Fighting Back

Creating an internet and web hosting co-op by radicals, for radicals!

from Gonzo Times

Over the past few years, I’ve seen many folks want to start either radical projects which require or would benefit from an internet presence beyond what facebook, et al offer, or radical projects based primarily on the internet.  Some have failed due to lack of funding for basic services such as hosting of the services they require, while others have utilized pay-for-hosting services which by and large have no political affiliation and often suffer from security issues – either in that they respond to subpoenas and national security letters in a knee-jerk fashion, or in that they are simply open to compromises either by other customers or outsiders entirely.  Still others have used existing services which provide low-cost or no-cost hosting for radical projects, but these lack certain basic services and don’t provide a high level of end-user support.  I propose to remedy this situation.

This means creating an anarchist internet services co-op.  Not just providing basic web and secure email hosting, but rather to provide a full suite of quality services including support for end-users as they would receive from any paid provider that has no interest in their security.  Further, going above and beyond to provide Tor hidden service support, IRC channel hosting support via a secure, private, SSL-encrypted, hidden service-enabled fashion, and even a root certification authority which would sooner rm -rf itself than hand over private keys to the state.  The security issues are very real when using services provided by corporations which are answerable to the state, especially when dealing with hierarchical services such as SSL certificates where you can easily be hijacked by anyone having access to the root CA private keys for signing.

We have decided upon a set of common principles which we put forth as the guiding values of this project.  It’s our hope that they will enable us to make key decisions with at least some level of objectivity and to maintain our focus on fulfilling the needs of the community while staying true to these core values.  They are:

  • Opposition to oppression and coercion world-wide.
  • Standing in solidarity with all oppressed people.
  • Providing useful resources for the struggle against human suffering.
  • Never tolerating fascism of any sort, including but not limited to, racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, statism, and religionism.
  • Never participating in oppressive forms of organization such as wage slavery.
  • Never to allow our roles within the organization to enable us to oppress others inside the organization or outside.
  • To promote egalitarian anti-oppression values when acting on behalf of the organization.

We have a plan to achieve these lofty goals.  What we need now are resources and more volunteers.  This will be run entirely as a not-for-profit enterprise, with all income above and beyond the current budget used to improve upon services as necessary.  It is required that each volunteer agree to our key principles, as well as meet the requirements for the position they’re interested in.  Specifically, we are looking for volunteers for the following positions:

  • Bookkeeper: Someone to handle the financial side of things.  Must be a well-known and trusted individual in the anarchist community.
  • System Administrator: Preferably someone in Europe or who otherwise keeps hours opposite my own, a sysadmin to help handle things while I’m asleep or working.  I don’t want to be a single point of failure.  This should be someone with at least 10 years of experience with Linux (CentOS or RedHat and Slackware preferable), familiar with SSL, Apache, MySQL, as well as preferably exim, postfix, dovecot, varnish, and Xen as well.  Perl, Ruby, Python, or other scripting abilities beyond sh are a plus, also.
  • Developer: Someone with at least 2 years of experience in at least one of Perl, C, Python, or Ruby.
  • Web developer: Someone with at least 2 years of experience in at least one of PHP, Perl, or Ruby-on-rails.
  • Fundraisers/promoters: Folks who can help to fundraise for the project to meet financial deadlines, and promote the project to new potential users.  No pre-requisites for this position.
  • Designer: A web designer with at least a year of HTML/CSS/Javascript/graphics design experience.
  • Technical support: Technically-inclined individuals willing to assist users with issues related to the services we provide.  Ideally, we’d like to aim for 24/7 coverage, but as this is all-volunteer, this will be on an as-possible basis.  At least some experience with web hosting environments and common web software such as wordpress is required.

We also need funding.  You can make a pledge now, and once someone has filled the bookkeeper role, we’ll move forward with accepting the contributions.  The organization will be run primarily as a meritocracy, with those best-able to make decisions empowered to do so with regard to technical matters, with a strong emphasis on security.  Beyond technical matters, non-technical decisions will be made by concensus among all volunteers, with some decisions being open to the user community as well at times.  Meetings regarding non-privacy-sensitive and non-security-related matters will be transparent and open to all.  If you are interested, please contact us via facebook.  I hope to have an inaugural meeting to make basic initial decisions such as a formal name within two weeks once critical positions have been filled and some pledges have been made.  At that time, a budget will also be released to request contributions.

You can visit us on facebook at our page!