[hackerspaces] I'm not helping when DARPA Selects Hackerspace ...

William Macfarlane wmacfarl at gmail.com
Fri Apr 6 03:18:55 CEST 2012

> I looked at the MakeZine blog this morning and was a bit repulsed by a
> commercial that jumped out at me.  So, maybe Make Magazine has worse
> problems than just DARPA?


I want to second what was said previously in either this or the other
DARPA thread(s) -- if there's a problem here (which I think there is),
it is more the fact that we give Make and O'Reilly some weird special
place in our subculture.  The more we insist that they don't get to
define "maker" or "hackerspace", the better off everyone (including,
ultimately, Make and O'Reilly, I think) is.

My stance on DARPA and make and maker faire and how it can all relate
to my own personal anti-authoritarianism/strong bias against large
centralized funding sources in general, is that I will still do stuff
at our local Cambridge Mini-Maker Faire, but will also redouble my
efforts to organize something else that feels more along the lines of
what I think such an event should be -- I've been thinking about this
for a while, since our little cambridge mini-maker faire is attached
to the cambridge science festival which is funded by some of the big
tech companies that I hate the most (Draper, Genzyme).

I think the fact that small groups of people, working on their own,
creating their own resources can do amazing things is a huge part of
hacker/maker culture, and so I am somewhat down on the idea that we
need funding from big sketchy organizations with deep pockets.  I'm
not saying that anyone who takes DARPA money is a tool of the man, but
I am saying that, for me, personally, one of the most important things
about hacking/making[TM] is showing people that they don't need some
official sanction or support or funding to do/make amazing things, and
so the idea of taking money from DARPA somewhat undermines one of my
own major personal goals.

That said, the space that I help run takes money from MIT every year,
which I tell myself is fine because there are no strings attached, but
I'd be incredibly naive if I told myself that MIT wasn't approximately
as much part of the military-industrial-complex as anything else.

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