As organizers grounded in campaigns at the intersection of technology, race, and inequality, we’ve learned that vibrant social movements are increasingly aware of how technology is used by the forces that oppress them to make things worse.
But as those movements fight for the needs of their members, they aren’t yet supported well enough to incorporate an assessment of technology into their fights. So even after winning big victories, new developments in algorithms, surveillance, and data quickly emerge and change the power map.
For example, as decarceration movements limit how courts use bail, pretrial incarceration and risk assessment algorithms, courts may expand electronic monitoring and other tech-based community surveillance tools that turn neighborhoods and homes into digital prisons, or make returning to jail a lot easier. As organizers win campaigns to seal eviction records in the hands of landlords and housing courts, algorithms tied to shelter beds and subsidized housing may continue to boot millions of people onto the street.
We envision a full transformation of society and our economy, into a world where every person has a fully developed and dignified life, with healing for the planet.
The full liberation of people and the planet is our north star. Without honestly preparing our movements to contend with how technology aggravates the conditions in which they organize, we will never reach that star.
People’s Tech Project will play a unique role in winning the world we all deserve by cohering social and technology justice movements to develop a positive vision of how tech can help us win that world. Together, we will contend with the role technology currently plays in aggravating oppression in our communities, so we can take concrete steps towards that vision.
We envision a strong and coherent social movement ecosystem that is armed with the analysis to anticipate and understand how technology oppresses people, and incorporates that analysis into their fights to win human liberation over the long term.
We stand ready to arm the social movement left with what they need to build that assessment of technology as an aggravating force on their conditions.
Working with local groups deeply grounded in their members’ conditions and their fight towards a liberatory future, we will support those groups to set a shared positive vision of how technology can be a part of building the world they want, so they can chart the path to reach that goal. This shared vision will allow groups to set campaign strategy that contends with technology as an aggravating force in the primary campaigns they are already fighting, while staying accountable to their communities and their core needs.
We don’t know exactly what that shared vision will be. But we know it will mean technology can connect us to each other in a true way that allows us to see each other and our struggles as bound up together, so we can be a force to win liberation. Technology will be an engine helping make that force real, rather than alienating us from each other, extracting our attention, time, and worth.
We envision a technology justice sector that is grounded in the material needs and leadership of impacted communities, and works in step with social movements to successfully and proactively win power away from the tech sector as one crucial part of their collective work, towards their vision of a liberated society.
People’s Tech will support organizations in the tech justice movement to follow the leadership of directly impacted people and the groups they lead, and take on a key role within the movement for human liberation. We will enhance the ability of national tech justice organizations to be accountable to and work towards the shared vision set by community organizations and national movement formations as a coherent part of these movements, rather than a separate entity. While community and popular organizations set a positive vision and experiment with campaigns that actively contend with technology’s role in oppression, we will help them to communicate and share these assessments and conclusions nationally.