To those who are still at La Quadrature du Net

So, it’s official. I’ve quit my job at La Quadrature du Net. It was not an easy decision, and it hurts. I’m too stubborn for my own good, and I do not know when to stop, but this is where it must ends. I also tend to believe people when they say things will change, and that everything’s gonna be better. I believe them when they say that they’ve heard me and my pain and are trying to do something about it. Deep down it’s hard for me to not trust someone.

I do not know when to stop, and I tend to burn myself. In spectacular way sometimes. During the four years I worked at LQDN, I’ve spent six month on medical leave and six other on part time due to a burn out. And I think that my biggest mistake was going back there.

Some people are doing a lot of stuff to try to improve the situation there. Some basic questions are asked. Questions such as what is LQDN strategy? How are you supposed to care for your employees (because yes, I was your fucking employee, if you do not like that, stop working with this association) in time of stress ? How are you supposed to work with other collective on an inter-sectional approach of the issues at hand ?

A lot of work on those issues have been done, saying otherwise would be an insult to the few people who are trying to fix thing. And this is the main reason I stayed longer than I should have for my own sake. But those who try to improve the situation, and most if not all of them are the few queers and women volunteering for the association, can only do as much as the group let them do.

During the four year I was there, I’ve seen a team building itself on the ashes of the previous one (we had nearly 70% of turnover, yes it means only two of us stayed there since the Paris attacks in 2015) and trying to figures out way to work together and to care for each other. It’s one of the thing that made the decision to leave hard. But it’s not enough, it’s merely the minimum requirements for a sane working environment.

But you prefer to do the “important” things, because you’re only a volunteer and you do not have enough time to do what you want: talking to the medias, speaking at conferences and arguing online about what LQDN members are allowed to say or not when they’re speaking in public. Arguing to the point where some other members had to left the association because you just didn’t care to understand their pain.

The same non debates are still eating energy there. Should the fights of LQDN encompass identity politics? Or should we only focus on state surveillance? The thing is, those questions have being asked internally for at least four years. I know, I’m one of those who keep asking. And the only answer I got was: we need time to debate.

So, you need time to debate. Fine. But, because you’re too busy to drink the koolaid, you’re not even able to see that your employees are on the verge of burn out and exhaustion, and because you refuse to spend some time trying to understand the situation;, you cannot even starts to change things. And some of those changes might be easy. I don’t know. I don’t know because no one, except the two or three same person, are spending time on this.

And while you’re doing the so important work that you consent to do, we’re left to ourselves. Trying to do things, to work with you and everyone else, to figures out what are the priorities, and all of that without a global strategy. Or consideration for the work being done. We’re doing things reflexively, because this is how it’s been done since today.

So fuck it. I quit. I don’t like it. I’m bitter. Enraged. And sad. When I look at what we could have done if you accepted to actually engaged in Human Resources management and stress reduction, I can only contemplate the waste of energy and people. You are lucky enough to have a tough team of skilled and extremely motivated people who are doing an amazing job regardless the way you consider them or their work to work for you. And you’re not even able to understand that.

I’m too naive. I thought things can change. But as long as you, as a straight male, let all the emotional and care work to the same people (queers and women), to keep feast on koolaid, you’re basically throwing people under the bus. Because you do not consider caring for the people you fight with a good investment of your so precious time, you’re pushing them to their own limits, to the point they’re going to break, and leave in bitterness and anger.

And yet here we are. You forced me to quit. I didn’t want. Fuck, I came back after a burnout on the promise that things were going to be better soon. They’re not. And if you do not get that, then fuck you.

I’m forced, for my sanity, to take steps back from the world. I can’t spend time at party without collapsing. I cannot talk on one on one to people without wishing to rip my skin of my arm. I’m not suicidal now, mostly because I think it’s not worth the hassle, not because I want to live. I don’t. And while I have issues on my own, you did nothing to not add to those issues. So yes, I’m bitter. And I’m worried about the people that I left behind, my coworkers, who still have to deal with your bullshit.

You might say that going public will not help. Well, for four years, I basically tried everything. I used twitter, internal system, one on one talks, informal and formal requests to the general assembly, I’ve tried to solve some issues, or at least to expose them to you, to give you a chance to change things.

And you did not.

You did not tried to build a better world. Because that’s what it is in the end, the community you shape by your actions are supposed to be the reflect of the world you fight for. And I do not want to live in this world of yours. So I cannot condone anything you’re going to do.

In a more pragmatic way, it also means that I have to take steps back, and to try to heal a little bit before going back to try to fix things. Or change them. So yes, you won’t see me again anytime soon. Yes, I’m going to lose friends over it, but this is the extreme this association led me too. I have to chose between seeing my friends, and being reminded of the state of this association, and preserving myself.

I won’t make it to Congress either. Or to most of the conference this year. I won’t see the crowd of crazy and fun and loving people that made going there manageable. And this is on you.

Fuck. You.

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Once upon a time

Once upon a time, the intertubes were the people wet dream, silicon and copper made, connecting each and every computer that could be physically connected to it. The tubes were made to be resilient, even with low resources, and a lot of volunteers worked day and night to maintain it alive.

It was the biggest home made construction. Think about it, from your internet box to any server connected in the world, there’s a physical link (once in copper, now in fiber optic), going across oceans and land, sometime the link goes up through a satellite but most of the time, everything is connected in a World Wide Web.

The internet was, back in the time, free to use (as long as you had access to it, you could do whatever you wanted to do), decentralised (if the cable running through the Atlantic was severed, you could still access your side of the internet, and even goes through the Pacific to reach the United States for instance) and without any control (you do not need DNS to publish content, you need people to know how to find you).

And everything was nice, and the RTC modems were singing their happiness song, long time before anyone heard the Nyan Cat.

And then everything goes faster

But states looked at it and realized that people could find any information they wanted to find, not only the one they could more or less control. They find that each reader of a blog is potentially a writer of another blog, or a musician, or a painter and will produce online content to be read by someone else.

But corporations saw that people were duplicating content, because that’s the only thing Internet can do: it duplicate content. Whenever you reach seeks, you make a local copy of the content hosted on the server (and yeah, that’s why I’m yelling at my fellow colleagues that they must clear their cache). So, corporations saw that anyone were copying anything, not like when you were doing mix-tapes (with a degradation on each copy) or when you were exchanging CDs with your friend (because, then you have no access to the physical item).

Corporations were upset and they killed the cat with headphones, aka napster. They, in fact, did something good for internet because, then, everyone remembered that internet is decentralized and that sharing must be decentralized also. So, emule and bittorent rises from the ashes of napster. No more single point of failure in the exchange process.

Corporations wouldn’t just let it go and accept they needed to change. Instead of changing (and growing up, and going next-level, like Pikachu turns into Raichu to face bigger challenge). So they get in touch with governments.

And they wrote ACTA down. Secretly. Without anyone knowing. They wrote a remote access tool that would inscribed in each and every constitution of the states that will sign it. They wanted to do it without anyone noticing it, because they knew from the beginning that what they were doing couldn’t survive to a public debate.

They wrote the only thing that could destroy democracy from the inside, without due process of law or without the people consent. And they almost succeed.

Here comes a new challenger

It would have succeed without the fierce determination of small groups of people. Those are called Liberty Fighter, or Civil Society. One, in particular, is fighting the European Arena, they are La Quadrature Du Net (aka LQDN). They oppose each try of ‘cultural lobbies’ to hinder our right to communicate.

They fight the Four Horsemen of Infocalypse each day, they’re not afraid of tackling our so called ‘Elected Representative’ in the different places of power in Europe or else where.

But they cannot do it alone. They need your support. It’s a full time job to read each law that can kill one of your liberty, to call and explain to our deputies why those laws should not get anywhere near a legal code of a country, to speak and hear in panels all around the world.

So, if you like your freedom of expression, if you like your intertubes being uncentralized and without control, if you like your nyan cat diving in the sky you must support them. And you can probably get a Tshirt for that.

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