slowly reappropriating my own flat and digging through the documentation and discourse which piled up since two weeks ago. Meanwhile another friend from Syria arrived last Wednesday, only after Josef's departure, and finished two-and-a-half weeks of walking home herself. Adaptation processes have been set in progress and the apparent questions have operationally been transformed into sprint tasks and backlog entries. Therefore postponed.
It is astonishing to see how fast shared emotional spaces can fade away. Why I am returning to this thread, to reinforce them.
I am writing this text in English, meaning it takes me three times the effort to compile my thoughs. But at least Adrien and Gualter can more easily dig into it.
There is no doubt a lot of background communication taking place all the time. Then openly documented perspectives turn into the normative narratives for the outside. Breaking this divide was cause to the ongoing astonishment:
In one regard how quickly everyone went back to everyday practice and how shy we still are expressing existing mutual distrust in a meaningful manner.
You may have read about my full disclosure at INKOTA the other day, which then led into a night-long talk with Josef, following some arguments I've made sure to agree upon with you here. Why I will safely add him and Michael to this conversation now, knowing I only needed to share these intermediary thoughts privately above to acutely release epistemic pressure and helplessness.
In defending the position, it was ultimately the collaboration style which led to the breaking change. Why and how can we split this from our current situation? Let loose from the Commoning ideas behind TransforMap, we are now asked to transform itself. And turn it into a welcoming party again.
Don't you remember how often I complained during the SSEDAS preparations and never knew how to react properly? Retrospectively, those questions and my elaborations regarding comparing the projects' approaches with a common TransforMap narrative should already have led into formulating boundaries of what is and is not compatible with the original idea.
In this case I've just been reacting to the external force, because it seemed appropriate to defend the overall decentralisation idea also behind the curtains, lacking the strength to oppose ambiguous activity by publicly denouncing the events. Not only because I am low on resources and full of hunger most of the time.
I just cannot fight as loudly and repeatingly as Josef, prefering quiet and thoughtful consideration over a blatant battle of wills.
It is the installation of centralizing bottlenecks into our cooperation which I am opposing. This has to be socially and technically understood. This is why one the perspectives offered by me used the term coopetition earlier on.
This is resolved now. Still I believe these now ideally seen perspectives have been a central part of my original understanding of what MMM is about.
As I understand, you are asking for the reasons why I had chosen those framings. By reading these more than a week after the accumulated incident, please bear in mind I felt heavily affected. I still am.
I - self-understanding
Being just one of the many points which we were able to pick up during the last months, it turns out we are talking about completely different understandings of what TransforMap is. Coming from self-organizational backgrounds and years of experience in working with diverse associations and partners, we simply overlooked to make sure each and every one has the same basic knowledge of what we're talking about:
Alternative economies and their reason to exist.
II - main objective
For me this whole thing went totally crazy when Josef was in Graz, sitting next to Michael and in a Hangout with me. Back then we were reframing the SSEDAS deliverables to suit the Commons' needs and align them with CHEST. Already there we had intense discussions about how decentralized our toolset should be. It turns out one cannot exchange opinions for experience, eventually leading to the sentence With me you have a small enemy against decentralization.
Which revealed to me how deep our conceptual misunderstanding is.
III - modes of cooperation
You know what is strange to me? That CHEST resources are now being used to support the SSEDAS product, despite SSEDAS is just the support funding for CHEST. And this is where we struggle: Once we are entangled in economic dependency, we are constantly reproducing the fucking narratives which lead to the destruction of our world. Namely: Hesitation, Imprecision and Corruptedness.
Isn't it weird decisions are constantly being made without escalation to broader circles; even still, after all what happened?
IV - legitimately working with organized networks
The fundamental difference in working with organized networks is no one is in the centre of interest. No single person considers itself cruicial, a main role or stronger than anybody else. We perceive ourselves as the network and our integrative role within. But no less, networks route around errors and a network split always leads to new configurations.
Currently we are witnessing what happens if centralisation occurs and the dictator is not as benevolent as imagined. Overestimation of one's own capabilities, unreflected reproduction of simplifying organizational schemes and rhetoric manoeuvres to downplay the causes are the seeds of malicious long-term effects to me.
V - techno-social implementation of the overall vision
Here I was getting tired. I felt repeating myself, but nevertheless had to focus and reinforce a crucial aspect of the main misunderstanding again. It is not to be taken lightly, nor to be simply operationally adapted if a culmination of single events leads to a strong catharsis like the ongoing. We really have a patient on the table who mutates in an uncontrollable manner. The selection of aspects may feel rude to some, yet we are all in the responsability to truthfully feed the discourse with respective seeds of knowledge.
VI - financial responsability
Within the professionalisation of the work, critical voices may very well sense the amplification of neoliberal work regimes we're producing. The explicit Othering of contributors who are not part of the Scrum team, which is still a test, if you remember, leads to the instituation of power centres within a process which was conceived openly. Blindfold application of common practice in return just applies mainstream economic narratives into our environment. It is then when the alarm bells ring and we intimately understand how vulnerable the shared endeavour is.
VII - opinionated attitudes
Well, this term is indeed a bit cryptic. Opinionated is actually a term from systems engineering, where you always have to cope with assumptions all the way down. The more assumptive a component is, the more opinionated we call it. It is somehow the opposite of immutable computing, where we focus on immutable data states and functional patterns (advanced, though). In our case it stroke me when Silke and me had initially been excluded from the roadmap and vision finding process, because we are too political or too technical, in other words opinionated. The opposing paradigms then lead to pragmatism and the implementation of logical fallacies. Remember, TransforMap is critical practice, studies and thinking all around. How can you seperate its internal functioning from the idealistic world it wants to tell about?
Right now, we are encapsulated by a process called Scrum. Not does it only have specific regulations around who and what's in and out, but also in its current design it does not allow for interaction with (constitutive!) outsides. The question: To scrum or not to scrum? is not even allowed to be asked anymore until the end of the sprint. Another term which transparently conveys neoliberal pressure in the form of velocity. Maybe in a deccelerated world, hesitation and overreaction can be overcome?
What we are witnessing is an enclosure, a definition of power structures following the status quo, a situation received by carelessly forgetting about the foundational constraints, the definitions of how we don't want to work alike. Does anybody remember the term alternative economies; what were these about?
Therefore, we need to have the conversation about what's going on now, not only at the end of the sprint, not only after SSEDAS and CHEST are finally contracted.
Please don't understand me wrong here. I don't want to go on a personal rampage against Josef as a person. It is just the KuBiZ days are fading away and I want to keep some analytical notes and perceptions for further investigation. But if any findings would have to be associated with Josef's practice, I am not against precautious measures.
In return, can I get access to the conversation which eventually led @Silke to the reply documented in the pad from above?
Because I am overhelmed about what we've done:
I decided to inform the mailing list about my plan to put distance between me and the project.
Is this even a precursor of our fear she may as well take her contacts with her?
- The external forces of CHEST and SSEDAS are rushing forward, silencing the critique, distracting from the obvious by allowing for side argumentations and creating a high number of pragmatic, at this point unreviewable contributions.
- The resulting pressure due to time and money constraints can eventually be perceived as blackmail. The commercial interest is once again infecting and overruling the Commoning process.
- Official contract papers are in both current cases reformulated and bended towards their realities. CHEST is only allowing a very short renegotiation phase (Haven't I been asking for renegotiation for many months already?) which doesn't really allow for including all current developments, while SSEDAS itself will have to be finished in a very time constrained, resource lacking manner. We are yet again increasing our precariousness ourselves.
- Thoughts are being prepared how we could extract products from the TransforMap infrastructure to sell them to other, possible partners. Which are eventually to be found via the extensive TransforMap network. Again, approaching them for commercial projects would reverse the idea behind a TransforMap Commons.
- When we think of our internal organizational structures, there has been more and more the use of words like leaders and strong characters. As a network, we have to reject these narrative enclosures.
- And does anybody of you retain some memories of how 15MMM came about? Do you remember the unsynchronized rush forward towards FCF? It wasn't that SSEDAS was the first time we've seen this. And you all know how well 15MMM went. Because we had been pressed into something, instead of collectively designing it.
- The points above all stand for narratives and practices which we wanted to escape by proposing an alternative.
- Sometimes less is more. Or would anybody contest the sensation that we, according to our capacities, have too many parallel TransforMap projects running right now?
Needs of Change
This is my personal perspective on what needs to change to still be able to take part in some of the external TransforMap endeavours, eventually conducted by Get Active.
- New projects always have to be evaluated within the Commoning process before any agreements are being made. For example, now we're already overloaded with FCF and CHEST, almost unable to correlate these to other seperate activities (Commoning, SSEDAS).
- Instead of individualized leadership taking over, we should step back and consider what we can really commit. We are all part of a greater whole. Which renders us equal in every aspect. There are no leaders, no masters. Comprende?
- I wish for a consensus on the acceptance of reducing the overall operative influence of Josef, esp. in terms of technical architecturing, external and internal communication.
- I want to see active commitment to an extensive skill sharing process. Foci could be something like working within the movements and useful online cooperation patterns and language.
- We also need to raise clarity and conceptual agreement (in documents, conversations, etc.) by a basic testing of our logical and language skills. Especially documents to be exchanged with partners should be in good English, if applicable.
- Smileys only if appropriate, else they seem to deceive and ease around strong points made before. A basic rule can be to use them only if someone else used them before.
Hopefully this leads to less chaos and more precision.
For myself, I feel ashamed and ridiculed about where we went. Let's try to learn from our failures for the better.