Radical platforms: Disrupting Technofeudalism and Technoimperialism with Data Democratisation and Information Sharing on the Left.
The significant increase in computing power over several decades has seen a revolution in how academic and industrial fields handle and use data. Although we have seen an enclosure of the commons across the internet, there have also been some remarkable examples of horizontal and democratic information sharing like GitHub and SciHub. This exploratory project is centred around three questions:
How do we democratise access to data and resources?
How can we encourage reproducibility of projects without replicating previous errors? i.e. can we log and share information about organising campaigns at an international scale?
Can this be done in an entirely decentralised manner?
This might look something like a “GitHub for the left” where users can start, document and share projects, whilst others can fork off from them. There is a huge number of potential use cases here, from sharing information on tactics used in local housing and trade union campaigns, to providing blueprints for organisations looking to start websites, to developing tools for gleaning information from raw data.
As well as the enclosure of academic tools and data, and the unhelpful levels of control exerted on the conditions which determine how and to whom information is distributed, we are also noticing the replication of [capitalist] norms in our everyday virtual reality.
What started off as a utopian project where participants in online spaces would be able to express themselves freely and communicate with as many communities and subcultures as existed (unimpeded by particular social norms or financial barriers), ‘cyberspace’ soon started to fall-under, replicate, and accelerate the same structures that dominate capitalist ‘meatspace’. This is the re-enclosure of the commons in defiance of the logic of the virtual. How we resist and disrupt this process of Technoimperialism, and restore agency to cybercitizens, will be another key focus of our project.
As is clear from the above description, this remains a very embryonic concept, and there is considerable freedom to experiment and explore in different directions. We encourage ideas that may require a level of theoretical and practical working through.
In conjunction with this research project we will also be launching courses, delivered via the London Learning Co-operative, that will explore and enrich the narratives around data democratisation. We hope to launch our project with an online panel event taking place on the 24th of March 2022.
For more information, please feel free to reach us on twitter: