I start this topic by saying that I’m simply in love with Django and Python. I’ve been using them for more than 10 years now. I’ve been promoting Django whenever I could. Teaching it, implementing projects with it, helping people to learn it so they can evolve in their careers. I’m also very tolerant, sensible, paying attention to details so that persons can be themselves around me, even if we don’t agree on all aspects of life. I believe that we can agree to disagree and be respectful with each other. I’ve been trying to keep personal political, social, religious views apart from the technical aspects of my life and this worked very well so far, but I’m very concerned with the change in technical domain in the recent times.
I have just looked at the Django docs for a specific topic and found myself staring to the top banner stating that the Django Software Foundation is supporting the black lives and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. I agree with the first part, because I believe that no life is less important than another, but have trouble with the second.
There are many people in the Django community against and fighting racism. We have racism in many forms, not only against the black communities and not only in United States. But we are living strange times with a lot of things happening in our social and professional lives. I believe that in times like this the professional communities should be aware and sensitive not to get involved in political and biased actions, but keep technical stuff technical, and political stuff to the political realm. And I’m saying this because:
BlackLivesMatter is no longer just a social movement, but has been politicized and is being used for political reasons. Getting along this use might fit some political views, but may harm people with other views, which cherish life in all colours, but don’t agree with the radical twist the movement has taken.
BlackLivesMatter participated actively in social actions that hurt and killed a lot of people, black people, including children. In the last few weeks 6 children were killed, the last one, an 8 years old girl Secoriea, was shot dead while sitting in her moms car. Django Foundation should not support such actions, at no level.
Some of the BlackLivesMatter leaders have publicly stated that they are marxists. Even if personal lives and actions should be of no concern to technical people, having a Foundation that takes care of a neutral technology like Django supporting a movement whose leaders follow an ideology that killed millions of people around the world should be troublesome.
The NGO that BlackLivesMatter is using to raise money, ActBlue, is a nonprofit technology organization established in June 2004 that enables left-leaning nonprofits, Democrats, and progressive groups to raise money on the Internet by providing them with online fundraising software. Helping them raise more money by endorsing them is, again, a political stand.
This movement is working hand in hand with the cancel culture and the political correctness which instead of promoting tollerance is dividing even more the technical people. Some of the latest examples of technical issues being ideologised are:
The change of ‘master’ branch in git because is racist is simply wrong. The sense the word ‘master’ has in git terminology is of main copy, original. Just like the music industry has a master copy after all other copies are being made.
The change of blacklist/whitelist terms again is wrong. The ‘black’ in ‘blacklist’ has nothing to do with racism. A long time ago restaurant/pubs owners used to write bad clients on a notebook, that by no racist means, had black covers, hence the black-list.
I am among the many people that are watching in worry how the technical domain is being ideologised, changed, affected by these issues that contrary to the good intent are dividing us even more.
I would suggest to remove the endorsement of BLM from the Django documentation because instead of being inclusive and having a good intent it’s doing quite the opposite.
I don’t speak for Django here, but I do want to give you some of my personal opinion on why I supported the banner initially and continue to.
You call out the fact that it is a political statement as if politics is something that can be avoided - that isn’t true. Merely existing in the world and doing nothing is a political stance (one of supporting whatever status quo is in place at the time), and thus any attempt to appear politically neutral is destined for failure.
Django is open-source software written by people primarily for free in their spare time - a labour of love, if you will. It should maybe come as no surprise that many in the open-source community are egalitarians and support things like universal income and healthcare, and also often have a somewhat dim view of purely capitalist-driven economies (because capitalism alone allows no place for open source).
As such, I, and many others in the Django community, believe that it’s important to make it clear that we do not politically support the actions of the current US administration (specifically, though it is not the only country by any means with racism issues) - remaining silent is a tacit political endorsement of the status quo, and given the choice, we’d rather side with those pushing for equality than those who seek to suppress it, and a state that is actively pursuing worryingly violent means to quell protests that are, by an overwhelming majority, peaceful.
Thus, calling us out for being political is just highlighting what we already know - we have to be political in one way or another, so we chose a direction that more aligns with our views. Neutrality is a lovely ideal, but generally is only possible for those who already benefit from society. I hope that one day we’ll get there for everyone.
On the terms “master” and “blacklist” - the original etymology of these words may or may not be racist, but English is a descriptive, not a prescriptive, language; it adapts to change with the times.
Much in the same way some words that were forbidden swearwords in Victorian times are now commonplace in the language, it’s important to realise that “master” and “blacklist” just… aren’t needed anymore. Changing language happens by doing, and I would argue that “main” and “blocklist” are actually more descriptive terms anyway, especially in their word construction and use of more commonly used English words. Any programmer should be able to appreciate that you don’t just keep doing something a certain way because it’s always been done that way - it’d be technical debt if it was code.
In conclusion, I want to say this - open source is, in itself, an ideology. Many of us who work on open source software do this for the common good and the benefit of all, and please do not be surprised when that view continues onto people’s personal rights and treatment. If you find yourself opposing the Black Lives Matter “movement” (as loose as it is; the name itself is nothing more than a statement of beliefs, in many terms), then I would presume that you, by inversion, support the status quo (and thus the way things currently happen in the USA).
I am not here to make you defend that, but I ask that you consider what that means you represent - and if you truly support the set of crimes, aggression and isolation committed against Black people in the US both historically and presently, then I imagine you and I will never be able to see eye-to-eye.
first, I would like to thank you for taking your time to answer me.
I am trying to make myself as clear as I can, hoping that you won’t start labeling me. I’m debating an idea, not persons. I have no input in the Django Foundation because I’m not a member of it, so I can just contribute to Django community in other ways I can. If you decided to use the banner, then that’s it, it’s your choice and we have to respect it and live with it.
I, by no means, support racism, sexism, or any other isms. I do not like when people of any color, nationality, age, views, are getting hurt, or have disadvantages, of any kind. At least until now I think we are able to see eye-to-eye.
But here is where differences begin.
I think that using neutral technology to impose some views, which are correct in the eyes of the beholder, should not happen, because it is the start of double measure thinking. What would happen if the Foundation would by any chance end up in the hands of people with different views, and they might use it to impose a different agenda? Wouldn’t you be upset? Wouldn’t you like them to leave politics aside and concentrate in developing the technology itself?
What would happen if a certain company whose products you like starts promoting ideas you don’t agree with? Wouldn’t you feel a little sorry that instead of just working on great products they are getting involved in things you don’t support?
And I’m not talking about fighting injustice. I’m doing that myself, even if on different subjects, on other places than US. I do like people to have same opportunities. I do like people to have a chance to grow, feel safe, healthy, be properly educated. I am trying to give back some of the good things that I’ve received during my life so far. I want to contribute to the society, I don’t just want to live a life, but live a meaningful life.
I know it’s hard to admit for some, but right now what is happening with BLM has nothing to do with fighting injustice, or at least very little. There are more black victims right now than before this started. More innocent children killed than before rioting started and they are killed at BLM protests or areas. What the Foundation can say to their parents, spouses, children? That your child was worth dying? That the kid’s life mattered less than other life? There are people getting hurt, their businesses getting hurt, monuments being destroyed, buildings on fire and if you are looking at the footage there is BLM all over the place. Let’s be honest! Maybe it was about social injustice in the beginning, maybe it was helpful, but right now, it’s about politics not human rights.
And I’m sorry, but saying that demonstrations are mostly peaceful, while innocent people, of all colors are being killed is not very comforting, or helpful. Today I watched a very disturbing video with a white guy being attacked and kicked in the head, with people around him screaming like crazy “Black Lives Matter you fgt!” while he was fighting for his life with his face full of blood. What if this person was an innocent djangonaut walking the streets at the wrong time? Or your brother, or friend? This is not a proper way to solve the issues. This behavior should be criticized not encouraged.
Again, I’m trying to make myself clear. I’m not supporting [any color] people oppression, and I’m not endorsing other extremist actions either. I know we are computer folks, but we have to stop thinking binary, if you are not with me, you are against me. There are a million shades in between. The last 20 years or so were very difficult for the entire world. People are getting more and more biased, divided, hating each other, not listening, not communicating, not loving, being self assured and confident that their point of view is the only valid and true one. And technology played it’s big part.
Andrew and the others involved in Django Foundation, I love you guys! What you are doing with Django is great. I really, really appreciate the effort! I hoped I had more time to give back to the community and maybe I’ll have in the near future!
What I would like to see is a common effort, from the whole community, of any color, age, nationality to focus on developing the technology, leave it neutral, then use it personally however we consider helpful, but not using the Foundation itself as a tool to promote any kind of views.
Let’s work together on Django and meet on other forums, groups where we can debate the current issues and search for the best, or at least the closest better solution.
I’m sorry to have taken again from your precious time, but I think it’s an important topic that can shape the community!
Obviously I don’t condone any of the violence that’s happening - it’s abhorrent - but it’s not like it is a zero-sum game, here; there is a long, recorded history of violence of many kinds against Black people in the US, it’s just that that kind is rarely televised or recorded. The few incidents that make national news are the unusual ones, not the norm; I have several friends of various different races that have horrible stories to tell, and I myself have been witness to others, including in the dark place that is the USA’s Secondary Immigration areas that, as an immigrant, I have had the “pleasure” of visiting several times. Sure, there are videos of people under the Black Lives Matter banner behaving in abhorrent ways, but there are many, many others showing people under that banner being viciously attacked or falsely accused of crimes just for standing there peacefully.
I’m not here trying to split anything apart - what I see is that, as I grew up, I was taught that the world was fair, and equal, and a Better Place than it was in the past. And, by all accounts, that’s true for many people - I just think it’s time it’s true for everyone. It’s my belief that every time we can resolve a situation peacefully, every person we can educate on the systemic problems underlying many countries that need to be fixed, we remove the need for direct action; people protest, and worse, riot, because they are unheard. Successful peaceful protest removes the need for violent protest - the great Martin Luther King Jr. is one person we can very much credit with showing this.
Sure, there are a few people who will always want any excuse for violence, but you don’t see the sheer volume of protest we’ve seen out of recent months out of that tiny slice of society. If everyone would listen, and understand, and word towards a common goal, then none of this would be necessary - but, understandably, people tend to care about themselves and their families/friends first, and others second. That’s human nature; it should be the duty of politicians to rise above that, to be the thread that represents all our diverse voices and binds us together, but unfortunately there is more money to be made in division, it seems.
In some ways, this argument is reflective of the argument of gender/racial equality in open source - you can say “let’s be neutral towards everyone”, and that seems fair on its face, but of course you are not taking into account the unfortunate fact that, on average, white men tend to be the ones in most societies with more money and spare time and so they end up being overwhelmingly visible in open source projects. We can’t just start everyone at the same place - we need to correct for society’s deficiencies to, instead, have everyone end up at the same place.
There are open source projects, and companies, I specifically avoid because of their political stance; in the obverse, I know of several projects that have used Django, and thus some of my work, to support causes that oppose my views (and in some cases, those who literally wish to see me imprisoned or killed for being gay). I would not be surprised if some people avoid Django for political reasons; that’s also fine by me. I would rather Django was not used to, say, build tools of oppression.
There are not, of course, a mere two sides to this argument; some would say I am too extreme in my views, others would say I am far too centrist. I’ve had the luxury of growing up in a (western) world where being in the minority I am is rather tolerated, but I would still be scared in some places in the US of walking down the street hand-in-hand with my boyfriend, so forgive me if I feel the push for equal rights, for everyone, rather personally.
My appeal to you, and others, is to consider that a small amount of recognition, of research into the bits of history and news that are left un-taught or un-addressed - and to understand that there are whole classes of those who seek to use their power and privilege to help themselves at the expense of others - would help us move past the need for protest. If, for example, US people were taught about COINTELPRO in schools, or UK students were taught about the Partition of India, that people might have a better appreciation for where we are in history, and what we can do, and learn from those who came before us, to forge a better world for tomorrow.
First, and more foremost, those few incidents are not few at all. They are taking place in large cities, and they have a big impact, as I said, from property being destroyed to innocent lives being taken. And even if they were few, for the sake of those few incidents The Django Foundation should not associate at all with BLM.
I’m glad that you brought India and Martin Luther King Jr. into discussion. Both Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. were educated, and understood that in order to accomplish something great they had to use ONLY non-violent protests, and both their movements brought tremendous improvements in the lives of Indian and American people. India got it’s independence and years later US got it’s first black president, which was something unthinkable in the sixties. So things are progressing, moving forward, we are not there yet, buy why stop now and destroy all that has been accomplished so far with violence and rioting? What BLM is doing now is not helping at all the black communities, but quite contrary, are more and more associated with sheer violence.
I am a decent educated person myself, and I do know about the atrocities that humankind committed in the past. I know about the wrongdoings made by white to black, black to black, Asian to Asian, Spaniards to Aztecs, Turks to Slavs, Germans on Jews, Catholics on Protestants and vice versa, parents to children, leaders to their own people, even humans to animals. You name it and it was probably done at some point in history.
You are saying that we don’t pay enough attention to the bad things in the past. We know there are still things to be fixed, that not everything is right. What we don’t agree upon are the means, or ways to fix them. Because I believe that killing other people won’t fix the killings in the past.
What I don’t understand is why for the mistakes from the past we have to make more mistakes today. Just because blacks were severely beaten in the past should we beat up white people today? Just because we had segregation in the past should we have segregation today? Just because white lives mattered more in the past should they matter less today? This mistake for mistake, eye for an eye is a counterproductive way, that will bring down the society and leave us all blind. I’m looking around and I see the wrongdoings from the past happening again, but in the opposite direction.
The very fact that you put a color in front of ‘lives matter’ is a proof that you are moving away from your egalitarian objective of all people being treated equally no matter their skin, sexual orientation, age, nationality, etc. The first step to reach the goal of treating people equally is to address them equally, to make no difference at all between them, right from the start.
But let’s move back to the technology.
You were saying that open-source is an ideology. I completely agree. And a beautiful ideology indeed, but we have to be careful when mixing ideologies.
I’m using an open-source operating system and I am writing this answer on LibreOffice because it gives me more real estate than the forum web page. The word “Libre” in the title has a special meaning for me. It means ‘free’ as in freedom. We used to live 50 years under communism and 30 years later we are still struggling with some communist mentalities that are holding us back as a country. What is communism? Socialism to the extreme. For 50 years people thinking differently than ‘the party’ line (there was only one party allowed), were fighting for freedom. Many risked their lives, their family lives, long time imprisonment, hard torture to flee communism and live in a capitalist country, like (Federal at that time) Germany, or in the United States of America, where their dreams could be fulfilled. And many of them lived to see their dreams came true. We had borders to keep people in, you have borders to keep people out, just like you have a door to your apartment or a fence around your house to protect your family. I believe you can understand the difference.
I know that the egalitarian, Utopic ideas that the left promise sound luring, but they never worked, and will never work. Trust me. I saw it, I lived it. Open-source could not have been born in a socialist country. Open source was possible because people had enough for themselves that they can offer to others. They had enough money so that they could afford not to work for money one day a week, or a few hours per day, or even months after months. Open source is also possible because capitalist companies have enough profit so that they can redirect some of it to pay people to work on open-source projects. The continuous development of open-source projects like Django is also being driven by companies that use it to make profit, for individuals to put food on their table.
If you love open source then you have to give proper credit to capitalism. What we can do is to educate people and companies to give more back to the community. The solution is not socialism, even if it sounds attractive to the young generation. It still is capitalism, but saner, with more people caring about their peers and helping more the disadvantaged. This will improve the status quo.
I know that United States never had a taste of socialism, but for people who lived it, these movements of forced egalitarianism is triggering all kind of alarms. We must strive for equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. For the long run, the former is the one moving society forward whereas the latter is taking down the society, because it discourages hard working people, innovation and competition of ideas, the very foundation upon which companies that gave us electricity, transportation, the Internet, modern commodities and the computers we are using to write great Django apps were built.
There are many voices in the industry worried about the technology being politicized, but maybe are not so vocal because they are afraid of being labeled and mocked. I’m sure that once the tipping point has been reached their input will be heard because they won’t be able to cope with it anymore as it will affect their professional lives.
I believe that technology in general, and Django in particular should remain neutral. Technology is like construction bricks or nuts and bolts. The bricks don’t care how they are used. The nuts have no political preferences. We all hope that they will be used for the good, but that is up to each individual using them, not companies making them. This is were education comes in place.
The purpose of companies making bricks is to make the best bricks possible. The purpose of humans is to take those bricks and make the best out of them. You want us all to fix problems? Poor people not having proper healthcare? Use bricks to make hospitals. Do you want to teach history? Use the bricks to make schools where children can learn about Cointelpro and Partition and segregation and Auschwitz and socialism victims. Don’t rewrite the history like in the novel 1984, but teach it exactly as it was, so it won’t happen again.
I would hate to see the Django project having the fate of other open source projects like Java vs OpenJDK, OpenOffice vs LibreOffice, MySQL vs MariaDB, Ingres vs PostgreSQL, CafeLog vs WordPress just because the Django Foundation continued to support a violent movement.
This is what I’m advocating for. Keep technology neutral and let’s use it personally however each may consider appropriate to fix the world issues, because there are quite a few!
many thanks for this thoughtful discussion and exchange of arguments. Rarely can you see such a high quality and insightful discussion that is, at its core, political. I really felt touched reading this.
About the #BLM banner, from a purely technical point of view, would it be a reasonable compromise to keep it on the Django home page (and possibly other main pages), but to remove it from the technical documentation?
The banner makes the documentation harder to use both on desktop and mobile devices. In my opinion, when someone is reading the Django documentation who does not share the goals of initiatives like #BLM, the banner on every page won’t change that. If someone is reading the documentation who shares and contributes to the goals already, the banner is redundant. In both cases, the banner won’t help anyone, but it is at least a minor annoyance when all that you’re after is studying something for a technical problem that must be solved.
To conclude with my personal view of things: If it was up to me, all children would be raised without ever being “taught“ that skin color (or gender or religion …) makes a difference. (And if taught, then that it does not make someone better or worse than some other.) This way they would grow up and never even get the thought that, just as with eye and hair color, the skin color makes a statement about the person.
That can be a first step. The documentation was the place where I first noticed the banner, and it really takes a lot of space.
I also agree with your last phrase. This is the same way I’m raising my kids too.
I believe we should still have the discussion about the principle: should Django (or other technology) remain neutral or should it support one cause or another. That is if the community has anything to say about the decisions being taken in the Django Foundation. If not, we have nothing to do but to comply and see if other djangonauts feel the same.
I too was wondering if the Django project will take stands about other topics of global interest in the future. For example, will there be a banner about the climate change (and actions that should be taken about it)? I hope not, because I too believe that a technical project like Django should not interfere with people’s political interests or engagements (even if that happen to reflect my own).
But I also believe that the decision is and should be in the hands of those who contribute to the project most. As I unfortunately am in a position where I cannot make substantial contributions (at least not in terms of contributed code) I’ll have to accept whatever decision they make.
I partially agree with you and I said from the beginning that if the Foundation made this decision then we have not much to do, but to take not of it. Especially because code contributors are members in the Foundation and we have to respect their work.
The tricky part is that Django started in 2003 as an open source project, and it preceded the Foundation, est. in 2008. Basically, the Foundation was created as a way to ensure the further development and to promote the technology. Django is not a product of the Foundation, but the Foundation should take care that the initial spirit of free open source within Django is maintained.
In the spirit of FOSS I’m wondering if Django developers, Django users, Django promoters and even financial contributors should be consulted too see if they want Django to remain a neutral technology or should be involved in social and political issues. And if the second option will/should remain in place then another set of question should be asked: what issues are to be addressed and from what perspective?
And since I brought the financial contributors in discussion maybe they should ask if some of their money has been redirected to the BLM’s NGO or the Foundation’s endorsement stopped at the declaration level with the top banner.
Because once you go this way and open the Pandora’s box, you have quite a debate to do regarding which of the world’s current issues need to be addressed and from what perspective.
I’m afraid that I just can’t agree with your stance that to give everyone equal opportunities is to be neutral; all I want is for everyone to have the same “normal” life that I do, and if I remain “neutral” by doing nothing, that actually entrenches the way things work now, which is not what I want.
I don’t think removing the banner at a time when the US government is about to send in potentially-illegal (and ruled illegal in the case of Portland) federal forces into major cities is a Good Look, personally.
If you want to go and find a politically-neutral open source vendor, that’s absolutely your choice, and I support your ability to do that. Of course, as I mentioned before, you may find it hard to find good Open Source software written by people who don’t hold similar opinions - you tend not to get great community work when you have people running a project who don’t care about the community - but it’s out there. Much in the same way you have a choice of other ice-cream than Ben & Jerry’s if you disagree with their rather direct statement.
As for other causes, like climate change and global hunger? Members of the community are already actively working towards things like that. The Foundation itself does not contribute to other causes, of course - all the money it has goes towards furthering Django - but individual members of the community do. We’ve had talks in recent years at DjangoCons about how Django is being used to improve healthcare in Africa or aid victims of sexual assault, for example. That’s the sort of work I’m here to support and enable.
If you think this is particularly “on the edge of a slippery slope”, you may want to take note of the renewed discussion about open source licensing; there’s attempts to try and make licenses that allow software to only be used for “good”, though as someone who is not a lawyer but friends with several, I think that attempt is going to end up nowhere unless you can somehow nail down a legal definition of what the software author believes is good. Obviously we’d never re-license Django - we have a covenant with all our contributors over the last couple decades - but some in the Open Source community are getting very annoyed with the way that society and companies seem to take from the projects and rarely give back, while using the code for something explicitly against the author’s wishes.
I don’t think there’s going to be much productive discussion taking this further; I’m sure at some point we will shrink or remove the banner, and I suspect it is worth doing that progressively with the documentation being de-emphasised first, but we’re really not at that point yet if you ask me, and if anything, things are apparently getting worse, not better.
There is one thing I would like to point out. One of the first things you did in your first answer is saying to Gabriel that he is either part of the problem or part of the solution. The oldest principle of power is DIVIDE ET IMPERA. Divide and conquer. If you can split any group, they will be easier to subjugate and to rule. I don’t live in the US so my access to first hand information is limited. However I live in a country rather close to the former Soviet Union. There is one thing I have learned from the history books but more importantly from meeting people who grew up in communism: whatever the problem is, the murderous and fascist doctrine which is communism is not the answer.
I too wish that there was support for the black cause rather than a particular organisation in this case a communist totalitarian one. I am very concerned with what is going on in the world and particularly in the US. But obviously, looking at it from the outside, my perspective is very different. I have been watching a lot of podcasts by or with black people. Their positions very much oppose those of BLM.
So basically what I’m trying to say: I wish there was more room for different approaches to fighting oppression and discrimination and less of the “If you’re not a skater now, you’ve never been” type of arguments.
Please don’t be too strict with my choice of words. English is not my native tongue and I find it hard to perform the precision of choice of words that is necessary for political discourse.
I understand what you mean @Spidiffpaffpuff - you’re never going to find me saying that the Soviet form of totalitarian communism is anything near the answer, but I don’t think anyone involved is pushing for that, and that is not my understanding of what I’ve seen out of the Black Lives Matter movement either.
From what I can tell, they’re mostly asking for a demilitarisation of the police and shifting the responsibility for responding to non-violent incidents to more appropriate agencies (social care, mental heath workers, etc), which as someone from a country where the police almost never have guns, seems rather reasonable.
I dare to continue the discussion because I believe that as long as we debate ideas, respect each other and don’t attack persons we can all gain from this.
Andrew, I completely agree with you. I also don’t believe that staying neutral, looking the other way, pretending issues don’t exist will improve our lives or the lives of people we cherish. I’m a person that is trying to take a stand when I see something wrong just to try to improve things, not for the sake of the battle.
What I don’t agree with you is the fact that you are taking your personal views and using them to drag a project that is the fruit of a community effort into a cultural debate, to say at least.
Well, personally, I believe that when local enforcement forces are not able to enforce the law, then the federal forces are entitled (if requested, or things go way out of hand) to step in. But, this is my personal view, and I don’t think that it should be the Django Foundation’s view.
Well, this is another example of double standard thinking. You (Django Foundation) are using your power position to enforce a ‘take it or leave it’ policy on people using a community project. Yet, the same kind of people were arguing and fighting to the courts when a private company decided to not bake a cake for a particular wedding. I can imagine you may have not liked it. They also had a ‘take it or leave it’ policy, but it was their private enterprise, their money, their effort and you really had other options, other bakeries. At this point there is no other Django project out there to take my business to. At the same time even if I don’t like when other private entities refuse to serve cops, or republicans in the end it’s their business and I can have my dinner in a different restaurant. Otherwise, I might be accused of double standards.
Andrew, with all due respect, let me dive in a little bit, because this is quite an important issue, not only concerning our beloved project, but the Western societies.
Yesterday I had a meeting with a few friends and the discussion went back to the old communist days, and each one shared their totalitarian experiences. One of them told us how they were shocked as children when the political police, or political intelligence call it either way, rushed into their house and ransacked it in search for not allowed literature (basically Bibles or religious books). Another friend told us that her mom was not able to advance in her career because of her stand. We also had our own experiences due to the fact that my grandparents were believers. One was talking how they found a way to stop their landline phones from being listened to by holding the rotary dialer in a certain position. That was new to me :).
Long story short this is one aspect of a totalitarian regime. One ideology allowed, anything else parting from the official line must be oppressed. Using the public institutions and top positions to enforce political and social views upon its citizens. You were saying that the totalitarian communism is not the answer, I completely agree, but let me tell you why I and @Spidiffpaffpuff brought it up. People who lived socialism have some sort of a disease detecting system as if we were vaccinated against it and whenever we see signs of it we produce socialism antibodies.
And now, please allow me to give you some of the signs we are seing: Students are afraid of speaking their minds (“The students were eager to talk. They wanted to talk. But they were afraid of even letting themselves think out loud about a position that might land them in trouble through social sanctions and accusations that they are racists, fascists, bigots, or sexists. Political science students at a top Canadian university had become accustomed to having their mouths kept shut. It’s only a matter of time until the mind shuts, too”), conservative employees are afraid to speak their minds, conservative professors are less and less present in universities, shadow banning, deplatforming, demonetization of certain channels, the cancel culture where events, conferences are being canceled and speakers banned like, ironically even, the gay conservative Milo Yiannopoulos, not being able to hire the best because you had to meet minority quota, like the professor Andrei Serban who had to quit Columbia University for this reason. Certain movies being forbidden while others being promoted. And I can go on, and on.
A recent survey showed that more than two thirds of the American population are afraid to speak their political preferences, across all parties. (These fears cross partisan lines. Majorities of Democrats (52%), independents (59%) and Republicans (77%) all agree they have political opinions they are afraid to share.) This is unthinkable if the “Land of the free”.
Now can you see the signs? US and Western countries are slowly but steadily turning into one voice allowed, one ideology allowed, totalitarian regime.
This again demands some debating, and I’ll also give Britain as an example bellow. In a perfect society you would not need police at all. But, as a general rule if you have an increase in crime rate you’ll end up needing more police, if you have a decrease in crime rate, then you may need less police. It’s a no brainer so far. But now, let me tell you a short story about my family and you’ll see why things are changing and you’ll actually end up needing more police.
Both my parents were top engineers. My father helped to create an appliances factory almost from the ground up, as some of the buildings were still being built when he joined the team. He has a few inventions and innovations. Later he used to be in a top position in the ministry that was supervising 23 factories in the industry. At some point, during the early 90s we had a family meeting around the kitchen table and considered emigrating to another country. We started gathering what was required, necessary or helpful. Medical records from recognized medical authorities, employment history, proof that we had some money to spend while searching for jobs, English language knowledge, proof that the my parents worked in industries where jobs were available, and no police record. We were even suggested to get the promise of a job even before applying so we can get a higher scoring. I was also doing good in school with a few awards at programming competitions and companies telling me to join them after I would have finished high school. Why I’m telling you all this? That country wanted to make sure that they attracted the best they could, people who can contribute, healthy, educated, with a good English knowledge, who will quickly find a job and not require social assistance, no troublemakers, and so on.
Do you see any difference in how Western countries like US, UK, Germany are getting more people in nowadays?
20 years later, I see people around me, not everyone, of course, but they are a few, not going west to contribute, but to live on social services because the amount of money they got from social services over here while doing nothing was less than the money they get there also while doing nothing. Or some of them were outlaws here, but being outlaw there is more lucrative because people were more naive and were not protecting their assets well enough, or the police force was not so … forceful. So there was a surge in criminality in those countries. We have huge mansions built from money stolen from people in UK or money generated by criminal activities conducted in UK. They are so large, that the majority of people in UK won’t be able to afford one like those in a lifetime, but involuntarily contributed to them. All this was possible because of a week police in UK, and not only there.
See where I’m getting to? Do you want less police? Strive for less criminality, by enforcing the law to people already present in the country and get better quality people into the country.
De-funding the police is exactly what wrongdoers want. I understand that they are exceptions of police brutality, it’s wrong, of course, but I looked at the numbers and you can’t say it’s systemic. On the contrary, the number of police brutality, even normal actions against black people have decreased during the last years, mainly because cops are less likely to stop a black person, most say because they are afraid of being called or sued for racism, so things, again, were moving into the right direction.
If you are de-funding the police, whatever that might mean, before you have decreased the criminality rate, you’ll have a surge in criminality.
Now to summarize:
Taking a stand as a person is good thing, using your position to engage a public project with community contributions into social and political debate, is not so good.
Don’t use a ‘take it or leave it’ approach with FOSS, with community contributions in general. Don’t use it even in particular in situations where there are no alternatives to go to.
Pay attention to signs around you. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Do we all want less police? Yes. How? Find ways to decrease the criminality rate.
Thank you again for this nice conversation, and keep Django neutral!
Hi Gabriel - I appreciate your wall of text, but understand that I still cannot agree with your conclusions on a personal level. It seems your lived experiences of the world and mine are quite different, and I suspect that is why it is hard for each of us to convince the other.
That said, you keep bringing up the Foundation here - remember, these are my views, and I am merely a member of the Django Foundation and do not represent it in any official capacity at all; I’m just trying to give you an insight into the thinking and experiences that led me, like many other members, to vote in favour of the banner.
I’m not going to keep expanding on my personal politics here - let’s just say that I disagree with some of your positions on criminality and totalitarianism, and especially the idea that conservative voices are somehow silenced more than, for example, black, queer or trans ones - but I think thrashing this out here in public is going to help nobody, especially with the removal of subtlety and humanity that the internet so often forces upon us.
When it was brought up as an idea on the dsf-members mailing list, the response was overwhelmingly in favour, so if you would like to see the banner removed and you’re a DSF member, then you can go down a similar path to suggest its de-emphasis or removal if that’s what you want; there are a large number of people who are far better placed to talk about this than I am.
I love the diversity conferences that are enlightening, it’s made significantly of the person I am today. I wonder how we could measure the impact of this banner, I think we all agree that it would be really awesome if displaying this on Django documentation website had any impact at all to stop racism.Meanwhile, it does take a lot of the screen real estate and have all users have got the message yet.
Is it planed for removal, or is it going to stay forever ?
You know I’m too 1337 to need documentation, but I do have noobs in teams that I manage and they still have everything to read, and all of us are 100% for BLM already, so, maybe they could hide it with a button “I support #BLM” that would store your conscent in a cookie ?
Also, is this really material for a “Django Internals” forum ? This is: For discussing the development of Django itself, like the django-developers mailing list.
Well, I did bring the Foundation in discussion, because the Foundation was promoting it. I understand that those are your views, and I am thankful for your thoughts, but I was indeed looking for an official response from the Foundation.
OK. I understand that the Foundation has reached this decision, the one question that remains is if the Django community has been consulted (if the DSF considers such a thing is needed), and if so, by which means?
That would be a great thing. At least the DSF gets it’s message through and we get our real estate back, even though the button text should be different. I support any attempt to help people from disadvantaged groups to get the same kind of opportunities others have, but I can’t support the #BLM organization/movement at this point for the violence acts they are committing all over US. Something like “I understand”, or a simple “OK” would suffice.
@jpic I tried to find another topic groups in this forum, but others seemed even more far away and less appropriate, than the Django internals. I really wanted to know the DSF view on this matter and opening a topic here seemed fine, not the best place yet, I agree. I didn’t want to go to django-users or other FB groups because I first wanted to know an official position.
@andrewgodwin, I’m asking you because you seem to be the only DSF member that responded, have you brought this topic to the attention of the DSF board? I wonder if the other members were considering, at the time the vote for this has been made, the fact that there are people out there that consider that Django should remain neutral on political issues.
I’m also wondering if the banner decision should be a majority/minority vote. Remember, you are fighting for a minority group, yet, you made a decision based on a majority to disregard other voices that think BLM is a violent group, with innocent deaths of children and black people on it’s belt, and should not be supported.
In support for the above phrase I give you a few quotes from the DSF Diversity Statement (the emphasis are mine):
“We believe in being inclusive, welcoming, and supportive of anyone who comes to us with good faith and the desire to build a community”
“Conservative or liberal, libertarian or socialist — we believe it’s possible for people of all viewpoints and persuasions to come together and learn from each other”
"We work with the Django web framework, and we invite everyone to contribute, to the core Django code, the ecosystem of Django packages, and the community.
Come build the web with us."
In the statements made above the DSF considers contributors not only the core developers, but also people who contributed to the other packages and helped enlarge the whole community.