Sindominio.net: placing our bets on dissident Telematics and 'general intellect'

Miércoles 22 de octubre de 2003.

As commonly known, non-profit server providers, associates of Ipanex, have existed in Spain for several years. They provide internet connections for collectives, organisations and individuals on the social and political left, thus allowing them to publish their thoughts without having to depend on commercial or institutional servers. In this area they have accomplished a great deal, giving internet access and granting visibility to many organisations and collectives, most of them, of course, amongst NGOs. Offering connectivity is one option, but it is not the only option. Moreover, some of us believe that the right to free connectivity and "access for all" is losing importance at the same rate at which the strategic interest of capital in offering services via the internet and the need for citizens to be connected is increasing. Of course, we are talking about the rich North. In the so-called Third World (where only one in five people have a telephone connection), the current situation is much different. However, the neoliberal tendency of "access for all" is global and unstoppable.

Content versus Connectivity? Politics versus pipes?Towards a of Collective Intelligence

This does not mean that we should cease to continue promoting free access for all (from, for example, occupied social centres and other self-managed spaces). By this, we are not referring to the 'physical access' (i.e. the technical connection, which is becoming cheaper and more universal with time) nor to 'access to the content' (namely the consumption of information or knowledge which is diffused in one-way only.) We are referring to free access for all the processes inherent in the development of Collective Intelligence. That is to say, to Cyberspace, an open system constructed through co-operation, which allows the expression of singularities, the identification of problems, decision-making; in short, a system which allows the reconstruction of social ties through reciprocal learning processes and the free circulation of knowledge.

The truth is that the potential inherent in Cyberspace, lies way beyond the possibility of making public content, which is more or less alternative, or even critical. It offers us the possibility for horizontal communication and the interconnected networks, projects, struggles, desires and realities. That is to say that it is not only a place where it is possible to diffuse those messages which in other mediums are totally silenced, but that in itself it allows one to carry out certain activities which until now, were only possible precariously and at a very local level. For, as we already know, Cyberspace is not a tool or an infrastructure; it's a particular way of using the existing infrastructures. In short; Cyberspace is a particular kind of relationship between individuals, a true social movement which has evolved at the margin of governments and multinational institutions, at the margins of both the private and public sectors. This however, should not be interpreted as an escapist effort to encourage people to abandon their territories and struggles in exchange for a virtual world (we don't intend for one world to imitate the other either). Virtuality should be used to help us live more at ease in the world and help us communicate and build a self-defined territory better without the mediation of the State or Institutions. Cyberspace should also be used to improve the coordination of our activities, to promote debates, campaigns and joint actions; in short, to assemble diversity and to experience forms of co-operation, of mutual listening and of democracy which were unknown until now.

What are the objectives of Sindominio?

Sindominio - without domain ;-) - intends to immerse itself in that multiverse which exists and organises itself within the web, in order to contribute to this space which embraces cooperation and communication as well as conflicts and struggles. In that multiverse where projects of great consequence can be found (one such example is the one which has led to the GNU/Linux operating system, which together with the Internet, constitutes one of the most impressive demonstrations of collective construction within Cyberspace) we need a GNU/Linux machine where we can experiment with free tools and cooperate, investigate and interchange knowledge with the virtual communities in the strategic field of software.

Sindominio also intends to co-ordinate itself and co-operate in depth with projects that are similar to ours; as is the case with the Italian ECN, , where the relationship and the level of implication between the telematic project and the realities which it co-ordinates is al-encompassing, and where the question of competing with other servers in terms of service, price, etc. is superfluous since they don't provide interconnectivity. It is important that those who participate in Sindominio don't become clients or simply users to whom service is given in exchange for money. Sindominio is a militant project which should be kept running through financial contributions - without wage-earners or people who must dedicate themselves full-time to the project. This implies developing a different culture, one that is less passive, the use of computers among people who function with alternative criteria. It also implies breaking with the concept of providing service, providing the capacity for personal judgement in order to adopt a critical stance before banal, commercial, or apolitical uses of the internet, and learning all that is positive from the virtual communities and from their gamble on political intelligence.

Above all, Sindominio is only an interesting and viable concept if it is used as a resource for groups in struggle. That is to say, as a tool for alternative communication for those groups and individuals who fight for self-management and promote autonomy from society in all its different shapes. In this sense, Sindominio will provide the physical foundation for projects such as that of the constantly developing UPA agency and Contr@infos or the centre of dissident literature, as well as mailing lists, e-mail and web-sites for all those dissident movements (that is to say, independent and self-managed, not institutional or party political ones) who want to become involved in the Sindominio project.

What does sindominio consist of?

The idea behind Sindominio is to have a computer connected 24 hours a day to the internet, and therefore accessible from anywhere in the world which has access to the web of webs. The machine will house a domain; sindominio.net. A domain is a fixed address on the internet, represented by a name which any computer from any where in the world can locate in order to, for example, send an electronic mail or to visualise the content of a web-page. Specifically, the name of a domain usually corresponds to the right of the @ sign in an e-mail address.

All kinds of services will work through our GNU/Linux server: a server for web pages, a server for electronic mail, mailing lists, news (discussion groups), search engines, archives and documentation centres, the 'contr@infos' news agency, mirrors (copies of servers which protect from police kidnaps and alleviate traffic on the web). There are no limits other than that of our knowledge, no limits other than that of our imagination and our desire to exploit the resources. Those who become involved with sindominio will have full access to the server, that is to say, the traditional separation between content and service which is so characteristic of commercials (and which can be summarised in 'drop us your details, we'll bill you for the service') will not apply in this case.

GNU/Linux allows for complete remote administration, making the physical location of the machine inconsequential. It will therefore be possible to manage and oversee the machine from various locations simultaneously.

How to become involved

In the Contra-information meetings held in Madrid (http://www.nodo50.org/contrainfos), various groups originating from different parts of the country decided to go ahead with this ambitious project. Our friends at the ECN have made available to us a mailing list through which we are co-ordinating our activities. If you want further details, or to become involved in the project, you can write to sd@sindominio.net.

In order to make a economic contribution, this is our account:

3025 0006 21 1433230004 (Caja de Ingenieros).