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[liberationtech] my geek manifesto for 2013

Shava Nerad shava23 at gmail.com
Wed Jan 2 03:52:49 PST 2013


On Jan 2, 2013 5:12 AM, "André Rebentisch" <tabesin at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Am 02.01.2013 08:54, schrieb Shava Nerad:
> > Reasons people told you you never should try, you'd never have access
> to power.  Reasons that power as currently exercised never seemed
> attractive.
>
> Mostly falsified.
>

No arguments.  Although a lot of it I find is an aversion to
"sausagemaking," if you know the idiom.

Also, I remember a conversation with a friend in Oregon at a science
fiction convention years ago.  I was working on the Dean campaign and some
friends were reacting as though I had plague, even though my online
activity had always been very political (but non-profit/NGO).

I was saying to him, "Here is a collection of brilliant systems thinking
socialized geeks who love nothing b better than to try to out-think
world-building history simulations that can span thousands of pages over
decades, but they won't take up the reins of their own democracy.  Wtf?
Don't they see their own potential?"

And my friend, a grizzled disabled Vietnam vet, averred that *that* was
precisely why most of the brightest ones didn't get involved - because they
were afraid they might change *everything* and then they'd be stuck like me
the rest of their lives, seeing what they could do.

Wise guy.

Although, my experience has been, most people can always find a sufficient
reason to become disenchanted and fall away.  Slack seems stronger by far
than engagement.

Overcoming the "sickness unto death" - slack, despair, apathy, internal
strife and miscommunication in organizing - now if we could code against
*that* we would be unstoppable.

I know how to catalyze systems thinking in a few hours.  How to teach a
teenager how to plan a social action project with a sustainable team in 15h
or less (with a pretty good record of success in long-term leadership
development among students).

But I can't set kids up to navigate every manifestation of the inevitable
entropy social change projects experience from within -- personally from
burnout, from group dynamics, from the many forms of outside pressures.

Drama llama - loss of comfort zone - not a hobby any more.  Perseverance
isn't big in an attention economy.  How do we code it in?  Support
ourselves and each other, while maintaining reasonable effective discipline
and efficiency?

Organizing has traditionally been "closed source" tech - handed down from
teacher to protege, apostolic succession.  Partly it's because organizers
are in perpetual motion.  They rarely slow down to write.  Much of
technique is a living document - volatile, as old techniques become stale
or develop countermeasures,  or new media emerge.

But a lot is simply partisanship: if I document my tips and techniques, my
opposition can not only use the same but develop strategies against me.
Never mind that it's likely that it's in the public interest in a democracy
that all these strategies be fully transparent and available to all for use
and as media crit.

Perhaps a first step toward a LARP culture for civic engagement is
publishing the rulebook - or a better architectural framework for the
community to contribute, build, and refine the rulebook for the biggest
LARP in the world?

SN
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