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Re: Advice Workplace that Forces Non-Free Software

From: Danny Spitzberg
Subject: Re: Advice Workplace that Forces Non-Free Software
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 2020 08:38:33 -0700

   Jean makes a great point that I’m surprised nobody has expanded upon:
   > injustice is injustice, if it happens to me personally
   or if it happens to other people. Spreading of free software is one
   way to liberate others, and talking about it and teaching others is
   also one good way to liberation. Injustice need not be personal for me
   to act to help other people.

   In most workplaces, there are owners, bosses, and managers with their
   interests — and then there are workers with their interests.
   Workers get the short end of the stick, with wage theft, harassment,
   unfair firing, and unfree software. Some workers stay in deadens jobs
   or feel trapped by their situation. And some change things, often by
   withholding labor in various forms: doing EXACTLY what the job
   description says to prove a point about their creative abilities and
   critical value, shallowing down production, staging a sit-in, walking
   out, or forming a picket line. These forms of withholding labor work to
   make change if workers are united, act collectively, and have a demand.
   Members of the WNBA (women’s national basketball association in the
   USA) did that last week, refusing to play in protest of yet another
   Black person murdered, and it spread to dozens of other sports teams.
   The antecedents first this sort of thing are hard — made harder for us
   because few people appreciate the vital necessity of free/libre & open
   source software, or see it ranked very high on their hierarchy of needs
   compared to keeping their job, receiving their salary, and getting on
   with their lives.
   HOWEVER, it’s also very simply to do what Jean talks about: agitate
   coworkers to ask genuinely about their pains and needs, educate peers
   about alternatives and paths to get them, and organize to take action.
   Some folks like the IWW union use the acronym AEIOU: agitate, educate,
   inoculate — against typical refusals from a boss or manager like “we
   just don’t have the budget” or “don’t talk to each other come to my
   office instead” — organize, and unionize. I should add here that FSF
   workers have a union, and last I heard are capped at 40 hours of work
   per week without paperwork for overtime.
   If FLOSS is a demand, the instead of quitting a FLOSS-less job solo,
   finding a job where FLOSS is respected, or muddling through, consider
   talking to your coworkers, asking about their software and tech tool
   pains, building relationships around the idea of improving things, and
   acting collectively. This might involve a tiny bit of ideology and
   politics, but it’s worth it to get the things we want and need.
   Some of my favorite resources on this topic of labor organizing:
   On Sat, Aug 29, 2020 at 11:01 PM Mike Gerwitz <[2]> wrote:

     On Sun, Aug 30, 2020 at 01:51:47 -0400, Mike Gerwitz wrote:
     > Hey, Jean:
     > I agree, and I agree that we ought to help whomever we can.
     > But I also recognize that not everybody sees it as an injustice,
     and not
     > everyone will be convinced.  Helping someone who does not want to
     > helped has its own considerations.
     I forgot to emphasize one other point:
     In my original message, I encouraged lily to try to change the
     environment if possible.  In a similar way, I don't necessarily
     that everyone should avoid jobs that don't subscribe fully to the
     software philosophy.
     The reason is that the best way to change an organization is often
     within.  If you make it a goal to do so, then while your ideals may
     strained, the end result could be quite beneficial to society and to
     movement.  If we avoid situations that conflict with our ideals,
     then we
     can't hope to change them.
     This is in a way similar to using non-free software for the sake of
     studying it to write a free replacement.  You suffer, but you do so
     a good cause.
     But certainly if your goal is to change a company for the better,
     that goal proves to be unattainable, it's time to move on.
     Mike Gerwitz
     Free Software Hacker+Activist | GNU Maintainer & Volunteer
     GPG: D6E9 B930 028A 6C38 F43B  2388 FEF6 3574 5E6F 6D05
     libreplanet-discuss mailing list



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