GNUnion networganises via the Organising Network
Note from USI, builder of the ON:
Like all social media – all technology – it is ideological. But the ideology is to create a safe space for people to organise politically.
ON is built on Elgg, which is Open Source. It has plugins, developed by Lorea, that enable political organising and democratic decision making. Members of the Occupy Wall Street and Boston tech committees use the software, and are working to further develop the Lorea plugins. It is hosted on a secure server – named Chelsea, in honour of Chelsea Manning – by a left wing technological membership organisation, Mayfirst.org. USi are members of Mayfirst.
ON isn’t designed for social networking. Though you’re welcome to do so, this isn’t the place to post snaps of you out on the lash, or to connect with your old school friends.
This is not a left wing alternative to Facebook.
ON is an organising network. It functions like a social network, but its purpose is to help people organise politically, securely, with an accountable and transparent decision making process. It’s ideal for union branches and campaigns, or activist groups, who for whatever reason, can’t meet physically.
You can create groups – for instance, for your branch. These can be hidden and invite only, or open to all. Within your group, you can post ablog – with pictures – about your latest campaign. You can upload important files. You can start discussion threads.
More importantly, you can take decisions democratically. Within your group, you can make a proposal. Other group members can vote on it, comment, or make a new proposal. The discussion is visible online for all logged in members to see, which helps transparency.
You can also link a proposal to an assembly – what ON calls meetings. You can set meeting dates, and if you link proposals to assemblies, they automatically go on the agenda. You can have the meeting in a physical space, or online using our web conferencing facility. Or you can just use the meeting date as the cut off point for decisions, and allow people to comment and vote in their own time.
We think ON is a useful organising space for activists, and we invite you to join and use it. There is a learning curve – there is with any new technology – but get in touch, and we will help set you up.
Every tool is a weapon if you hold it right. Let’s use all the wonderful social media tools out there to spread the word about unions fighting back against austerity, and building a world based on justice, equality and dignity. But let’s also be conscious of the ideology of the tools we use, and create our own safe spaces too.
Free Libre and Open Source Software applications and tools that are safe and useful for unionists, labour and social justice activists:
Security & Privacy Guides
Cyrpto Party: This page just very briefly lists all the tools which you can use to enhance your privacy, anonymity and overall security.
Cyrpto Party’s Security warning: Security is a process, not a tool. You need at least basic understanding to assess the degree of security a tool can give you. That said, treat it like a game. The worst thing which can happen if you use these tools for your everyday business is that you are just as unsecure, unencrypted or in the open as you are anyway. Usage for security sensitive activity (prohibited and persecuted by society and/or government) without deeper understanding is however strongly discouraged.
Alternative applications to private ones
PRISM.Breakout: Opt out of global data surveillance programs like PRISM, XKeyscore and Tempora. Stop governments from spying on you by encrypting your communications and ending your reliance on proprietary services. http://prism-break.org/
There’s no need to fear if you’re worried about keeping your online activities private. Tools and tactics are available to help anyone — be they journalists, activists and human rights defenders or just individuals concerned about online privacy — secure their online activities and control the information they share. No technology tool or resource is perfect, nor can they guarantee you 100% privacy or information security online. You should only use tools which fit your own personal security needs so think about what information you want to keep private before committing to a tool. We recommend using Free and open-source software tools, because their security credentials and weaknesses can be independently verified and using them can make surveillance or invasion of privacy much more difficult. The following is a quick list of alternative tools and platforms that will help secure your private information . We’ve also provided links to step-by-step hands-on guides for their installation and use, where possible. If you’d like to learn more, you should take a look at:
- Stronger ties with online networking
- Tools for cybermeetings and webinars
- Bottom up publishing & sharing
- Translation and interpretation
- An Example
Quick guide for a revolution [multi-language]
(prepared by 15M and Occupy activists)