Radicalizing hackers and hackerizing radicals
(mostly redacted) intros
- hunch it's exausting to try to radicalize libertariants
- eff/fopf can't hire everyone, how can we create and
- important to not fetishize issue, cause
- how to talk to young people
- briding worlds
- do we hire people from industry or hackerized radicals?
- assumption: easier to bring technical skills to radical people, but we
should leave open door to everyone
- hiring from mainstream (to work on securedrop). have they become
- common story: people followed corporate path and felt aimless and
wanted something more
- one hire brought a lot of best practices from "professional" world
into hacker community, which was very useful
- [redacted] works at corporate startup w/ good values. lots of
employees from places like palantir, google
- digression: what is palantir? they aggregate law enforcement and
intelligence data across agencies and make them easily queryable
- there are lots of people with solid values
- what does one get from working at a corporation to use it to bring
stuff back to activist spaces?
- do we give people the tools they need to translate that knowledge?
- do we give people a forum for sharing what they learned?
- big detractor: people don't want the paycut
- how do we deal with that?
- why do people work? not just $$$
- a lot of it is relationships
- working in non-heirarchical spaces is also rewarding
- family and solidarity are rewarding
- if well-intentioned programmers want to become radicalized, what do we
point them to?
- what organization can sustain them?
- if they can only volunteer, what can they do?
- supporting people with benefits (like health care!) reallly makes a
- if we do have a non-profit that can support people, benefits are
- obamacare, universal basic income
- there's a level of trauma in terms of actually acquiring the skills
- often information is taught in really intimidating ways
- even non-profit w/ good benefits couldn't sustain [x] living in bay area
- not possible to make changes of scale needed to confront problems
- got tired of pushing for what was needed and what could actually be done
- how to weaponinze spare time of well-intentioned programmers?
- onboarding infra needs to be incredibly solid
- could we standardize on how to plug people in?
- how can we efficiently funnel people into existing projects?
- at day job, we reorganized incredibly frequently
- non-profits don't tend be able to move this way. not "agile" etc...
- can we use timeboxes and sprints to effectively use corporate
- can we leverage time of people with partial time off?
- in sum: can we come up with smaller chunks of work to do?
- what makes this work attractive?
- can't compete on material benefits
- can compete on social, emotional support
- social-justice driven spaces can heal and meet needs that companies
- there is *huge* demand for this
- case study: NYC-based learning collective for activist programmers
- grew out of research needs of housing campaigns, etc.
- lasted over 2 years (a lot in activist time)
- people who are still programmers are ones who learned corporate stuff
- in corporate places we learned corporate tools, not activist ones
- activist things are smaller, but to make internet we need (eg:
replace google docs), it's big
- can we scale our activist networks to make such big tools? can we
use our corporate skills to make smaller tools?
- how can we find meaningful (non-corporate) coding work for activists
before they fall out of the lloop?
- how can we divide up really big infra projects into smaller chunks
of work suitable for activist coders (or corporate recruits) to tackle in their spare time?
- centralizing the on-boarding
- effective harnessing of volunteer work
- getting peeps interested is easy, keeping them engaged is hard
- civic tech meetups are a great place that keep people's energy, but
they aren't politicized
- can we make the rad equivalent of civic tech meetups?
- is there a bait and switch move you could do?
- pose as civic tech meetup but secretly be an anarchist tech meetup?
- we don't make time to strategize deeply, work extendedly on retreats
- on being reactionary
- opinion: anarchism == reactionary to material captialism that stole
- we can't beat google. we can parasitize their space, make plugins
that work on top of them and counter what they do
- we shouldn't try to replace FB, etc. with our own social network,
b/c reinforces consumerist/passive position of users
- hot take: civ take is just neoliberalism: privatize the public good
- coopts well-intentioned programmer's time and puts it toward
- corporate tech does some things more efficiently, can we structure
software dev in ways that learn from this?
- non-profit industrial complex problems
- do they have a generally liberalizing effect on radicals?
- doe they effectively mine the more hard skills of hackers?
- do they steer energy toward more pedestrian concerns?
- could we intervene?
- established non-profits gonna creep on a self-driven project
- way to think about non-profits and funding: you are just taking
excess left-over wealth
- great example: robin hood foundation -- have good rep, but for every
dollar they spend, they get tax break, and focus/language is on "monetization" (not our structure)
- instead: seek support from/for each other. raise $ to pay for small
leaves of abscence
- seek to avod beiung permanently beholded to anything/anyone
- on bait & switch: assumes an "us v. them" frame
- have lots of "non-political" friends. scary to be asked to "come
over to our side & fight the man."
- how can we work together toward particular goals?
- how can we meet people where they are at?
- if we put people in box of "them" it will be harder to work with them.
- "build or buy?"
- bait & switch / bite-size chunks
- we should do more meetups.
- palantir was a bad name:
- main takeaways#
- professional bite-sized onboarding infrastructure
- does bait & switch work?
- DIY or buy?