Personal Declaration of Richard Stallman and Euclides Mance

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After a useful two-day conversation on Solidarity Economy and Free Software, we have agreed on this joint statement of our personal views.

We believe that the free software and solidarity economy movements should collaborate to make software solutions that are entirely free/libre, aiming to meet the needs of the solidarity economy.

This includes the organization of solidarity economy networks. These networks enable the democratic management of local and global funds and resources.

The free software and solidarity economy movements should also collaborate to encourage self-managed enterprises that produce free software according to the ideas of solidarity economy. These will strengthen democracy in the economic and technical spheres, and will help the development of local communities integrated in collaborative networking.

We also envisage projects such as the production of computers to be used entirely with free software, including tablets and microservers (such as Freedom Box), by collaborative networks of community enterprises in the solidarity economy.

The cooperation between the free software movements and the solidarity economy suggests looking more deeply into the defense of public and private freedoms, in particular in the issue of ethics and liberation with respect to the use of IT. The self-management of IT activities requires that the software used be free. The ethical philosophy of free software -- the freedom to understand, use, modificy, reproduce, and distribute of the software -- makes free software an instrument of economic liberation in the solidarity economy. This idea contrasts with the purely practical philosophy of open source, which renounces freedom as a value for those of functionality or success.

Information technology can contribute to extending private and public freedom, or become an instrument of domination. In the face of information technology's expansion and the increasing digitalization of economic, political, and cultural processes, the power of a few corporations is growing---corporations that, with their proprietary software and abusive services, control people's computing and collect an increasing mass of data in every sphere of people's lives (often without the latter's knowledge) and deliver them to states, sometimes democratic, sometimes not, commercialize them, or share them with other companies, in order to obtain advantages and profits. This is a risk for democracy and for the public and private freedoms of all humanity.

To protect them, the resources and computing processes must respect freedom, and not subject their users to the power of corporations or other entities. The collaborative networks of solidarity economy can facilitate this using free software designed to minimize surveillance of users.

As supporters of the free software movement and solidarity economy, we denounce and reject all use of IT for actions of oppression and domination, be they with software that is free or not.

We hold that every educational activity that uses software in public spheres should reject proprietary software, in order not to make the students dependent.

Curitiba, 15 December 2012

Richard Stallman
(Free Software Movement)
Euclides Mance
Executive Director, Solidarius

We would like to thank Luca Ferroni for putting us in contact.

Copyright (c) 2013 Euclides Mance and Richard Stallman Verbatim copying and redistribution of this entire declaration are permitted provided this notice is preserved.