[Cc-uk] FS vs CC?

David Hirst dhirst at pavilion.co.uk
Wed Jun 22 14:42:15 EDT 2005

The openness of the debate, and the willingness of people who consider
themselves part of the "movement" to engage in "internal" yet public and
published debate seems to be an important part of the freedoms the
movement(s) is/are aiming to achieve.

What seems to be important to emphasise is the extent of the agreement
across the movement(s). There are clearly things we all share, and the
debate is often about clarifying what these shared views are.

"Big Media" tends not to see it this way. All the newspapers and channels
tend to seek the disagreements and arguments, and emphasise these. In part
this is because it is more interesting, and does give a platform for the
full breadth of ideas to be expressed.

Rather too often though Big Media seeks to sow and create discord and to
damage consensus among its opponents. Argument for its own sake becomes the
objective. This tends to give undue air time to the extremist and
contrarians of the debate, however marginalised they may be, and so give the
impression of discord and disorganisation. This also benefits the "status
quo" of corporate dominance, who can then appear to be the "reasonable
middle ground". It is fear of the debate turning sterile in this way that
seems to drive the desire to get the message clear and simple, and suppress
anything that is not "on message".

Yet to keep too closely "on message" is framing the debate in their terms,
not ours. 

Many organisations resolve this by spending time concentrating on a "Mission
Statement", which says clearly and succinctly what they do and stand for.
Actually, mostly the mission statement is about what the organisation does
NOT do, and its power lies in requiring people to justify the relationship
between what they are saying or doing, and the mission. A sound organisation
will never ask its people to do things that are not compatible with its
mission, or perhaps, will never fire somebody who refuses to do something
not contributing to the Mission.

In this case, it might be worthwhile to see if we can find single sentences
that show the commonality of the movement(s), but also the different areas
of interest.

I look forward to the suggestions.



-----Original Message-----
From: cc-uk-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:cc-uk-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of David M. Berry
Sent: 22 June 2005 18:37
To: Tom Chance
Cc: cc-uk at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [Cc-uk] FS vs CC?



Tom, A really well written email and one with which I concur.


In reply to Andres though, I would though like to point out that  

thinking that dissent is a 'bad thing' or that its 'unity is  

strength' are political sloganeering from the 20th century.  I  

believe that free culture offers us a more radical moment when we  

consider that our discussions, ideas and plans are all public. Just  

think about that for a moment. We are a truly transparent (dis) 

organisation that is genuinely open to others. That's not to say we  

don't sometimes disagree, or that the disagreements can be internal  

as well as external. Regardless, the discussions are open. That is  

very different from bureaucratic organisations that fight to prevent  

any leakage from their public facade, we on the contrary reveal in  

the publicness of open, honest and free debate.


This means that there is no party line, decisions are reasoned out  

and subject to contestation and it is (thankfully) difficult to get  

authoritarian 'leaders' who seek to lead us down to the promised  

land. Not only that but this is mirrored in a message that is not  

only politically, socially and economically important and convincing,  

but also allows others to see how we got here. No membership cards,  

no gatekeepers and most of all no fiction of a univocal  

representational framework for our actions and practices.  To me this  

is in addition to the message of free culture, and weirdly confirms  

it all.


Secondly, I think you are right that the multinationals are  

sharpening their knives. But staying safe and quiet won't spare  

Creative Commons from attack. Sticking to the old organisational  

frameworks (like centralised, hierarchical bureaucracy) will be to  

play by their rules. Instead, it is important to stick to the ethical  

and political principle that makes the whole thing worthwhile and  

justified. And the political can only function where there is  

contestation and the clash of ideas and thoughts. We each subject our  

ideas to each other to both test and improve them. This results in an  

intersubjective improvement in all our skills, knowledges and most  

importantly makes our case more watertight.


I also support Creative Commons, and will continue to do so providing  

it does not lose its focus and beliefs. Everyone makes mistakes and  

this includes organisations that are trying to be innovative and  

creative in their approach. But that has to be tempered by critique  

and feedback. Once we submit to the King (as Foucault would have  

called it) or the party line, regardless of whatever it might be,  

contrary to our own beliefs and feelings, I fear the life and  

animation that drives the free culture movement will be lost.


Creative Commons aims to supply the licenses, that is fair enough,  

but they do not (unlike the open-source initiative) attempt to take  

over the discourse. Or at least not yet. And you don't have to look  

far to see that the CC is supported by many people who have a number  

of different radical, libertarian, social, communitarian or  

progressive ideas.... but all seem to agree that the untrammelled  

ownership of culture is a bad thing.



- David











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