This is an open letter to all the people who, in their good faith, are concerned about the recent events which have shaken the long-standing leadership of the Free Software Movement.
Dear hackers, first and foremost let us say that, as a collective and in the true uncompromising spirit of the teachings of Free/Libre Software/Society, we are capable of doing much better than what has just happened.
Many of us work everyday towards ensuring that everyone, regardless of their ethniticy, religion, gender, or neurotypicality, can participate, learn and share in our communities. We do not claim we are perfect, we sometimes make mistakes, some of them guided by systemic patterns and structures of power still entangling us, and some of them just due to our human nature . But we claim our right to learn every day how to become better at including all contributions and opinions, and this implies the ability of making mistakes without being destroyed by them.
In the past years it has become clear that our movement and our ethos has transformed the world as we know it, with all the courage and all the mistakes considered; some of us rose to fame, while some others wore masks, both as a message and as a protection from the regime of global espionage. In any case, many of us have sacrificed a great deal of comfort in life to change what needed to be changed.
Let us not be mistaken about the cause that brought us here and let us not forget where the injustice comes from.
Let us not forget then what we, the people, have successfully built so far, resisting to the incredible pressure that corporate corruption and military regimes have put on us. Let us not forget that the battle is still raging and we are losing sight and positioning.
Economic models based on knowledge acquisition and data extraction by corporate powers are the problem.
Free/Libre Software, as an uncompromising philosophy and ethics focused on knowledge sharing and participation, is an important part of the solution.
The era of benevolent dictators for life in Free software projects is probably coming to an end. And we shall be relieved as well as empowered by that: it is now our turn to stand strong, united as a movement, to defend our values without compromise and to improve the quality of our interactions. It is now our turn to look beyond personal responsibilities, to acknowledge that if a context is poisoned by bullying, machism and sexist behavior, it is not just the fault of a single person, but of all those who tolerate and support those conducts. We have now the opportunity to point to the problem and to solve it and this will improve our movement, the Free Software movement.
What we really don’t need to do is to ignore, denigrate or disown the values of the Free Software movement.
We need to honour the pride of the people of India who had the courage to stand up against the “free basic” campaign. We need to support the courage of all those defending network neutrality from attacks capable of putting under control the political integrity of entire continents. We need to facilitate the synergy between community networks in Oaxaca enabled by software written by activists all around the World. We need to empower the self-determination of entire populations in an age in which computing is as pervasive as our own social relationships.
We need to reclaim our freedom from an ever-watching system of control and prediction that judges us from the algorithmic projection of our own intentions. We need to defend our freedom to be able to denounce all of this and speak freely by means that connect us, all over the world, without borders, intermediaries and censorship.
We need to be conscious of where we are standing in this fight.
As a trans-national movement, united by solidarity, awareness and ethics, we shall not negotiate the motivations we fight for.
We are not the problem, we are part of the solution.
The Free World needs the Free Software movement.