[fc-uk-discuss] fc-uk meeting on saturday 10th of december in
tom at acrewoods.net
Mon Dec 19 16:03:56 GMT 2005
I don't disagree that the European level is, at the moment, where we would
ideally act. I agree with your analysis there.
But until you or someone else can show how on earth we are likely to have any
kind of effect on that level today I'm just going to regard your email as
interesting background trivia.
When lobbying against software patents in Europe, there were two things
others) that helped us win several Parliamentary votes:
1 - The large number of individuals, communities and companies in Europe using
and creating free software;
2 - The broad coalition including companies who wanted stronger copyright
protection and people who were totally anti-IP;
So to point (1), we don't have that with free culture issues. We have
no evidence - that policy makers will listen to - to suggest that
be better off with *less* protection/control. In a few meetings I've been to
with government / policy types they've reacted with snorts of derision when I
suggested that thousands of people in Reading were actively remixing
culture in a way that was totally incompatible with their agendas.
On point (2), we don't have that coalition and your extremely left-wing
posturing certainly isn't going to win us friends amongst the various
library-related institutions, rights holders who might be sympathetic to some
of our more limited aims, consumer rights groups concerned about DRM,
development groups working on TRIPS (which will be *the* hot issue of
for many NGOs), and so on. Unless we can build that broad coalition,
on the EU level would just be pissing in the wind...
The rationale behind local action is not that we would in an ideal
world be most
effective there. It is a recognition of *reality*, that we haven't got
of basis for larger action at the moment. Better to get on with building
coalitions, which for the moment is best done on a local level, and creating a
body of evidence (e.g. RR/RC, Loca, etc.) that contradicts those political
agendas we oppose.
If we did this and were really successful, and others were similarly
across Europe, then maybe, in a couple of years' time, we'd have the basis for
some cross-EU campaigning.
Or maybe you have some other strategy that will get us there? If you could
propose a convincing strategy for quickly building that coalition, and
providing the kind of evidence that politicians and policy wonks might listen
to, I'd be all ears. Until then I'll get on with the less glamorous but IMO
necessary ground work locally.
There's also an unrelated point that I feel very strongly about. By testing my
ideas locally, by talking to a wide variety of people, I ensure that my ideas
aren't just the crazy ramblings of an ivory-tower academic.
Quoting "David M. Berry" <d.berry at sussex.ac.uk>:
> The inability to have any kind of political imaginary beyond a
> localised mentality will consign Free Culture to the margins of
> political action. It is certainly clear that the constitution
> appears doomed, and indeed that the tyranny of structurelessness will
> reappear shortly when we are informed of the new direction of Free
> Culture UK, post the decision having been made by a small clique.
> The complete inability to understand the practical and political
> value of constitutional forms of governance is strange. Moreso, is
> the completely impractical and idealistic notion of weird
> unstructured, unorganised, unnamed, and inactive 'groups' loosely co-
> ordinating to loosely co-ordinate and hence get nothing done.
> Politics (i.e. those legislative actions that have huge consequences
> nationally) are performed at a national and increasingly European and
> supranational level. By looking after the local you are leaving the
> national and global to look after itself (or more 'hopefully', that
> a loosely-co-ordinated looselessness will hopefully loosely,
> challenge existing political forms, by somehow, loosely, getting an
> email list together and putting up a wiki).
> The reality, I suspect will be lots more legislation, policy and
> corporate lobbying producing more draconian legislation, which
> effectively will strangle local actions at birth (witness, for
> example, the effect that the French national legislation proposed to
> make all GNU GPL projects illegal). Try fighting that with local
> pressure. Indeed, talking to 'experts', they tell me that IPR
> legislation is increasingly delegated to EU level as directives, and
> hence UK legislation will become more and more about technocratic
> implementation of European policy.
> If that is indeed the case, then even if you could pull off the
> national campaigns (and somehow co-ordinate each group that seems to
> have 2 members in each of them) would that give you any legitimacy to
> those in power? Or indeed could you ever face having the same kinds
> of idiotic arguments over voting rights EVERY SINGLE time you reform
> a temporary national campaign...
> On 19 Dec 2005, at 15:10, Tom Chance wrote:
>> Quoting Ed Griffith-Jones <Ed at acrewoods.net>:
>>> I still think that we are going around in circles. Without a
>>> constitution, we
>>> still haven't formally agreed (and voted on) how we as a group
>>> make decisions.
>>> Shouldn't this be our first priority? Couldn't everyone onlist
>>> help with that
>>> as it is such a central part to Free Culture UK? Can someone
>>> volunteer to lead
>>> it? I promise to help out where I can if someone volunteers to lead it.
>>> Everything else should come after that
>> No, because the constitution may tie us into some formal structure that's
>> totally inappropriate.
>> To pick a (hopefully) ludicrous example, it could mandate that one
>> person from
>> every local project turn up to meetings for the meeting to be
>> quorate. We could
>> then have a situation where a local group consisted of two very
>> busy people in
>> Edinburgh who were unable to make just about any meeting. If we
>> decided that we
>> needed formal network decisions to operate, the constitution would
>> make doing
>> anything impossible.
>> Or another example. If we decide that we want to be a very flexible
>> network of
>> local projects, as Andreas suggested, then including mandates to campaign
>> nationally on certain issues, or requiring that we meet twice a year as a
>> network to elect press officers, campaign officers, treasurers, etc. may be
>> totally inappropriate. It would become a silly relic that we
>> entertain with a
>> sigh twice a year before getting on with actually doing things...
>> This is, I think, why Congress was so silly, but still worthwhile.
>> We aimed for
>> completely the wrong things (IMO, with hindsight), and the
>> constitution process
>> is still bound around those silly aims.
>> To rephrase your last point: everything we want to do should feed into the
>> constitution, and the constitution should *enable* everything we
>> want to do.
>> If I'm a heretic here, and everybody else is still interested in
>> setting up a
>> formal national organisation with mandates to work on issues like copyright
>> reform, then I'll happily cheer from the sidelines whilst working on Remix
>> Commons and getting on with other more important things.
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