The Cyberunions Podcast: Episode One

We are really pleased to be able to announce a new feature on Cyberunions: the first of what we hope will be a weekly podcast. The Cyberunions Show is hosted by myself, and MV, a trade union activist based in the Boston area.

Throughout the show, we will be testing and talking about technology for trade unionists, with particular emphasis on open source.

We’d love to have your feedback and suggestions for future shows.

You can subscribe to the show here.

Enjoy!

Cyberunion Talk Show Episode 1 ogg

Cyberunion Talk Show Episode 1 mp3


Welcome to the first edition of the Cyberunions Podcast, with your hosts MV, undercover in corporate America, and Walton, in sun-drenched Caledonia.

We hope to release a weekly show that will explore new technology from a trade union perspective.

We welcome your feedback. Please let us know what you think of the show, and feel free to request topics for future shows.

Show notes

Length 37:13

Introduction

  • Bringing Open Source software and trade unions together
  • Experimenting with technology to bring the best to the labour movement
  • Can technology help organise the next generation of trade union activists?
  • Our experiences using Open Source

Why Open Source is important

  • Open Source software is a gift economy
  • The Debian project – a democratically run, international project to develop a world class operating system

Tools

Text messaging

  • FrontlineSMS – a text message gateway that makes low cost, low tech communication easy
  • Widely used in Africa to facilitate communication by text message – useful in developed countries as well for low cost communication and union organising
  • SMS Uprising: Mobile activism in Africa – book of case studies of people using FrontlineSMS, Ushahidi and text messaging for organising
  • Ushahidi creates data mashups to crowd source and map news

Social networks

Ethics of Open Source

  • General Public License and Creative Commons
  • The Debian Social Contract
  • Building a different economic model – a peer to peer gift economy
  • The labour movement should embrace the open source community
  • The open source community is a social movement to keep information out of corporate control

Music courtesy of brynn.

 

9 thoughts on “The Cyberunions Podcast: Episode One”

  1. Congrats Walton – good start. Show notes a very good idea given the amount of links you’ll be giving. Maybe good to tighten a little on timings and not try to cram so much in – I’d be more likely to have 15 mins to listen to something I came across than have 30 mins plus, which I’d have to set time aside for. Appreciate you’re only starting though and have a lot to set out in the first one, so will be different further down track any how.

    Deffo a good thing to keep up with tho, as there should be more of a connect between labor and OS movements. OS software in business brings the value back to be associated with the labour put in to implement free solutions rather than trying to spin out intellectual property to maximise return for companies.

  2. Congrats Walton – good start. Show notes a very good idea given the amount of links you’ll be giving. Maybe good to tighten a little on timings and not try to cram so much in – I’d be more likely to have 15 mins to listen to something I came across than have 30 mins plus, which I’d have to set time aside for. Appreciate you’re only starting though and have a lot to set out in the first one, so will be different further down track any how.

    Deffo a good thing to keep up with tho, as there should be more of a connect between labor and OS movements. OS software in business brings the value back to be associated with the labour put in to implement free solutions rather than trying to spin out intellectual property to maximise return for companies.

  3. I know it’s an Apple beast and all that, but it would make the pod a lot more accessible if it were registered there – or at least downloadable and saveable here.

    Great content or I wouldn’t be askin’. 🙂

        1. Now I remember why I didn’t do it – you can only submit a podcast to iTunes by installing the software on your computer. I use Linux and I don’t think iTunes is available for Linux. I also resent installing their software.

  4. Hello,

    as much as I sympathize with both, the Free Software movement (“Open Source” is openly(!) anti political and pro business) and the labour movement, I can not support Your rose tinted view of the Free Software Ethics…

    The main concern of the GPL is the freedom of the SOFTWARE!
    Freedom Zero permits the use of GPL software for ANY use, and the GPL prohibits any moral restrictions like “No use in military applications”, “Not to be used to subjugate people” or even “Not permitted in weapons of mass destruction”.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think Free Software is a wonderful thing, but the main focus of its most important license, the GPL, is the freedom of the code and not the morality of its usage.

    While the labour movement is about human morality, the free software movement focuses solely on the freedom of the code as its (only) moral argument.

    I do believe that Free Software plays an essential role in better today and, more importantly, in a better tomorrow, but I also think it would be a grave error to assume the goals of the Free Software movement, the Open Source movement and the Free Culture movement (Creative Commons) are at all aligned with the Labour Movement.

    Weary Greetings

    dangerseeker

    1. Hi dangerseeker,

      Thank you for your thoughts, these are key things to consider. However I disagree that the main concern of GPL is in fact the freedom of the software. I understand that it is a common perspective and I think the freedom of the software or code is vital, but I would argue that the GPL main goal is to keep everything in the public domain. The license is unique in that it contradicts the copyright license by using itself to contradict itself. The timing of the GPL and FSF is not a coincidence to be when university education began to stop putting their research in the public domain, instead it became an income plan for the universities to charge a license for the use of something discovered at their research facilities. It is also not a coincidence that this happened at the same time that federal research money began to shrink (reaganomics). Though GPL and labor rights are not the same concept they share similar struggles against capitalist control.

      The labor movement is also in my opinion, not about morality, it is the best position to expose how the capitalist system contradicts itself, but unfortunately it is not able to articulate that very well. Instead most labor unions end up supporting capitalism and just trying to make it nicer for the workers, but keep the workers exploited.

      On top of all of this, some of the points that we try to raise is that the openness and freedom to share the information about code in software should also be something labor unions shoudl be doing within society, if not at least amongst themselves. I would never say the goals are the same, but the struggle is, in both cases we have corporations that welcome labor unions just as we do with free software. We also have companies that are absolutely opposed to the idea and will fight it tooth and nail if they have to. However we also see that in companies like to control the production even in free software (i.e. canonical) same for companies that welcome unions (i.e. AT&T), it breeds in some cases different active people. CWA is not well represented in the struggle with AT&T, canonical workers the same with the future of ubuntu. The point is that they are more similar than we think, how much hard to say but certainly worth exploring.

      Final point, free software should in my opinion be something labor unions should not only use, but also participate in, as the interest of control by society instead of corporations is something they share or at least should share.

      that is my attempt at the connection, but this is all new ground.

      ~stephen

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