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COMMUNET Home

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COMMUNET  September 1997, Week 2

COMMUNET September 1997, Week 2

Subject:

Re: CN Demographic Information?

From:

Vigdor Schreibman - FINS <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Vigdor Schreibman - FINS <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 9 Sep 1997 09:09:41 -0400

Content-Type:

TEXT/PLAIN

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (121 lines)

On Sun, 7 Sep 1997, David McMurtrey wrote:


> I cannot speak for any community network other than TFN. But I can say
> that we are and have always been in the business of making the technology
> available to our community inhabitants and letting them decide what to do
> with it. We do not view ourselves as omnipotent gods on high deciding for
> the poor huddled masses what is best for them. Our job is to listen and
> respond to what they want.

  No one envisioned that the dialogue I was asked to facilitate would
  put community networks in the role of "omnipotent gods on high"
  but it did anticipate a role that was much more than merely
  "making technology available to community inhabitants." People
  who build and manage community networks traditionally do not
  explicitly defined their own purposes and values in that process.
  Nevertheless, such purposes and values constitute the implicit
  governing forces that determine the form and direction of the
  technology, and the activities that are offered by their systems.

  We sought to overcome the disastrous outcome of the traditional
  practice by making explicit the shared purposes and values that
  should govern these important community systems. This would
  not only clarify the governing forces but would greatly enlarge
  the powers of community networks to realize their vision by
  forging a collective will, with regard to such important matters.


> >
> > Building new entities such as AFCN is clearly not what is needed.
> > It is the work of building genuine community that is at issue,
> > and that work remains to be defined. Moreover, the work of
> > building community has a lot to do with process, in which the
> > network community appears to be sorely deficient. This suggests
> > that the advocates of AFCN are not the most likely resource upon
> > which to rely for genuine achievement of community needs.
> >
>
> Members of communities define their communities. As the needs and the
> resources of the communities evolve so does the character of the
> community. It is an ongoing process and there is no one answer. AFCN
> will succeed in direct proportion to its ability to be responsive to its
> membership....

  Pretending that the owners and managers of community networks have
  no role in shaping the direction of the networks is not serious.
  Moreover, the test of the viability of any association will depend
  not upon the initiative of such an entity but upon the meaningful
  participation of the network constituencies who must assert their
  creative control over the association. It is the process of
  establishing viable human relationships, which makes a genuine
  community not the mere entities of control.

>
> We have been blessed with new technologies which, for the first time in
> human history, present the potential to empower all who have access to it.
> In this technology, everyone can be a builder. Our job is simple ...
> bring the technology to as many people in our respective communities as we
> possibly can. Let them define what is to be done with it. It is all we
> can do just to keep up with the technology as it evolves. There is no way
> we can predict what our communities will do with the tools that we put in
> thier hands. That is what is so exciting about this work. It truely
> belongs to all of us rather than any one of us.

  Of course, that has been the propaganda associated with the movement
  to electronic communications, while mega-corporate operators are
  moving swiftly to monopolize all institutions and take total control
  over all communications. The total failure of community networks to
  define the purposes of such systems in the instant dialogue, and the
  growing movement to make a private business out of these community
  institutions, with tacit control placed under a highly centralized
  association that is closely assigned with the mega-corporations (e.g.,
  AT&T, IBM, Apple-Microsoft, etc.), is in my view, an ominous threat to
  the security of the people of this nation.


>
> I believe that it is important for us, as leaders and facilitators of
> community networks, to share with each other what we are doing in an open
> forum online.

  That was one of the important purposes of the dialogue offered in
  this forum, which has failed pathetically for lack of any serious
  participation by the leadership of community networks.

  It may be important for us to meet face to face from time
> to time so we can share our eperiences, joys, war stories, triumphs,
> defeats, etc with each other.

  Certainly this should be a part of any viable community network
  movement.

  It may be that we can take collective
> action when enough of us see a need to do so.

  The only possible way to avoid becoming a slave of the corporate
  state, which is now being swiftly organized on a global scale, is
  through the collective action of the people and their community leaders.
  The failure to "see a need to do so" is an admission of the
  disastrous want of community leadership we are witness to in this forum.

  These are the things that
> I look to AFCN for. I look to AFCN to succeed through openess where NPTN
> failed through its arrogant, elitist, closed door policies.

  The plan proposed by McMurtrey of turning over control to
  AFCN has nothing whatsoever to do with openness. On the
  contrary, it is a symptom of the ancient disease of taking
  the easy way to human bondage. John Milton described the
  phenomenon during the mid-seventeenth-century, in his poem
  "Samson Agonistes," which is now ravaging democracy in America.

     But what more oft, in nations grown corrupt, and by their
     vices brought to servitude, than to love bondage more
     than liberty--Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty--


Vigdor Schreibman - FINS <[log in to unmask]>
[Browse the new Fins Information Age Library,
now located at URL: http://sunsite.utk.edu/FINS/]

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