Manifesto for a New Web, 1st Edition

This is a set of three core commitments derived from the practical experiences of the Yesterweb staff after two years of community organization. They concentrate what we have learned and how we operate into a general template that can be applied to any community at a foundational level. We propose these commitments as the basis of unity for those individuals or groups who wish to move in the same direction, while allowing a diversity of focus, interests, and missions. They are neither rules nor guidelines: they are expectations that are upheld by all participants, to the best of their ability, who believe in building a new culture for the web.

  1. The commitment to social responsibility and partisanship:

    Safety and self-defense are a basic necessity of any community, which includes the recognition that it is impossible to accommodate all people in the same social space due to the inevitability of antagonistic beliefs. Diversity of opinion is respected up until certain bounds that reflect oppressive intentions such as discrimination against age, sex, gender, class, nation/race/ethnicity, religion, or disability. When these conflicts inevitably appear, the community must strive to understand the situation and take the side of the oppressed at any cost. In cases where it is ambiguous whether the harm is intentional or accidental, an investigation through dialogue is necessary to determine malice or ignorance, as ignorance can be resolved with education.

  2. The commitment to collective well-being and personal growth:

    Sustainable amounts of selflessness and sacrifice, ideally from all individuals, are required to build a healthy community. Building and maintaining a new culture requires a consistent social effort as well. We should be mindful of collective health, taking compassionate consideration of the personal growth of everyone (actively or passively) involved in any situation. In our communication we should train our ability to listen and to empathize, patiently striving for unity and dialogue rather than division and debate, and approaching conflict with the intention of resolution. It is important that the community does not create goals purely out of opposition or antagonism toward something, and instead works in a positive and creative manner, toward building solutions either in individual or collective practice.

  3. The commitment to rehumanizing social relations and reversing the process of social alienation:

    The development of information technology capital has further disintegrated our social being, but being social is a mental necessity. We are left with the burden of re-learning the way we relate to each other and rebuilding our social bonds in a way that treats everyone as equals. This includes unlearning dehumanizing behaviors such as treating others as potential sources of profit/assets or romantic/sexual objects without knowledge or consent, and establishing rules to demarcate separate spaces in which all participants are aware and do consent (if such spaces are deemed necessary by the community). We should question the impact of our environment on our behavior, and carefully consciensciously transform that environments so that a better culture and humanity can flourish.

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