Anarchist grassroots work in IT
I've started and abandoned this blog post over 2 years ago. There have always been different approaches.
A few examples – Devops and anarchism – Politicization in companies (agility as a connection to anarchist thinking) – Left-wing grassroots work
In the meantime I had made a video lecture on this topic as a test and rejected it again, at least for the time being. So today is the umpteenth attempt and I'll try to keep it short, because broken down, there's not much more than a suggestion for your own thoughts.
Perhaps it's just about stimulating your own thoughts and finding your own ways.
The final trigger was provided by the sometimes negative reactions towards the “against the right” demonstrations and this image of a middle class, without which there would be no utopian society.
Or would there?
People who work in IT are often right in the middle of this middle class of society.
I've often got stuck on this question alone when writing, and so there remains a target group of people who work in IT and identify as left-wing, anarchist or left-anarchist. An understanding of agility is necessary, as I will not explain it here.
I will not explain here why agile methods are often perceived as negative or what the problems are in their implementation. If you are interested in my opinion and experiences, please feel free to contact me. There are also enough articles and discussions on the Internet.
By writing this blog post, I am of course reproducing exactly the patterns of action that we all know from a left-wing, anarchist scene. Texts, texts and more texts. Few concrete instructions for action, lots of theory and even more opinion. And then we could talk about it in a group....
I apologize for the polemics or even the despair shown.
For me, political grassroots work is the direct communicative relationship with other people who take different, even opposing, political positions.
In other words, true to the understanding that “everything is political”. So grassroots work is any contact, perhaps even with perceived like-minded comrades, as we also like to lose ourselves in excessive detail or engage in communicative activities ourselves.
Of course, this ties up time and energy, which only revolves around our own groups and therefore has practically no external impact or connectivity.
At work, where politics is also somehow a taboo subject in IT, there is practically no discussion.
So if everything is political, then this passivity is counter-revolutionary in practice.
Connectivity in German Anschluss by Niklas Luhmann refers to the capacity of systems to ensure that the selections of a system can be followed by others through communication. The simplest example of connectivity is economic, needs-oriented communication.
Here there are many interfaces through which connectivity and thus also political communication can be established. In a figurative sense, we and our fellow human beings have an API at our disposal.
This API can be addressed via read and write requests.
Anarchism's rejection of the state, religion, capitalism, etc. offers few points of connection that can be addressed and to which there are points of connection. However, capitalism has now adopted many values from the anarchist spectrum, especially in companies, including IT.
These are of course used as an end in themselves for the accumulation of capital and only include values that are compatible with the external system.
So, even if these cultural values are used in a negative context, there is still the ability to connect in order to convey concrete political content and carry out political work.
The connection of left-anarchist content with “corporate values” can therefore be referenced by expanding political concepts with these values via these cultural connections.
The aim cannot be to turn a person into an anarchist, but to provide impulses for their own rational debate, their own experiences, their own perceptions.
Despite the negative perception of agile methods, such as Scrum, mentioned at the beginning, there are overlaps here, especially for a connection to anarchism, such as freedom from hierarchy and autonomy. The connections for a grassroots political approach and the statement “everything is political” are obvious.
Since this approach is set on a very individual basis, nothing more remains than the observation of parallels. It remains to be said that grassroots work has something to do with trust and open, non-violent, non-manipulative communication.
In any case, I hope that I can persuade one or two people to use precisely these points of connection to actively pursue grassroots work in companies and not give in to the movement of self-isolation or escapism.
Sorry for the German Wikipedia Links, but Niklas Luhmann is still mostly missing from the English version.