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

Colin Keigher general at keyboardcowboy.ca
Thu Jul 3 19:45:22 CEST 2014

No. My response should be misconstrued as this.

Political affiliations should have no bearing on your being involved in 
a space--I am "centre-left" by Canadian standards (and probably 
"pinko-commie" by American) just to inform you. What should be a 
qualifier to your involvement in a space is laying out your intentions 
on why you want to be a member. If you're there to create and do cool 
shit, then you should be in; if you're there to further your personal, 
political agenda, you shouldn't.

As long as you're not spreading hate and making others uncomfortable, 
politics should never play a role.

VHS was asked by an IndyMedia clone to allow them to make use of the 
space to work on their productions. We collectively said "no" and the 
issue never came up again. We had to keep a neutral stance during the 
Olympics while many of our members were being followed by the RCMP and 
Vancouver Police due to their affiliation with anti-games groups. 
Keeping VHS politics-free has been policy since its inception six years 
ago and so far it has had success. We don't try to do anything more than 
provide a space to do and make cool shit.

- Colin

On 03/07/2014 10:32, Al Billings wrote:
> 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.”
> Al
> On Jul 3, 2014, at 10:28 AM, Randall G. Arnold 
> <randall.arnold at texrat.net <mailto: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 <mailto:albill at openbuddha.com>
> http://makehacklearn.org

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