Zelig Conference

From jjf <xdaydreamx@gmx.net>
Date Sun, 7 Jan 2001 23:25:04 -0000

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Almost a month ago activists and hacktivists from all over Europe converged on an alternative centre in the east of Paris, in an area named after the famous French free-thinker Voltaire, to discuss the possibilities of utilising new technologies for existing battles(1) and expanding our movement to embrace the developments taking place on the electronic frontier.

With workshops and debates covering topics such as "Encryption", "Free Software", "Intellectual Property", "Freenet" and "Content Control", the (h)ac(k)tivists were able, for many for the first time, to talk face to face about their respective positions and how it would affect their battles. This give and take of ideas and knowledge between teenage Unix freaks, bearded old-school French anarchists, Italian media pirates and Spanish activists, is one of the things our movement needs most: a way of coming together in a *real* social environment and learning from each other's experiences and forging links for future actions.
During one of the highlights of the weekend, a discussion about the creation of an alternative European "press agency"(2), the need for some kind of permanent net-bound forum was expressed by all sides. This forum would ideally serve as an info exchange and as a location for coordinating actions, thus going beyond the indymedia concept in that it would also be a place for action, rather than just information. Obviously there are problems of access (to info and to authorship) and translation but it was hoped that these would be solved by making it as open as possible and enlisting the help of (h)ac(k)tivist from all over Europe. At present we fight more or less separate battles, although our aims are all interlinked. We need to change this.

All those interested in what went on at the conference can find some info at http://www.samizdat.net/zelig or join a newly created list to discuss where things go from here (http://www.samizdat.net/wws/).

Personally, I found the conference a great help in realising that those people I converse with on lists are actually real human beings - there should be more "zelig's", everywhere and all the time.

A shout out to all those who attended!


1. The French "luttes" is a more accurate term, but unfortunately it translates crudely as "fights".
2. The term "Press Agency" caused more confusion and discontent than anything and in the end it was pretty much agreed that, whatever form this project would take, it would have nothing to do with old forms of broadcast press/ mass media, nor would it be some form of centralising agency that took it onto itself to direct the diverse actions of the European movement. Access for all, autonomy for all was the consensus.

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