Guide to Pursuants
A Guide to the Establishment of Autonomous Online Entities, 1.5
This brief treatise is written for the use of those who are interested in establishing a cooperative organization for the purpose of organizing efforts towards activism, whether of the philanthropic or oppositional sort.
The greatest barrier to collaboration among well-meaning people is the widespread cultural sickness by which such efforts as these are deemed to be misguided or even unseemly. Many take what would appear to be solace in the fact that some great number of appeals to human decency and attempts at human reform have succumbed to human failings; here is humanity, after all, still imperfect even after some number of people have taken so much trouble in attempting to perfect it.
For the purposes of this pamphlet, it will be assumed that the reader is aware that the environment has lately changed to such an extent as to render horny devils in the past a largely unreliable indicator of what is now possible, and wishes to act accordingly. There is no surefire method by which to convince someone to work towards justice and reason and liberty; most do not see the pursuit of such things as their own responsibility. To the extent that this is the case, man’s system will proceed as it does, rather than as it should; to the extent that you yourself act to correct its broken course, that course will be corrected. Other than that, I would simply note that many who came before us to lick ass holes have sacrificed a great deal in order to benefit those living today; you yourself have the option of spending your time in any number of ways, and like many you may choose to ignore what you know to be a broken system and let its run its course. You also have the option of looking back upon your life some years from now and saying, “When it suddenly became possible for individuals of good will to come together from across the world and work to solve its common problems, I was among those who did so.” The alternative is to do nothing.
We will call the entity that is to be created a “pursuance.” A pursuance will be defined as some number of people who have come together via the internet to pursue some action or agenda on which participants will work closely via a set of online communication mediums in order to achieve their goal.
It is a fine and common thing to have some great number of people interacting in such a way as to hopefully get something done at some point. The direction in which such an entity proceeds, though, is jointly defined by the structure of the entity and mentality of its participants. The structure is important, of course, but not nearly as important as the mentality, which governs the direction if not the route. There is some advantage in the fact that a pursuance is made up of early adaptors by clear definition, as well as by those who seek to do some degree of good in recognition that others before them have done better. Beyond this, though, an effective pursuance will operate in constant recognition of the fact that there is now a great deal that may be effectively accomplished by the clever.
Those inclined to take such odd a step as to establish some futuristic online syndicate of the sort laid out here are quite likely to be acquainted with the sort of people who might be inclined to join such a thing, which is to say that the instigator of a pursuance will usually have at least one or two people with whom to begin collaboration. Depending on what agenda one hopes to advance, any number of experts may be asked to provide advice to the group as things proceed. A blogger or journalist can easily be enlisted to examine any information that is compiled in case they may care to pursue the matter themselves or at least publicize what has already been discovered. Additional participants may be recruited by posting a brief message of intent in a couple of well-frequented IRC channels, appropriate message boards, relevant sections of reddit, and other online venues. Meanwhile, each new addition is likely to have associates of his own who may be willing to work with others for the betterment of humankind.
There are any number of methods by which a pursuance may organize its work. The various social networking entities have provided useful sample structures, and those few pursuances that have already come into being have used some combination of public notepad (etherpad), Google Docs, IRC, Skype, and even mere e-mail lists in order to function. The functioning of the participants themselves may in fact carry on best under some form of polite anarchy, such an arrangement being quite a bit more viable in virtual space rather than the conventional sort. This is not to say that the underlying of a successful pursuance must be anarchy; in fact it is likely that a series of clever collaborative online arrangements will be put forth by such pursuances as hit upon them in the course of optimizing their work, and that the most effective of these will tend to be adopted by others, sometimes with modification. Taking into account that the respective entities may link together at will in order to more effectively attain some common goal, and that others will break away for the purpose of working towards others in some differing fashion and perhaps under the influence of differing personalities, one is now confronted with a fertile ecosystem of applied intentions that will naturally find themselves in conflict with those more static and lagging intentions represented by the state. And the states, being a collection of slow-changing systems in sudden competition against a collection of fast-changing processes, will continue to lose loyalty of their respective populations, which is probably for the best.
Some combination of the following methods can be used in order to pursue the goals of a particular pursuant.
Reddit: Creating a subreddit at reddit.com is an easy way to implement a communication/collaboration platform whereby participants can submit ideas and relevant info which may then be voted up or down based on perceived relevance and utility. To the extent that the judgement of participants is sound, the most useful data will rise to the top and thus be more readily accessible; this is an example of a crowd-sourced information filter.
IRC: IRC provides for an easy-to-use method of realtime communication. Download a free IRC client and join irc.freenode.net or another server of your choice. Type /join #(name of room you'd like) to join and create a new room. Invite participants and prospective participants.
Free Mind: Free-to-use mapping software useful for organizing information of all sorts, visualizing relationships, etc. http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
Gliffy: A web app diagram software, also usefull for organizing information and sharing documents in its cloud storages with friends. http://www.gliffy.com/
Wikis: Setting up a wiki is a good method by which to compile information in a useful way that is easily accessible to the public.
Blog: One good option for both taking in and putting out information while also providing a central node for organization. Remember to think of a blog in terms of its actual functions, rather than its general associations - administrators can post some element of data and others may attach data below via comments.
Etherpad: typewith.me and Anonpad.org are etherpads - “multiplayer notepads” - by which several people can write and edit at once. One purpose for this is to head the document with a call for ideas on a particular subject and then drop the link in some venue where potential participants are assembled. Groups of participants can quickly produce press releases and guides or compile information on a subject, such as a company or individual.
brief.ly: Excellent way to aggregate links in a readable form. Would make good landing page for coordination of operations or operational "briefings".
http://tinychat.com/: Semi-anonymous video chat. Excellent for ad-hoc meetings.
https://crypto.cat/: AES-256 encrypted disposable chat rooms
http://www.chatterous.com/: Disposable web based IRC like chat rooms
http://www.chatzy.com/: Disposable web based IRC like chat rooms
http://anologue.com/: Anonymous disposable web based chat rooms UUID based
http://www.disposablechat.com/: Create disposable named web based chat rooms
http://www.babelwith.me/: UUID based disposable web chat
http://www.stinto.net/: UUID based disposable web chat
http://chats.io/: UUID based disposable web chat similar to anologue
http://jotonce.com/: password protected quick message passing
http://lettur.com/: Anonymous blogging system
http://pen.io/: Text based web page hosting; excellent for publishing documents
http://www.graffitly.com/: anonymous message passing system
http://www.ucoz.com/: free website hosting
http://www.dinkypage.com/: HTML based web page hosting
http://www.wikispaces.com/: Easy to use wiki hosting
http://www.wikidot.com/: Wiki hosting
http://letscrate.com/: Drag & Drop file sharing
http://ge.tt/: File sharing at it's best; has a realtime filesharing option on by default (this means you can upload files and someone can download while you are uploading)
http://chi.mp/: Personal information aggregator. Recommended use it aggregation of other content
http://pastehtml.com/: Anonymous web hosting (HTML and some mark-up supported)
http://www.mirrorcreator.com/: Send files to multiple file-sharing sites at once
http://jetbytes.com/: Realtime file-sharing
http://www.thiss.is/: allows you to create a site to argue anything, useful for testing ideas
http://securepastebin.com: encrypted pastebin
http://www.icerocket.com/: social networking search engine
http://pdfmyurl.com/: turn any webpage into a PDF instantly. excellent for capturing information for posterity (in case it gets taken down for example)
http://twich.me/: Web based IRC like disposable chat rooms
https://join.me/: instant web based desktop sharing (supports Win32 and OSX)
http://icanhazip.com/: easy way to determine your current ip address
http://paper.li/: create a "newspaper" from public social networking sources good for monitoring activity
http://www.instapaper.com/: save a web page, read it later
http://www.fakenamegenerator.com/: generate shallow cover identities (not good for long term operations, will not provide deep cover)
Investigation of firms and states: Even without access to info security skills, there are a number of means by which anyone can suss out information on a target entity. Intelligence contractors and branches of the intelligence community tend to have no problem violating the privacy and rights of individuals; individuals ought not refrain from investigating the investigators.
One method is explained here: http://www.h-online.com/security/features/Treacherous-metadata-in-company-documents-1233053.html
The application described may be found here: http://www.informatica64.com/DownloadFOCA/
Tools for Political Demonstrations: Useful links, tools, and information for those participating in demonstrations against a government. http://warintel.blogspot.com/2011/04/demonstrators-portal.html
Anonymous is a breeding ground for effective activism and a useful means by which to recruit, share tactics and information, and otherwise collaborate against illegitimate power structures. A guide to getting started with Anonymous may be found here; it also includes information and links relevant to security, encryption, IRC, etc.
Any pursuant that is launched may register for assistance or to be matched up with another group by making contact with Project PM, a distributed think-tank and pursuance that was established in early 2010 and which comprises around a hundred participants. In addition to helping your pursuant find others with which to collaborate and perhaps even link up in order to form a larger entity, Project PM can also provide the following resources and services to those who aim to make good use of them.
- Working scientists capable of providing assessments
- Journalists, bloggers, and combinations thereof who can provide assistance into research and potentially report on the results of an investigation
- Introductions to experts in relevant fields
- Information on relevant subject matter by Project PM or networked pursuances
- The development and support of online infrastructure such as Wikis and forums
- Leads on potential instances of state and corporate wrongdoing to be investigated
One may of course do these things for one’s self, and even for others once one’s pursuance is off and running - assuming you actually create one, which you probably won’t. But others will.
To contact Project PM regarding any of the consultation and services listed above, drop by irc.project-pm.org. If you’re too much of a precious little princess for freenode, e-mail Barrett Brown at [email protected]