Free Software is Activism

Table of Contents


This article was published in Diagonal newspaper, originally, now it contains some improvements.

In September of 2012 I did present a qualitative work to finish a master degree published in about social movements and new technologies in Madrid. A question in the interviews was "What technological tools you have incorporated in relation with you political activism?".

Only people very closed with the hacktivism make the relathionship with free software such as gimp, or gnupg and nobody added use or develop free software in general. The broad answer was the use of social networks specially Facebook or Twitter.

I as GNU activist and anarchist I would like a reflection about the dangerous that suppose to the social movements the relations between the activism and the use of centralized and propietary social networks (as Twitter and Facebook) and forget that promote the free software is the best option to make political activism using technology in a smart way.

Don't hate the media become the media

That's the slogan to spread the independent media in the ninenties and starting XXI century: newspapers in a network called Internet where anyone become consumer or producer in a fast way and projects as Indymedia, Sindominio, Ourproject, Riseup, etc. implements this ideas. Although the Indymedia was the way to explain things in a global fight against the capitalism.

But, what happens with Facebook and Twitter?. Now, the slogan from the capitalism is "If they are the media, they will be the product". And that's exactly what happens with the people making retweets, put likes in Facebook and many people is happy, there are wars in the arabian worlds that becomes democracies with very similarities and defects to the occidental democracies and other time becomes awful civil wars. In Spain, we have found the 15 May Movement growing and decreasing as a globe, now is the turn to trade unions with similiar effects.

But, what is the reason? the social networks? or the massive attacks to the workers?. The problem is that with the social networks who is controlling this media are doing a good speculative work, so critice a party is similar to invest in trade actions and the experts in data mining of rich people, bank directors, or politicians make the investments and 1% of people is more and more rich and the 99% is poor and more poor.

How can we break the loop? breaking with the capitalism and making the collectivist anarchism, such as 30's years in Spain. But the game rules has changed, now we have technology, what can we do it?. To spread the word, we have technology and we can use it as in the nineties, but becoming the media and don't the products. In this sense use federative free social networks (,, etc.) is a possible coherent way in this times.

What's the Free Software? What's his paper?

The Free Software is defined such as software that gives some freedoms to his users: use, copy, modify and redistribute modified copies. So, we can understand the free software as collective property generated by the users and developers.

Although, from the Open Source philosophy, this problem has changed until that if the Free Software continues being collective property, sometimes is not being generated by the real interests of users and developers, it's generated by the market interest, with especulative criteria and financial bumbles in a similar way than another market product.

So, the Open Source philosophy, drop the ethical arguments about if is reasonable or don't use Free Software, the only argument will be if technically is or don't a good option, if is a good business and another similar arguments. But they don't think if it's good the good common, it's out of the discourse. Many corporations has done good contributions creating Free Software products from this philosophy, but sometimes mixed with the philosopy of the propietary software: Ubuntu, Android, etc.

In the capitalist world, the triumph of the rentability and the technicity is strong, but finally the original argument about create software looking for social utility to the people who use and develop this software has been abolished

Today, there are many communities as GNU, Debian, etc who is loyals to the software production looking social utility, instead of the economical rentability in the short time. It's not easy think in the long time and go out from the capitalism in the technological or in another field of the life, but is right to reach the collective happiness and finish with the current strong unequalities.

So, when someone ask you: What tecnological tools has incorporated from your political activism? you can answer, I use Free Software based on community, such as GNU Emacs, Debian, Trisquel, Gimp, o GPG because I want that the software world is organized as anarchists collectivities.


Author: David Arroyo Menéndez

Created: 2013-08-19 lun 01:14

Emacs 24.2.1 (Org mode 8.0.7)