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Federation of Activists on Science
and Technology Network (FASTnet)


October 1999

Please feel free to repost or publish this notice anywhere you think is appropriate.

Upon subscribing to the FASTnet electronic discussion list, you become a provisional member of the Federation of Activists on Science & Technology network. To become a full member, submit by conventional (i.e., non-electronic) mail the information requested on a FASTnet membership form and you pay annual dues (see below).

FASTnet is a network of progressive-minded, action-oriented people and organizations concerned with promoting a democratic politics of science and technology in the United States. If you discover that this is not your interest or these are not your values, please unsubscribe to the FASTnet list. However, you are welcome in that case to subscribe instead to the sibling discussion lists: Pol-sci-tech and Loka Alerts (see below).

To subscribe to the listserv, send a message to fastnet-subscribe@igc.topica.com

To send a message to all FASTnet list subscribers, send your message to: fastnet@igc.topica.com

 

FASTnet Purpose:

The FASTnet list provides a means for alerting other progressives to opportunities for action, coordinating with other activists and organizations, formulating and implementing strategies and tactics, seeking new cross-cutting alliances, requesting advice from other progressive organizations, etc.
 
The FASTnet list is intended primarily for addressing issues in U.S. science and technology politics that cut across issues such as telecommunications policy, environmental racism, defense conversion, biotechnology, health research, workplace issues, etc.
A SAMPLE CROSS-CUTTING ISSUE: securing grassroots, public-interest group, and worker representation on U.S. government science & technology advisory boards (such as the National Science Board or the President's Committee of Advisors on Science & Technology).  This is an area ripe for fruitful alliances among groups with very different substantive areas of concern.  That is, all would benefit from more open advisory mechanisms, but achieving that result will be impossible politically without some new alliance-building.
 
The FASTnet list is also a place to seek ways for enrolling organizations (such as civil rights, environmental, and women's groups) that have not traditionally had much active involvement in science and technology decision making but whose core agendas are nonetheless greatly affected by science and technology developments.
 
In addition, the FASTnet list is a place where grassroots or other activist groups that would like research support can seek collaborations with sympathetic scholars and students concerned with science, technology, and society.
 
The FASTnet list welcomes non-U.S. members and postings that are not specifically about the U.S., provided that the thrust is toward contributing toward a more democratic politics of science and technology within the U.S.
 

FASTnet List Etiquette:

The overwhelming hazard in electronic communication is information-glut.
 
Please:
 
  •  Keep your postings succinct, well-organized, and polite; don't dominate conversations.
  • Include an accurate description in the subject line.
  • Rather than lengthy postings to the entire list, try a short posting that invites people who want more information to contact you directly.
  •  If your reply to a posting is unlikely to be of general interest, please send it directly to the person who made the original posting, not to the entire list.
  • Please _do_ print out and share pertinent postings from the list with people and organizations that do not have Internet access.
  • Invite other interested people and organizations to subscribe to FASTnet (or to its sibling lists, pol-sci-tech and Loka Alerts; see below).
  • If your posting is specific to a particular substantive area of concern (such as biotechnology or defense conversion) please try to frame the posting in a way that will engage people who have different primary interests.
 
FASTnet is currently a moderated list.  This means that all posts to the list are reviewed first by the list manager (staff members at
the Loka Institute), before reposting to the entire list membership.  At present, the list moderator performs just 3 functions: (1) Posts not
germane to the list's purpose are rejected.  (2) Any post obviously intended as a personal reply to one other person (e.g., "Hi Jerry!")
are redirected to that person (i.e., not posted to the entire list membership).  (3) Multiple, simultaneous posts on a single subject are
grouped into a single message.
 
Questions concerning the operation of the FASTnet or pol-sci-tech lists should be E-mailed to <Loka@Loka.org>.
 

FASTnet Background

FASTnet and Loka's other E-mail lists are projects of the broader Technology and Democracy Project (hereinafter "the Project"), an activity of the Loka Institute. The end of the Cold War has opened a little- noticed strategic opportunity to reorganize U.S. science and technology institutions and policies--the best opportunity that has existed since World War II. This puts into play, for example, U.S. government research-and-development (R&D) expenditures of $75 billion/year, plus federal incentives and policies affecting new technology investments and private sector R&D (perhaps another $1 trillion or more per year).

That is the opportunity. The converse danger is that science and technology policy will be remilitarized--e.g., by emphasizing elaborate Star Wars nuclear missile defenses--at a time in history when exactly the opposite emphasis is both socially and strategically warranted.

Within this context, the Technology & Democracy Project is promoting a strong grassroots, worker, and public-interest group voice in U.S. science and technology decision making (including at local, state, national, and transnational levels). The Project's initial efforts have been made possible through the generosity of individual donors as well as grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Albert A. List Foundation, the Foundation for Deep Ecology, and the Menemsha Fund.

Project activities to date have included:

  • Publishing constructive policy critiques (e.g., in the Washington Post and The Chronicle of Higher Education) and the books "Technology for the Common Good" (available from the Institute for Policy Studies, Washington, DC) and "Democracy and Technology" (Guilford Press, 1995).
  • Giving media interviews (e.g., to The New York Times and The MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour)
  • Making public presentations (e.g., to grassroots organizations, U.S. government officials and leaders, and universities)
  • Posting electronic Loka Alerts about democratic politics of science and technology
  • Co-organizing conferences and public forums (such as the first annual conference on "Technology and the African American Experience" at Howard University and "Challenges to Citizenship in an Age of High Technology," a multisite interactive discussion series broadcast live by satellite.)
  • Functioning as an informal information clearinghouse that answers queries from other grassroots and public- interest organizations, journalists, government staff, trade unions, businesses, students and scholars.
  • Producing "Technology, Society and Democracy: New Problems and Opportunities," a major report on emerging developments in U.S. technology policy for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Organizing FASTnet and pol-sci-tech are recent Project initiatives.

The Loka Institute, P.O. Box 355, Amherst, MA 01004-0355, USA; tel. (413) 559-5860; fax (413) 559-5811; e-mail Loka@Loka.org

FASTnet Membership

Upon subscribing to the FASTnet list, you become a provisional member of the Federation of Activists on Science and Technology network. You become a full member when you submit by conventional (i.e., non-electronic) mail the information requested on a FASTnet membership form (see below) and you pay annual dues. Asking for financial contributions is somewhat unconventional on Internet. However, dues are regrettable but necessary:

(a) to help directly finance the administration of the FASTnet list and other activities of the Technology & Democracy Project (running the Project is costly and funding in this area has traditionally been notoriously scarce); and

(b) to help demonstrate to foundations and other major donors that there is an organizable constituency for the Project and that the Project is making headway toward financial self-sufficiency.

Dues schedule:

Individual U.S. $25/year
Institutional (government or nonprofit) - $60/year
Business $100/year
Low Income What you are comfortable contributing ($ 0 is acceptable, but even a small amount adds usefully to the donor base that can be reported to foundations).
Angel What you can; e.g., $100 to $25,000 and up is extremely acceptable--indeed heavenly.

The Loka Institute is incorporated as a non-profit corporation and is recognized by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization [Tax I.D. #04-3334217]. To pay your dues, please write a check drawn in U.S. dollars to "The Loka Institute." Send it (along with information requested on the membership form) to: FASTnet, c/o The Loka Institute, P.O. Box 355, Amherst, MA 01004-0355, USA. Dues and additional contributions are tax deductible. Thank you!

 
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SPECIAL NOTE for those who have their own IGC (Institute for Global Communications) accounts:

If you would rather browse a conference than receive e-mail, FASTnet, Pol-sci-tech, and Loka Alerts posts are compiled, respectively, in the IGC conferences loka.fastnet, loka.techpol, and loka.alerts. If you need help accessing these conferences, e-mail your questions to support@igc.apc.org or phone IGC support in San Francisco at +(415) 442-0220. (Reminder: you cannot access these three IGC conferences unless you have your own IGC account).

Loka Alerts FASTnet Pol_Sci

 


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