Movement infrastructure network: What we do and how to be part of it
Note taker # I: Abraham
Overview of Network infra idea.
starting at devcon and in Montreal, meetings started the idea of federated infa group
Started with idea of cloud platform proposal.
Another meeting in Valencia, met there things went off track
The idea still has no name. Still trying to define the network. What do we do? What are our political values?
How to decide who is in and who is out?
Silver bullet tech product could not be found. Still trying to dispel myths that there is ONE solution.
Who are the people/groups who are already participating?
Most are hosting providers.(mayfirst,riseup, greenhost), 1984 (hosting in Iceland). Imirda, sisterly (DE), APC (has many orgs), others.
Debate between large/small - different funding models eg membership, paid service, solidarity funding, relationship with movements, informal arrangements.
What is autonomous server? many came from squatter movement. DIY servers.
What would make a given provider aligned? Privacy? Hiring practices? Environment?
Where there are tensions - anti-capitalism, some groups did not want to say they were, but could not say it.
What is the purpose of the network?
goal is to help each other.
Many orgs are not sustainable.
New tech is emerging and not able to keep up.
Building control panel for users.
There have been other attempts at building this
Low hanging fruits - capacity building and documentation. Describing how the infrastructure works.
NOT trying to do the corporate infrastructure model -(JUST TRUST US)
Want people to have more control of their tech/data
Might find One thing we want to do together, but more about the community building.
[read description of the “who are we document”]
Have done more than just create the document. Working to create the space to build the network.
Security dynamic of what can be public and what needs to remain private makes it difficult.
Working on basic governance of the initial group.
Dynamic where original group creates the document, but what happens when new groups come in.
What are the working groups?
What about rural areas?
That is an infrastructure issue. Wifi network in Spain.
How to get off corporate infrastructure.
Corps are throwing cheap resources at orgs. What happens if/when this goes away.
APC - was originally a network of access providers. Once ISPs became corporate, indy providers could not adapt.
With community wireless networks, it has come full circle.
What does infrastructure mean?
Can mean a lot of things?
How does someone contribute to the project. important to build redundancy.
What are you going to offer as a network? What are the material results for real people.
What type of infrastructure do you want to provide.
Want to see alternatives.
Re-engaging in the community platform. Want to invest in portfolio that does not harm. Offer to work with Bay Area indigenous network. Bridging the new and the old practices.
They are going to pull the plug on us. Getting de-platformed. Vital to have own infrastructure. Platform monopolies are poison pill.
How to politicize the movements. how do we overlap with existing work. There is
Awareness. What does it mean. How do people find the things that is not defined as a space?
Communal building cultural norms and practices. Shunning practices. If other communities saw them. Community security practices.
How can I help?
Contact Jaime, agree to norms.
What do you mean by infrastructure?
There is funding to provide software for infra (not hardware) next cloud. If you are an organization. How can you make the container system work. Getting orgs on the new tech. What is cybernetics (computing clustier.
The process of creating the network.
Platform idea started slowly. But google throws hardware and people at it.
Permanent cloud (new project)
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Note taker # II: Matt
Movement Hosting Infrastructure (paraphrase edition)
jaime gave a little intro about how the infrastructure group idea started at last year's NPDev. There have been some small meetings since then in SF and Montreal, and IFF in Valencia. The attendees at those proposed some initial idea of things that could be worked on in common. Also worked on "about us" type documents, determining shared political values. Some of this was difficult. One problem was the idea of building a single platform (real or perceived).
Who are the existing members of the group and what do they hope to get out of it? Mostly "hosting" providers, some large/some small. Large is stuff like Riseup.net/mayfirst.org/greenhost. Small is greennet/1984hosting/co.. del sur/kaffir?/immerda.ch/systemli/some APC member groups. Some discussion about various models these group organize/fund.
What are the political values these groups share? Or put another way, what things have been points of contention? Anti-capitalism was one issue, some groups felt they couldn't say that explictly (even if they were)
What is the purpose of the network? For radical tech service providers to be able to support each other, economic resources, technology changes, need to develop common things. There have been other efforts to do this before, we aren't the first. Documentation/education efforts to help other groups do things themselves. We are not trying to copy the corporate model of "trust us, just take this automated stack and use it and it will solve all the problems". Instead the idea is to produce resources to help groups help themselves.
Read the "about us" document aloud. In addition to creating this document, been working on documents/process for how people get involved, work together, how groups join, etc. 32 groups reviewed the "about us" document.
Subgroups: technology platform, capacity building, fundraising, movement outreach
Some discussion about technology access, rural infrastructure groups.
Some of the tech platform idea is motivated by the fact that the tech industry is moving to these newer technologies/cloud solutions and they are going to Non-profits and saying "trust us, use this!(and give us all your stuff)". Also with rural infra stuff, lots of for-profit companies trying to take over that space.
What does infrastructure mean? What are the goals? What services will the platform offer? discussion about infrastructure that supports your core values. we tell people to shop at Farmers' Markets vs grocery store, shouldn't we be doing the same for hosting providers. Could we have regional reps to try an promote these efforts.
It's vital that leftists have our own infrastructure. Analogy of corporations offering candy to draw in groups, but it's addictive poison.
Need to explain to movements that technology is also a political choice (and not just a personal comfort choice). Seen groups do the same work many different ways, it would be good to bring all those people together to share how/why they did these things, case studies, their critques. Often people discussing coding/connectivity but little discussion about not about awareness. Doing so possibly "throws those people to the wolves" rather than steering them to better locations. Also, sometimes it's an issue of groups finding the resources, example of JFK immigrant ban organizing, those on the ground didn't know about existing resources and instead used a bunch of Google Docs.
Taking time to do this stuff can be a good thing.
Soon we'll have a name and public face and that will make it easier for people to plug in. The platform idea has gone through a few iterations. There was an idea to apply for grants to build a pilot program for cloud platform software (not the provider itself, but the software a group could use to provide it). Groups often need their own specific tools that soft of maps their internal groups/members to these cloud type things. Some discussion about "containers" and what they are and how you'd use them.
How can we take the things that the corporate world has learned about how to use cloud software/etc and apply it to movement hosting? For jaime, the most value is the process/relationships, if we end up generating software deliverables great but really the value is the process/relationships.
Discussion of ideas about why the platform was started.
Mention of some software that allows cultural processes to be brought into software infrastructure. app for language and cultural survivals. mukrtu (spelling?)
someone mentioned https://permanent.cloud
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Note taker # III
What do we offer that is an incentive beyond politics? AWS, S3 What is infrastructure? How can people contribute to the technology? Listening projects Sometimes infrastructure means bringing electric to power the devices They (Google, Amazon, etc.) offer a cornucopia of candy, but the candy is poisoned.
Involes educating users, coordinating disparate groups
Need to politicize technology in movements.
Many of these problems have been solved in many different ways, so how do we overlap, brining together technologists, activists communities, infra providers to talk/case studies.
Awareness goes back to defining community and space. Lots of creating tech on the spot for immediate need, but then they compost down so how do we keep that from going away in between incidents.