Anonymous on Mon, 19 May 1997 23:04:47 +0200 (MET DST)

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1.  We are the digital artisans. We celebrate the Promethean power of our 
    labour and imagination to shape the virtual world. By hacking, coding, 
    designing and mixing, we build the wired future through our own efforts
    and inventiveness. 
2.  We are not the passive victims of uncontrollable market forces and 
    technological changes. Without our daily work, there would be no goods or 
    services to trade. Without our animating presence, information 
    technologies would just be inert metal, plastic and silicon. Nothing can
    happen inside cyberspace without our creative labour. We are the only
    subjects of history. 
3.  The emergence of the Net signifies neither the final triumph of economic 
    alienation nor the replacement of humanity by machines. On the contrary, 
    the information revolution is the latest stage in the emancipatory project
    of modernity. History is nothing but the development of human freedom.
4.  We will shape the new information technologies in our own interests. 
    Although they were originally developed to reinforce hierarchical power, 
    the full potential of the Net and computing can only be realised through
    our autonomous and creative labour. We will transform the machines of 
    domination into the technologies of liberation.
5.  We will contribute to the process of democratic emancipation. As digital 
    artisans, we will come together to promote the development of our trade. 
    As citizens, we will participate within republican politics. As Europeans,
    we will help to break down national and ethnic barriers both inside and 
    outside of our continent.


6.  Freedom today is now often just the choice between commodities rather the 
    ability to determine our own lives. Over the past two hundred years, the 
    factory system has dramatically increased our material wealth at the cost 
    of removing all meaningful participation in work. Even poorer members of 
    European societies can now live better than the kings and aristocrats of 
    earlier times. However the joys of consumerism are usually constrained by 
    the boredom of most jobs. 
7.  Since 1968, the desire for increased monetary rewards has increasingly 
    been supplemented by demands for increased autonomy at work. In the 
    European Union and elsewhere, neo-liberals have tried to recuperate these 
    aspirations through their policies of marketisation and privatisation. 
    If we are talented workers in the 'cutting-edge' industries like hypermedia
    and computing, we are promised the possibility of becoming hip and rich
    entrepreneurs by the Californian ideologues. They want to recruit us as
    members of the 'virtual class' which seeks to dominate the hypermedia and
    computing industries.
8.  Yet these neo-liberal panaceas provide no real solutions. Free market 
    policies don't just brutalise our societies and ignore environmental 
    degradation. Above all, they cannot remove alienation within the 
    workplace. Under neoliberalism, individuals are only allowed to exercise
    their own autonomy in deal-making rather than through making things. We
    cannot express ourselves directly by constructing useful and beautiful
    virtual artifacts.
9.  For those of us who want to be truly creative in hypermedia and 
    computing, the only practical solution is to become digital artisans. The 
    rapid spread of personal computing and now the Net are the technological 
    expressions of this desire for autonomous work. Escaping from the petty 
    controls of the shopfloor and the office, we can rediscover the individual 
    independence enjoyed by craftspeople during proto-industrialism. We 
    rejoice in the privilege of becoming digital artisans.
10. We create virtual artifacts for money and for fun. We work both in the 
    money-commodity economy and in the gift economy of the Net. When we take a 
    contract, we are happy to earn enough to pay for our necessities and 
    luxuries through our labours as digital artisans. At the same time, we 
    also enjoy exercising our abilities for our own amusement and for the 
    wider community. Whether working for money or for fun, we always take pride
    in our craft skills. We take pleasure in pushing the cultural and technical
    limits as far forward as possible. We are the pioneers of the modern.
11. The revival of artisanship is not a return to a low-tech and 
    impoverished past. Skilled workers are best able to assert their autonomy 
    precisely within the most technologically advanced industries. The new 
    artisans are better educated and can earn much more money. In earlier 
    stages of modernity, factory labourers symbolised of the promise of
    industrialism. Today, as digital artisans, we now express the emancipatory
    potential of the information age. We are the promise of history.
12. We not only admire the individualism of our artisan forebears, but also 
    we will learn from their sociability. We are not petit-bourgeois egoists. 
    We live within the highly collective institutions of the market and the 
    state. For many people, autonomy over their working lives has often also
    involved accepting the insecurity of shortterm contracts and the withdrawal
    of welfare provisions. We can only mitigate these problems through our own 
    collective action. As digital artisans, we need to come together to 
    promote our common interests. 
13. We believe that digital artisans within this continent now need to form 
    their own craft organisation. In early modernity, artisans enhanced their 
    individual autonomy by organising themselves into trade associations. We 
    proclaim that the collective expression of our trade will be: the European 
    Digital Artisans Network (EDAN).


14. We urge everyone who is working within hypermedia, computing and 
    associated professions on this continent to join EDAN. We call on digital 
    artisans to form branches of the network in each of the member states of 
    the European Union and its associated countries. By forming EDAN, we will
    also be creating a means of forging links between European digital 
    artisans and those from elsewhere in the world. We will strive for
    cooperation in work and in play with our fellow artisans in all countries. 
15. We believe that the principal task of EDAN is to enhance the exercise of 
    our craft skills. By collaborating together, we can protect ourselves 
    against those who wish to impose their selfinterests upon us. By having a 
    strong collective identity, we will enjoy more individual autonomy over 
    our own working lives.
16. EDAN will celebrate our creative genius as digital artisans. The network 
    will act as the collective memory about the achievements of digital 
    artisans within Europe. It will publicise outstanding 'masterpieces' of
    craft skill made by its members among the trade and to the wider public.
17. The network will be the social meeting-place for digital artisans from 
    across Europe. EDAN will organise festivals, conferences and congresses 
    where we can meet to organise, discuss and party. We believe that digital 
    artisans should express their collective identity by regularly celebrating 
    together in private and public. 
18. EDAN will collect detailed knowledge about the trade in the different
    regions of Europe. It will aim to provide information about best 
    practice in contracts, copyright agreements and other business arrangements
    to its members. The network will also be a source of contacts in each 
    locality for digital artisans looking for work in different areas of 
19. We believe that what cannot be organised by our own autonomous efforts 
    can only be provided through democratic political institutions. The 
    network will lobby for changes in local, national and European legislation
    which can enhance our working lives as digital artisans. As concerned 
    citizens, we will also support the fullest development of public welfare
20. EDAN will campaign for European governments to put more resources into the
    theoretical and practical education of digital artisans in schools and
    universities. The network will facilitate links between educational
    institutions teaching hypermedia and computing across the continent. EDAN
    also believes that publicly-funded research is necessary for the fullest
    development of our industry. 
21. EDAN will urge the European Union to launch a public works programme to 
    build a broadband fibreoptic network linking all households and 
    businesses. We believe in the principle of universal service: everyone 
    should have Net access at the cheapest possible price. No society can call
    itself truly democratic until all citizens can directly exercise their 
    right to media freedom over the Net. 
22. We will campaign for the creation of 'electronic public libraries' where 
    on-line educational and cultural resources are made accessible to everyone 
    for free. Public investment in digital methods of delivering life-long 
    learning is needed to create an information society. The Net should become 
    the encyclopedia of all knowledge: the primary resource for the new 
23. We believe that the role of the hi-tech gift economy should be further 
    enhanced. As the history of the Net has shown, d.i.y. culture is now an 
    essential part of the process of social development. Without hacking, 
    piracy, shareware and open architecture systems, the limitations of the 
    money-commodity economy would have prevented the construction of the Net. 
    EDAN also supports open access as means of people beginning to learn the 
    skills of hypermedia and computing. The promotion of d.i.y. culture within 
    the Net is now a precondition for the successful construction of 
24. We are the digital artisans. We are building the information society of 
    the future. We have come together to advance our collective interests and 
    those of our fellow citizens. We are organised as the European Network of 
    Digital Artisans. Join us.

    Digital Artisans of Europe Unite!

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