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95 Theses of Geek Activism
Alex Steffen, 23 Jul 06

Because the gap between our current way of living and global sustainable prosperity - between the present and a bright green future - is so large, we need not only changed thinking but widespread innovation if we are to close it. We need, simply put, better tools to save the planet.

That's why open intellectual property systems and freedom of thought are a critical component of any reasonable effort to build a better future: they create the conditions for widepread innovation of the kind we need. In that light, the manifesto 95 Theses of Geek Activism is the kind of thing that should be read, and understood, by every worldchanger:

16. Proprietary data formats must never store public information.

35. Those in favor of suspending some liberties for security, answer this: “Who watches the watchers?”

49. Frame the argument in terms of the average person, not the edge-case geek. These problems affect geeks first, but will affect everyone in the future.

63. Have a global perspective in ideas of geek civil liberties, intellectual property rights and so forth. Do you like your country’s policies in this respect? Can you help people from another country?

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Comments

96: Reclaim the term "geek." Join a carnival and bite the head off a chicken.


Posted by: Jan Steinman on 23 Jul 06

A little bit of background to illuminate what Jan was saying:

"A geek is a person who is fascinated, perhaps obsessively, by obscure or very specific areas of knowledge and imagination... The word "geek" originates with side-show "circus geeks" — performers at carnivals who swallow various live animals and bugs. Sometimes this extends to biting off the heads of chickens." Wikipedia

...Now, how did biting the heads off chickens eventually turn into people being fascinated by obscure knowledge & imagination? It sounds to me like all those who had watched the circus-geeks were more geeky than the circus-geeks themselves! IE: Gruen Transfer :)

Hacktivism seems like a tentacle of geek activism in the computer world. As for the geeks getting out into the real world to build & effect change, sometimes they have trouble with communication. For those who hesitate to speak-out, usually marginalize themselves that no one will understand. For those that do speak-out, often blunder from the mouth incoherent ideas to those who are not in-the-know.

Perhapse a website could be used for geek-folks who are successful, to write about their successful/progressive encounter(s); then have it read, reviewed & rated by all those geeks who deem themselves as marginalized in that aspect of success. It'd seem a waste for that knowledge to fall through the cracks of history when time is running out for widespread understanding & action.


Posted by: Francis Scully on 23 Jul 06

Thanks for the link- worldchanging indeed :).


Posted by: Devanshu on 23 Jul 06

Are you all forgetting that logic is the ultimate solution to any problem? It is the if, the when, the why, the how, that shows us all how to solve anything at all.

Give a person a good idea, he/she is pleased for the day. Teach a person how to think, he/she is happy their entire lifetime.


Posted by: James Orman on 24 Jul 06

This has been going around the blogs, and I must say I'm not very impressed. First off, compare #2 and #32. "Geek activists" like to slyly intimate castrating license agreements (#2) yet scream bloody murder when someone violates their favorite license agreement, the GPL (#32).

I would not hesitate to call this list choir-preaching, and less than useful.


Posted by: the daniel on 25 Jul 06

"16. Proprietary data formats must never store public information."

Wrong. Data formats don't store information. *People* store information *in* data formats. If our pal can't be clear enough with his language to get that straight, then I don't want him as a spokesperson for geeks. It's not even a thesis; it's a command.

Restated: 16) Public data should be easily and universally available to the public, without particular software requirements. Data storage through the use of open standards, rather than proprietary ones, make this goal much easier to achieve.

My version isn't as punk rock, but hopefully does a better job of stating the case. Maybe I should remix dude's 'theses,' and hand them back. I wonder if they're licensed CC...


Posted by: Paul Mitchum on 26 Jul 06



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