Fri 21 May 2021 5:47PM

Economikit and expressed ideologies

LF Lynn Foster Public Seen by 12

I think I owe you more of an explanation about my reactions to discussing imperialism, wokism, feminism, etc. in this group. Like re-ordering Wednesday's agenda so I could drop off and not sit through that agenda item.

It is not just practicality for practicality's sake exactly, although yes I get that way sometimes.  Ok, often. :)

A small piece of local context: We live in an area with people that span a huge political spectrum; but there isn't any real wealth here (relative to the US anyhow).  Our neighbors across the road I'm sure voted for Trump.  He plays fiddle and does carpentry; she takes in foster kids and homeschools their kids.  The husband was wearing a shirt the other day that said something like "proud white straight male". On the other hand, they went to Chicago to catch the train for a vacation, and he was outside the station by himself with his cowboy hat on, totally intimidated by the city hustle and bustle, and begged his family to not leave him alone again out there. Cultural superiority and cultural inferiority in the same package. Also on the other hand, they get along well with the mixed race couple from Chicago area who have a cabin next door. Their kids (boys) like guns and anything with a motor; but also help take care of the foster babies there. If he sees your car went into the ditch, he will drop everything, get his tractor and pull you out - they are good neighbors. There's a lot of gift economy here.  I want and need people like these to be my allies.  I would never talk with them about intersectionality.  I would ask them if they wanted to be part of a neighborhood tool share or solar energy collective.

In our EK context, we came together as a group with some general unity around anti-capitalism, feminism, intersectionality, etc.  I know we do not share exactly the same perspectives, but still it is an important part of our relationships.  It may not seem like it, but I do think it is important to address those ideologies (using the term here as a short-hand for class, gender, race/culture and all forms of domination/subordination) in our practice together.  I expect it is the deepest problem facing people who work for change.

In EK, we also came together with the intent to create something new and useful in the holochain ecosystem that can be offered to support groups who want to create change. I see this as primary, and the ideological part as what needs to go along with all work, as part of the process of creation.  (For some processes, the ideological issues might be primary, say if we were doing consulting in group dynamics. But we are making modular configurable software.)

The ways I would think about addressing ideology in EK are:
1) Help each other constructively based on our existing unity and work together.  Each of us has struggles, things we are working through ideologically (or materially for that matter).  So it is helpful to understand where each of us is coming from, and then help each other in the context of our work together, creating a culture that encourages constructive criticism and self-criticism, and personal development to negate what capitalism bequeathed us.  This culture only happens where there are concrete effects of concrete practice and willingness to address them, in my experience.  And different groups might focus on this more or less, depending on level of unity, etc.
2) Make sure our software allows or encourages people to act and collaborate without destructive ideologies, at least in the adjacent possible. We have done some of that in Valueflows, in that it consciously supports networked P2P forms of organization, co-ops, etc., and allows people to figure out what they think is fair economically.  It won't do anything about say consciously developing women's leadership; and for that matter people can create hierarchical economic relationships too.  I'd be interested in how intersectional thinking might affect reputation schemes, chat, etc., when the time is right.

I don't see addressing ideology by spending a lot of time writing up our theoretical agreement and putting it front and center of what we are as a group, and front and center of what we offer to the world, for example on the home page of EK website.  Those words become way less meaningful out of context, can be interpreted in many ways, and can even be insulting to the groups that have been historically subordinated, depending on how the words are presented, and what we are also actually doing to mitigate that harm.  There can be a place for communicating those thoughts, but better in their context and not front and center.

On the other hand, I thought it was good we discussed the current P2PF issues because there is an actual organizational and ideological problem where we were each involved to greater or lesser extent, and also that affects the movement we are all part of.  And we had options of how to respond in that context.

Also on the other hand, if you see something I am doing (or avoiding) that is holding back our work, please let me know, and I will try to do the same for you.


Emaline Fri 21 May 2021 6:55PM

Thanks a lot for writing this, Lynn. I found myself vigorously nodding at the paragraph about your local context - highly similar to my experiences with neighbors in my mountain town (all the way to tool share and solar - key coordination possibilities!!)

I very much agree that as an alliance we are not really at the point in working together that ideology needs to be center stage. That will come when we're heavy in consulting, convening, or having problems with each other ;) What's interesting about our ideology talks, which I group together as "progressive", is that we only sparingly discuss what counts as meaningful progressive action. A lot of this work was done in the engagement criteria, though, and that was great. In my estimation it is actually reaching across ideological boundaries to counter power. My enemy in the mountains is not my neighbor who likes guns and Trump, but the private, for-profit electricity company that names prices neither of us can easily afford and denies service at their whims without consulting us. And the single telco that does the same.

Same with big tech, tech that operates from America as arms dealers to the rest of the world, giving governments the means to identify, know, and therefore to harm defectors and outsiders and helps magnify small differences between would-be allies. I always prefer when we orient our ideology convos to our role as creators of tech tools, our reason for coming together, and what our options are, in that specific capacity, for opposing oppression, domination, discrimination, and violence. On those grounds the way we operate plus what y'all are building is the progressive action, and I too feel a little miffed when that gets hazy or falls to the wayside. I wonder how much of that sort of discussion operates to bond us while we wait on dependencies from Holo/Holochain.

I've always been conflicted about how much time we spend on these sorts of things in my position as a copywriter and observer. It feels odd that everyone seems so interested in what I take to be an area of secondary importance, but I never say anything because I feel that it's my area of secondary importance and when people crowd it it's both annoying and indirectly flattering 😂 Things were similar coming into Holochain; I thought I was being in service to the mission by taking some of the communicative burden off the hands of builders so they could focus on building, but I quickly found that everyone wanted to weigh in all the time. We ended up with a lot of promises, a lot of ETH, and no working proof of concept.


jean m russell Fri 21 May 2021 8:45PM

Super appreciate your clarity and perspective @Lynn Foster . Thank you for sharing. Deep bows. One of the things that was compelling to me in the thrivability concept is that it felt like the people around me, in the Midwest, wouldn't resist it the way I see them reacting to most progressive framing (which seems oddly polarizing in ways that alienate the broader audience for action).

Whatever we actually do in an outward facing way, I found the conversation this week to be quite bonding. I super appreciated everyone's contribution and perspective. I feel way more tender to Bob and Pablo and Michael for hearing their perspective/experience.

That said, I am not convinced it all needs to be on the business card/front page. Anybody who loves capitalism as it is won't be looking for alternative economic tools - aka won't be finding us. ;)

The Quakers I live among prefer to focus on the doing over the telling about doing. The midwesterner in me really resonates with that.


Lynn Foster Sat 22 May 2021 2:02PM

>I wonder how much of that sort of discussion operates to bond us while we wait on dependencies from Holo/Holochain.

That is very perceptive, and I hadn't thought of it that way.

>Whatever we actually do in an outward facing way, I found the conversation this week to be quite bonding.

I appreciate you saying that, and if I had known there would be personal histories involved, I would have stayed.

This brings up a couple suggestions:

  • It would be nice to hear everyone's personal history and feelings about such things in their own life, and what brings them to working on EK (I know a lot of this has been said, so maybe there is not much more?)

  • Maybe there are pieces of the work that we can do now while we are waiting? SC is moving forward on the development work. Is hREA somewhat on hold? If so, are there UX things that can be worked on, maybe with some stubbing in the backend? The work on the website seems good, in preparation for having something to talk about. What can be roughed in pending that? If we are explaining EK to someone totally new, how would we explain what it is and what it offers or contributes?


pospi Tue 25 May 2021 4:58AM

To echo what I said privately @Lynn Foster - first you grace us with your wisdom and then gently direct that energy into pragmatic action.. love it!

SC is moving forward on the development work

Starting to ramp up, but mostly architectural work so far. Full-scale development of the Reputation Vault probably won't begin until after the Reputation DSL is stabilising and tested. Though it should also be pointed out that the DSL is the bulk of the development effort and certainly the bulk of the technical complexity.

Is hREA somewhat on hold?

Nope! Some amount of coordination with Holochain core team poking them on code ergonomics. The mainline RSM dev branch is still ticking over, slowly. The only pattern left to proof is compound foreign-DNA indexes (Fulfillment and Satisfaction), and I don't see any big technical hurdles there not covered by the simpler foreign-DNA indexes.

are there UX things that can be worked on, maybe with some stubbing in the backend?

Absolutely. If you know anyone interested in JavaScript app developement, point them at https://www.npmjs.com/package/@vf-ui/graphql-client-mock and they can get started without any other dependencies. Would love somebody to give the Offers and Needs Marketplace some love or port across Ivan's Personal Agent app, and I'm sure Guillem and Shiro would appreciate assistance with Inventory Management.

As to website, let's discuss Thursday!