[NetBehaviour] Netbehaviour renewal - Occupy? a commons? by a fire, in the ruins in an ancient woodland

Alan Sondheim sondheim at gmail.com
Sat Jun 12 16:51:04 CEST 2021

Hi Ruth,

I probably stand alone here. Occupy was many things, wasn't that well
organized, I was there several times. There was always a drum circle on the
outskirts that interrupted flow. There were outlying groups and meetings
that weren't on the main site. It was chaotic. It was bottom up.

I don't like the suggestion below. First, I'm on a number of lists; on most
of them I don't post, but I learn. This is a tradition all the way back.
There are lists people have been silent on because they've infiltrated
right-wing or fascist organizations. There are people on lists who don't
want to be counted or accounted for, for many reasons. Your suggestion
seems like a forced enrollment: come forward, tell everyone who you are, or
you're gone. Another way to look at that: It's a privilege to be on this
list and you must actively participate or you're gone. Or it's your duty as
a member of this list to participate or you're gone. Or if you're shy and
just interested in reading or possibly backchanneling only, you're gone.

This literally has me in tears. For me, again, lists have had the advantage
of the commons. But this commons then has a different purpose, and if you
don't fit in, leave. Then it's not a commons, is it? Or are you talking
about a commons where people must announce their presence or be gone? You
say "This revolved around efforts to create open access" - but does this
mean that you _must_ access publicly and make your presence known?

Every list I'm on, by the way, is advertising-free; people might announce
they have a harmonica for sale (harmonica list) or a new book has come out
(wryting-l) or they're showing somewhere (Netbehaviour), but they're not
advertisement-based of course. People announce from within the list, not to

We have to "know who is in the woods"? In England, perhaps land and
parkland is managed differently than in the U.S. You have to sign in at
National Parks, but just once - in fact that's like a subscription - but
you don't need to announce who you are on any basis to everyone else. In
state parks, you just go in, Much as this country is horrific and lawless
and armed to the teeth, we feel comfortable going to parks (except for the

I honestly don't feel comfortable on this list, and apologies for not being
more helpful. I'll continue posting daily, you'll do what you want to do;
the very performative discussion of unsubscribe is a signifier of power. I
am so tired of, so worn out, by promulgations of power. (Yes, I know, power
is everywhere, etc. But there are degrees and there are safe spaces, at
least for now.)


On Sat, Jun 12, 2021 at 10:06 AM Ruth Catlow via NetBehaviour <
netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:

> Dear everyone,
> Thanks so much for helping me to work through some of my niggles with the
> list. I now have a much better sense of what its value is to some of us at
> the fireside and a few of the people from the woods. I've also been greatly
> enjoying the recent exchanges!
> I also found Adam's email beautiful. Especially personally resonant
> because I lived for a year in Penryn unaware of the history of the
> Ordinalia there. I find the format of passion plays - "acts" of faith
> "performed" by people in the places where they belong - enthralling.Thanks
> for that Adam!
> Annie's response was also really helpful for me. The revolutionary impulse
> of the early media art initiatives that interested me was tied up with
> infrastructural critique and a desire to create a new art context together.
> This revolved around efforts to create open access, and co-ownership of the
> media and platforms we needed for collaboration. Bringing together FLOSS
> and Art. There is still a lot of inspiring work in this area Constant
> https://constantvzw.org/ for example.
> While I "get" the Occupy vibe here, it doesn't feel so useful as an
> analogy for this list/community as it stands at the moment. Occupy's
> central commitment was to participatory democracy. The location of
> occupations were chosen for their symbolic significance to state-corporate
> capitalism, right? I guess we could think of this list as a prefigurative
> community resisting corporate platforms (I share everyone's love of this as
> an advertising-free space). But I detect less interest among this group in
> the question of how bottom-up decisions should be made to ensure fair
> distribution of power, and how that might in turn lead to the overthrow of
> capitalism. Occupy activists developed social technologies (some digital
> platforms, some gestures and techniques for use in large groups of people
> gathered physically) to make ALL the decisions together about all the
> things - from collective vision to organising waste-disposal. It's more
> emergent here.
> If we can agree that Commons are "shared cultural or material resources
> managed by communities for individual and collective benefit" then maybe
> this is what we have been working out here over the last couple of weeks
> and Netbehaviour is a kind of commons. If we can agree that we (all
> subscribers) collectively own this place, and are willing to reflect on
> this occasionally - that's more than enough for me. We can stay with
> furtherfield legacy infrastructure and near-zero moderation by Marc and me
> for now (if that suits everyone).
> Finally, I would be curious to hear your feelings about this proposal for
> list renewal.
> =======================
> Over a 1 month period starting xxx
> We invite all subscribers to do one of 3 things
> 1. Make a post on any topic or responding to anyone else's post
> 2. Send an email with "Happy Lurker" in the subject header
> 3. Do nothing.
> At the end of this time, moderators could
> 1. gather a list of everyone who posted
> 2. unsubscribe everyone else.
> In this way we will know who we are, we will be able to see ourselves
> collectively and know who is in the woods.
> This is something we can do intermittently.
> ========================
> If you all love, hate or have alternative suggestions to this idea I'd
> love to know.
> warmly
> Ruth
> --
> Ruth Catlow
> she/her
> Co-founder & Artistic director of Furtherfield & DECAL Decentralised Arts
> Lab
> +44 (0) 77370 02879
> *I will only agree to speak at events that are racially and gender
> balanced.
> **sending thanks
> <https://www.ovoenergy.com/ovo-newsroom/press-releases/2019/november/think-before-you-thank-if-every-brit-sent-one-less-thank-you-email-a-day-we-would-save-16433-tonnes-of-carbon-a-year-the-same-as-81152-flights-to-madrid.html> in
> advance
> *Furtherfield *disrupts and democratises art and technology through exhibitions,
> labs & debate, for deep exploration, open tools & free thinking.
> furtherfield.org <http://www.furtherfield.org/>
> *DECAL* Decentralised Arts Lab is an arts, blockchain & web 3.0
> technologies research hub
> for fairer, more dynamic & connected cultural ecologies & economies now.
> decal.is <http://www.decal.is>
> Furtherfield is a Not-for-Profit Company Limited by Guarantee
> Registered in England and Wales under the Company No.7005205.
> Registered business address: Carbon Accountancy, 80-83 Long Lane, London,
> EC1A 9ET.
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