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

Volatile Compound volatilecompound at gmail.com
Wed Nov 30 07:36:39 CET 2011

On 11/29/11 10:13 PM, Al Jigen Billings wrote:
> 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?

Which is pretty much exactly what I believe I said above, though I'll 
admit to adding the caveat regarding personal politics.

>>> 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.

Dude, I'm not even going to touch that one.  This list is not the place 
to discuss that issue.

>> 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?

Then discuss it from that standpoint - and without hostility towards 
differing viewpoints.  I get that this is clearly something you're 
deeply concerned about, but the approach you've taken here thus far 
isn't conducive to any actual debate, which is why the thread's 
descended into the well of shit it's currently in.

>>> 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.

Actually, that one could have been phrased better on my behalf.  When I 
referred to "internal discussions", I was referring to any that may have 
been had on their mailing lists.  This is what I was also talking about 
with my subsequent, "I'm not privy to the other discussions, so cannot 
respond to what may or may not have been said on other lists to which I 
am not subscribed" comment.

> 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.

Then discuss it formally.  If that's actually how your voting members 
feel about it, great, go with whatever their vote is.  But don't expect 
everyone to feel the same way your hackerspace might about it.

>> 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

Sorry, but without hard data to back that assertion up, that's all it 
is: an assertion, and an unfounded one at that.  And the conversation 
here is far from completely indicative of how "most hackerspaces" may 
feel about the matter.

>, perhaps it will factor
> into their discussions and decision making.

If it does, then they're basing that decision-making on some fairly 
specious logic at best.  This is why I continue to advocate that each 
one decide for themselves on a case-by-case basis.

> 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.

True, but by the same token, consciousness-raising sessions don't get 
anyone anywhere.  Debate, yes, but I doubt that anyone really wants to 
be browbeaten into conformity - particularly in this community.

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

Again, I'll suggest approaching certain educational institutions about 
how they resolved this issue decades ago.  There seems to be a 
substantial amount of peaceful coexistence between them and the agencies 
who provide a good chunk of their annual budgets.

- skroo.

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