[...] The more the internet crowds flocked to it, the better Wikipedia became. Thanks to the embrace and involvement of its users, and a software platform that was specifically designed for that collaborative purpose, Wikipedia gradually turned into an evolving, self-corrective and self-improving entity.
[...] It fits the definition [of a public good] to a tee. Wikipedia is non-rival, that is, my usage doesnt limit somebody else from using it at the same time; and it is non-excludable [...]
"[...] As a public good, Wikipedia generates incredible positive externalities: it creates much more value to society than what it actually costs in money, in terms of power consumed by its servers and editors time. [...]"
Now that [my son] can type on his own, he searches Wikipedia himself. He is growing up knowing that any question on any topic has an answer online. The Encyclopedia is always there, in his dads pocket or on the familys iPad. This is not just comforting. It is mind-expanding. It fosters wild and unimpeded curiosity: one question leads naturally to another question and another one and another ad infinitum. Knowledge becomes a game of chance, an expedition, with hypertext links and search boxes as propellers.[...]"
[...] Thanks to that other public good, the worldwide web, Wikipedia is allowing for something similar, but at a much quicker pace and on a vastly more massive scale. It is hard to predict what untold progress and social transformations lie ahead of us as a result of such intensification in the free flow of knowledge. [...]
Your catchword is "share", but you don't want us to share. You want to keep us within your walled gardens. That's why you've been removing RSS links from webpages, hiding them deep on your website, or removed RSS entirely, replacing it with crippled or demented proprietary API.
You're not social when you hamper sharing by removing RSS. You're happy to have customers creating content for your ecosystem, but you don't want this content out - a content you do not even own. Google Takeout is just a gimmick. We want our data to flow, we want RSS.
We want to share with friends, using open protocols: RSS, XMPP, whatever. Because no one wants to have your service with your applications using your API force-feeding them. Friends must be free to choose whatever software and service they want.
We are rebuilding bridges you have wilfully destroyed.
The Decentralise Now conference gathering held on Mont-Soleil, St-Imier in the Jura Mountains of Switzerland from the 17th to the 21st of September drew the participation of altogether 64 changemakers from all around the world. Some came for a stay over the entire gathering and beyond and are still on site now, collaborating together on their projects. Some came for a few days, individual workshops, or participated via the online video conference stream that was running throughout the entire event.
The gathering encouraged the alliance of efforts many changemakers and activists are involved with already throughout the world. Rather than attempting to create yet another project, organisation or movement, the gathering at its essence focused on empowering the existing network of actors for transformative change.
Following an experimental Co-opathon during the weeks leading up to the gathering, which experimented with online gift circles, a concept where participants share requests and offers, the Decentralise Now gathering collaborated with OccupyCafe.org, to extend this concept throughout the gathering.
This reactivation of the OccupyCafe community integrated real time workshops on the property of the Decentrale cooperative with additional online participants who could both see and hear us as we discussed global issues of importance to all of us, and they could speak up and join in whenever they wanted.
The timing of this gathering was to commemorate the first protest in New York on the 17th of September , 2011 in New York. It also drew others from other disciplines of activism such as the environmentalists of the Permaculture and Rainbow as well as activists from the anarchists and squatter backgrounds.
Some of the workshops were purely online facilitation and conferencing, whilst others were actual physical workshops watched by online participants. Using this dynamic approach, we were able to connect more people together who would normally never have the opportunity to travel to a specific location due to economic or time restraints.
The gathering was also an opportunity to discuss details of a project that would make the Decentrale property mostly solar powered and producing more energy than it needs, without changing the appearance of the historic building. This will convert the project into a model of energy and heating sustainability using pioneering technology developed and manufactured in the local area. It will be designed to be able to operate entirely off grid with the flick of a switch. This will also make the Decentrale an additional eco-tourist attraction in the heart of the Swiss Energy-Park, which will integrate well with our other projects and activities.
It is of course in line with the ethos of the Decentrale project overall, to decentralise energy production and become independent of fossil fuels. The Decentrale is after all also a part of the Permavillage project, which aims at essential local self-sufficiency in all regards, from the vegetables to the energy needs.
From a more global perspective, what did come out of the gathering is the need to further integrate with other disciplines and to respect their journeys. Each counter culture has its own history, traditions and norms. It was and remains a challenge to find a way to bring the best of each to the fore and to respect the boundaries of its neighbour.
Our first meetings were about introducing the vision of “Decentralise Now!” and the importance of decentralisation, and learning what each person had done to find this space. Each person introduced themselves and why they had decided to join “the coalition of the willing”. Essentially, our aim was to create such an open space for a collaborative changes to happen in the world. To explain that we wish to serve as a hub or node for bringing different groups together to find a way forward globally – socio- economically, politically and environmentally.
With the tool of the gift economy or gift circle we were asked to make our requests to “the universe”... and once this was done we were asked to let our offers also be known - that is what we specifically had to offer the forum. This could be in the form of time for projects or other practical help to assist others in their struggle or work to bring their own projects into being. Participants in the circle included a couple from America who run a internet radio station , a journalist building an alternative news network, a programmer working on the software of a “global brain” etc. The gift circle and online participation included people from the USA, England, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Canada, Finland, Mexico and other regions of the world.
On Friday Olaf Zanger gave a workshop on alternative currencies and understanding the current banking system and how it works. In this case he did his discourse in the bottom room or lounge area where we sat in front of a roaring fire whilst participants watched from all over the world.
On Saturday Morning Isabel who runs an internet radio in Spanish gave a talk on how Podemos (literally; “we can”) began and its influence around the world and in Spain, as well as its influence particularly to inspire other activist groups in Greece. We had online participants from Mexico as well as Spain and it was also translated into English by a Rainbow guy from Argentina- Sol. This workshop was given upstairs in our lecture room.
Isabel’s workshop was followed up by a very interesting discourse on the Enigma Box, presented by Armin. Once installed, the device anonymizes and encrypts all internet traffic of an internet connection and prevents for example illegal spying by government agencies such as the NSA. The principle of the device was explained in simple terms as well as technical terms for those who were interested.
We also spoke about alternative currencies – a workshop that was carried through to Sunday and the conclusions we came to were that in order to bypass the reliance on the banks we had to create a user based economy which is independent of centralised control and the whims of the market. The merits of the gift economy were discussed and alternative methods of exchange such as the time bank which exchanges hours for labour as well as regional currencies – crypto currencies, gold or resources based currencies and existing forms of exchange based on credits.
On Sunday Robin gave a workshop on the “ Rainbow Revolution, global elites and the state of the planet in terms of the 1 % who manipulate the markets and put the majority of the people, the 99% in a kind of economic slavery. Again the concept of what kind of system would in future replace capitalism was discussed and how we were going to spread this transformation.
The eventual consensus that came out of the evening talking circle was that any new system that would replace the old would have to be a sustainable and symbiotic one built on culture. A culture that would embrace collaborative efforts and encourage synergy with those groups who are already working towards that aim all over the world. For example with independent energy systems, permaculture methodology, free or gift economies that exchange goods and services between each other ...and most of all an ethical trade system that creates healthy ways of dealing with human effects or waste upon other beings and the planet at large. This movement forward would be an enlightening process whereby a “synergesis” or a “state of synergy” between each ”island of light“ would be created.
And finally, it was postulated that we should continue repeating the mantra of “Decentralise Now!”until it comes into the mainstream psyche.
- To which end this project would retain its primary motive – not to aim to create an alternative culture, but to help a new primary culture to emerge. It will connect those individuals and projects that are looking for help, assistance, facilitation and inspiration ..or encouragement on their journey of self empowerment.
In the final analysis it was decided that to do this we would have to further build an alternative media platform which spreads the message to the people of this world who wanted to escape this current matrix of “mind control”.
In this regard, valuable connections with various people active in alternative media projects were made during the gathering. More efforts and more calls for dedicated and committed volunteers will go out to spread this message through these media.
Particularly, the vision came to create a monthly newspaper which will work alongside the existing radio platform which is broadcasted from Mont Soleil already.
On the final day of the gathering we held a workshop on the possible content and names of such a newspaper and how we could create this new culture in the shadow of the old.
Finally, other intentional conferences were envisioned using the same tools that were used in this conference specifically the video platform that allows for up to 100 people to participate at the same time excluding those on the chat lines.
The Decentralise Now Gathering is an open ended invitation for more change makers to come with their ideas and will continue on its mission to put the power back in the hands of the people. ...the 99 % .
We thank those that attended and helped organise and contributed to the success of this initiative and hope to see you again.
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Exchanging ideas for building a
decentralized fabric of society.
Making true democracy work on a larger
scale while decentralizing "everything",
benefiting from local diversity and
global synergies at the same time.