[hackerspaces] will the fruits of our labors be used for, good or for evil?

Al Jigen Billings albill at openbuddha.com
Wed Nov 30 07:13:06 CET 2011

On 11/29/11 10:04 PM, Volatile Compound wrote:
> Fine.  You may do so, but be aware that the reason you have just 
> outlined above is one based purely on personal politics.  It's your 
> right to make your decision along those lines, but not your right to 
> determine that that is the correct course of action for all hackerspaces.

Ah but it is my right to speak my opinions on the matter to add a 
viewpoint so others can actually reflect on the possibility of a 
downside before they go "Oh well, it's free money. Why not?" That's the 
point of having a public discussion, is it not?

>> And exactly why you shouldn't explicitly join the military-industrial
>> complex.
> Again, sounds like a personal issue.

I'm sure the Iraqis consider it very personal and probably soon the 
Iranians will as well.

> Frankly, if any hackerspace is soliciting donations from any corporate 
> or governmental body, the Officers and Board (at the very least) of 
> the hackerspace should be in agreement as to from whom they do and do 
> not solicit financial assistance from.  This is something that can be 
> resolved case-by-case at the individual hackerspaces, *not* on a 
> mailing list.

  Sure but it is a valid topic of conversation on a list dedicated to 
the discussion of hackerspaces, is it not?

>> Well, I do run a hackerspace as president and a board member so, yeah, I
>> might have a bit of an axe to grind. I have a dog in this fight as it 
>> were.
> Fair enough, and I should clarify that as of recently I sit on the 
> board of one.  As for having "a dog in this fight", I'm having a 
> difficult time seeing where the fight actually is - as best as I can 
> tell from what was written below, this was a matter of internal 
> discussions that spilled over here.

  You've misread if you mean by the above that it is a matter of 
internal discussions at my hackerspace. I meant that this is a 
reoccurring topic that a number of hackerspaces are discussing on their 
own lists.

  My hackerspace hasn't discussed it except informally and it was with 
much eye rolling about being a tool of the DoD's attempt to co-opt the 
hackerspace movement for its own benefit and propaganda.

>   Now that you have informed us of this, what's supposed to happen?  
> Are we meant to fall into lockstep with your point of view, debate the 
> issue, or ignore it entirely?  As best I can tell, you brought the 
> issue onto this list (probably in hope of engendering support for your 
> point of view), and didn't exactly find what you were hoping for.  So 
> now what?

  I didn't bring the issue up on this list. I responded to the existing 
discussion here. THAT is the point: discussion.

> Nah, I'll talk about it here but thanks.
> If you really must, then I suppose you must.  However, I'm curious as 
> to why you feel this can't be resolved at the level of the individual 
> hackerspaces through voting - I mean, it's not like this list is where 
> the Mayor of the Hackerspaces will decree that you are absolutely 
> correct and all hackerspaces must bow to your will in this matter.

  True but if people from hackerspaces considering this know that, for 
example, members of most other hackerspaces think it is very uncool and 
morally questionable to take this sort of money, perhaps it will factor 
into their discussions and decision making. If we just shut up and drop 
it, then those of us who do feel strongly on this issue miss out on an 
opportunity to affect how this plays out in the long run.

  Hackerspaces aren't a tool for the military and military research 
except indirectly at best. Let's keep it that way.


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