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Invitation to Liquid Solidarity

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We, a group of IOPS members and ex-members, would like to invite you to participate in a new website, Liquid Solidarity. It is still under construction, but it is inching its way to be what we imagined. The bones of a functioning website are there and reaching this wonderful stage of creative development is exciting! Now we can see our website project taking shape through participation and building from the ground up. We are looking to invite IOPS members to participate in this phase of experimenting with the website by discussing, testing, offering wisdom and advice and most especially any web development assistance. If you are a web designer we badly want your skills at this time. Mostly though, we welcome people to participate in anyway they feel compelled.

Our little group formed at the beginning of last year with a collective of IOPS members wanting to build a user-controlled website that could provide all of the facilities of IOPS and much more. We aim to be the go-to place for people seeking a better world as a place of interchange, dialogue and decision-making. We want a website that fosters a true sense of inclusiveness and community, a community that is self-managed by its users. This is our website, a commons that we all take part in shaping. We are living at a critical and endangered time of history where what we do or don’t do collectively will shape our future world. We are at a turning point and we, as a group, believe another world is possible.

Of course there are many possible solutions to create another world and we can’t wait to hear all your ideas. The particular world we seek is rooted in social justice, ecological sustainability, participatory democracy and international solidarity. Our hope is to create a space to facilitate those solutions. In that spirit, I want to invite you to visit the website Liquid Solidarity, the current manifestation of this wonderful collaborative effort. Peruse, critique, wonder, exclaim, dance, sing and if you feel like becoming a member, participate. We would love for you to join us.

Discussion 20 Comments

  • Bat Chainpuller 22nd Sep 2016

    It's interesting that some have decided, understandably so, to try and set up another place, website, that is effectively (affectively?), the same as this one, from scratch. Coming from a similar place at least just without three thousand invisible members. Hard work. The difference being that one is open source?, free, or something like that, while this one is, well, costs money and what, the usual business like construction or something...I always forget all these things/names/words.

    It's kind of weird to me, but understandable. The other site can be a bit clunky but is a work in progress and Alex, seems to be doing a major great job. I am not overly enthused by the name. In fact, din't like it at all. IOPS is much better. But I did notice that someone, perhaps Alex, had put up a Next System Project Hub. Very good idea. The sort of shit that could be done here, but perhaps here, we need to put it to a vote...bloody hell...sigh! A Next System Project Hub right there on the home page, or somewhere visible, to elicit conversation, here, as well, too, also. Why not?

    • Claire Bruhn 22nd Sep 2016

      Chainpuller, thanks for your thoughts. Yes, Alex is awesome and has done incredible work. It is wild to think that he has taught himself how to build websites in such a short time frame, it seems like magic to me.

      The project is in its infancy so there are certainly chunky aspects that need to be worked on, that is why we are reaching out right now and appreciate your feedback.

      Alex did post about the Next System Project in Liquid Solidarity and that would be an appropriate thing to do here in IOPS, I'm sure some people in IOPS would be interested if they don't already know about it. The more projects and groups that are having an impact the better, yes, why not.

    • Lambert Meertens 28th Sep 2016

      Probably, our intrepid present international admin Rod would put a link to the NSP hub up on the home page, say under Alternative Visions, if you ask him – provided he can find a moment of time between fighting the relentless tsunami of fake spam members.

      A major motivation for creating another website is that the current software for the IOPS website is not effectively maintainable. If there is a better alternative, we should use it. A secondary motivation is that there are many other, mostly small, groups of activists that can benefit from having an online home with a similar functionality. So think of the effort as also, and perhaps even mainly, being a public service. Liquid Solidarity and IOPS would be just two of many groups that can use the software when it comes to fruition.

    • Bat Chainpuller 28th Sep 2016

      The "not maintainable" software is a problem! Maybe that's the real issue.

      Three main ssues here:

      1. Activity/traffic on the site

      2. Cost of maintaining site (dues)

      3. Unmaintainable software

    • Bat Chainpuller 28th Sep 2016

      I am nodding my head (as opposed to my foot) in agreement with your last paragraph Mr Meertens. We await the fruition of software, among many other things.

    • Rod 30th Sep 2016

      I've added a link under Alternative Visions though it won't help much to increase visibility. I somewhat disagree about maintainability of the IOPS website. IOPS is not built from scratch. It's based on an open source web framework, CodeIgniter, which is still being maintained. The advantage of a web framework over a CMS is greater extensibility and lower resource usage. CMS's have the advantage of a much lower learning curve (as long as you stay within the confines of the software) and a larger community of developers.

      IOPS was developed by payed programmers. As far as I know they've left no documentation on the software they built, but there is plenty of documentation on the web framework. For an experienced web developer (which I'm not btw) it shouldn't be too hard to work out the structure and set up a shared dev environment. At the moment we lack members with the necessary experience, time and inclination to develop the software further, but that doesn't mean the software is unmaintainable. It just hasn't been maintained for a long time.

      In any case, having two websites with largely the same purpose presents a challenge and a dilemma. I have no special attachment to IOPS but at the moment the IOPS website is still the most usable of the two. I guess we'll just have to see how things develop in the future.

    • Lambert Meertens 30th Sep 2016

      I suspect Mr. Chainpuller meant The Next System Project. A blog post we had about it did not generate any discussion, though, so I don’t expect anything about it we put on our home page will elicit much conversation.

    • Lambert Meertens 30th Sep 2016

      I haven’t seen the code; the statement about maintainability simply echoes what Johannes said about it as convener of the former Website Team. Another issue is the copyright status of the code. I don’t think an argument can be made that it is in the public domain, and then the question arises, who owns the rights? Probably not IOPS – it is not even clear that IOPS has a legal status at all, but even if it has, IOPS was not the employer, in a legal sense, of the payed programmers. So building upon it may be like building on quicksand.

    • Rod 30th Sep 2016

      Johannes was not a web developer I think. So this is partly a technical issue that's being decided over by largely non-technical people. I'm somewhat skeptical about the advantages of a CMS compared to a web framework in the long run. I suspect both will require maintenance from web developers. If we are serious about creating a web home for multiple organizations we should make sure it's based on technically sound ideas.

      Regarding the copyright status: this may be an issue that I underestimate. I think the programming work was commissioned through Jason Chrysostomou's company. Don't remember the name, I think it was something like Glowbox. If that means he owns the copyright I don't know, but we could ask him (if we're able to contact him).

    • Lambert Meertens 30th Sep 2016

      It is http://www.glowboxdesign.co.uk/about.html:Glowbox Design.

    • Lambert Meertens 30th Sep 2016

      That should be

      Glowbox Design.

    • Rod 30th Sep 2016

      Thanks for that. Didn't think it would still be operational. They even have IOPS in their portfolio. Free publicity! ;)

    • Bat Chainpuller 30th Sep 2016

      Geez, how come you guys know so much stuff? Got a new book out of it.

      Gratuitous link (may explain some things...but then again!)


    • Rod 30th Sep 2016

      Well, it unwraps the mystery around your name a bit. I thought it was just a weird combination of words pulled out of your long hat :)

      Regarding the copyright issue: I sent Jason an e-mail about this and got a reply saying there's no issue and we're free to use the code. No background info but I'll take his word for it.

  • Jon Doe 27th Sep 2016

    I will humbly offer a suggestion to the excellent work of this newly forming IOPS organizers. A group of the NYC IOPS organizers left IOPS and we are still going strong with the pre-IOPS/Occupy political formation Organization for a Free Society (OFS).
    What is Organization for a Free Society?
    Founded in 2007, OFS is a participatory socialist organization made up of activists and organizers immersed in different grassroots movements, struggling collectively toward a free society.
    OFS is a home for revolutionaries working both to develop holistic politics, vision, and strategy and to strengthen the broader movement. We study together to deepen our politics, but OFS is not a study group. We hit the streets and organize together, but OFS is not a direct action affinity group, either. We are a united group of committed revolutionaries growing and struggling together, connecting theory and practice, and attempting to embody the seeds of the future in the present. We have political connections to movements in different parts of the world, but our organization is primarily based in the United States, and our analysis and strategy reflect our country and its role in the world. OFS is committed to a fundamental transformation of the social, political, economic, and environmental values and institutions of society and we draw from a rich history of social movements that came before us. (A detailed introduction to our politics can be found here http://afreesociety.org/ and http://afreesociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/OFS-An-Introduction-3.pdf)

    A key thing that has led to our consistency and success is an anarchist cadre model that requires a high degree of democratic engagement and accountability from the membership. OFS is a closed membership organization where we all have to 1) pay dues
    2) attend meetings and participate actively in internal democratic practice 3) be part of grassroots mass work 4) study together and support each other in the streets.
    We get invited into being a member in a gender, race and class balanced group where we study and agree to our major ideological points together.

    Don't take my word for it you can read academic texts like "Thank You Anarchy" by Nathan Scheider (pg 13) confirms that Organization For A Free Society played a "considerable role" in creating unifying conditions for the NYC General Assembly to begin the Occupy Wall Street protests in Aug of 2011. Also "Occupy Nation: The Roots, The Spirit and the Promise of Occupy Wall Street" By Todd Gitlin spends an entire chapter on OFS's crucial role in Occupy. (Chapter 11, "Radicals" Pg. 130 identifies "the core group pushing occupy forward" as being OFS members).

    We have organizers involved in many of the key grassroots struggles in NYC and Albany NY, including Black Lives Matter, Anti-Mass Surveillance, Anti-deportation, Green Worker Coops, Homeless Queer Youth Organizing and immigrant worker organizing. We learned this approach from groups as diverse as the Kurds in Turkey the MST in Brazil, wikileaks, the Zapatistas in Mexico, and the (historic) Platformists in the Ukraine.

    This is the direction that former IOPS should move if they want to continue as an organization.

    • Lambert Meertens 28th Sep 2016

      Hi Jon,

      I am not convinced that the OFS model is possible for IOPS in its present condition, nor that it would be helpful now to try to move towards it. Regarding the mandatory attendance of meetings, how does OFS handle the case of a member in East Koochiching, Minnesota, say. Even if there are OFS meetings in Minneapolis, which I doubt, can you expect a member to travel for some 10 hours to attend a meeting? A substantial number of IOPS members does not have a cluster of other members around where they live.

      And, in fact, IOPS was founded on the premise of face-to-face meeting model. But to work, it requires concentrations of members that we currently have in only very few places. We know that it didn’t take off, so now it is time to try something else.

    • Bat Chainpuller 28th Sep 2016

      I tend towards agreement here as well. Although, I do believe, as I pointed out elsewhere (to use a Takis Fotopoulos phrase), in fact it was at the poll page just around the corner where Jon posted the same comment, that members of OFS participating as IOPS members, using the site for communicative purposes and other, would be really really helpful. Help to lessen the "isolation" of "left" activity, and help create traffic on the site, perhaps. No? Yes?

    • Bat Chainpuller 28th Sep 2016

      Of course, while everyone decides whether to move across in huge numbers to Liquid Solidarity or remain here and continue to not participate on either site!

    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 1st Oct 2016

      Precisely, Batman.

  • Claire Bruhn 27th Sep 2016

    Thanks John, that all sounds really great. I think IOPS should move in that direction too. I'm on mobile right now and I just checked out the OFS site and it looks really friendly and accessible. I think it's really important for a website to be mobile friendly and I wish IOPS would focus on that some as well. I'm a design fanatic and I love the OFS logo, it's gorgeous, nice work.