Long intended to post here about possible indicator of strength (or weakness) of commons-based production entities and movements: how they stand up for constituents in distress, and whether they are successful in obtaining relief.
One obvious example is Wikimedia helping defend its contributors for their contributions, e.g., in a defamation case.
More broadly though, what about commons activists who are targeted by oppressive governments (nearly all, in some respect), possibly in relation to their participation in commons-based production? Aaron Swartz was probably the most famous example (one might think of what he was persecuted for as “beating of the bounds”).
Another case that I followed a bit more closely is that of Bassel Khartabil, who was imprisoned and killed by the Syrian government.
I haven’t gotten around to any kind of analysis of all this, but one outcome in the case of Khartabil is a fellowship in his honor that I hope will interest some people reading this, or people within a few hops who might use the fellowship to do something extremely interesting and pro-commons.
basselkhartabil.org has all the info, and note application is as easy as sending an email:
The Fellowship is open to individuals and small teams worldwide, who:
- Propose a viable new initiative to advance free culture values,
- Demonstrate a history of activism in the Open Source, Open Access, Free Culture or Sharing communities, and
- Are prepared to focus on the fellowship as their primary work.
Successful projects will aim to:
- Meaningfully increase free public access to human knowledge, art, or culture,
- Further the cause of social justice/social change, and
- Develop both a local and global community to support its cause.
We welcome applicants from a wide range of disciplines and practices: If you’re unsure if you fit, please apply! Applications from the Levant and wider MENA region are greatly encouraged.