OI has been inactive for the last few months due in part both to OI’s founder Jen Kotila’s worsening PTSD (a result of the brutal harassment, mobbing and character assassination she’s faced from those inside of Labitat and Biologigaragen (it is normal for those who have suffered harassment/bullying and whistleblowers to develop PTSD)) and also due to her fighting hard starting after landing back in Copenhagen in October to get a fair outcome in Labitat regarding the situation.
Labitat did finally issue a decision in November, which was to expel all of the involved parties– both Jen and the perpetrators Mathe Borch, Søren Borch and Emil Polny.
This is, of course, an unfair decision, but it IS better than what typically happens to harassment targets and whistleblowers. Normally ONLY the complainant/survivor/whistleblower is punished, not the perpetrators. (See here, here and here for more info.) We at OI want to acknowledge that there were some good, ethical people at Labitat who fought tooth and nail for justice but who were defeated by its wretchedly dysfunctional organizational structure and culture and the opposing side’s superior power and politicking skills.
Now that that’s done with and 2014 comes to a close, we at OI look forward to following up on the promising work that was done on the trip to the States in the fall in 2015. We want to prevent this kind of thing from every happening in hacking, citizen science or open knowledge again. This movement has the potential to be much better than the dominant paradigm and we’re committed to helping keep the organizations we intersect with healthy, thriving and, of course, inclusive.
Jen Kotila, who founded and is currently spearheading the project, toured a total of 12 hackerspaces/makerspaces/collaborative spaces starting in late July: NYC Resistor, Genspace, Alpha One Labs, Nordeastmakers, sudoroom, The Omni, Noisebridge, Biocurious, Liberating Ourselves Locally, Make Salt Lake, Montana Ethical Hackers and Bozeman Makers. Every single space was at least very interested in joining the project, which was a pleasant surprise! Several are in talks about formally joining the organization, pending board and/or consensus approval.
A select few were able to join on the spot due in part to them featuring responsive, non-traditional systems of governance. So far sudoroom, The Omni and Montana Ethical Hackers are the first official members! All three organizations already have written codes of conduct. However, all three are currently works in progress and will be evolving as time goes on, particularly that of The Omni’s which is still be constructed by a (very inspiring) working group via consensus decision making process. It is wonderful that we discovered three codes, as it will allow us to help other spaces build their own using these as models.
Speaking of, originally we weren’t quite sure how to sign up spaces that don’t currently have codes of conduct so we didn’t invite them into Phase One. We’ve now decided that a commitment to write a code, with or without our collaboration (which is provided 100% free of charge in accordance with the DIY/hacker ethos and always will be), is good enough for Phase One membership. We will be communicating this decision to spaces who wanted to sign on, but had no code of conduct ready to go shortly.
So stay tuned for more updates! Fall’s here and it’s time to get back to the business of bringing the hacking world closer together in an ethical, sustainable and inclusive manner. If you want to get involved, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org , join our mailing list or the Facebook group.
openinclusivity.org is hosting a “build your own organization” workshop at Kapelvej 44 on Saturday, July 19 at 3pm. Everyone is welcome to stop down and get involved as long as you come with an understanding values of inclusivity. Paradoxically, working towards a future inclusive society means not letting everyone shape inclusivity. Confusing? We’ll explain more at the workshop! See you there!
For more details about the event please check out the Facebook page. You can also sign up there but that’s not necessary and the event is free.
We’ll be facilitating more actions to help form the organization soon. Most will be online as this is a global movement! Keep checking back for updates.
Open knowledge might just be a movement that could help change the world for the better. It won’t be able to do that, however, if the organizations that make up or intersect with the movement allow for and excuse discrimination within them. This new movement is rapidly taking shape and it is up to every individual that operates within it to conduct themselves in an ethical manner, which means that no discrimination based on race, sex, class, age or any other such factor should be tolerated. Everyone who is interested and capable of being involved, should be included.
We are also welcoming those from fields that intersect with and inform open knowledge to post their codes of conduct, especially those who are associated with organizations in industry or academia who intersect with citizen science organizations. Science and technology, where gender and racial imbalances are often downright shocking, have a long way to go as well.
We strongly feel that ALL of human society must become an equal playing field if we as humans are to survive and thrive. One way to do that is to start small within our own sphere and make sure that everyone who wants to participate can, unless they discriminate against or otherwise cause harm to their peers.
This site is intended to function as an interactive movement-wide “staff handbook” that will allow participating organizations and individuals to contribute to creating a code of ethical conduct that can help everyone involved understand how to behave in a respectful, open and tolerant manner that will help the movement grow and thrive. It will also help build bridges between the more traditional fields and the new alternative structures.
It is also intended as a conduit for those who have faced discrimination to speak openly about their experiences with the hope that the spreading of such information will help correct the problem, should they be unable to find justice within their own organization. It will also create a network of concerned activists and citizens who can be mobilized to take action against organizations and individuals who refuse to conduct themselves in an ethical manner.
A repository of resources regarding discrimination and harassment will be provided to the community. A few different options for speaking out are included.
Please note that this organization is very new and that this website is very much a work in progress. We welcome your help in shaping and actualizing it.
In the process of updating the community regarding the fact that Malthe, Søren and Emil had pulled out of Labitat requested mediation for no good reason, it was discovered that Labitat has a bylaw that allows for the board to exclude members who “obstruct the association’s interests”. This is news to us here at openinclusivity.org and feels like a way to quickly solve this problem which Malthe, Emil and Søren desperately want to sweep under the rug by avoiding any avenue that would hold them accountable.
Although there has been much clamor among the undereducated, emotion-driven body politic of Labitat to exclude everyone involved (and in a sickening twist, some call to exclude only Jen in a punitive measure for her speaking out), it’s clear to any reasonable person that the root of this problem is the interpersonal and organizational misconduct perpetrated by Malthe Borch, Søren Borch and Emil Polny. They should be expelled from Labiat as soon as possible.
Write to the Labitat board at email@example.com to request this action.
One of the perks of being based in Denmark is that 47% of the country goes on holiday in July. Although our work is internationally focused, we’ve decided that before we achieve a major international presence we should take advantage of our Danishness and hit the beach for some sorely needed downtime. Jen especially needs a break to rest and recover after suffering months of harassment, bullying and mobbing. Life can’t all be a crusade to make the world a better place. As Audre Lorde said “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
Although we are not actively reaching out right now, we still welcome you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get involved or to start ending the Wikia.
Citing totally spurious reasons that basically boil down to them being upset that I continue speaking out when we all agreed in mediation that I would not stop, they have pulled out of the mediation process demanded by the community. This, I feel, is an act of incredibly bad faith.
I will write more about this soon. Check back here later for updates.
Following me Occupying Kopenlab via a discussion that was mediated by Allen Alfred Hansted of collaborativesocieties.org on Monday June 23 on the specifics of the case and the solution that openinclusivity.org could help hackerspaces implement to prevent and deal with future cases such as this, I returned to Kopenlab on Tuesday June 24 to request a continuation of that original conversation.
As Kopenlab was supposedly an open knowledge festival, I should have been allowed to discuss the very important issue of the systemic problem of gender discrimination and harassment in hacking culture. This is not just a problem that has touched my life, it has affected many other women as well. I felt like it would be very wrong to only discuss the particular matter at hand without discussing the broader context.
Emil, however, had other ideas. You can hear the pertinent part of his and my conversation here. When I ask him why he’s calling security, he says that he doesn’t want my negativity around. You can hear that I am not pleased with him, but I am not shouting or ranting. There is nothing in my behavior that warrants a call to security. He is simply, I think, trying to remove me and silence me.
Also, it later turned out that he was highly motivated to do so as a friend of mine had accidentally happened into Kopenlab to meet another friend of hers who was there (and unaware of the situation). She and I talked later that night and it turns out that she was there right when Emil was calling security on me. He and she talked later and at no point did he tell her what he had done. He also later told her that he was interested in talking with me and her both to try to figure things out. Which seems an odd thing to do when you’ve just called security on one party and failed to inform the other of that.
Not knowing quite what to do, I allowed myself to be led outside by a woman who I had met previously at Kopenlab who was unaware of the situation before arriving at the Festival. She and I had a good talk as security pulled up. I could see Emil and the guards talking in the doorway. The guards stayed in the door watching me but never approached and I did not approach them. Eventually it started raining and I had another appointment (the press and media party) so I left.
This was just one of a very long line of tactics they’ve tried using to prevent my voice from being heard. It was one of the most extreme, however.
We’ve made a new flyer for distribution! If you have comments on it please sign up for the mailing list to discuss it there.
openinclusivity member Jen Kotila was granted a PR and communications officer pass to the Euroscience Open Forum conference due to her role in promoting the organization. ESOF also wanted to provide balance to the situation as the men who were harassing Jen were heading the Kopenlab Festival, which was a part of Science in the City. During her time at ESOF, Jen managed to peacefully Occupy Kopenlab while being observed by the team behind collaborativesociety.org (an upcoming documentary about the emerging new paradigm of open collaboration). Much constructive dialog happened as a direct result of ESOF and Science in the City valuing balance and open communication.
Due to being at ESOF and Science in the City, openinclusivity.org also was able to connect to many others in the open knowledge and academic worlds who are interested in forming partnerships to help share existing and write new codes of conduct to keep the movement healthy and growing. In fact, we’re very responsive and open to community feedback and over the course of the week it was decided that openinclusivity.org was a much better title than opendisrcimination.org as it is a broader and more positive term.
Our thanks go to both ESOF and Science in the City for granting us this opportunity to build bridges within our movement and to other more traditional institutions and to peacefully sound our voice against discriminatory practices. We greatly look forward to being a part of ESOF 2016 in Manchester when the theme will be “science as revolution”!
We were too busy at the Festival and conference to be actively blogging about it, but we’ll do some retrospecting over what happened over the next few days.