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

Colin Keigher general at keyboardcowboy.ca
Thu Jul 3 20:05:17 CEST 2014

The Canadian government has been going after non-profits that are 
engaging in political activity--namely those who are railing against the 
government's environmental record (or lack thereof). Non-profits with 
charitable status have been threatened to have their status revoked.

On 03/07/2014 10:53, Pete Prodoehl wrote:
> Interesting side-note, I believe that in the US 501(c)3 non-profit 
> organizations (which some spaces are) have to avoid politically 
> supporting a party or candidate. Would this affect activities at a 
> space? Perhaps not, as long as the space itself does not "officially" 
> get involved or take a stance, and it's just members doing things, but 
> I don't know.
> Pete
> On 7/3/14, 12:45 PM, Colin Keigher wrote:
>> 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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