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

Joe Bowser bowserj at uselessdegree.net
Mon May 11 06:14:55 CEST 2009

Matt Joyce wrote:

> 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.

I agree with this.  I haven't been to many hackerspaces, but based on
what I hear about with the Canadian landscape (which is only about a
half-dozen spaces), I can say that VHS is at times different in focus,
and in operation to its Canadian counterparts, let alone any American or
European hackerspace.

As for the politics of a hackerspace, these are internal to the space
for the most part.  There are spaces who have models that I really like,
and there's spaces that have models that I don't like as much, but I
don't really consider those things political.  As a hackerspace, we have
an affinity for other hackerspaces/hacklabs, whether they be limited
liability companies in the US, or found in Anarchist squats in France.
I think that diversity is the strength found in hackerspaces.

> 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.

I'd call it a basis of unity, more than a "bill of rights" since we're
free to associate and disassociate with this movement/group.  Right now,
hackerspaces seems to be a group that is working to come together under
a particular banner, and we should be looking at what makes the spaces
similar instead of what the differences are for our mutual benefit.

As far as the hackerspaces global is concerned, it'd be great if it was
a loosely knit organization, much like it is now, that offered
resources, and had hackerspaces that agreed in principle to agree to a
basis of unity which worked on our strengths.

I think that we're all moving roughly towards the same thing, and I
don't see as much disagreement here, except in the very minor details.

Joe B

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