[hackerspaces] Hacking the Spaces: A critical acclaim of what was, is and could be a hackerspace (or hacklab, for that matter)

Matt Joyce mdjoyce at gmail.com
Mon May 11 05:31:11 CEST 2009

As I stated in my prior post, I obviously agreed there were political /
social / what have you implications that were very relevant to
hackerspaces.  Citing the availability of chemical supplies was meant as an
object lesson in that so to speak.  And that being said I do agree that the
hackerspaces organization should become a method by which all our
diasporadic (not really a word, but it should be) groups can unite under
causes that are central to the needs of our spaces and our global community.

On the hackerspaces organizational level it is even more important than it
is on the per space level to be more mindful of the diversity in each space
(and their members) culturally, politically and otherwise.  Already as seen
with the problems of being linked up with some of the more notable spanish
speaking labs we've begun to see just how difficult it can be to present a
united front.  If you thought language was a difficult barrier to breach...
politics is the nuclear weapon to linguistics proverbial powder keg.

It is with that sentiment in mind that I made the post that I did.

I do hope that the hackerspaces organization can grow to become a means by
which we can all aid in the establishment of better legislature and better
resources for our efforts.  But in saying that I hope that we can keep those
pushes confined to the specific needs of the spaces as infrastructure.  We
will face situations in which we skirt dangerously along the lines of
becoming a conduit for non relevant political dogma.  And bad precedence
will easily erode the wall between the two.

While premature, it stands to reason that at some point if it comes to a
real political establishment of a unified organization representing the
interests of all hackerspaces a constitution will need to be written that
guaruntees the rights of spaces, and members of spaces to live by their own
mission statements.  That means being accepting of all ways of being a
hacker space.  Ultimately it would be my hope that such an accepting design
would in no way gentrify the uniqueness and consequent originality of the
spaces and their contributions to our sum total.

For each space and hacker the choice of how they choose to exsist is theirs
alone.  But for better or for worse, the actions of any of us publicly will
end up reflecting upon all of us.  If the hackerspaces organization can
serve as the external face of our united efforts than it should be
representative of all of us.  That means being exclusive to all of our
ideals with exception to the core ideals of what it is to be a communal
technology hub (or hackerspace).

What will be very difficult... is defining that a hackerspace's bill of
rights ( yeah i am american but it's transferable ) are within that
framework.  And defining what a hackerspace is... to the public at large.
That is where care and caution should converge and hopefully with luck and
skill be successful.

Anyways these are a lot of very heady ideas and certainly something that
requires a great deal more thought by all of us before we make an issue of
it.  But, with hundreds of spaces and hundreds more sprouting up every day
it is a concern we will need to address soon.

As hackerspaces.org infrastructure projects begin to emerge that bind us
closer together and bring our individual resources into a shared pool, we
will need to have an operating framework that will help guide their
development and prevent harm to the movement or the hackerspaces

These are my thoughts.  Take them as you will.  I am certainly in very deep
waters at this point and am not comfortable with what I am typing.  Though
some of that may be from the beer fumes ( we are brewing currently at
resistor ).

-Matt Joyce

On Sun, May 10, 2009 at 8:52 PM, Jens Ohlig <jens at ccc.de> wrote:

> Am 11.05.2009 um 00:59 schrieb Paul Böhm:
>  Hey Jens,
>> Not every organization can take care of everything. It's so cheap to
>> create organizations these days, that i believe it to make much more
>> sense to have focused organizations with whose goals the members
>> really identify, rather than big catch-all organizations.
>> I don't see why being a part of a hackerspace should give anyone the
>> right to guilt me into supporting political causes or proposed
>> solutions that i might not believe in.
> Sure, it's probably better to have a separate organization for questions
> like agricultural subsidy politics or car pooling or which party or
> candidate you should vote for in the next general election of your country.
> I couldn't care less about all this questions. However, for the politics of
> hackerspaces and the very political act of running an open space there is
> probably currently no better organization than this mailinglist. Also, the
> discussion on how the politics of hackerspaces should work should take place
> in the spaces, not elsewhere. Just claiming that it's apolitical what we do
> is not an option for me.
> Please look beyond the tone the monochrom piece is written in -- sure, it
> sounds a lot like leftist academia theory speak. I admit that this language,
> like Club-Mate, is an acquired taste: One gets used to it (or doesn't).
> Parts of the essay could be rewritten with less inside jokes mentioning Marx
> and Adorno and more Lolcats and Matrix quotes. But this is not really the
> point. The point is that we are doing something highly political here and
> I'd like us to think about the direction we are taking this before we wake
> up and realize that yet again things didn't work out like in the utopias
> that came before us.
> Cheers,
> Jens
> _______________________________________________
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> Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
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