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Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference -- A Tribute to White Supremacy

Yeah, I'm being harsh.

The upcoming Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference does, in fact, take on a critically important topic touching on a bunch of critically important themes. The relationship between technology and human rights is at the very center of Internet activism and is usually ignored by most people in the Progressive movement.

Upcoming October 25 and 26 in San Francisco.

Now, the point. Here's the speakers list. Look at it and tell me what you see.

Yesss...that's right. One black woman from Cameroon, a couple of Asian activists...maybe one or two more non-whites (from overseas) and then this long bunch of white faces: men mostly with a few smiling women. White men...white men all over the place.

In other words, the faces that destroy human rights all over the world and who continue to deny us our right to speak on this topic by flooding the agenda with their racism-collaborationist voices.

They do this for two reasons and these are related:

1 -- the Internet is controlled by white men, as we in MF/PL has screamed for so long and as we, including the many whites among us, have been trying to combat for so long.

2 -- because the type of white guy who speaks at these things believes it's okay that he's in charge and people of color aren't. He believes he's better than people of color and also is afraid of the kind of change that would bring people of color onto the stage with him.

I don't care what he believes. There are plenty white men -- more than most realize and more than the news stations tell you about -- who don't believe that. In fact, it makes them sick and they fight against it everyday (like the ones I work with).

So I don't give a crap about what he believes this conference white man. I just have a problem with his being put forward as the "leader" of something. These people aren't leading anything. They are out there trying to make money. They really don't care about this country because, if they did, they would never stand for an agenda that is so racially imbalanced as to be an insult to people of color and, by extension, totally ineffective politically and socially.

There's an exception to my above statement: Bram Cohen, the developer of BitTorrent, who's a great guy -- and I'd say that even if his father, Barry Cohen, weren't a major figure in portside and long-time MF/PL member and personal friend. So Bram can speak without incurring my wrath but, when he does, he's probably going to say something about how his work actually brings into the information universe the very people who are excluded from it at this conference.

I saw this a few months back at the Free Speech National Conference on Media Reform. Yeah, there were a few people of color but it was mainly white and more often than not white men. And they don't care. They don't even notice. They have no clue. We are worthless to these people. We don't exist. They don't see us in this movement as they don't see us when they bump into us on the street or jump ahead of us in a line.

Well, let's get it clear. You think you can change this world without us? You're wrong. You think you can do real political change in this country without us? LOL

In fact, if you don't start incorporating yourselves into our stuff, you are going to turn around one day soon and face the movement of an entire world -- most of which is non-white -- walking into your living room and demanding that you give back all you've stolen. And the United States will not survive that. And you won't survive it and that's a crying shame because you weren't the one who stole all our stuff and you shouldn't suffer for what rich, ruling-class people have done.

You hear us say that we shouldn't even have to suffer because we're not white; well, you shouldn't have to suffer because you are. Nobody needs that kind of outcome. Nobody needs to continue the kind of conference and event that reflects and deepens white supremacist thinking.

Isn't the better option a truly collaborative multi-racial movement that seeks to redistribute that which has been stolen from all of us? We won't get that from these morons at this conference but, maybe some of us can go there, and publicly asked them about it.

Maybe the best approach to a Conference like this is to attend it and confront its organizers on these issues? White technology activists get up and say, "I'm shocked that this is so white and you do *not* represent me or speak for me."

Hey...maybe Bram Cohen will say something like that. Just to be sure, I think we at MF/PL will attend to make sure that gets said.

Just saying... :-)