openness, democracy, hack66, Phygital, and ellak.org.cy

What follows should, eventually, lead into a piece discussing conflict-resolution in open communities, and the handling of authoritative mentalities. The sheer power of hierarchy-assuming or hierarchy-constructing exclamations of ‘no’ is always surprising to me. As is the arrogance, the injustice, the power-plays it contains, as is the speed, the insensitivity, and the ease with which people shoot down other people’s ideas — sometimes as an automatic response that can only be rooted in personal fear: fear of loss of power, or fear of being upstaged. It’s a basic form of abuse, that so often wins, and that makes people shut up and shy away. In a related way, it is also interesting (as Nico Carpentier mentioned to me recently) that in Cyprus there is little if any discourse beyond majoritarian types of democracy: it seems that majoritarian democracy is considered not only the norm, but the only kind of democracy available.
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I was talking with a friend yesterday who came into hack66 while Phygital was in development and wasn’t sure about the difference between the two (their structures and decision making-systerms) and their relationship with ELLAK.

hack66.info is a do-ocratic community of people interested in technology and freedom, hackerspace culture, infoactivism, and various forms of openness. Do-ocracy means that we decide by ‘doing’, or that we simply help each other do and make things. There’s no obligation for members to agree or participate in what others do. We split into working groups and develop things (inventions, research, food), without any of it having to represent hack66 as a whole. There is no hierarchy (although there is a membership system). ‘The group’ doesn’t get called to moderate during disagreements. It’s the other way around: those with a disagreement leave the rest in peace, and go off (either together or separately) to work things out. They can come back with a proposal that recruits more people to their common or respective interests, or not. It’s a brilliant (forking) system that prioritises productivity and can maintain its coherence without pushing anything out — a relative of direct democracy based on modified consensus. It’s what keeps hack66 going with freedom & a sense of humour.. ;D
hack66 meets here: https://vector.im/beta/#/room/#hack66:matrix.org

-Phygital (Interreg Balkanmed EU) is a funded programme developed by hack66 via ARTos, in collaboration with ELLAK.GR, P2P, OpenLabs, and the University of Nicosia Research Foundation among others. Phygital is run by a core team of hack66 members who committed to mediate between the do-ocratic (non-)processes of hack66 and the broader hackerspace-makerspace community, the staff of ARTos, and the managerial structures expected by the EU, balancing the project’s openness and viability (see Phygital Core ‘blood oath’). Phygital is, by definition and structure, open for people to attend and participate in, and there are clearly designated roles, tasks, and tenders that need to be met. It’s about making, DIY, and distributed manufacturing technologies (free and open source software andh ardware), or more simply: it’s about building a free-spirited maker-space and running a series of pilot prototypes that involve technology and a socially-engaged-art perspective. In summary, we’ve been talking about how to make ourselves useful with community gardening and housing projects, the art and engineering educational communities, and food-hacking as important to community in a ritual sense.
Phygital meets here: https://vector.im/beta/#/room/#phygital:matrix.org

Ellak.org.cy is a majority-democratic structure, serving and legally incorporating the local Free Software and Open Source community in Cyprus. It’s been a long time coming and it’s institution is great news! Its purpose is to connect, grow and promote this community, locally and internationally. There are frequent general assemblies and important decisions are made by majority in meetings organised by an elected board, where the president can use a tie-breaking second vote. Ellak Cy makes decisions here https://www.loomio.org/g/h1BjgZMm/- and also meets here: https://vector.im/beta/#/room/#ellakcy:matrix.org

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