08.30.20

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FSF Censorship of Richard Stallman Supporters

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 5:54 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock

A recent blog looks at how to work around censorship in mailing lists, especially the Free Software Foundation. After all, the Free Software Foundation tells us that they use the word Free as in Speech, rather than Free as in Beer.

Here is an example of an email censored by the FSF. There is no obvious way this email violates the GNU Kind Communications Guidelines or any other Code of Conduct.

Subject: Re: Nominate RMS for FSF award...
Date: Thu, 3 Oct 2019 00:07:30 +0200
From: Daniel Pocock <daniel@pocock.pro>
Reply-To: libreplanet-discuss@libreplanet.org
To: libreplanet-discuss@libreplanet.org


Personally, I feel this may not quite be correct although it is interesting.

By nominating him for the FSF award, you are saying that you need the
judges to confirm his status.  You don't need that at all.

RMS doesn't need to be nominated for or voted for to be considered a
winner of this award.  He is the founder of the organization, it was his
idea from the outset and that means he was the winner anyway before
there was an award.

Nonetheless, there are things that can be done to approximate the idea:

At a major event, perhaps LibrePlanet, ensure there is a significant
section of the program dedicated to thanking RMS for his FSF work,
bigger than the award ceremony because RMS is bigger than that.

Arrange for other organizations to recognize him for his service in
different ways, whether it is with awards, honorary titles or something
similar.

Why do the FSF staff censor an email like this supporting the founder of their organization and the founder of the Free Software movement?

Has the FSF become another Fake Community?

Since raising the issue of censorship in FSF, I received a number of emails from people who feel their own communications have been censored. It looks like censorship is being used for multiple reasons:

  • To censor communications about the online lynching of Richard Stallman and hide the voices supporting him
  • To hide the questions about former FSF employee Molly de Blanc and the allegations that a undisclosed romantic affair with the leader of Debian was a serious conflict of interest when Debian endorsed her for the OSI board presidency.
  • To hide questions about donations from Google that coincide with infighting in other organizations ($300,000 to Debian before the Debian Christmas lynchings, €75,000 to FSFE when they abolished community representatives). How much does FSF receive from Google, can they promote Freedom without answering that question?

In another recent donation scandal, MIT Media Lab staff systematically hid donations from convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, knowing that some other staff and donors would be outraged. Likewise, Free Software organizations know that some of their volunteers are uncomfortable with Google’s donations and influence. Just as certain MIT staff hid the funds from Epstein, Free software organizations are hiding the donations from Google. Censorship is one of the tools they use to achieve this deception.

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