15/03 2020

Solidarity infrastructure for solidarity actions

Disclaimer: The article will be updated if necessary. Last updated: April 21, 2020

In the current situation, we are receiving requests from many contexts on how they can digitally support and continue their political work. We are asked, for example, how a plenary or alliance meeting can be digitally implemented if people don’t want to/can’t meet in one room.

As a left-wing tech collective, we want to support you in using the right tools while still maintaining a minimum of privacy and security standards. Below are some specific recommendations for tools that we find useful for digital collaborative work processes.

Real-time communication

Group phone calls and video conferences

The main tools for virtual plenums. Your communication will be encrypted on its way. Nevertheless, you need to trust in the service providers, as they’re technically able to intercept. Therefore it’s even more important to pick instances from trustworthy tech collectives.

Basic tips:

  • All members should use a headset (in order to prevent echo and feedback issues).
  • Mute your microphone if you don’t speak. There’s a mute toggle in the conference tool.
  • Before the conference, 2-3 people should try out the platform and get used to it.

Recommended platforms:

Instant Messenger and chat groups

Messengers for fast communication and coordination are always important anyway, but currently indispensable.

  • Signal is the best smartphone messenger for 1:1 communication and smaller, non-public groups (up to 50 participants). Wherever possible, use Signal!
  • Telegram we usually don’t recommend, but for large and public groups there is unfortunately no recommendable alternative at the moment. Many solidary neighbourhood initiatives are currently being organised through telegram groups (e.g. Kiezkommune or Corono-Soli-FFM). Our pragmatic recommendation: use it only for these open groups, be aware that communication is not protected and use the Telegram client from F-Droid if possible. At least there are no trackers built in to analyze your communication behavior.

External communication

  • Tickers are suitable for spreading news. With our ticker you can inform your surroundings (for example the neighbourhood) about current developments. A ticker instance must be requested via e-mail. We can also make it available under different domains. All information about our ticker service.
  • Mastodon is a free Twitter alternative. We can recommend the following instances:

Discussions and knowledge storage

  • Via our Nextcloud instance you can work together on texts, share documents and coordinate appointments, tasks, etc. We have a documentation how to use Nextcloud as a group. All about our cloud service.
  • Etherpad is very well suited to collect ad-hoc knowledge and to share it together to create texts. It does not require registration, but is therefore not protected against vandalism. However, links can be created without write permission only. During large assemblies a combination of etherpad and mumble was quite sufficient. All about our pad-Service.
  • Wikis are perfect for knowledge collection and management. If you want to create an (internal or public) knowledge base, we can provide you a Wiki with the software Dokuwiki and make it available.

We hope to help you with the recommendations and the infrastructure for your political work. In discussions, action planning, coordination of neighbourhood assistance and all other solidarity behaviour.

PS: Like our friends, we run many other services, which we gladly make available for all emancipatory and solidarity initiatives.