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I'm going to be personal for a little bit here. I'm not comfortable with it because it's still a mess in my head. But I think I'm past overdue about it and, also, it will probably help making some points later.
It took me thirty years to understand that I'm bisexual. That I'm not straight. It took me that long because I didn't knew it was possible. I didn't knew that the sexual attraction I had for boys was not something that everyone else was going through and that no one spoke about.
I'm thirty seven years old now. And when I look back, I can only assume that my current mental state of severe depression is more than probably linked to the fact that I suppressed those impulse, to behave like everyone else.
Let's do the time warp and go back in time.
The first tie I was confronted to homosexuality, was in elementary school, where faggots was used as a slur. Since I was there during the nineties, it was also associated with AIDS. Still as a slur.
In high school, when my father got incarcerated for sexual assault on minor - and some friends of mine - I closed myself to others. No internet yet, and so my social input were made by the only representation available there : heteronormativity (and no, there's no way I would have been able to spot and understand it), I locked deep down inside me my attraction to boys. I was also scared (and have been for almost twenty years now) that this attraction to boys was in fact paedophilia, that I would have inherited from my father.
I landed on Internet in 1997. Mainly inside roll play communities, but since I did not knew I was queer, there was no possibility to get access to those communities.
Same for most of my studies. I've never been in contact with queers, lesbians, gays, bis, trans*. I did not understood what the lyrics of Queen's song meant, I will still fighting most of my feelings, learning to lie to anyone about anything (because of course, I had to lie about my father, you know, everyone keeps asking "what are you're parent doing for a living" and you cannot really answer "he's locked in jail", so you lie. Constantly, to anyone about anything, it doesn't help).
And even if I managed to get that they're was gays and lesbians somewhere, bisexuality was kind of something limited to a sexual fetish in my world. And I was trying to blend in, to disappear, to have everyone not asking questions. I'm very good at it now, to not answer questions and to lie, sometimes without thinking (yeah, I do have a good score on "Are you a sociopath ?" tests).
The first time I encountered a non straight and out person was quite late in my life. It was at Le Loop's Grand Opening, and quota_atypique happened to be there and, since she was doing an ethnology study of the hackerspaces - it was around January 2011 all the hype didn't got there - and I think she told me she was lesbian (she did come out as bi later) in probably less than 10s after saying "Hi".
I'm not sure I've thanked you for that Quota, but meeting you did have an … interesting … impact on my life. From there we met at the hackerspace, talks about stuff (from the beauty of command line interfaces to being queer in hackerspaces). It was at this time that I got involved in Telecomix too. A lot of conference was happening in Paris, and I did some about inclusions of people (not only women, but also trans* in the hackers communities. I build up a political culture from the popular one.
I met my boyfriend later on (I did get through a tough breakup before that, questioning my ability to manage a single dedicated relationship) at the Congress, even if we started dating later. We were in 2013 or something like that (or 2014, I suck at time frames). It took me a lot of time to accept it, to fight the interiorized shame, and to admit it.
We're in 2017 now. I'm still not fully at ease with it, but it gets better. And when I look at all this pain I've been through, that could have been avoided if, like teenagers and kids today, I did have access to all this queer material, online communities, accessible without especially looking for it, at least we - the ones who grew up alone during the nineties - will be the last ones suffering from invisibility.
The main reason it took me 32 fucking years and part of my depression is because I didn't have access to the possibility of a positive alternative of bisexuality. It was just invisible hidden. To know it wasn't a shame, that you could be happy being bi and, it required to actively search for content.
And this is why I'm shaking with rage and anger while writing this (but Show Must Go On is playing now and helps me keep t under control).
YouTube, for the one of you who lived in a cave for the last ten years, is a media broadcasting company, which pays itself by selling targeting advertisement to its customers. One of the side effect of their product is that it happens they're quite good at hosting and promoting videos, clips, documentaries, and whatever you can imagine doing with those cheap camera.
For years free software activists have advocated against the danger of this kind of platform. I'm going to speak a lot about YouTube, but have a look at the #FreeTheNipple campaign on Facebook or Twitter, the censorship of nudity on most of the platform powered by Apple or Facebook.
So, YouTube create a Restricted mode. Before they did that, there was a flag that - as an uploader - you could activate to hide explicit content (mostly nudity) and which would have requires someone to log in to see the content. And a way to report content that you think were offensive.
And there were copyright bots in charge of removing or monetizing content in violation of Intellectual Property basically killing fair use, one example I do like, is the Edward VS Buffy video.
But, in the end, uploaders and creators were able to post whatever contents they wanted without too much intervention from YouTube Inc. or Alphabet or whatever is the name of the thing that's supposed to manage the platform.
What they did with the Restricted Mode is one step toward nullification on alternatives-cultures. Let's get a little into details about what this filter exists, and speculation about the why, what are the impact and why it sucks.
From YouTube's page:
Restricted Mode is an optional setting that you can use to help screen out potentially mature content that you may prefer not to see or don’t want others in your family to see.
So, it looks like Parental filter for youtube. They'll defed themselves by saying it's an optional features, but I bet it will be on by default until you log in not s long in the future.
But what is 'potentially mature' content you'll ask ? Well, it's not defined. But it appears that all LGBT content is considered as 'potentially mature'. There's a lot of outrage about it, I'll just quote an article from The Independent in which a Youtube spokesperson say that the potentially mature content is - and I quote, in bold character, with emphasis :
A YouTube spokesperson later clarified that those more sensitive issues are particularly videos that cover subjects like "health, politics and sexuality".
Basically, if YouTube thinks that you might potentially talk about politics, then you'll be hidden in Restricted Mode. One of the first collaterals is the fact that, under Restricted mode, most of the queer produced content is off-limits. Some tests were run, just having the word "gay" in a video title is enough to have it blocked.
My guess is that they did not specifically target a community. And we're lucky that queers can be loud, other communities have probably been targeted and e don't now which ones yet. Well, they didn't intentionally targeted us.
Alphabet is currently having some issues with their customers (brands who wants to rent advertisement space online). For instance, they placed ads on extremists website, which raised concern with brands - no one really wants to get associated with neo-nazis. See here for instance.
So, Alphabet made a promise to their customers. We will be able to display your advertisement right next to the content that would improve your return on investment. For that they need to be sure that no one will associate neo-nazis with a brand of lipstick. That's why they need the Restricited mode.
They need to create a consensual public space, which will suits their customers. A space where you won't talk about politics, where you won't talk about sexuality, where everything is about the mainstream culture.
The mainstream culture, for advertisement purposes. The culture of heteronormativity, of whiteness, of sexism. The culture which has no issue with anyone as long as they comply, hide their differences, and consume goods targeted specifically for them on a large scale.
Assimilation or death is basically what the restricted mode is. It is the removal from a public space of everything which does not match the cultural consensus, and this cultural consensus has no room left for us.
Lots of them.
Beyond the invisibilisation which will makes life of all those teenager and person questioning themselves a lot harder, which will lead to isolation (if you know no one with whom you can share it gets harder to construct yourself) and depression; there's also the end of anonymity for everyone who want to access anything beyond the Restricted Mode.
You do not have to log in yet. But Google do not needs you to log in to know who you are and what you're watching. It gets worse with restricted mode because it states that you're explicitely calling for access to 'potentially offensive' content when you disables it. Which in some country, might be illegal or otherwise gets you in trouble. It also means that they're not making any difference about a sex-ed video and pornography.
Or maybe you'll be in places where you do not know the restricted mode is enable,d for instance on a high school of family computer. And you have question about your personal health - like how to get an abortion. You just won't be able to find any content, which is endangering people, not getting them safe.
The impact on creator of those videos, some of them trying to earn some money with it - using patreon or other similar platform for instance - is even bigger. Making content online, maintaining a community, informing them, entertaining them is, sometimes, one of the few recourse left to queers to earn their life. Being Restricted will cut them from their community and from getting new viewers.
And the beauty of it is, the more you have content flagged as restricted, the more you'll be restricted in the future.
YouTube Restricted ban is a blatant statement that minorities are not a priori concern of a multi billion company. It shouldn't be news to anyone, but we were tolerated there, not warmly welcomed.
And even if YouTube says they will try to fix the issue, the fact that you cannot talk about sex on a video without getting Restricted is a hell of an issue.
The issue here is that we let a private interest to manage a public space of expression. The only solution is to build other platforms. To create our own medias, to fight assimilation.
Internet has always been about decentralisation getting your content online, sharing information without filters but since the advertisement took over one of the big chunk of it (heck, even getting into your phone and homes to gather data), this decentralisation is dying.
It's never too late, there's a lot of alternatives a=out there. But we need to accept that the road will not be easy. Storage and bandwidth are expensive, architecture costs human time to be maintained and improved. Some groups are working on it, they need our support.
I know that Framasoft is working on a tube-like platform for instance. But we, as a community, need to accept that we're not welcome anymore on YouTube. We also need to ensure who else has been left out the Restricted mode.
And we need to move out of the advertisement business. I refuse to comply to their terms of existence.
[[!tags justice politics]]
Trigger Warnings: Rape, Paedophilia
I'm not really elaborate on the fact that the current prison system (either in the US, or - basically - everywhere else) is broken and walk on its head. If you want to contemplate the disaster, you can watch Prison Valley, get facts from OIP or read testimony made by, basically, every inmates, their family, their friends about what the prison is doing to them.
I could tells you what the incarceration of my father for paedophilia did to me, how I had to hide it, to lie every single days to basically everyone, to pretend it did not happens for the sole purpose of surviving through middle school, and that it didn't solve anything, Because he got convicted a second time for similar crimes years later. You'll notice that neither I, my sisters or my mother have been found guilty of anything, but still, we paid a price. For justice.
I will not argue that prison is the worst solution to any problems. At best, you put people on hold and free them, expecting them to behave when they'll get out. At worst, it's a political tool used to criminalize populations and build resentment upon some populations (yes, it's a tool used for power to keep people in check) while creating more sociopaths, storing them away in inhumane conditions, and forcing them to work - and so destroying jobs outside of jail.
Prison should not exist. Even for serial rapists, paedophile, killers, abusers of all sorts. If you're only answer as a society is to store them away, in a dark room, and hopping they'll get better you're delusional. I do believe people can change, but they need help, acceptance, and an possibility of failure.
The thing is, prison is intricately mixed with the notion of justice. We tend to think we deserve justice, but I'm not sure we really think about what it means. The justice system, as its currently implemented in most part of the world, is a punitive one. The principles behind it is that if you do a wrong to someone, you should pay for it, one way or one another. You should not pay to the victim, but to the society.
Basically, it's the biblical principle of the Talion's Law: an eye for an eye, with interests. Those interests exist to dissuade further wrong to be done and because the perceived loss might be above the material loss. When it come to non material wrongs, it gets complicated.
The justice system tries to determine what is the impact of the wrongdoing, what are the personalities of victims and perpetrators to find an appropriate sanction. Basically the process of justice tries to evaluate the cost of a human life, which is an extremely capitalist view. The life of a worker, or of a woman worth less than the one of a CEO for instance. That's why stealing and destruction of property is so harshly sanctioned, while rape or harassment of the work place is rarely sanctioned.
But you probably all know that, I'm just writing down some ideas on a text file. The thing I want to get too is that we deserve nothing. We do not deserve justice. It sound harsh, I know, but when you look at it, all the justice system is build around punishing.
And if you want to not act randomly, because you know, you're a sophisticated society built on principle from the XVIII° centuries. Principles formed by white people of the bourgeoisie, then you need to defines what should be punished and what should not. You need to establish what is the norm and to enforce it. You need to make sure everyone understand what are the personal costs of transgressing this norm, and you need to know who is behaving and who is not. You need to be Santa Claus, knowing all the dirty secrets of every kids, and decides which on will get presents and which one won't have anything.
You'll justify it with the Law. The Book Of The Law. We modernised the process since the biblical times (where Moses got high on drugs in a mountain and wrote stuff on marble tablets because he was afraid of losing he's grasp on power). You'll enforce it with a dedicated group of people: cops. And then you'll gave them the power to sort people between good and bad guys. To do that you'll give them the power of mass and systemic surveillance.
This notion of justice most of people wants requires mass surveillance. And prison. And a norm. And I'm still wondering: do we deserves justice? I tend to believe that, as a member of a society, we deserves nothing. We do not deserves to be happy, to have a good life, and the like. Deserving something means that, inherently, the world in which you live, should give you something.
I think the only thing we deserve, as individual, is the fulfilling of our needs (physiological and/or mental). Not justice, not love, not a family. I could insert here a reference to the Maslow's pyramid, but the model is a bit simplistic and outdated. I don't think the notion of justice is a need. The closest thing that would be associated to a need, is the need to be recognised, to be esteemed by other. To live in dignity and respect. And either everyone deserves that, or no one.
As stated before, prison strips individuals of their dignity, of their respect, of their esteemed (by other or by themselves). And I think the notion of justice cannot be dissociated of the notion of prison. As long as you ask for people to be thrown in prison, you're losing your access to live in dignity.
We do not deserve justice, and I think that, in our communities, we really should work on that. Justice is an outdated system used to justify incarceration, mass surveillance and therefor systemic discrimination.
What we need to think of is harm reduction, which is at the core of the Transformative Justice theory. The idea behind harm reduction is to provide communities with tools to help them avoiding harm in the first place, and then reducing the impact of it.
That's the idea behind collective insurance for instance. A collective effort can help reducing the burden of an accident. It requires to accept the fact that some people might not want to behave, or are not able to. And that you need to have structures to act before something happens. Calling out rapist or aggressors helps to do that, but it deprives the aggressor of the possibility of change. This is a community response to a traumatism. It does not reduces the traumatism of the victim, but it tends to reduce the potential harm that a person can do.
But I think we can go further. Paedophiles for instance are almost universally perceived as monster that should rot in jail for ever because they hurt children by kidnapping them and tying them in a closet making them their sex slaves. Which is as accurate as the depiction of rapist being a stranger that will jump women in the street to rape them and kill them.
In Berlin, a program has been started to help paedophile who did not commit an aggression. You can read about it here and it seems to be successful. They allow paedophile to talk about their issue, to have access to treatment and t manage their life with dignity and without hurting kids. This is not the only program, but a lot of them are targeting offenders (you need to have molested a child to enter some of those program)
Which is a better outcome than sending them to jail, with a so-called obligation of treatment (it did work so well that my father did get back to jail ten years after), or stacking them in prison cells, refusing to deal with them don't you think?
I have to add that, on a community level, I think this can works well with inside violence, not from harm done by the outside. You deserve dignity, so you should protect yourself against aggression, especially as a community. A neo-nazis entering a self-managed bar is an aggression, so you should gives yourself ways to protect against these violence from outsiders.
I think that the idea of transformative justice is interesting. The idea is to change the society to reduce harm being done, not trying to repair the victims (which is restorative justice) or trying to avenge them and dissuade potential perpetrators (traditional justice).
To ease the way of harm reduction, we - as a society - needs to be able to accept that perpetrators exists and are human being. And that they can change. We need to accept that, most of the time, a victim will endure some traumas that cannot ever be repaired fully - but they can learn to lives with it. We need to accept that, as a society, we have a role to play in aggressions and mitigating them.
One of the way of mitigation is to think of what enables aggressors. What makes them act and why would they think it's OK to act this way. With the traditional justice system it's often the perceived impunity. If a cop will not accept the complaint made by a victim, then the aggressor will never ever be confronted to the harm he did, so he will act and probably repeatedly.
Another enabler factor, is the social status of the perpetrator. A well established person, with power over a community - because they're doing important things - will enable perpetrator to do whatever they want, think about R. Polanski, J. Depp, J. Applebaum for instance.
That is why it is important to avoid social structures which enables people to do harm. Meaning, you should not have only one person in charge of this important thing you need your social group to survive. Every structures which have only one person in charge, will lead to harm. That is why I think it's important to attributes success and failures on collectives, not on individual among those collective.
We also needs to think about the friends of the perpetrators. Some of them are enablers, some are afraid of consequences if they act against their friends. I also tend to think that stripping a perpetrator of his friends by punishing them for actions he did, will not help those person to come forward and discuss an issue that bother them.
I think that most of the harm reduction process is about communication and speech. Being able to talk about something, without being thrown out of a group is something important. And you should be supported to come forward, you should be accepted for that. If someone does not understand consent for instance, or have trouble with it, this person should be able to talk about it, at least to someone. Yes, it means that you need to keep those discussions private.
Last point, you do not need for everyone to agree to that. But you need to have people who wants to try it and to work on it You should also be careful about not converting them o enabler, that's why it's something that needs to be addressed by your communities.
I really think we have an issue with justice. We claim we deserve justice while it's a tool made by and for the power. Or we tends to mix justice and revenge. I think we should really works on those topics. Protection of whistle blowers, privacy and other related issues cannot occur in a traditional justice system since it is intertwined with mass surveillance, systemic discrimination and the like.
I'm not advocating for vigilantes either, which is a protection from the outside (and yes, you might need, at some point, to have people who can physically resists to adversaries, but that's a different topic). But really, if we want to reduces aggression made by member of our communities toward other members of this communities, we cannot rely on the notion of justice, we need to find a different way.
There's a lot of issue with Privacy. I already wrote about it some time ago, but I think that in fact the current definition of Privacy is an issue. For starters, no one is able to provide me with a definition of privacy.
The definition I encounter the most can be summed up a bit like this, it's everything that is "none of your concern". It's the version of Privacy I used in my previous post and, I think, it's probably the one that's defended mostly by people who basically are not discriminated against by system of oppressions (states, but not only).
There's two main issue with that. First, there's thing that you cannot "hide", such as your apparent gender, or the color of your skin, and those will submit you to system of oppression - I won't spend time to expose them, but please feel free to read some useful documentations. Second there's the fact that secret is used to hide things - that's the purpose of secret. You want to keep others in the dark about what's happening. David Cameron just said that his personal investment in Panama are private matters. Conjugal rape and other in-family sexual assault are always hidden under the veil of the "private matters" that should be treated only inside the family.
I mean, clearly, secrecy is a bad thing. Not only for government, but for people in position of power and control over other. I'm not advocating for a full publicity of everything, but for a questioning of is privacy a synonym to secrecy?
Do we really want to hide all of our lives to our society? If we want to redistribute wealth, we need to know about the income of each person. If we want to act upon the discrimination women faces, we need to know about those discrimination, we need to know about who's identified as a woman and to act upon the people who discriminate them.
If we want a world with a bit more fairness inside, we might need to be able to be a little bit more public about our lives. Society is build on the intersections and interactions we have with each other. The positive ones, and the negatives ones. The society, the cultures we live in, is not - I think - powered by the things we have in common, but by the differences we have and the different experiences we've been through.
So, privacy a the thing you keep in the closet is bad - go talk to queers about living in the closet to see why this kind of privacy sucks.
Also, I do not think that the right to privacy - as described by the article 12th of the UNDHR is defined by what we keep secret. This right is defined as protection against arbitrary interference. It doesn't state that it has to be secret. It protects interferences, meaning, influence, actions, perturbations. Not about knowing about it.
The issue with mass surveillance - and why its so bad - is not because it allow a passive global observer to exist, it is because it create an active global discriminator that will sort people between good citizens and terrorists, based on what data we create. Mass surveillance described as a passive global observer is an issue. The mass surveillance complex is used by power structure to maintain their power over people, by creating and enforcing discrimination. This is clearly a violation of Privacy because it is arbitrary interfering in life of people. But it's not because they collect the data.
This is one of the thing about mass surveillance, it does not exist in void, it exist as a political tool of social coercion. It'(s not the data collection and gathering that's the real issue. With the amount of data collected, we could have a real source of interesting data for sociologist to help them describing our society, and gives us clue to change and improve it.
So, no. The fact that a passive global observer exist is not the issue. The issue is that it is a fact an acting and active global discriminatory system. And secrecy is only a way to protect against the passive global observer. It does not enforce privacy. It does not defines privacy. It does not helps you to protect yourself against discrimination.
I'm not sure. Identity is a social concept (and a psychological one, it sucks when you use one word for two different things). It's how you define yourself at some point in time, and how you are recognised and defined by others, based on their cultures and social cues and norms they have.
You decide how you want to define yourself, in regards with the current social cultures you bathe in. You adopt, reject, create or appropriates part of this culture to form your identity and to express to the society who you are, and how you'd like the society to consider you.
Your identity is - at least partly - publicly displayed and used by the society to interact with you. This is where discrimination will take place. If you're identified as a woman - whether or not you define yourself as one - and the society we live in discriminates women - and we live in such society - then you'll be discriminated.
Which basically seemed to be a good match for arbitral interfering ad specified earlier. It seems that the elements you use to define yourself, the elements used by other to identify you and to relates to you seems a better candidates for me than the one you keep secret.
What it means is that our privacy, what's private, is the core of how we see ourselves. It's not what we want to substract to public scrutiny. It's how we want to be identified. And our rights to have a privacy is basically our rights to defined however we want - in a social context - without being discriminated for it.
It does not means that if you want to define yourself as a patriarcal asshole you'll be able to act onto people as you want. It just means that defining yourself as a patriarcal asshole shouldn't means that you'll be treated in a specific way. The thing you'll say, the thing you'll do are what will bring your trouble, but not your identity.
Basically enforcing privacy is trying to find a way to end discrimination of any kind. It's not providing tools - secrecy - to create more discrimination. Fighting for privacy is understanding that the world is non-binary, that no identity should be infeoded to another, it's fighting for sanctioning people for what they do and not what they are.
Cryptography is needed because - in a world of oppression - you need to organize yourself to change those. And to organize you need secrecy at least temporary - until you act. It is not a right has protected by any of the article of the UNHRD, but it is mentioned in the preamble:
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
Meaning that, if you're right to Privacy is not respected, then you need to react and fight for it. And for that you need secrecy, you need to hide from the spies and the forces that tries to remove your rights.
Because, in the end, the only rights you have are the one you fight for. And this is where cryptography will helps you. Cryptography will allow you to disobey, to organise dissent, to rebel, to have some time to breathe. But it will not helps you to enforce Privacy and the right to self determination.
And I think we all need to rethink that privacy is not what is secret, but it's what makes us individuals. It what gives us the right to coexist in the same society. And this is why we all need to fight for it. Without privacy, there's only bland human without identity. Without privacy there's no place for non-mainstream person. Without privacy there's no way to evolve and progress. Without privacy, there's no I or You. There's only us. Forced in an identity we didn't choose, think, defined, accepted, created.
Those identities are the one created by the global active discriminator to divides us. They are the nationalist ones, they are the Charlie's one. They're the one of the dominant classes and we're stuck with them, without a possibility to exist out of those scheme without being violently confronted.
We should fight for this privacy. For the possibility for anyone to self-determine themselves. And stop believing that we currently have access to it, or that cryptography will suffice.
So, for those of you who never heard about it, there's some hidden services in the wild. They're called .onion if you use Tor - and you should.
Facebook, for instance, also have a .onion. My blog to.
It's neat, it helps protect privacy of the user and escape mass surveillance and censorship. Anyone should do it if they're even remotely interested in protecting their users (I mean, even facebook did it. You can't be worse thanthem on this bsasis, except if you're a bank).
But, users still need to know that the .onion exist, and they still need to redirect there. And the onion adresses are anything but human friendly. They're hard to remember, and a mistake in one character might land you on a totally different website.
It would be nice that, the same way HTTPS Everywhere redirects you to https enabled website when you go for the non-encrypted version, there would be some way to redirect users who uses tor to the .onion version.
So, you can perfectly do the same thing that cloud flare is doing. Get a list of exit nodes, and - on your web-server - when a queries go from one of them, redirect to the hidden services.
It needs an updated list of exit node. Can probably be done, but then you also need control of the webserver (which might not necessarily be the case) and some cron jobs.
I need to do a bit more research on that anyway.
You can also probably add a header server side which would advertise the .onion. Or advertise address in DNSSEC zones one way or another. But then, you need the browser to be aware of that and to do those check before going on the website.
I think it's probably the best way to do it. And it probably isn't a lot of code (might need to do a plugin for that, to agree with everyone on a standard, and write a RFC).
Or you can control the browser with something on your content whch is aware of the onion. And which can check if the browser is able of using them.
That's what JS is for. A simple HEAD query sent by the client to the onion will tell you if the client can connect to your .onion.
It's probably dirty, it's JS it does asks permission to do it, but the bit of script I've write works fine.
It can be embedded on any page to redirect to a hidden service.
The code is straightforward. No dependencies. You do not need jquery for doing just a query, you need XMLHttpRequest.
It ca also be easily adaptable (just change the content of the onion variable), and it works from anywhere your client lands.
Better privacy for the user in 15 lines of JS.
The code is here, licenced under WTFPL. There's probably way to do it in a cleaner way, and I said earier, I think it would be better to have a .onion dectection feature in the browser, but it's there now.
And the more you'll use it, the more people will land on your onions. WHich will improve both Tor network - more casual surf is always good - and the privacy of your users.
Hey Friend, been a long time. Usually this would be a conversation I have with you over an instant messaging media. We would argue, because I need to confront my views, and you'll help me to step back a little bit and try to force me to take care of me.
This conversation would probably splitted across several media and people, because this is how I function, in weird ways and without focus.
On the 13th of November, coming back from le Louvres to Saint Denis - where I live - you sent me a SMS asking me if I was safe. I did heard a loud noise from the Stade de France when I was heading out the subway to my home, but since there was a match I just flagged it as "weird noise made by sports fan". I didn't understood why I received this text.
Then, once home. I started a web browser. After receiving half a dozen a tweet of various instance of you, I reassured you by posting that I was home and safe on twitter. And then, with my room-mate and coworker we just thin about the huge amount of work that we would have to do on Monday - and even before that.
I told you, I work in strange ways. I wasn't emotionally affected by the death of 300 people. It's random and I knew no one there. The shooting happened in places I can happen to go, but it's as random as a plane crash (and in fact there's a higher probability to be killed in a plane crash than being hit in a terrorist event).
I checked upon friends (or waited for news)(yeah, I suck at maintaining friendship, I think you're kind of aware of that now) to be sure everyone was mostly safe. And then I waited for the political disaster that will ensure. Until the next Monday I really hoped that our politicians would do something clever, like calling for respect and fraternity and unity.
You called me naïve, but if I'm not that naïve, then I turn cynical. I tried very hard to shut down my inner voices warning me of what would come next. And since you told me that being cynical might hurt you, I try to avoid that. Also it's better for my moral and my depression.
And then our Beloved Socialist President of the Republican Democratic Palpatine ordered the Senate to vote the martial law … Mmm, no, I'm on the wrong movie here. It was the talk of Mr. Hollande in front of the congress - higher and lower chamber gathered at Versailles - when he asserted that we were at war. And that we need to form an alliance with Putin and Assad to fight ISIS. And that we need to extend and modify the State of Emergency, and the Constitution.
This is where I broke up. Syria is still a hard political subject for me. You know that since I talk a lot about it. You even asked me to get diagnosed because I might have some sort of trauma. SO, yes, this is where my emotions finally set me adrift.
What people call emotion wave or surge are - in my case - chaotic tsunamis destroying anything that might be related to reason. That's my poison. That's what will kill me in the end. You're important there, in the fact that you help me resurface in those situation and kind of freeze the emotional disaster.
We talked about it. I see no hope in our current situation. Warrant-less search and warrant-less house arrest; total stop of support of any kind toward the refugees - who already had a hard time; suspension of the right to protest and, more generally, confiscation of the political debate by the politicians - Mr. Valls said that he won't accept any discussion about the incidence of social or economic factor on terrorism; those are what we live on now.
I mean, I'm used to see army in the street of Paris. In fact, I never knew them without troops - the bombing attack of 1995 happened at a time I wasn't that much in Paris and since then troops are always in the street. But now, their in battle suit, helmet and bullet proof vests, way to much weapon for my sanity, etc.
Cops did change also. They weren't on a short leash before, but now they're out for blood and revenge. Usually, even on the few forbidden protests I was at, there's always a way to get out if you ask nicely, they will let you go without hustle - they're basically filtering you to be sure you won't sucker punch them, but in the end you can escape before they arrest everyone. But on the 28th of November, there wasn't such a thing like a possible escape. They wanted to fight.
There was a public announce that unemployment was on the raise just before the COP21. And nothing in the government deemed important to say anything about it. I mean, they're supposed to be socialists for fuck sake. They should at least says that they will work on a new way to count unemployed people, or that they will do something about it. But they only speaks about security. Mr Valls eve stating that "Security if the first of liberty" which, ironically, is a quote made by JM. Le Pen as a slogan for it's presidential elections back in the eighties.
We have a socialist prime minister, defending a security only program, based on pricniple established by the far right movement.
That's about the state of our politics in France. But don't get me wrong, The FN is a bit worse than he PS in that he will actually do what they said they're gonna do, and they plan to cut funding for planed parenthood (which depends largely on regional funding), and other nice stuff.
Politicians wants me to vote to block the National Front, in a national movement aganst fascism. But I won't. I do not see the point on voting for a lack of response to social issues, just for the sake of protecting us against fascism. Politicians who enabled the police state, who are asking for a republican merge, who are saying that young people in teh suburb should cultivate themselves, who plans to bomb people in collaboration with Turkish, Russian and Syrian - all extremely democratic - governments, who reduce democratic life to vote, who won't do a thing about the unemployment, wants my vote to oppose fascism?
You see my dearest friend, you asked me to look on the bright side. But it's more than hard to do that. You told me that bitterness is like Beaujolais Nouveau. You can drink a bit of it, it can even be good - and I disagree on Beaujolais Nouveau being a good wine ever - but too much and it will kills you. Or hurt you.
I don't know.
I work at La Quadrature du Net now. And I really try to avoid the repetitive self destruct pattern that leads me to chain burn out. Me or other staffers. Or you.
During the attacks on the 13th of November, I focused on the solidarity part of it. That's what I'm trying to do. That's why I keep informed on the Syrian situation by following the White Helmets.
But there's something that is absent of our political life in France. We have traditional organisations who covers for themselves without caring about anything else than their way to power: syndicates, political parties. We do have old style NGO, advocating nd lobbying behind the scenes. We have radical groups who are busy fighting cops. But we do not have orgs who works on party. Militantism in France is a serious business. And if you're not working yourself to death you're doing it wrong. ANd you end up without anyone willing to take up the fight, to think on long term strategies, to federate smaller groups who exhausts themselves beyond repair.
And I hear you. I need to focus on the positive sides. So that's what I'm trying to do. There's some good stuff happening. LQDN is finally having a nice and more inclusive community - there's a lot of effort to do, but it's in progress. I'm working there to build tools to bother our deputies - piphone and similar stuff, provide tools to flatten the democratic process. Or at least to help the circulation of information.
And that's my target. You said me that we're in for a long fight. I'm not even sure we can win this fight, and the nihilistic part of me keep thinking that it's useless. But since I try to not killing myself, I need something. If I can bother an intelligence officer, a head of office somewhere, deputies or senators, ministers or head of state that's a win.
If, when they see us, in the press, or elsewhere, or when they hear about us those people think "Oh no … not them again … my day is now ruined" then, it's a win. It won't makes them stop doing shit, but at least, I'll smile when thinking about all the pain they'll get.
And in the meantime, we should try harder working with other small organisation specialised in other aspect of the fight. There's a lot to do with queers, feminists, ant racist groups. And I really think that's where I can help - beyond the purely technical point.
So, you see, I'm trying to stop sipping the bitterness part of things. It's hard 'cause I've turned cynical/realist. And because I love the bitterness. But you're right. I should stop drinking it.
I'm happy you're here. Because at least I can talk to you. And there's here also. This post is fucked up, and makes no sense. But I think it's a bit like what's the political life looks like. Socialist calling voters to vote for traditionalists.
It's fucked up. But I'm gonna ignore that, because it's useless and I can't spend any more energy on that. I'll focus on building things.
Thanks for still being here.