[AktiviX-discuss] Big Plan

ana ana at aktivix.org
Tue May 17 12:35:33 UTC 2011

Hi Chris,

Thanks for raising these concerns, although I would have preferred if
you had raised it with the person who "blocked" the creation of such new
lists in the first place, or at least with the whole collective, before
airing them in public, and before leaving the aktivix admin collective
and the admin lists.

I would really have preferred to have this situation in a more
collaborative way but I am going to try and respond to your questions, below

On 17/05/11 09:55, Chris wrote:
> 1. How come, when it was existing practice to allow BDS lists, could the
>    creation of new ones be blocked

As mentioned before, they were not blocked. At least one person voiced
his concerns, which were not unreasonable, and the rest of the group
felt these concerns had grounds to be respected.

>  shoudn't the original policy, of
>    hosting lists of this nature, have continued until there was a
>    consensus to change the policy. Isn't this an abuse of consensus?

More than an abuse in consensus, this was an expression of respect for
some one's concerns. Regardless of when the lists stopped being created,
or what actions were taken before, the correct thing at the time was to
respect this person's concerns for each list that they had issues about.
Decisions are made on a list-by-list basis, although there are
guidelines and there are the AUP.

It was also out of respect for the users of that particular list that
had been previously created that it was not canceled.
> 2. Why is the person who proposed the block on BDS lists, and who wrote
>    long detailed emails about their position, in private, not prepared to
>    have a political discussion about this matter in public -- is this
>    policy only defensible in secret? 

Perhaps if you had bothered to contact this person in question, you
would have found out about his difficult personal circumstances at the
moment. It is because of his inability to answer you right now that I am
answering to this thread, in this way.

The way you have approached this discussion, months after the last
instance of a list being objected to, hours after you leaving the admin
lists, with no discussion in the admin lists in between, frankly leave
me quite unimpressed.

Now, for the benefit of those on this list who are dismayed at aktivix
rejecting requests from certain collectives and instead passing those
requests to other collectives.

The take on Palestine, Israel, semitism and anti-semitism is a whole lot
different in the UK from what it is in the rest of Europe, particularly
Germany. So I'd like to request that people try and be open-minded in
order to understand other people's positions. And I hope to explain this
properly, although I'm sure other people would be a lot better
positioned than myself. But one of those people is in difficult personal
circumstances, and I wanted to set things straight before Chris's way of
"outing" harms aktivix even more. It is unfortunate that I am talking
kind of second-hand, however I have asked quite a few people who live in
Germany and I have no reason to doubt their testimonies.

So, in one hand there is a lot of anti-semitism in Germany, particular
among some right wing groups. Then there is support for the Palestinian
cause, particularly among lefty groups.

In some or most of our minds, the two have nothing to do with each
other, because anti-semitism is hatred against one particular ethnic
group, in this case Jews, and being pro-Palestine includes rejecting the
decisions of one particular government, and/or the actions of one
particular State, in this case Israel.

Not so in Germany, apparently. I'm told that some far right groups
declare themselves pro-palestine as part of their anti-semitism, so the
whole issue is messed up in a weird tactic.

The way some lefty groups react to this (certainly all individuals I
have spoken to) is with a lot of care when approached by people who
declare themselves to be pro-Palestine. The view is that, by supporting
publicly a group that advocates actions against Israel, are seen as
supporting anti-semitism, because the issue is that tangled up in Germany.

The view of all Germans I have asked is that they would not support
groups advocating actions against the whole county (read people) of
Israel, like boycotts. This is because things like boycotts would badly
affect not just the government, but all people who live in Israel.

Now, I may have made mistakes in trying to pass on what has been said to
me in private, face to face conversations. For the benefit of those who
have expressed disbelief at this position of aktivix, I can try get some
of the people I have spoken with, to write something themselves.

In the meantime, and/or if the reasons for the rejection of some
requests do not convince you, let's just say that some one in the
collective had strong feelings about the issue and the rest of the
collective chose to respect those and simply re-direct those requests to
another tech collective that would tend to them, rather than impose a
decision on some one who could have felt so utterly unhappy to the point
of just deciding to leave the collective. Which would incidentally lead
to even more requests being, if not rejected, certainly dragged for
longer due to lack of volunteers. Which doesn't mean, at all, that it
was the practical reasoning of loosing volunteers that prompted us (at
least me) to respect such concerns.

And, re-directing those requests meant that no group was left un-helped.

I will give an additional piece of information. The main reason why
aktivix got these requests in the first place, was because the tech
collective that would normally have received them, had that problems
that needed to be solved, and needed to stop making lists in order to
solve them. So aktivix offered to help there.

In order to do that, aktivix changed the criteria for accepting lists,
so that it would match more closely the criteria that the other
collective was using. It meant going from a "friend of a friend" basis
to a "any one who agrees with these AUP, even if we have never heard of

People who requested a list to this other tech collective, were
automatically re-directed to us. The amount of requests we were
receiving multiplied by many times as a result. Re-directing the very
few groups back to the original tech collective meant that, instead of
creating, say, about 105 additional emails in order to help this tech
collective, aktivix created "only" 101, with the other 4 being created
elsewhere (amounts made up but that's the impression I got).

And because no harm was done, and because we are all busy, no one
thought it necessary to announce it, or start a discussion about it

Aktivix has no written rules about how decisions are made, that is true.
It was started between people who had known and trusted each other for
some time so consensus decision making was the default option. Any more
specifics have felt unnecessary until some one who has just left the
collective has chosen to air in public this disagreement in a way that I
personally find quite destructive.

I am prepared to to answer further questions as long as I find them
respectful and constructive.

one of aktivix

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