Re: cr> Re: Online PR: consensus


Sender: Arun Mehta <•••@••.•••>

CR> Now then, if you, as an equal partner in our list have an
CR> objection to finding some sort of group consensus, please
CR> explain.

I'm sure all of us on the list would love to have consensus: we just
don't want it pushed down our throats. Marilyn, the point has been made
on this list that on the issue in question we do *not* have consensus.

CR> And if you have an objection to our sending out a press release
CR> when and if we form a consensus, please explain.

What exactly would be the point of the exercise?

You may be familiar with "Organizing for Social Change" by Bobo, Kendall
and Max, which lists the 3 principles of direct action:

1) Win Real, Immediate, Concrete Improvements in People's Lives
2) Give people a sense of their own power
3) Alter the relations of power

I would submit that participating actively in the ACLU suit does all of
the above. Please look at the press release you want to bring out (after,
and if, we have consensus) and tell me how it agrees with these principles.



Sender: •••@••.••• (Marilyn Davis)

Craig wrote:

> I not only have an objection to using this list for reaching a
> "consensus";

*What* is this objection?  You're pretty ignorable unless you give a

>  I think it is politically impractical and naive.

Yes!  That's why it's a good public relations ploy.

A short story: During the Vietnam war I was in a peace activist group
in San Diego with more than 100 members.  They decided their project
by consensus.  I say "they" because I pretty much abstained silently,
more fascinated by the process than caring about the result.  I just
wanted to do *something* -- like we do here.  The decision was to
target a battleship in our harbor, the USS Constitution, and wage a
local campaign: "USS Constitution - Stay Home for Peace".  For an
event, we staged an independent public poll on one particular issue:
"Should the USS Constitution stay home for peace or go back to
Vietnam?".  I don't think I even sat through the whole meeting because
I remember hearing the result later.  I thought it was soooo stuuupid:
politically impractical and naive.

I was wrong.  We created a huge ruckus in that town.  It was
beautiful, mostly.  I am sorry that it caused some tragedy, some
deliberate sabotage of the ship, and, if I remember right, some

The activists' tactic of making a big issue out of one simple thing is
tried and true.

It is worse than naive to believe that four copies of your
well-considered letter are going to float to the surface at the FCC.

Did anyone see the front page Wall Street Journal article last Friday?
I'll type some bits:

Prime Time

The FCC Is Besieged As It Rewrites Rules In Telecommunications

Executives, Lobbyists Cram The agency's Schedule And Offer Lots of Advice

Porridge With Mr. Murdoch

By Bryan Gauley

"...  While Congress set broad rules ... it left the details to the
FCC.  Those details will mean hundreds of millions of dollars to the
bottom lines of the companies involved."

"With the stakes so high, companies are leaving nothing to chance.  In
the two months since the bill was enacted, chief executives and their
legions of lobbyists have besieged the little agency.  An agency that
had fallen out of the spotlight during recent years of deregulation
has gone prime time."

"Donald Gips, deputy chief o fthe International Bureau, leaves his
office for an hour and a half, only to find 120 new electronic-mail
messages waiting when he returns.  Mr. Gips says he recently turned
down an offer from a consulting firm doubling his $100,000 anual
salary.  "I'm having too much fun," he says.  "This is the place to


It's a big article about the huge mess at the FCC, and the kind of
money and power they're slinging around down there.

Your actions against the Telcom bill were totally ineffective.  Do you
think you're going to be more successful playing politics with the FCC
against the power-mongers?  No.  You're not.

Public relations.  It's our only hope.


> Go ahead and send out any press release you want, and feel free to
> say you are a member of the Cyber Rights list, but please don't
> pretend as if you have some kind of list *consensus* because you do
> not.  So, please don't presume to think that you can send out the
> release in the name of the Cyber Rights list.

You have no right to block our action unless you give us a reason.

We *do* have consensus.  I don't read in Martin's latest post anything
that disagrees with our statement.  You yourself can't find anything
against it.

Your (unreasoned?) objection is not to the content of the consensus

Other than that, the call is for a stronger statement.  Does anyone
have any ideas?  The stronger statement would be that the internet
declares itself to be free from regulation by any country.

The statement we have is pretty clever, I think.  It's understandable
and obvious, once you think of it.  It calls attention to the
democratizing potential of the net; a fact obfuscated (deliberately?)
by the politicians and the media.

*And*, if the government *does* move toward taking away cheap email,
we will have a firm foundation for a call to revolution where we
declare the internet separate and unrulable by any government.  I
think it's a little early for that now.

Richard said:

>      (BTW>  I'm not clear on who the statement will go to: Does it go
> directly to legislators?  Do we circulate it around the net and try to get
> broader endorsement? -- sorry about my knowedge-gap here -- I missed a few
> C-R postings.)

We do whatever there is energy for.  I'm sure that DicedPupys (How is
that pronounced?) and I can get out an email press release.  So we
have a purpose.  Even without a material purpose, the process of
defining a consensus is very empowering for any group.

About the statement: Instead of "Email", should we say "Email and
other text applications" or "Email and other text-based groupware",
meaning newsgroups and other conferencing systems?

We, the 500 members of the cyber-rights email list, agree by consensus

1.  Email is the communication/cooperation superhighway, completely
distinct from the information/entertainment superhighway.

2.  Email is the backbone of grassroots online organizing and holds
great promise as a democracy-enhancer.

3.  Email demands a miniscule amount of resources delivered at low
priority compared to information/entertainment applications.  Any
scheme that bases price on resources used and makes entertainment
affordable will render email almost free, as it should be.

4.  If an innapropriate minimum charge per session or per transaction
is applied, only email will be adversely affected and it will be felt
as a direct attack by government on online democracy.

Therefore, *if* the government regulates the price of internet access,
the regulation must guarantee continued widely affordable access to email.
Marilyn                               *
Marilyn Davis, Ph.D.-------------- * ---- eVote - online voting software
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Note from moderator:

I feel that I have to step in now with my view of the list.  It's
great for Marilyn and Richard to develop a position paper and gather
allies--that's a major purpose of the list (although I've already
expressed the same reservations as Arun, about whether an email
position paper would be effective.)

But my main point here is to ensure that people can stay on the list
for discussion or just to learn, and not feel that they have to take a
position on some issue.  Several types of people will not want to join
in a position paper:

1. Journalists, who feel they need to maintain neutrality.

2. People with dissenting opinions (of which many have been posted, in
   relation to the email discussion).

3. Newbies, who just want to learn and are not ready to commit

I want all these people on the list.  We need you all, for healthy
criticism and to help get our views out to a wider audience.  So
Marilyn, what you should do is use the list to round up as many
individuals and organizations as you can to work on your position


 Posted by Andrew Oram  - •••@••.••• - Moderator: CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)
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