[WSF-Discuss] The Internet Social Forum and Is There a Global Internet Community?

jasper teunissen jasperteunissen at hotmail.com
Fri Apr 10 06:59:11 CDT 2015


Also see:
A Social Forum to build a people’s Internet

  Tunis Call for a People's Internet

Consensus document <http://www.alainet.org/en/autores/consensus-document>


We, participants of the Workshop “Organising an Internet Social Forum – 
A Call to Occupy the Internet”, held in Tunis as part of the World 
Social Forum, declare our commitment to a common goal of building a 
people’s Internet from below and beyond borders: an Internet that works 
in the public interest and solidarity, where control is in the hands of 
people; an Internet based on human dignity, equality, social justice, 
freedom and people's communication rights.

We join our voices to the Call to hold a global Internet Social Forum as 
a space to debate the Internet we want and how to build it, before the 
knowledge and access-to-information revolution is irretrievably captured 
by corporate interests and security agencies that will deepen the nexus 
of corruption between politics and money.

The Internet today has become an integral and essential part of our 
daily lives; more and more of our activities are organized through and 
around the virtual spaces, the networks, online services and the 
technology it comprises. It has restructured the very way in which we 
live, work, play and organize our societies. In many aspects, this is so 
even for people who at present have no direct Internet access.

At the same time, we are alarmed to see how both our private and public 
spaces are being co-opted and controlled for private gain; how private 
corporations are carving the public Internet into walled spaces; how our 
personal data is being manipulated and proprietised; how a global 
surveillance society is emerging, with little or no privacy; how 
information on the Internet is being arbitrarily censored, and people's 
right to communicate curtailed; and, how the Internet is being 
militarised. Meanwhile, decision-making on public policy matters 
relating to the Internet remains dangerously removed from the mechanisms 
of democratic governance.

We hereby launch a call to all those who share these goals to 
participate in drafting a People’s Internet Manifesto over the coming 
months, with the goal of seeking consensus on the basic principles that 
must underpin an Internet oriented to social equity, human solidarity 
and justice.

The Internet is an indispensable tool and workspace for building social 
struggles and interconnections among movements. We call on social 
movements and organizations gathered here in Tunis to take on this issue 
as an essential part of their action agendas, including, among others, 
the following goals:

We demand decisive action to curb the indiscriminate mass surveillance 
being implemented by corporations, security agencies and governments.

We defend decentralization --to the greatest extent possible-- of the 
Internet's technical, data and economic structures; and access to a 
net-neutral Internet, as a right, which would include support for 
community-owned networks and public infrastructure. We also defend the 
freedom of people-to-people communication.

We are committed to harnessing the Internet revolution to build global 
solidarity among people's movements, and enable them to share their 
experiences globally and learn from one another.

A people's Internet must be driven first and foremost by the people.  An 
Internet driven by big business, hand-in-hand with big government does 
not represent the public interest.  We will defend the right of 
grassroots organizations and social movements, alongside other civil 
society actors, to have a seat at any global negotiations on the 
governance of the Internet.

- Document presented as a consensus of the workshop /Organising an 
Internet Social Forum – A Call to Occupy the Internet/, WSF 2015, Tunis, 
March 26.


Michael Gurstein schreef op 2-4-2015 om 16:54:
> Hi Jai,
> Thanks for your comments. I’m sure that one of those present will be 
> preparing a report on the event where the ISF was introduced but in 
> the meantime those with an interest can see a video here
> "Organising an Internet Social Forum" at WSF Tunis 2015 (26-03-15) Part2
> http://bambuser.com/v/5380726
> "Organising an Internet Social Forum" at WSF Tunis 2015 (26-03-15) Part2
> http://bambuser.com/v/5380786
> Re: the WSIS—that is a very long (but worthwhile) discussion and 
> perhaps worthy of a separate thread.  My own background to this is as 
> facilitator of the Community Informatics network consisting of those 
> with a strong concern and active practice in the grassroots/community 
> use of ICTs.  I/we have had an active and critical involvement with 
> enabling/empowering grassroots communities with ICTs going back to the 
> very beginnings of the Internet  (and ICTs) including WSIS and have 
> watched with (and to a limited degree participated) in the on-going 
> paper war that is passing for activity in the ICT4D institutional 
> space post-WSIS.
> M
> *From:*WorldSocialForum-Discuss 
> [mailto:worldsocialforum-discuss-bounces at openspaceforum.net] *On 
> Behalf Of *Jai Sen
> *Sent:* April 2, 2015 6:02 AM
> *To:* Post WSFDiscuss
> *Cc:* Jai Sen
> *Subject:* Re: [WSF-Discuss] The Internet Social Forum and Is There a 
> Global Internet Community?
> Thursday, April 2 2015
> Hi Mike
> Thanks for this report and comment on WSIS etc, and your interesting 
> comments on NetMundial.
> I have some questions on this, but before posting those, can I ask you 
> to also post a report on the “initiative towards an Internet Social 
> Forum <http://www.internetsocialforum.net/> (ISF)” that you say was 
> “launched by a number of Civil Society organization at the WSF in 
> Tunis” ?  I’ve tried looking for this on the ISF site, but haven't 
> found it as yet, so – given this comment of yours on the WSIS side -, 
> could you also maybe just summarise the launch, for the moment ?
> And can also please also contextualise your comment on the WSIS, at 
> this point ?  Including on how and why have you made these comments, 
> at this juncture ?  What does this relate to ?  Maybe it's obvious to 
> others, but I’m not quite understanding !
> Jai
> On Apr 2 2015, at 4:28 PM, Michael Gurstein <gurstein at gmail.com 
> <mailto:gurstein at gmail.com>> wrote:
>     An initiative towards an Internet Social Forum
>     <http://www.internetsocialforum.net/> (ISF) with a close
>     association to the World Social Forum
>     <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Social_Forum> *//*(WSF) was
>     launched by a number of Civil Society organization at the WSF in
>     Tunis. This specific initiative comes out of a continuing history
>     of discussions and initiatives in the area of Global Internet
>     Governance as flowing from the World Summit of the Information
>     Society <http://www.itu.int/wsis/>.  This World Summit had two
>     major outcomes—one a continuing if rather ineffectual set of
>     processes concerned overall with the use of Information and
>     Communications Technologies in support of Economic and Social
>     Development. This which will reach some sort of culmination at a
>     global summit (WSIS + 10
>     <http://www.itu.int/wsis/implementation/2014/forum/>) later in 2015.
>     *//*
>     A second outcome and a rather more consequential set of activities
>     concerns the way in which the global Internet would or would not
>     be subject to some form of global “governance” intervention and
>     particularly in support of the broad public interest.
>     I won’t go into the extremely lengthy and somewhat convoluted
>     history of the “governance” outcome of the WSIS except to say that
>     the formal element of this outcome by means of what is known as
>     the Internet Governance Forum <http://www.intgovforum.org/cms/>
>     has adopted as its compulsory mode of operation and as its anchor
>     framing and normative concept the notion of “Multi-stakeholderism
>     <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multistakeholder_governance_model>”
>     (MSim).  MSism is understood by its proponents as being the
>     necessary mode for the on-going “governance” of the Internet in
>     all of its various aspects including technical areas (where the
>     notion has very considerable validity) but also including public
>     policy areas where there is a clear attempt to substitute MSism
>     and the highly determining role of the corporate sector as partner
>     “stakeholders” as a substitute for democratic governance.  There
>     is also clear evidence to suggest the intention by global elites
>     to build on the “success” of MSism in the Internet area as a pilot
>     and model for imposing this as the preferred mode of governance in
>     There has been very considerable discussion and critique of this
>     approach most particularly pointing to its fundamental basis in
>     introducing a neo-liberal governance model
>     <https://gurstein.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/the-multistakeholder-model-neo-liberalism-and-global-internet-governance/>
>     into the very core of the Internet and more particularly the only
>     partially disguised attempt to substitute “multistakeholder”
>     governance for democratic governance as the fundamental approach
>     to governance in broader areas of global governance
>     <http://www.aspeninstitute.org/news/2012/04/24/idea-report>.
>     A notable and somewhat bizarre feature of the Internet Governance
>     stream of activities is the degree to which many self –described
>     Civil Society individuals and organizations are active supporters
>     of the multistakeholder governance models and the current Internet
>     Governance status quo with its dominance by the US and its
>     national and corporate allies.  This has been partially explained
>     (and justified) by pointing to the successes that have been
>     achieved using the MS model in the inclusion of Human Rights and
>     particularly rights of free expression and association as elements
>     in broader Internet Governance activities and norm setting.  While
>     to a degree this is correct it should also be noted that there is
>     strong support for these “Rights” from such well known global
>     defenders of Civil Society values as the US State
>     Department*//*for whom support for “Internet Freedom
>     <http://www.state.gov/netfreedom/>” (understood as “Freedom of
>     speech on the Internet”) is both a strategic and a tactical tool
>     in its quest for geo-political, economic and security/surveillance
>     global dominance..
>     *//*
>     Equally while there has been*//*considerable success in
>     implanting*//*strong support for Rights of free expression and
>     association*//*in various Internet Governance normative documents
>     it is worth pointing out that among the strongest supporters of
>     these have been various Internet giants such as Google and
>     Facebook for whom these rights are central elements of their
>     business model.  Notably there has been no similar CS successes
>     resulting from “Multistakeholder collaboration” in areas such as
>     making Intellectual Property rights or Copyright issues to be more
>     reflective of a broad public interest.
>     What is equally notable is that these Civil Society supporters of
>     the MS governance model have chosen to ignore or even actively
>     suppress other areas of Human Rights concerns notably those
>     supportive of Social Equity and Social Justice*//* which of
>     course, and again purely coincidentally are not of any particular
>     interest to the other partners in the various Multistakeholder
>     collaborative structures which are being actively pursued.*//* The
>     overall consequence of the above is that those from Civil Society
>     who have a concern for democracy and social justice
>     <http://justnetcoalition.org/> as constituent elements of Internet
>     Governance and an Internet Governance global system have had to
>     struggle initially and directly with those elements of Civil
>     Society (and their supporters for example in certain otherwise
>     pro-CS governments) who have chosen to align themselves with the
>     Multistakeholder governance model and its corporate and
>     governmental proponents among the currently dominant actors in
>     Global Internet Governance. It is perhaps not again purely
>     coincidental that among those most actively supportive of the
>     current global Internet Governance status quo are those most
>     directly benefiting from ubiquitous Internet based surveillance,
>     the full frontal attack on privacy, the massive schemes for tax
>     avoidance by the Internet giants and the uncontrolled stampede
>     towards zero hour contracting, and the Internet enabled
>     acceleration in the concentration of wealth and power in fewer and
>     fewer hands.
>     Amore recent developments in the area of global Internet
>     Governance has been NetMundial <http://netmundial.br/> (NM) a
>     global multistakeholder event sponsored by the Government of
>     Brazil andICANN <https://www.icann.org/>, a major global player in
>     the technical aspects of Internet governance, directly
>     precipitated by the Snowden revelations particularly those
>     concerning surveillance of Pres. Rousseff of Brazil*//*herself.
>     Strangely the NM event completely avoided addressing even
>     indirectly, surveillance issues and perhaps even more notably from
>     a CS (and Brazilian) perspective failed to address or include any
>     issues or matters of concern for Internet and Social Justice or
>     even ICT for Development.
>     *//*
>     An immediate follow-on from the NM event has been a *_World
>     Economic Forum_*, ICANN and Brazil (CGI.br <http://CGI.br>)
>     sponsored NetMundial Initiative <https://www.netmundial.org/>
>     which, while still in the process of self-definition, is directed
>     towards carrying on and deepening through practice and research
>     the Multistakeholder governance legacy of the original NM event. 
>     Among the active partners in this with the World Economic Forum
>     and ICANN have been the Government of Brazil and the Association
>     for Progressive Communications <http://www.apc.org/> (APC) along
>     with a limited number of other “civil society” organizations.
>     The Coordination Committee of the NetMundial Initiative recently
>     met and listening remotely, I was moved to write a blogpost
>     <https://gurstein.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/is-there-a-global-internet-community/>
>     concerning what appears to be the keystone normative concept
>     behind the NMI and  ultimately that of Multistakeholderism
>     overall—the notion of a “Global Internet Community”.  The blogpost
>     asks the question*Is there A Global Internet Community
>     <https://gurstein.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/is-there-a-global-internet-community/>*(and
>     what are the implications of a fundamental belief in the existence
>     of this entity for the development of the democratic governance of
>     the Internet and as a tool supportive of social equity and social
>     justice).
>     */Mike Gurstein/*
>     _______________________________________________
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> ______________________________
> Jai Sen
> jai.sen at cacim.net <mailto:jai.sen at cacim.net>/jai at openword.in 
> <mailto:jai at openword.in>
> www.cacim.net <http://www.cacim.net>/http://www.openword.in
> Now based in Ottawa, Canada (+1-613-282 2900), and New Delhi, India 
> (+91-98189 11325)
> Jai Sen, ed, 2013 –_The Movements of Movements : Struggles for Other 
> Worlds_, Part I/./Volume 4 Part I in the/Challenging Empires/series. 
> New Delhi : OpenWord. *Available 
> @http://www.into-ebooks.com/book/the_movements_of_movements/*
> Jai Sen and Peter Waterman, eds, forthcoming (2015) –_The Movements of 
> Movements : Struggles for Other Worlds_/,/Part 2.Volume 4 Part II in 
> the/Challenging Empires/series. New Delhi : OpenWord
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