[tor-teachers] tor teachers -- politics

Jacob Appelbaum jacob at appelbaum.net
Tue Oct 20 11:33:27 UTC 2015

Dear all,

On 10/20/15, Nathan of Guardian <nathan at guardianproject.info> wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 20, 2015, at 06:55 AM, Jacob Appelbaum wrote:
>> Dear Nathan and everyone,
>> > I think as a community of teachers and trainers, we'll have to all be
>> > open to the fact that we are coming from very different backgrounds,
>> > and
>> > working with very different communities. I don't think anyone is
>> > actively trying to inject their own personal "P" politics into the
>> > list,
>> > but I am sure many kinds of politics will come up, as an aspect of
>> > empowering users who are working against a system that seeks to
>> > disempower them.
>> I'm totally on board with everything you've said excluding the very
>> last bit here. Forgive me for going down the rabbit hole with you.
>> We're not working against any system directly. Our efforts are not
>> mere pushback. Sure, we hope to stop surveillance and censorship
>> systems from harming Tor users. The crux here isn't just about
>> protesting "the man" or a specific political party or something along
>> those lines. Rather we've built an alternative and we're teaching
>> people how to utilize it in their lives.
>> The result is of course political and there is a question of how the
>> new system embodies certain political ideals. In our new system we
>> build on the radical politics of IP networking, we have a right to
>> form and hold ideas without interference, we have a right to free
>> speech and a right to read, we have anonymity of various kinds. We
>> have this as an intentional outcome of strong cryptography where
>> everyone is able to run or to use this new infrastructure. That isn't
>> a matter of just being against a system, it is about iterating and
>> changing the current systems, while also providing alternatives that
>> coexist and which are capable of replacing older, less autonomy
>> respecting, systems which are oppressive.
> Here, here!

I feel that if we don't understand the principles behind Tor, we may
have trouble teaching and evaluating related systems. The principles
behind Tor which are very political in most contexts are why we're
never going to see a backdoor inserted. Backdoor free crypto is a very
serious political stance in my view.

I'd still like to know what the original poster meant by political in
the context of this mailing list. It seems that we should be open and
willing to hear this definition and to use it as a starting point.
there may be a set of people who consider themselves "non-political"
when teaching Tor and I'd like to ensure that we don't exclude them.
First though, I'd really like to hear what that means from someone who
feels this describes their views or desires for this list.

All the best,

More information about the tor-teachers mailing list