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+title: 'Communication infrastructure – a form of resistance?'
+subtitle: 'Fripost: digital technology as a common good for user freedom and control'
+author: 'Gustav Eek <>'
+date: tor 13 jul 2017 20:18:26 CEST
+Proposal to FSCONS 2017
+# Abstract
+In this lecture the democratic principles of Fripost, the free email
+association (founded in 2010) will be presented. Infrastructure for
+electronic communication will be resembled with a common good (a
+resource). That using a critique of the *public--private* dichotomy,
+and the tragedy of the commons. I will then demonstrate how also
+complicated resources can (and must) be made subject to democratic
+# Description
+The importance of Internet as communication medium can not be
+questioned. For those who take user freedom seriously it is saddening
+to see how the Internet has changed from being a common and highly
+distributed network to the increasingly privatised web we encounter
+In this lecture I will present the democratic principles of Fripost,
+the free email association which was founded as a reaction to that
+development. I will resemble infrastructure for electronic
+communication with a common good (a resource), and I will demonstrate
+how also complicated resources can (and must) be made subject to
+democratic control.
+Fripost and its foundation and democratic principals has been
+presented several times since its constitution in 2010, also at
+FSCONS. This is why the lecture also will take a different and broader
+stand, inspired by some recent readings. The Fripost initiative will
+also be put in context of local struggles with global implication.
+In short, the idea that every resource needs an single responsible and
+managing owner is unsatisfactory as well as the dichotomy
+*public--private*. What is not managed can not yield profit. But some
+things are to important even to be managed. Naturally this touches on
+a critique (which has been presented many times before) of Hardin's
+classical tragedy of the commons. Regarding the enclosure of the
+commons, management in it self causes the scarcity, The commons are
+not scarce resources that requires management.
+It is not obvious, however, how digital technology and technology
+based on Internet can be recognised as a resource and common
+good. Though "friendly" in its usage, digital technology is
+intrinsically intricate and complicated in its internals, and the
+distance is far between the providing and consuming ends. What is the
+interpretation of democratic influence and control in the case of
+digital technology? And what is user freedom for Internet services?
+Here Fripost becomes an example of central communication
+infrastructure that implements democratic "ownership", maintenance,
+and development. And democracy is *equal influence*: it does not stop
+at the gathering of opinion.
+Equal influence is ambitious, and how it is interpreted in Fripost
+will be discussed in its details, but in short the key is that
+Fripost's commitment is equally much social as it is technical: all
+decisions originates from the members, short term as well as
+strategical; activities are balanced between the association's three
+legs: (a) technology, (b) adult education, and (c) propaganda; and
+sustainability is the leading word.
+I humbly recognise that what we do is small in scale and ambition. But
+I still want to put it in the context of important local struggles
+that with global implication. In the world, farmers fight for land,
+urban folks for water, and students for independent universities. We
+fight for the right and free access to Internet and the means for
+communication. Internet is designed to be distributed and for equal
+unlimited access for everyone. That sounds quite much like a common
+good, and commons require equal influence.
+The moral of the presentation is of course that we should fight back
+against the privatisation process, particularly that of the
+web. Fripost illustrates that it is possible and also suggest how it
+can be done.