A commune emerged around common interest to speak, to liberate, current form of science and technological spheres of society from the clutches of Centralized few Monopolized control & oppressive structures. Primarily the communityunt from rational basis to network people on similar thought process and grounds. Our current senior members of the community has initiated the platform with paralleled efforts and have guided, participated as equals to every other participants to discuss and delve into every action, every learning, every sharing - continuing till today.
Days of FSHMPY with effort from PSF & FSMI and parallel emergence of PuduvaiGLUG marked its strong basement and pillars to support further its evolutions and actions. Being democratic and striving for gender equality the community has engaged in organizing GNU/Linux Users Groups (GLUG) in colleges, universities in and around Puducherry. This has enriched the participation diversity making it more inclusive and innovative in its actions all these years.
Like any community birth, it involves several learnings from mistakes, frictions, disappointments, successes, actions, visions, boredom, slumps, reemergence, etc…. all amount to continual peer learning and community evolution from humble DIY user club to a movement and society that has a critical view of the society and its interaction with technology of today, past and the future.
The community now is a registered civil society organization in India, advocating the use and practice of Free Software and Hardware tools, technologies in academia, research, and all other possible institutions of the country. It has stood for Open Access, Document Freedom, Software & Hardware Freedom, Net Neutrality, Open data, growth of Scientific temper by participating in social demonstrations and policy interventions wherever and whenever possible.
The community has a wide network allowing intellectual cross pollination and flocking spanning the rural and urban environments equally likely. We not only prescribed solutions, but also constantly strive to demonstrate through community projects like building Weather stations, Community networks, installation of free software operating system in local Schools, etc… making the platform more participatory and active in its civic sense.
We have diverse set of goals and visions for which we have associated ourselves with FSFTN & FSMI to represent the active mass of the movement from Puducherry in India. This has helped the community as a movement and organization to set the bearing and mission in a periodic basis so that critical thinking and action shall be contributed towards it.
However make no mistake, FSHM or any similar organization is not a guild. The community welcomes and agrees to treat newcomers with hospitality and empathy. The communities' vision and goal are more than mere association of individuals on common interest. The Executive committee that emerge periodically always stays with that understanding. The community cannot distant itself from the struggle of the proletariat and oppressed. Nor does it passively watches the exploitation of the oppressed in neoliberal way. Every thing is discussed openly but with critical thinking and action.
It is all about starting to Think Like a Commoner and in-fact becoming a commoner by enriching, strengthening and protecting the Commons. In case of this movement, it is very specific to Digital Commons.
Beyond commons, the movement should also focus on Digital Literacy in order to achieve the following,
The above objectives cannot be achieve without commons, therefore commons is the basis of this movement.
Throughout history of mankind, along evolved the tools, tricks and dexterity. Skill of tool creation emerged from necessity has always proved to be optimal and best fit for the problem. The phenomenon of imagining how a tool shall be created from scratch or from existing design can be terms as dexterity. While Science and Technology being democratized by scientifically aware activists, researchers, hackers, creative commons…. the art of creating a particular tool and instrument marks and reflects the very philosophy and reasoning that pillars the process. Hence FSHM has always taken seriously of what tool/instrument shall be used, how it shall be used, and for what purpose ?
Only when there is no open solution is available, we use available tool that does not match our philosophy - while at the same time will manage our time to develop the solution required that carries democratic and scientific values with it. With respect to tools and instruments, they need not be only a software or hardware tool, but also sometimes be a process, or procedure that can be deployed with peers to accomplish the required goal efficiently and effectively. Thus we use the term instrument in general.
Such collection of instruments will become the honey pot for further participation and engagement which recursively help satisfy the creative hunger of any commons. Thus evolving into a participatory platform. Such creative space is needed for community that takes science and technology seriously. We named this creative space as Hack-Bay. Below are the list of tools/instruments/machines that are available @ Hack-Bay & Infrastructure that make FSHM as platform.
At time to keep the Infrastructure and Hackbay at the desired level, maintain, include new tools we either practice gift economy or volunteered donation from the participants, volunteers and members alike. The following list describes the details of fund rising, to keep the organization accountable.
To properly organize, manage and maintain a commons property usually derived with community contribution either in terms of funding or labour - plays a vital role in keeping the community with spirit of commons. Only be rationally understanding the commonly agreed reasons, longevity and responsibility of these resources can be scientifically implemented.
Being hacky with day to day objects, toys, tools, computers, other machinery drives help us think about the degree of openness and freedom, and its democratization in the material realm - the hardware. Eventually when we refer to hardware - we do not restrict ourselves with just electronic boards, but extend to all sort of designs that represent the operation of underlying hardware - may it be furniture or home or fan or a computer. To us transparency and openness along with shareability is a prime factor in making hardware freedom from the clutches of patents and IPR. We always have been inspired by the design of bicycle - from a commons perspective. We embrace its simpleness, orchestration, openness, transparency, clearly communicating to commons that anybody can repair it with simple tools and hand. Its design cannot be patented but shall be copied for further improvement and thus always happens so. Yet it is a highly competitive industry constantly evolving and inspiring other allied productions.
Since we are situated in Puducherry - a Bay town/district of cosmopolitan nature, we came up with the name Hack-Bay. We aspire Hack-Bay to be one of the commons participating Hacker/Maker space that supports individuals as co-workspace, as solid “doing” platform scenting with intellectual actions with tangible outcomes. This requires tools/instruments as have ever human evolution required. We collectively focus on Availability, Accessibility, Affordability as the pillars of this creative space. Commons frakework and resource management based of cooperative principles shall be used for resource sharing and effective way of attaining the desired goal.
To manage the commonly available resources, infrastructure, tools, machines, scheduling requires a platform which can able to manage the collaboration in a easier way. Project - HACKTIVIST is planned to include this feature along with being a participatory platform. The design was proposed with following requirements:
Community constantly keeps experimenting with the necessary digital, social infrastructure to maintain and engage with the publics, through social networks, etc… Organizing and maintaining the services is itself a hard but fun and interesting work, and have always been volunteered, learned from existing maintainers, with periods of expertise gaining and transition to younger members. So to keep technological determinism in the bay, a movement must always learn to govern, control and regulate the emergent nature of technology. It is very easy to fall prey for the technological romanticization. However, reaching checks and balances between the social nature/practice (social relationships) of the community and its technological dependency indicates and marks the experience and maturity and thus be a practical example for the public to observer and learn from the movement how the balance is kept in balance continuously. On that line of thinking, the community must even stop thinking within “Self” Hosted solutions and start thinking beyond the neo-liberal way of hosting solutions and services. Why ? During the initial awareness about the toxic nature of technology and technocracy, a individual will be attracted towards individual-self hosting practice, which is in a way offers learning, but stops when it comes to regulation, maintenance, accountability and reliability, and burn outs. This where network of people, relationships, responsibilities, commitment towards political thinking, etc… helps greatly. Thus we have to see spinning the following services as a “Community Hosting” Solutions. It is a collective labour and effort that goes into building, integrating, cementing the whole infrastructure.
Role of EC is vital for the proper and smooth operation of the community, making democratic decisions with rational reasons. Electing new members, electing office bearers with resopnsibilities and its procedure, allocating resources, etc… some of the necessary actions it periodically undergoes. It sets the bearing and mission roadmap for the community itself. The workflow can be managed by using tools and instruments from Project - HACKTIVIST. The hacktivist must always act as a bridging between social, cultural, political learning, organizing, and action.
In order to accomplish desired goals, resilience is needed. Resilience in turn could be derived from solidarity. Compatibility between communities and movements with similar set of vision and philosophy can easily attain this solidarity to a siginificant degree. This creates a web of communities where merging between them happens respectively in the way they operate, they act, they think, they deliberate, they intervene, etc…
Achieving Solidarity, Reciprocity, Resilience between communities requires complex understanding of how people with similar mind work together, sharing their experiences, their way of action, while also accepting the difference between each of the communities. FSHM has identified a list of collectives closer in terms of thought process, critical thinking, action, socio-political understanding, scientific temper and interests, etc..
Since we consider and operate based on scientific principles and methods, we also do try to make scientific contributions from creation, experimentation, analysis, reviewing, open access publishing, etc.. Most of our activities in one or other always have a better chance to be published socially and scientifically. The contributions are welcome from the members, volunteers & participants of the community. We also do care about the tools we use to create a document for publishing as well as how we publish. As a movement and organization, we believe that any scientific innovation through technological or social means must be atleast tried to reach or useful to people who are marginalized, oppressed.
Since its inception, community has itself several times self raised the question of self sustenance and confronted with different answers at different situations. However emergence of critical thinking within the community has forged its path to choose, learn and research about Alternative Economic Models collectively. This has eventually lead the community with few members to bravely lead the way so that as a platform visioned to provide economic sustenance without sacrificing their passion and thought process. This has philosophies and principles of Free(dom) Technology, Socioeconomic historical learnings, Strategies, Cooperation, Collaboration ingraned in it. We do not isolate or hard separate FSHM community and this sprouting spinoff - Coopon. They both organize and act symbiotically - with appropriate isolation on a case by case basis. One can consider it as a pragmatic economic platform for seasoned hackers, activists, hacktivists, researchers … that does not compromise the principles of liberty, democracy, cooperation, collaboration, transparency, accountability - while understanding the socio-eocnomic dialectic reality.
In addition to educating awareness of necessity of Scientifically developed technology for educational institutions, research institutions, individual and family uses, community always engages with other “pro-commons” civil societies and sister/peer communities locally and from nearby states for a common cause that requires critical social action. To contribute properly as a collective a critical understanding of society and its interrelationship with technology is necessary. Social Actions engages the whole community as a way to respond critically towards a social issue. So the list of activities that keeps emerging represents the communities organized plan and action with time.
Following are the list of actions that FSHM actively engaged with :
|1.||Net Neutrality||Internet Neutrality||Free Basics, Privatized Internet, Digital Divide||Demonstration, Policy|
|2.||Resist Aadhaar||Privacy, Alternative ID Schemes, Accessibility Rights||UID, Privacy Theft||Finds design flaws, loopy laws|
|3.||Right to Meme Campaign||Civil Voices||silencing of social voice||Educated, campaigned, drafted collective letter|
|4.||Rice Vs Cash Resistance||Rice, Women role in family livelihood||Privatization, Direct Cash Transfer||Tech support, Social learning, after effects of UID|
|5.||Street Vendor Loan Avail||Avail Credit from govt. scheme through CITU, COV||Loan sharks, Debt Removal||Financial Databasing, Credit-Debt Viciousness|
|6.||Coastal Mapping by Commons||Resist Enclosure||Mapping as a commons responsibility||Decent. Socialisation of Mapping|
Newcomers to the community approach with diverse mindset and unguessable imaginations about the community and about the possibilities that can be learned and shared with the community. Thus it is duty and responsibility of all the senior members and the seasoned members to minimize the pain and guide a least resistance path to imbibe with the communities philosophy, politics, economy, skill, sharing and mentoring.
Since most of the users in our locality are users of proprietary hardware and software. Showing them a “Real User Friendly” Operating System or any other tool, that are not in their imagination will definitely inflict some pain, and might sprout fear to learning new things, even if they are exciting. This seems to be a crucial time and space where the handover from bullying, oppressing proprietary system of tools to free culture oriented tools and technologies.
One can easily demonstrate the most attractive, new comer friendly, highly interactive User interfaces to them allowing them to land softly, so that they get a safe and warm feel about what we are dealing with. Availability of right resources to install an operating system and tool requires proper hardware infrastructure available with the new comer. To adapt easily, every feature and functionality must be made available through compromising strategies.
Compromising here makes sense, as it adds strength to community by including one more.
Often Burn outs happen with the community members who are in the path of enlightenment, and thus may some times lose hope, feel burned out, frustrated, highly idealistic, etc… This can be balanced by sharing the load and responsibilities with the fellow member of the community.