[hackerspaces] In defense of Noisebridge (even if I was never there!)

Al Billings albill at openbuddha.com
Thu Jul 3 19:32:49 CEST 2014

Is your space welcoming to people, regardless of personal politics or do you have to be a specific kind of lefty/socialist/anarchist/hippy/whatever in order to be welcome?

I say this as a socialist but I don’t want there to be a political litmus test on whether people are welcome in a space. My space has members who, quietly on occasion, bitch about Obama and his “agenda” with an eye roll from some other members. We have a communist or two and probably more than a few anarchists. Generally, I know someone for a year or more before I even realize their personal politics. Why? Because we’re there to hack, not to form a political party.

There are definitely spaces where this isn’t the case. If you aren’t on board with the specific local politics (which are usually a certain specific form of left leaning anarchism), you are shunned pretty heavily and “don’t fit in.” I’d rather have a Republican that wants to build a project from salvaged computers than an anarchist that just wants to hang out in the kitchen “food hacking.”


On Jul 3, 2014, at 10:28 AM, Randall G. Arnold <randall.arnold at texrat.net> wrote:

> I disagree when you frame that as an absolute.  Sure, there CAN be negative outcomes when a maker/hacker space or organization has fixing societal problems as a goal, but it ain't necessarily so.  It all comes down to defining the goal(s), having people to support them and for members with different goals to be respectful of each other and not get in each other's way.
> If as a makerspace member I put together a special interest group that builds remote wildlife monitoring stations for helping horned lizard conservation, and I don't disrupt anyone else in the process, then I'm positively hacking the planet and no one gets hurt.  Win-win.

Al Billings
albill at openbuddha.com

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