published on Nepal Telecommunication Authority Independent Workers Union´s Second SOUVENIR 2013
I like to start with the view of Walton Pantland “ICTs have the potential to profoundly transform unions and to permanently do away with their tendencies towards oligarchy, labourism, ideological conformism and narrow protectionism”. This means ICT is efficient tolls for spreading and strengthening the unionism. For this, first the unions should change themselves, their uncomfortable organizational structure and their unrealistic hierarchal organizing patterns. The horizontal organizing behavior of technology explores the new relationship and in touches between reps and members no more traditional like.
The Pew Internet & American Life Project survey found that 36 percent of social networking site users say the sites are “very important” or “somewhat important” to them in keeping up with political news. It also found 25 percent of social network users surveyed said they became more active in a political issue after discussing it or reading posts about it, and 16 percent said they changed their views about an issue after discussing it or reading about it on the sites.
US President Barack Obama speaks during a “Twitter Town Hall” in 2011 in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are playing a growing role in US politics by helping users stay informed and energizing activists.
In Nepal, PM Baburam Bhattarai was one of the most active politicians in social network and web, and it plays crucial role for him to become prime minister. Now again to spectacle the faith from citizens he started twitter.
What Union Activist should be aware is, acceptance of ICT doesn’t guarantee for automatic results in increased worker militancy and engagement. The passions, patience and persistence strategy by union activists is required, as well as much experimentation. But the big problem of union is, they see ICT as simple communication tools using for communicate with in unions, broadcasting union message to members and other public, what they need to learn a cyberspace is a space, where people work, organize politically, are entertained and educated, and engage in many fields of human endeavor.
There is something common between FOSS movement and union movement: representation of civic society. Open source Software are the result of combine efforts of people from world for world which resembles natural analog with labor movement. There is certainly an ideological congruence: Open Source proves that people can work together to build complicated and sophisticated products without bosses and mechanisms for workplace discipline. We know a Debian[Ubuntu/Mint] a computer operating system based on Linux. Debian’s development model is democratic, and the work of more than a 1,000 volunteers all over the world is coordinated through transparent and decentralized methods. The strongest thing about FOSS is they are free. Free as a freedom that means freedom to use, freedom to copy, freedom to change, freedom to redistribute. “In the long run, making programs free is a step toward the post-scarcity world, where nobody will have to work very hard just to make a living. People will be free to devote themselves to activities that are fun, such as programming, after spending the necessary ten hours a week on required tasks such as legislation, family counseling, robot repair, and asteroid prospecting.”. Then here comes question, why, then, do most trade unions still buy proprietary software when a supportive community of activists is able to provide free, Copyleft software that fulfills the same requirements?
At the very least, trade unions should seriously consider moving to FOSS as a matter of policy. It is worth pointing out that the developers of the Obama campaign understand the cultural implications of new technologies, and released all campaign materials under a General Public License, giving the public the complete freedom in contents and materials. This step reflects open society, what we union activist have been fighting for, so my suggestion is to use Open Source and let’s build Open Knowledgeable Society
Reference of [cyberunions.org and phys.org]