, autonomy, and community ownership.

By reviving Indymedia, we can resist corporate dominance over the digital public sphere and create spaces where rights and autonomy are respected.

Combatting Nihilism in Tech: The tech industry often prioritizes individualistic implementations and profit-driven models over community-focused initiatives. By rebooting Indymedia, we can challenge this nihilistic approach to technology and instead prioritize community building, collaboration, and collective ownership of media platforms.

Preserving Digital Commons: Indymedia operated on principles of openness, decentralization, and non-hierarchical organization, creating a digital commons where diverse voices could thrive. Rebooting Indymedia allows us to preserve and expand this digital commons, providing an alternative to corporate-controlled media landscapes dominated by profit motives and commercial interests.

Building Trust-Based Networks: Indymedia was built on principles of trust, collaboration, and solidarity among activists and media practitioners. By rebooting Indymedia, we can rebuild these trust-based networks and strengthen connections within and across communities, fostering solidarity in the struggle for social justice and media democracy.

Adapting to Changing Technologies: The original Indymedia project faced challenges and limitations due to technological constraints of its time. By rebooting Indymedia, we can leverage advances in technology to create more user-friendly interfaces, mobile-responsive designs, and robust backend systems that better serve the needs of modern activists and citizen journalists.

In summary, reviving the Indymedia project is not just about resurrecting a historical artifact but reclaiming a vision of media activism, grassroots empowerment, and alternative narratives. It’s about challenging the status quo, amplifying marginalized voices, and building a more democratic and inclusive media ecosystem.

Coding this #indymediaback

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The development of ActivityPub was a collaborative effort

The history of #ActivityPub and the #fediverse is a fascinating journey marked by innovation, collaboration, and the ever-present struggle between open and closed systems. To understand this history, we must delve into the origins of ActivityPub and its evolution within the context of the broader #openweb movement.

ActivityPub emerged as a response to the limitations of existing social media protocols, particularly OStatus, which lacked support for privacy and limited conversations. While OStatus paved the way for decentralized social networking, its shortcomings spurred the development of more robust and flexible alternatives.

The early drafts of ActivityPub, originally known as ActivityPump, laid the groundwork for a protocol that could support a wide range of social interactions while maintaining interoperability between different platforms. ActivityPump utilized JSON as a serialization format, making it easier to work with compared to the XML-based OStatus.

The shift from ActivityStreams 1.0 to ActivityPump was driven by the need for a more modern and developer-friendly protocol. ActivityPump incorporated elements of ActivityStreams 2.0 and introduced the concept of server-to-server communication, paving the way for true federation across different instances.

The development of ActivityPub was a collaborative effort involving various stakeholders within the openweb community. While some early implementations, such as GNU-social and, served as predecessors to ActivityPub, it was Mastodon that played a pivotal role in popularizing the protocol.

Mastodon’s decision to adopt ActivityPub as its primary communication protocol marked a significant milestone in the history of the fediverse. As Mastodon gained traction and attracted a growing user base, other platforms followed suit, further solidifying ActivityPub as the de facto standard for decentralized social networking.

However, the journey of ActivityPub and the fediverse has not been without its challenges. The rise of proprietary interests and the temptation to centralize control pose ongoing threats to the open and decentralized nature of the platform. As the fediverse continues to grow, it becomes increasingly susceptible to commercial capture and manipulation.

Moreover, the complexity of implementing ActivityPub, particularly concerning signatures and authentication, has led to compatibility issues and interoperability challenges. While efforts have been made to address these issues, they remain a point of contention within the community.

Despite these challenges, the fediverse remains a testament to the power of grassroots innovation and collective action. It embodies the principles of openness, decentralization, and user empowerment that have long been cherished by advocates of the openweb.

Looking ahead, the future of ActivityPub and the fediverse depends on our ability to navigate the ever-changing landscape of technology, politics, and society. By remaining vigilant against commercial interests, fostering collaboration, and prioritizing people and community , we can ensure that the promise of the fediverse continues to thrive.

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Nurturing the True Potential of the Fediverse: A Socio-Political Roadmap

The #fediverse, with its promise of decentralized social networking and democratic governance, stands as a beacon of hope for a native #openweb However, as it navigates the complex terrain of politics, technology, and human behavior, it faces challenges that threaten to undermine its civic potential. In this post, we will delve into these challenges and explore potential pathways forward to realize the true promise of the #fediverse.

At the heart of the fediverse lies the tension between its potential benefits and the risks of subversion by commercial interests or structural dysfunction. Commercial capture, driven by the allure of proprietary features and enhanced user experiences, poses a threat to the “open and decentralized nature of the fediverse native culture”. The shift from distributed funding models to centralized and #NGO ones exacerbates this challenge, leading to a concentration of power and influence in the hands of a few entities. To counter this trend, developers, producers, institutions, and users must collectively work to uphold the principles of interoperability and openness, ensuring that the fediverse remains a vibrant and diverse ecosystem.

Structural dysfunction, characterized by a lack of native governance approaches and a reliance on #DIY moderators and self-funded instances, poses another challenge. Without a “native” structure for governance, the fediverse risks succumbing to governance failures and reputational assaults. To address these issues, there is a pressing need to develop democratic governance structures that empower people and ensure accountability and transparency at every level of decision-making.

The fediverse is more than just a technical system; it is also a political structure. As such, it requires a nuanced understanding of the socio-political dynamics that shape its development and governance. Techno-Romanticism, which elevates simplistic views of technological progress and overlooks the labor and networks that underpin it, poses a significant threat to the fediverse’s ethos of inclusivity and sustainability. By fostering a culture of critical engagement and social action, we can mitigate the influence of techno-Romanticism and ensure that the fediverse remains a space for civic discourse and collective action.

In conclusion, nurturing the true potential of the fediverse requires a multifaceted approach that transcends technical considerations and delves deep into the socio-political fabric. By addressing issues of commercial capture, governance dysfunction, and techno-Romanticism, we can pave the way for a more inclusive, democratic, and sustainable fediverse. It is only through collective action and ongoing dialogue that we can realize the transformative potential of this decentralized network.

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All code is ideology solidified into action

The statement is a critical perspective on the intersection of politics and technology, suggesting that both domains suffer from their own shortcomings when it comes to addressing complex societal issues.

  1. Political Arrogance and Ignorance: This refers to the tendency of political actors to exhibit overconfidence and a lack of understanding when it comes to technological matters. Politicians and policymakers may make decisions about technology without comprehending its implications and limitations, leading to ineffective or harmful policies. Arrogance in this context manifest as an assumption of authority without expertise or consideration of diverse perspectives.
  2. Geek Naivety and Over-Complexity: On the other hand, this highlights the tendency of technologists and developers (“geeks”) to approach problems with a narrow focus on technical solutions. The term “naivety” suggests a lack of awareness or understanding of broader social, political, and ethical implications of their work. Additionally, the emphasis on over-complexity refers to the tendency to create unnecessarily intricate or convoluted technological systems, which hinder accessibility and usability for non-technical users.
  3. Code as Ideology: This concept posits that all code, as the foundation of technological systems, embodies underlying ideological assumptions and values. In the context of contemporary society, where capitalism is the dominant economic system, the code produced serves capitalist interests and reinforces capitalist structures. This implies that technological solutions are not neutral, they reflect and perpetuate the ideologies of the society in which they are created.
  4. Preprogrammed Outcomes and Assumptions: The assertion here is that the ideological underpinnings of code shape its outcomes and assumptions, predisposing technological solutions to align with certain interests or agendas. While it is possible to layer additional ideologies on top of existing code, the fundamental framework and biases of the code itself remain unchanged, influencing the range of possible outcomes.

Overall, the statement underscores the need for a more nuanced and critical approach to the intersection of politics and technology, one that recognizes the inherent ideological nature of code and seeks to address the limitations and biases embedded within technological systems.