[ox-en] Theses about the relation between the Oekonux project and the remaining world
- From: Stefan Merten <smerten oekonux.de>
- Date: Thu, 02 Oct 2003 21:50:15 +0200
[Für Nur-Deutschsprachige: Diese Mail ist in Englisch geschrieben, um
auch die Nur-Englischsprachigen einzubeziehen. Die Thesen werden aber
auch in Deutsch formuliert. Antworten sind in beiden Sprachen
During the last few days we had some debate on [pox] which you may
want to check out in the archive
[http://www.oekonux.de/projekt/liste/archive/]. The reason for the
debate was the question whether the 3. Oekonux conference should be
co-located with the Austrian Social Forum or whether our decision for
the philosophical institute in Vienna still stands. The decision is
made now - in favour of our older decision - so this question is
However, IMHO a deeper question concerning the whole Oekonux project
is the foundation for this debate and for a similar debate we had
before the 2. Oekonux conference concerning the question whether or
not to admit pseudonyms for speakers on the conference.
It is my wish that we find a clear position for these questions so
there is at least in the first place no more need for these debates -
which are often loaded with heavy emotions. For this to start the rest
of this mail argues for a certain type of relation between the Oekonux
project and the remaining world in general and to the left in
particular. I welcome comments of all sorts on these theses so we all
get a picture of the opinions in the project.
Mit Freien Grüßen
--- 8< --- 8< --- 8< --- 8< --- 8< --- 8< --- 8< --- 8< --- 8< --- 8< ---
Theses about the relation between the Oekonux project and the remaining world
Goal: The success of the Oekonux project
Ziel: Der Erfolg des Oekonux-Projekts
* The Oekonux project is very successful internally
* Das Oekonux-Projekt ist nach innen sehr erfolgreich
The Oekonux project exists for four years now and the internal
discussion is still running and very interesting. The relatively low
fluctuation on the mailing list shows that the project is still
interesting for its direct participants.
* The Oekonux project is pretty successful externally
* Das Oekonux-Projekt ist nach Außen ziemlich erfolgreich
Still people discovering the project express how interesting they
find our thoughts. More and more people in the remaining world
recognize the Oekonux project as an interesting and really new
approach to think about Free Software on the one hand and about
emancipatory politics on the other hand.
We had two conferences - and are planning for the third - where it
was possible that a number of speakers came for nothing more than
the travel expenses and a private bed. Most of the speakers had
nothing to do with Oekonux before. Also the conferences are
recognized widely which is visible in the wide dissemination of our
Call for Papers.
* These two successes are closely related
* Diese beiden Erfolge hängen eng zusammen
All sorts of people are attracted by the project: Free Software
people, engineers, artists, scientists of all areas, leftist people,
people generally interested in political questions etc. This mixture
of people from different fields of human activity is rarely found
and in Oekonux it is seen as a big advantage. Also there is a
mixture of all ages.
This broad range of people is possible because the project is an
*open project* in the best sense of the word. The atmosphere of the
discussion normally is good and interested in deeper insights. It is
possible to look at old questions in new ways and often the answers
found in Oekonux are somewhat surprising.
Both successes outlined above are connected by the openness of the
project. Because the discussions are open many interesting people
are attracted which then contribute their part to the interesting
Part of this openness comes from the fact that Oekonux is recognized
as an *independent project*. In fact the Oekonux project depends on
nobody than its members. Only for the conferences we are looking for
sponsors which varied in the past.
* Result: We need to care about the openness and independence of the
project and that this openness and independence is perceivable
* Ergebnis: Wir müssen uns um die Offenheit und Eigenständigkeit des
Projekts kümmern und darum, dass diese Offenheit und
Eigenständigkeit nach Außen sichtbar sind
This is needed to keep being Oekonux a successful project which is a
prerequisite for Selbstentfaltung of its members.
What needs to be cared for?
Worauf ist zu achten?
* To maintain internal openness is relatively easy
* Offenheit nach Innen ist relativ leicht zu pflegen
Internal openness seems less of a problem. Different opinions can
and do go side by side in the project without saying. Of course we
need to maintain this style but internally this is relatively easy
because a balance always can be achieved over time.
In a self-managed project like Oekonux independence is no problem
anyway - there simply is no-one who Oekonux could depend on. Only
when we look for sponsors we need to care about maximum
independence. This is why the web sites are run by the project and
the conferences are at first Oekonux projects.
* Important: To maintain the perception of an open and independent
project to the remaining world
* Wichtig: Die Außenwahrnehmung eines offenen und eigenständigen
Projekts muss gepflegt werden
While maintaining internal openness is relatively easy it is more
difficult to maintain a perception of openness and independence to
the outside world. Part of the problem is that for many peopls few
impressions suffice to set or change the picture considerably and -
as we all know - the first impression is very important. Whether we
like this or not is relatively unimportant in this respect - as long
as we don't change the world it stays at it is and this must be
accepted in the first place.
There are two main interfaces between project Oekonux and the
remaining world: The web sites and the conferences. So we need to
care about the perception these two showcases constitute.
The web sites as they are are relatively uncritical. The non-archive
part of the web sites is strongly and exclusively related to Oekonux
and nothing else. Independence is demonstrated this way. Openness is
demonstrated particularly by the link page which lists a wide range
of interesting links from all kinds of human activity.
The conferences, however, *are* critical - especially because for
many people the first contact with Oekonux is by a Call for
Contribution to a conference. In addition the conferences are yet
the only manifestation of Oekonux in the non-virtual world. As a
result we need to care especially about demonstrating independence
and openness in the conferences and in their presentation.
* To maintain this perception of openness and independence for the
conferences several aspects need to be considered
* Um die Wahrnehmung von Offenheit und Eigenständigkeit für die
Konferenzen zu wahren, müssen mehrere Aspekte berücksichtigt werden
To maintain the perception of openness and independence at least
these aspects need to be considered:
- Financial independence
- Finanzielle Eigenständigkeit
To maintain maximum independence it would be good if we could
finance a conference with our own means (i.e. by the e.V.). This
is not yet possible fully but to some degree we are already able
to self-finance the conference. Partially this can be maintained
by low costs at the conference which we achieve by not paying
honorariums. In addition it is useful to have varying sponsors if
- Organizational independence
- Organisatorische Eigenständigkeit
In short: If Oekonux is organizing a conference, Oekonux organizes
the conference. Of course help is appreciated from anybody but
final decisions are made by the Oekonux project team. On the other
hand this means that Oekonux has full responsibility for the
conference including the burden this means.
- Admit only neutral habits
- Nur neutrale Habituierung zulassen
Habits can demonstrate being part of a certain community. Indeed
it is one of the functions of habits to indicate memberships to a
certain community. If the conference shall be perceived as
independendent then we need to care that non-neutral habits are
not visible to the outside or at the very least do not dominate
the picture. Of course this applies to all sorts of non-neutral
Special case: The left
Spezialfall: Die Linke
* The left is one of the roots of Oekonux
* Die Linke ist eine der Wurzeln von Oekonux
For sure Oekonux has its roots in some non-conformist leftist
movements like anarchism and some Marxist brands. There is neither a
need to deny this nor would it make sense.
* However, Oekonux transcends the left - Oekonux is not a left project
but it is trans-left
* Jedoch hebt Oekonux die Linke tendenziell auf - Oekonux ist kein
linkes Projekt sondern es ist trans-links
Though Oekonux comes for some part from the left it thinks beyond
the limits of traditional leftist thinking on a more or less regular
basis. In particular this applies to the left of today.
This transcending process is often painful because it often means to
give up positions and opinions maintained for a long time. This
applies to leftists in the project as well as to leftists outside
the project. However, it is commonly recognized that this
transcending step is necessary to develop a new theory and to
explore ways of new practice which conform of the world of today and
so have the chance to be relevant. From this it is clear that it is
a mistake to subsume Oekonux under the left.
In particular this transcending of the left is a feature of Oekonux
which makes it interesting for open-minded people which have a
leftist inclination while not seeing themselves as leftists. If
Oekonux would be defined as a left project Oekonux would become less
interesting for these people because they are not interested in left
projects. In particular this applies to Free Software people who
usually have not much of a problem with Oekonux but have a problem
with being called leftists.
* A big part of the left is separated from society and separates itself
* Ein großer Teil der Linken ist von der Gesellschaft abgeschottet und
schottet sich selbst ab
On the one hand the remaining society has some prejudices and
sometimes concrete experience with the left which makes the left
unattractive for it. On the other hand this separation is maintained
by the left itself. To some degree this attitude is logical because
most parts of the left defines itself by the resistance against this
society. Often this separation is expressed by some sub-cultural
habits which the remaining society understands as well as the left
However, for these theses it is less important on what this
separation actually depends. It is more important that this
* Because of this separated nature of the left for Oekonux it is
particularly necessary to maintain independence regarding the left
* Wegen dieser abgeschotteten Natur der Linken ist es für Oekonux
insbesondere nötig gegenüber der Linken eigenständig zu sein
If this independence is not visible, if Oekonux is perceived as a
left project in the (not so) long run this will kill the success of
* Result: Because Oekonux is an open instead of a left project
leftists are welcome as anybody else. In a left project *only*
leftists would be welcome.
* Ergebnis: Weil Oekonux ein offenes anstatt eines linken Projekts
ist, sind Linke ebenso willkommen wie alle anderen. In einem linken
Projekt wären degegen *nur* Linke willkommen.