Social Contract

The rawtext.club is a place to socialize with others, learn from them, and tinker with Linux and command line technology.

But underlying this is a commitment to a free, open, decentralized internet and its role in pursuing a socially and environmentally sustainable future.

In the early days of the public internet, networked digital communication was often described as a great equalizing tool that would support public education and awareness, and that would empower popular engagement for the betterment of society. But since then, the internet has veered dangerously in the opposite direction. Now, the internet divides people, misinforms them, monitors them, and leaves them pliant to the groups that control large, centralizing portions of the network. This centralization gives a privileged few the power to pursue their interests by manipulating and exploiting everyone else.

This is the same struggle that has existed throughout the history of society, the abuse of power by a few at the expense of the many.

People in democratic countries might be saying, "but don't we have a government and legal system to protect us?". In theory yes - but as history shows, these legal systems are often distorted to encourage those abuses. The corporations and wealthy individuals responsible are either good friends with governments, or hard at work "convincing" them. They are funding intense lobbying efforts to influence politicians, and entire media campaigns to erase public awareness of their work (or, similarly, to manufacture consent). The end result is that public service and regulations are being systematically dismantled and neutralized as an obstacle to reckless, short-sighted profiteering. The institutions that are nominally for the people, by the people, and designed to protect the people, turn out to be none of those, and we are being broken apart into a bickering sea of lonely individuals.

Why do the politically and economically powerful want to atomize society and prevent people from organizing around public interests? Because no matter how much money or power they have, they know that there is nothing more powerful than people working together. And if people worked together, with clarity of awareness and unhindered access to information, they would put the interests of the people above the obscenely disproportionate profits of the few.

As long as the internet is centralized around a few filtered sources like Facebook or CNN or FoxNews, this will never happen. In fact, networks like those act to trivialize and undermine any attempts to organize and genuinely inform.

Luckily the internet in many countries is still not technically centralized-- it is peoples' use of the internet that is centralized. So one of the easiest things you can do to support the decentralized internet is simply to use it, and talk about it, and help build and refine tools for it. And raise awareness about the negative effects of large, corporate-owned social and news media services.

Is the road ahead easy? Nope. But the power is there for the taking. We need to take back the internet, and use it to support each other in establishing (or rebuilding) the institutions and organizations that support life for everyone now, and that allow us to build toward a better, more sustainable life in the future. That is, people can take back the hijacked institutions of democracy and use them against the broken system, thereby creating true and interest-free self-organization.

If this sounds alarmist, that's because we are facing a dire situation. The decisions our societies make now, for example about climate change, will influence whether or not future generations face catastrophic consequences. And take this interview with Noam Chomsky for further description about how the economic and political elite use mass media to downplay the threat.

With this context in mind, rawtext.club supports building and learning about the tools, resources, and people that make a non-commercial, decentralized internet possible, particularly focusing on Linux technology and federation among Linux based systems. rawtext.club is just one small node in a sea of decentralized internet projects, but some of its big goals are to raise awareness about the message above, to empower people through education about internet technology, and to make connections between people supporting these goals.

A little more tangibly, this has implications for members with accounts on rawtext.club: