Last Thursday, from August 2-4, over 1,000 delegates from 139 DSA chapters gathered in Atlanta for our biannual national convention. While the primary purpose of the convention is to make decisions about the political and organization direction of DSA for the next two years, it’s also a great opportunity to make connections to socialist organizers from across the country.
Towards that purpose – and with two members of our Tech Action OC (Organizing Committee) present as delegates from the NYC chapter – Tech Action was able to organize a discussion titled “A Socialist Response to Big Tech”, which took place Saturday evening August 3rd following the end of the parliamentary session that day. What followed was an inspiring conversation on strategies to agitate against the power of Big Tech, bringing together a diverse group of artists from Silicon Valley, university workers from Indiana, computer scientists from Boston, labor organizers in Minnesota, journalists from Wisconsin, and more.
We used the following prompts to guide our conversation; if you’re interested in hosting something similar where you are, these could be good starting point!
- Who here works for a tech company?
- Who works a tech job for a “non-tech” company?
- Anyone not in a tech job?
- Anyone in a union?
- Anyone in a co-op?
- Anyone make money using a platform app?
Tech (Power) in Politics/Gov
- What kind of relationships do Tech companies have with your local/state government?
- Do any organizations exist where you live to further the cause of “Tech Innovation”?
- Or Access to Internet/Broadband?
- Or Data privacy?
- Who funds these organizations?
- Do tech companies and your local/state government collaborate on any partnerships?
- How have tech business interests or products affected your organizing around other issues?
Tech and Work
- How has technology changed the way you work?
- How does technology make your job easier?
- How does technology make your job harder?
- To what degree do you get to choose the tech you use at work?
- Do you know about any of your employer’s data collection policies?
- What are some examples?
- Those of you who work in tech:
- How much autonomy do you have in your workplace?
- What would you change about your workplace?
- Do you have any coworkers who share, or might share, these concerns?
Tech and Society
- To what degree are people in your community aware of “automated decision making” affecting their lives?
- What are some examples of this?
- What about data/digital surveillance more broadly?
- How else do we think working people perceive their interactions with the tech industry?
- What material effects does it have on their lives?
- What would be politically salient to them?
- What are some strategies to connect tech issues to more popular, ongoing fights for justice?