(This is a bit rambling ... more reason for a conversation because it's hard
to capture all the nuance in a monolog).
It's helpful for me to learn how people interpret my examples. There is also
a lot to respond to that requires more of a book than an essay. I'm striving
for an amoral understanding of motivations and the paradigms/memes through
which we view the world. There is an interesting interplay between the
acceptance of authority be it corporations or saviors that leads us to look
to authority for answers. It is the notion that things can't work unless
someone is in charge. My sense is that in Latin America there is a more
lawless version whereas in the US there is more of a popular embrace (aided
and abetted by money).
I've switched from roads to sidewalks as my standard example because roads
to have a lot of implicit semantics. I use trolleys as an example of
infrastructure built for "access" rather than local use. You may be
interested in http://rmf.vc/Turnpikes
describing how the US went from toll
roads as the norm to roads as a public facility. At this point I explain
that tolls are only placed at constriction points where people can be forced
to pay and we tell them just-so stories about why the tolls pay for the
roads when, in reality, they are just more sources of income to the ...
either community or road owners or whatever. This is also related to the
"access" meme - it's another story.
One reason I use sidewalks is that they facilitate walking but are not
necessary because one can take paths.
While people can be forced to drive on highways in the US, at least, they
are generally public infrastructure so that they aren't considered captured
by corporations. In http://rmf.vc/IPEngineersDilemma
I write about public
roads permitted competition with railroads whereas the FCC has prevented a
similar alternative for our ability to communicate.
As to food, you might be interested in
In general I don't worry so much about "corporate benefit" as much as
acceptance of the notion that things are "provided" rather than created by
cooperation. This is why your examples are so important. It is also why I
try to explain how we stumbled upon a DYI/DYO (Do It Ourselves) Internet
because it's difficult for people to understand and thus the provider story
is so much easier.
I'll need to learn more about the World Forums and we should think about how
to present a DYO approach for IGF. I'm glad you and Luca are on top of this
because Im not very good at such procedures. They are far beyond my
[mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Nicolás Echániz
Sent: Wednesday, June 1, 2016 00:16
Subject: Re: [DC3] Thoughts on Community Infrastructure
I've finally taken the time to read your text Bob.
I believe your ideas are perfectly compatible or maybe even more of a
background to what I've been pushing for lately: that we stop talking
about access to the Internet and instead start to talk more about making
infrastructure available to people (communities), so they (and their
devices) can network in whichever way they want/can.
The "internet access" terminology puts the people in a position of receiving
a service and it also puts companies as middlemen between these "consumers"
and the "goods" they are consuming (Facebook, Youtube, etc.).
You know I usually use the example of the roads system in a different way
than you do, but it's compatible:
The Internet as it's being mostly modeled by big companies is equivalent to
a roads system where every house has to be directly connected to a toll road
or highway. There are no local roads, no sidewalks, no spontaneous paths
through the land. Just highways.
In this model, people cannot "walk" to the park or to the local shop (local
service); those cannot exist. People have to use the highway and they have
to buy at the Mall (concentrated data centers) and have fun in the Mall's
theater (Facebook, Youtube, etc.). And of course they always have to pay for
this "access" through toll booths.
In my view, fighting for "access for everyone" leaves out the discussion
about how the infrastructure is built, controlled and used. From community
networks perspective we need to stress these ideas. We need local
infrastructure that's open for everyone to use (just like local roads are),
where people can host and offer locally and to the rest of the world their
contents, services, etc. This point of view also breaks the idea of scarcity
that is artificially imposed only to create profit.
And this also connects our struggle with many others that are also the
result of artificial scarcity for corporate benefit. The food problem is one
example. And in fact, the approach of that fight is also sometimes wrong.
Communities don't just need access to food. We need a system where the land
can be used locally so the people can produce and share what they need. The
artificial scarcity problem is again created through concentration, of the
land, of the production means and of the food distribution system.
There are many other examples of this and it's a reason why I have focused
for years on trying to get people from one camp to identify they are
fighting the same struggle as others, just in a different domain.
So... in relation to this, I want to propose that we somehow have the DC3
represented in the World Social Forum and the World Forum of Free Media
this year in Montreal.
Sorry for the long e-mail.
On 05/21/2016 08:22 PM, dc3(a)bob.ma wrote:
Ive tried to put together my thoughts about community
infrastructure. For now its a draft at
I plan to post it when the video of my Rio talk on infrastructure
Id appreciate feedback.
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