Category: Proposals

monopoly money

Proposal On OWS and Fundraising Using Our Tools

How should Tech Ops, Occupy.net folks, Action Resource Fund (ARF) and other interested parties think about using our collective resources and legitimacy for fundraising?

Below is a set of theses, arguments and proposals that might constitute a framework. The need for it comes from a year of trying to advance efforts to become self-sustaining as a movement, and meeting various obstacles. We actually have a wonderful infrastructure that enables fundraising (= covering the costs of your work with help from supporters who love you) but it’s not being utilized very well. An example is the repeated use of WePay and fiscal sponsorship from 501c3 nonprofits when not actually necessary.

Please do chime in with your comments and suggestions.

  1. Our online resources should be used for fundraising by as many occupy related entities as we can support.
  2. It is important that folks raising money for personal reasons, or primarily to benefit themselves without a comparable benefit for OWS, should not use our resources.
  3. We can divide fundraising projects into some useful categories. All of them are ‘legitimate’ as long as we are careful about representing them accurately:
    1. OWS or NYCGA wide efforts or entities that enjoy a high level of legitimacy. This includes May First, S17, and the remnants of the NYCGA money that we use for bail. ARF and Accounting.
    2. Well known, long standing, and relatively accountable structures like InterOcc, Tech Ops, Farms that have attempted to operate within the (fluid and hard to navigate) boundaries of OWS.
    3. Affinity groups, campaigns, and special project. Examples: student debt strike, Freedom School, Tidal, livestreaming groups.
  4. Fiscal sponsorship is OPTIONAL. In some cases it feels essential, to provide for a higher level of accountability for large sums of money. In other cases it is a wasteful expense, as in the case of a small sum for a specific project. Fiscal sponsorship should be an option for all and a requirement for none.
  5. We affirm that c3 status for fiscal sponsorship is relevant when you need to promise a tax deduction to the donor or to receive funds from an institutional donor. It is not ‘necessary’ beyond that, though it may be desired for the appearance of legitimacy..
  6. Groups wanting fiscal sponsorship via ARF should have a way of asking for it, with clear conditions on who is eligible. Any group or individual with fiscal sponsorship of their own can use that as well.
  7. Using Civi or Salsa, any group can provide data for the merchant account and donation gateway of their choosing. We discourage the use of services like WePay and PayPal. IF you are using WePay or PayPal, then processing will likely cost you more, and you don’t need Civi or Salsa to do it.
  8. Anyone using our Civi or Salsa for fundraising needs to supply a roadmap for how the funds will be collected, transferred, spent, and accounted for. This is a task we can and should help with, according to our capacity.
  9. The existence of one mechanism for raising funds will never be a reason to prevent, prohibit or discourage the use of another mechanism.
  10. Blocking power over using Tech Ops/Occupy.net tools and resources does not exist. That said, many things simply cannot be done without expertise and access that is distributed among many people. In the case of serious concerns, blocking can take place if 50% +1 of Tool Managers support it.
  11. Tool Managers list is meant to comprise those using Civi and Salsa, working to update it, have access to the backend, and/or are key users. The only purpose of a Tools Managers list is to address blocks. Proposed initial list includes Drew, Ravi, Ingrid, Devin, Charles, Andrew, Dana, Patricia, Badger, Leah, Tom and Dan. (this post will be the first they heard of it….)

Proposal to Denounce Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)

Passed consensus by the Technology Operations Group 2/8/2012

We propose that the New York City General Assembly take a public stand against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)*.

ACTA is an international agreement between the United States**, the European Union, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Australia, Mexico, Morocco, Singapore and most of the developed countries of the world with virtually no input from the public. It bypasses the laws of participating nations and applies to countries that were never involved in the negotiations. ACTA negotiations have taken place behind closed doors, without disclosure of the details***.

Certain provisions of ACTA are as restrictive or worse than anything contained in Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), proposed by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and extends beyond the United States, into most of the developed countries of the world and the undeveloped countries by proxy.

We should all be very worried about the implications of ACTA and other trade agreements on the global economy, the ripple effects of which would reach all of us regardless of geographical location.

  • ACTA impacts, directly and indirectly, the health, wellbeing and welfare of the poor residing in all developed and undeveloped Countries.
  • ACTA threatens the manufacturing and distribution of generic drugs, farms and farmers and food independence in developed and undeveloped Countries by enforcing seed patents.
  • ACTA threatens our very rights to privacy, our civil liberties, worldwide innovation and the free flow of information on the Internet by forcing ISP’s across the globe to act as Internet police.
  • ACTA all but outlaws the use of copyrighted audio samples in new musical works and live performances.
  • ACTA was not passed in congress and is, therefore, unconstitutional****.

*Final, legally verified Agreement: http://www.dfat.gov.au/trade/acta/Final-ACTA-text-following-legal-verification.pdf

**Although the process was begun by the Bush administration, it was ratified October 1, 2011 under the Obama administration, under a procedure that bypassed the need for Senate confirmation.

***Information on ACTA remained secret until a discussion released by Wikileaks on May 8, 2008, and leaked copies of documents continued to be the only source of information.

****Ron Wyden issued a statement that if the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) ratifies ACTA without Congress’ consent, it may be circumventing Congress’s Constitutional authority to regulate international commerce and protect intellectual property.

More Information

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Other Organizations Opposed to ACTA

Friendly Amendments Integrated into Proposal

  • Add language that states since the Senate did not approve the agreement, it is clearly unconstitutional
  • Add list of all the other folks that have come out against ACTA, like Free Network Foundation
  • Fix grammar

Proposed Amendment to the OWS Principles of Solidarity

The Technology Operations working group is proposing the following to the NYC General Assembly:

Proposal

Part 1

An amendment to one point on the Principles of Solidarity.

We propose replacing the following point of unity:

  • “Endeavoring to practice and support wide application of open source.”

… with this text:

  • “Making technologies, knowledge, and culture open to all to freely access, create, modify, and distribute.”

Part 2

To host the authoritative copy of our official documents on a version control system. Version control will allow us to maintain the documents in a more transparent way, with every edit tracked. It will also allow other occupations to use, modify, and alter the New York City General Assembly’s documents to fit their own unique needs, while maintaining a clear path back to the source document.

Overview

We wish to put forward a wider vision of how openness relates to the “new socio-political and economic alternative” described in the Principles of Solidarity. It’s not only that the source code for software should be public and transparent, but also that it should be available for sharing, modification, and re-use. And this spirit of freedom should extend beyond software, to hardware designs, digitized media including images, audio, and video, data, research papers, and other forms of information that we haven’t yet imagined. Consumers should never have any artificial restrictions placed on their ability to tweak, to remix, to become makers.

As with the original wording, there is no mandate to use only free software, or to make every video occupiers record immediately public. Rather, we want to make it clear that we value freedom and openness in technologies, knowledge, and culture, and that we work towards a world where this freedom can be complete.

Background

We were prompted by an email from the tireless free software pioneer Richard Stallman, who wrote that he was disappointed in the current wording “because ‘open source’ is a right-wing campaign to disconnect our software from our freedom-based philosophy. It was launched in 1998 with the explicit goal of being corporate-friendly. It is ironic that Occupy Wall Street, of all things, advocates open source rather than the free software movement.”

After some discussion, we agreed to propose to the GA a change to the wording to include both “free” and “open”. We aren’t doing this because we want to ally ourselves with one side of an old dispute about terminology, but rather because we want to put forward a wider vision of openness than the Principles of Solidarity currently offer.

Tech Ops reached consensus on this proposal Sunday, February 5th, 2012.