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[liberationtech] Call for Participants @ Noisy Square - Putting the Resistance back in OHM

Jacob Appelbaum jacob at appelbaum.net
Mon Jun 24 14:17:16 PDT 2013


micah:
> Eleanor Saitta <ella at dymaxion.org> writes:
> 
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>>
>> On 2013.06.24 07.19, Douwe Schmidt wrote:
>>> Dear LibTech Readers,
>>>
>>> In a little bit over a month OHM2013 is happening in The
>>> Netherlands. There has been a lot of controversy in the run-up to
>>> this gathering. There was criticism of the involvement of tech
>>> security company Fox-IT, then there was a heated debate on the
>>> presence of Dutch High-tech Crime Unit in a village of their own.
>>> Both discussions have calmed down. But the relevance of these
>>> topics was clarified and reinforced.
>>
>> It's very sad that the organizing team has not actually taken any
>> meaningful steps to address either their complicity with the
>> manufacture of surveillance equipment, their acceptance of the
>> promotion of a fascist police force, or the way they treated people
>> who had previously been part of their own team during the "discussion"
>> that ensued.  In fact, as far as I can tell, absolutely nothing has
>> happened on their end, they've just out-waited any discussion.
>>
>> A lot of people are asking me to change my mind on attending, and it
>> sounds like you guys are going to have a lot of fun, but I'm finding
>> myself pretty unmotivated to change my mind given that much of the
>> organizing team doesn't seem to care at all about human rights.
> 
> I felt the same way as you, but someone convinced me that boycotting
> just removes my voice from this conversation, and that attending gives a
> chance to have this well needed discussion with the community.

This is a false dichotomy of an argument if ever I've heard one. I keep
hearing it too. It bums me out to no end.

I understand that removing ourselves from specific discussions removes
our voices from those discussions. However, I see no reason why the
greater discussion itself is confined to that specific space at that
specific time. Who decided that? At best, we do when we engage with it
despite very serious and very reasonable misgivings.

We should work to create a space that is on level footing; we should not
engage seriously with spaces that demonstrate otherwise so blatantly.

I'm sure that OHM will be worth attending but let us not have the
illusion that it presents an ideal safe space for such discussions. Let
us also be clear that OHM is not the only place for such discussions nor
is by any means the only place that the community is able to hold such
discussions.

The question that is open for me and many others is clear - what is that
space? Where is that space?

I suspect that it will not be found at OHM or probably even at Noisy
Square. I'd love to be surprised but I don't expect to see the OHM
social contract amended to ensure equality and freedom from violence; I
suggested it to a few people online and was basically scoffed at in no
uncertain terms.

All the best,
Jacob



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