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<h1 style="text-align: center;">
&nbsp;<span style="font-family: Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;">Technology&nbsp;Organizing</span><br style="font-family: Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;">
<span style="font-family: Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;">and Unions</span></h1>
<p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 0.18cm;" align="center" lang="en-GB">
<br>


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<p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;" align="center" lang="en-GB">
<font color="#000000"><font size="4">By
Marc B&eacute;langer</font></font></p>

<p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" align="center" lang="en-GB"><font color="#000000"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><font size="4"><span style="font-family: Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;">January, 2000</span></font></font></font></p>

<p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" align="center" lang="en-GB"><font color="#000000"><font face="Arial, sans-serif"><font size="4"><b><span style="font-family: Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;"></span></b><a href="technology_organizing.doc"><small>Download essay</small></a><b></b></font></font></font></p>

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      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">Unions were created in response to
an industrial revolution which is now in its death throes.  Should we
be preparing shrouds for our unions?  Or will unions still exist in a
hundred years? 								</font></font></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">This essay
suggests that they <span style="font-style: normal;">could</span>
exist if we refresh our ways of thinking about technology and do what
we do best as unionists: organise!  It looks at the new computer
communication technologies being implemented and some of the effects
those technologies are inducing.  Then it discusses a context in
which unionists could operate to leverage their current talents and
capabilities while maintaining their core values to participate
aggressively and effectively in the <i>design</i> of the new
electronic world being born.  Its premise is that unionists need to
face the emerging technological world with a new set of thinking
tools, a new vocabulary and a new method of participating in
technological change.</font></font></span></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">The
technological maelstrom buffeting us as we head into the 21<sup>st</sup>
century is just the edge of the storm front. There are hurricanes of
technological change coming our way.  Think of being in Gutenberg<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s
shop just as people were learning how to print books - and what was
to come after.  Think of being in Edison<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s
laboratory as electricity was being used to light bulbs or create
sound recordings - and what was to come after. Now think
electronically - and of what will come.</font></font></span></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">What comes after the introduction
of electronics - and its use in computer communications - is of
course difficult to predict. But electronic communication
technologies have general tendencies and direct effects which can be
considered as we think about what is going to happen to our
workplaces, homes and communities.</font></font></p>





      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;"><font color="#000000"><font style="font-family: Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;" size="3"><b>The
General Tendencies of Computer Communications</b></font><br>

      <span lang="en-GB"><br>

      <font size="3">The <i>general</i>
tendencies include: decentralization, customization, deterioration of
hard linkages, universal software translation and the development of
a biological paradigm. I'll explain.</font></span></font></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <font color="#000000"> <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3">Decentralization
 means that computer communications will put pressure on
organisations, including unions, to decentralize their operations.
Organisational centres were built to contain filing cabinets and the
staff to put paper into the filing cabinets. But now that information
is not paper-bound, it can be accessed from anywhere, or copies of it
can be put anywhere. There is no need for a large number of  people
in one centre. With computer communications an organisation could be
a collection of many centres. Not only <i>could</i> it be a
collection of many centres, but the use of computer communications
will put pressure on the organisation<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s
leaders to  <i>make</i> it a collection of many centres.  That does
not mean all organisations will decentralize - but those that do,
will be the ones to survive.  </font></span></font>
      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">The forces of decentralization
will affect individuals as well. The trajectory of computer
communications is aimed  at reaching any individual, anywhere in the
world, at any time with text, graphics, sound, video and even smell. 
The goal is to make the presence of the sender virtually real for the
receiver, and  vice versa.  One result of this will be greater
pressure to decentralize work to the home.</font></font></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">A second
general tendency of computer communications is customization.
Services and products will be customized for individuals and
organisations. Levis is customizing jeans for particularly-shaped
legs. General Motors, Ford and Toyota are all starting to
custom-create cars for individuals at regular car prices. Where these
companies go others will follow, not only because they control
galaxies of suppliers around them, but because they serve as models
for other sorts of manufacturers. Clients, users, union members and
others will begin to <i>expect</i> customized treatment.</font></font></span></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">Another general tendency of
computer communications will be to make people think of linkages as
fragile and temporary. The Industrial Revolution produced hardware
such as  trains and  toilets -  things made up of parts which
connected in physically hard ways and were disconnected with
difficulty.  This encouraged people to think of  linkages as hard and
permanent.  Employees, for example, were considered as linked to the
machines and over time, became permanently attached to the work. 
Today, however,  many of our dominant products are software creations
with bits and bytes which can be easily and quickly disconnected. 
Employees can be seen, and are being seen, as easily disconnected
from one project or company to be used in another project or company.
 Think of  linkages (parts to assembly lines; people to
organisations) and consider them dissipating and you will be able to
better predict what will happen around you.</font></font></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">An additional
general tendency of computer communications is that <i>everything</i>
is being translated into software: the chair you are sitting in, the
paper you are reading, and even you. What used to be important about
a chair was how a crafter chose the particular kind of wood, moulded
the legs, and curved the seat. What is important now is how much of
the chair<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s description has
been put into a software program so it can be manipulated to optimize
it for fast production or customization. Even people are being
translated into software. Not literally of course, but there are
software descriptions of people in databases which put together would
produce a clear picture of the individual<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s
health, purchase patterns, reading habits, financial situation,
political leanings and more. If a company searched all the databases
that included information about you and put that information
together, it would have a better picture of your behaviour than you
do. </font></font></span>
      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">Thinking about
fragile linkages and universal software translation may seem strange,
and, to the practical mind of many unionists, fantastical.  But
remember: ways of thinking have revolutionized how we organise
ourselves, our communities and our workplaces.  Newton<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s
greatest <font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>Aha!<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>
moment did not come when he saw the apple fall. It came when he
looked at the inner workings of a clock and said: <font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>That<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s
how  the universe works:  like clockwork. There must be
mechanical-like laws which determine how the universe operates."
 The scientific methods developed to find those laws led to
industrial production, which led to unions. Ways of thinking are
important to consider as we develop software programs which mimic
human thought.</font></font></span></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">We no longer
see the universe as a mechanistic contraption with a master blue
print. Instead, the metaphor we use is biological. The earth is a
      <font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"l</font>iving entity<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>,
not a lump of rock.  We don<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>t
have problems in software programmes, we have <font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>viruses<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>.
Stop thinking about computers as machines.  Think of them as
hard-skinned intelligences. If that seems too fanciful, remember
this: <i>you</i> may not think of computers in this way, but the
people who are designing the next generation of computers certainly
do. They see computers as intelligences which mimic the human mind -
intelligences to be nourished, introduced to each other and  helped
to learn. They do not think of computers as machines.  You will be
continually surprised by the latest advance in computer
communications if you do. Computers are clones of the human mind
created by people working with a human, not mechanistic, paradigm.
Think where the development of a young mind might go and you will be
able to think more clearly about the advancement of computer
technology.</font></font></span></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">Consideration of the  general
tendencies of computer communications  - decentralization,
customization, deterioration of hard linkages, universal software
translation, and the development of a biological paradigm - can be
used in two major ways: as a tool for thinking about how computer
communications will evolve and as a creativity generator for
designing new technological applications. Try to see the tendencies
at work in your organisation or community.</font></font></p>



      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB"></p>

      
      <div style="text-align: center;"><font color="#000000"><font size="3"><b><span style="font-family: Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;">The
Direct Effects of Computer Communications</span></b></font></font></div>

      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB"><font color="#000000"><font size="3"><b> </b></font></font>
      </p>



      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">The <i>direct</i>
effects of computer communications are much more concrete and easily
seen. They include:</font></font></span></p>





      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000"><b>De-industrialisation.</b>
The so-called <font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>industrial<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>
countries are rapidly de-industrializing. This is the result of two
factors which can be attributed to computer communications. First of
all, software translation of hardware goods is making it easy to
produce things with less people and less commitment to
infrastructure. Small plants with small numbers of staff can now
produce as much as big plants with large numbers of  staff.  The
result is smaller industrial sectors in the economically advanced
countries.  Secondly, computer communications allows production to be
co-ordinated globally which allows companies to be headquartered in
the rich countries and still manage industrial production in the
poorer countries. Not coincidently, these poorer countries have lower
wages, less stringent safety laws, the worst forms of child labour
and weaker unions, if any.  It may be that the developing countries
will get what they have been asking for - industrial activity - just
when it has become devalued. They may become the smoke factory towns
of the Electronic </font></font></span><font color="#000000"><font size="3">Revolution
- but this time not a few miles away from the rich homes of the
bosses, but thousands of miles away. Out of sight, out of mind?</font></font><br>

      <span lang="en-GB"></span></p>

      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;"><span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000"><b>Globalization.
      </b> Computer communications knows no boundaries. It is as easy to
send an email to a person countries away as its to send one to the
person next door. Companies can decentralize their activities and
still depend on just-in-time production methods across thousands of
miles.  They can choose countries according to unionization rates,
wage levels, safety laws and compliant governments. If a country or
workforce begins to demand better wages or safety laws, the companies
 can easily move production to another country.  It is no coincidence
that the most successful strikes which have been held in the past few
years,  such as the United Parcel Service (UPS) strike in the United
States in 1997 and the Australian dockworkers strike of 1998,
involved services which could not be moved.  Docks have to be in one
place; packages have to be physically delivered within a country.  </font></font></span>
      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000"><b>Virtual
Companies.</b> The most powerful companies in the world no longer
have to be the biggest in terms of production facilities or
workforces.  Take Cisco Systems for example. It is known as one of
the world<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s largest
manufacturers of computer network hardware. However, it manufactures
very little of the equipment which is sold under its name. It farms
out most of the work to 37 factories, all linked by computer
communications. Its suppliers make all the components, perform 90% of
the sub-assembly work and fully 55% of the final assembly. Its
suppliers regularly ship finished Cisco equipment to Cisco customers
without a Cisco employee ever touching the equipment. What<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s
more, about 80 % of its sales are generated from its Web site.  Cisco
is a virtually non-existent company (except, of course, for the money
it is earning, the power it holds over its suppliers and most
importantly, the control it has on the production methods and
schedules.)  Cisco has kept all the planning and coordinating work
while farming out all the problems (such as pesky unions) to its
suppliers.</font></font></span></p>



      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000"><b>Contracting-Out.</b>
 The secret to Cisco<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s
success (which is not so secret) is that it has contracted out most
of its work. It is able to do this and still maintain control over
its product because it can issue orders via computer communications.
More companies are looking at developing along the same lines.  Not
only are workers losing their jobs to contracting out, but because of
virtual companies such as Cisco, they are no longer sure who they are
really working for.  Additionally, the rise in contracted work is
producing a pool of transitory workers who move from company to
company in search of higher wages or better working </font></font></span><font color="#000000"><font size="3">conditions.
The result is high turnover rates and depressed wages in the
companies which are doing the manufacturing. </font></font>
      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">Another factor which has
contributed to the increase in temporary and casual workers is the
fact that employers now have computers to handle the complicated
payroll systems involved in paying many outside people.  Twenty or
thirty years ago it would have been very difficult to track the hours
of large numbers of temporary people.  But now, with computers it is
easier, and so employers take advantage of the capability to avoid
paying the benefits due to full-time staff.</font></font></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000"><b>Different
Union Structures?</b>  Unions developed during the Industrial
Revolution as a response to employer actions. In many ways, they are
reflections of existing management infrastructures. Today<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s
auto unions, for example, are big partly as a reflection of big
automakers.  And certainly unions learned their administrative
structures from the business community. So, for example, dues
collection stopped being a process of meeting the members and asking
for the monthly dues - it became a matter of the local union
secretary-treasurers sending cheques to union accountants. Or,
increasingly, computer communication is being used to send dues
directly from the employer to the central union without any local
union intervention. </font></font></span>
      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">The serious
question then becomes: if employers are going to change the way they
do business and morph into other sorts of structures (such as virtual
companies) what will unions do? Will they reflect the employer<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s
administrative structures? Or will they create their own? What will
the unions of the 21<sup>st</sup> century (if they exist) look like?
The answer may be found in a closer look at  the new workplace being
created as computer communication evolves.</font></font></span></p>



      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center;" lang="en-GB"><font color="#000000"><font size="3"><b>The
Imaginary Workplace</b></font></font></p>


      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;"><span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">	The
electronic workplaces of the 21<sup>st</sup> century (for those who
are able to participate in them) will be imaginary ones. The
Imaginary Workplace will be one in which the human imagination (and
therefore creativity) is the most important factor.  For the first
time in the history of humankind men and women will work with
unlimited resources - computer space and the human mind. No longer
will humans be limited by the amount of coal in the ground or fish in
the sea. The result could be full employment for all humans,
everywhere.</font></font></span></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <br>


      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">That is the goal.  Computer
communications can help us reach it because we will no longer be
limited by the natural world. But full employment policies are not
necessarily supported by corporate interests. Full employment can
cause sectoral labour shortages which in turn can increase wage
demands and requests for other benefits. The corporate community may
feel more comfortable with a pool of unemployed or underemployed
which, by its very existence, depresses wages and gives power to the
managers (by allowing them to threaten employees with dismissal
because others could quickly fill the jobs).  If there has ever been
a development in the history of humankind which could produce good
jobs for all it is the advent of computer communications. Actually
producing this full employment will be a question of politics and
societal power relations.</font></font></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">Also, it has to
be recognized that not all workplaces in the electronic countries
will be treated as Imaginary Workplaces where workers<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>
creativity is paramount.  The people working in the warehouses of
Amazon.com (the online bookseller) are not treated as people with
brains - they<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>re treated
like old time industrial workers who have to do what they are told,
when they are told.  The people staffing the help desks of many new
computer service companies are underpaid and  overworked. These
workforces are perfect locales for traditional union organizing.</font></font></span></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">Still, the overwhelming trend in
the electronic countries is towards the development of workplaces
based on information-handling or knowledge-creation, in other words:
Imaginary Workplaces.  Education will play a key role in supporting
the development of these workplaces. </font></font>
      </p>



      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center;" lang="en-GB"><font color="#000000"><font size="3"><b>Education
in the Imaginary Workplace</b></font></font></p>


      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB"><font color="#000000"><font size="3">	The
Imaginary Workplace will be characterized by two major factors: speed
of change and life-long learning.  Assembly lines have to shut down
for re-tooling every time a new product is introduced. But workplaces
which are based on replicating human thought via software (which is
what the Imaginary Workplace will do) can change almost at the speed
of thought itself.  It may take time to think up new ideas and write
software to implement those  ideas, but certainly not as long as
re-tooling an assembly line. This means workers in the Imaginary
Workplace will expected to constantly re-create their jobs - every
day.  </font></font>
      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <br>


      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">The only way this can happen is if
workers have access to information-on-demand, training, education and
democracy in the workplace. They need access to information in order
build the software products which will provide their services or
products. They need just-in-time training in order to learn a skill
set at the time it is needed. They need access to life-long education
in order to keep their knowledge creatively fresh. And they need more
democratically operated workplaces places because creativity cannot
be ordered to exist. It needs to be nurtured in an environment in
which people have collective control over their work circumstances
and feel free to express themselves.  More democracy in the workplace
is the key to a successful enterprise in the new electronic society. 
But of course whether employers recognise this is another question.</font></font></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">Life-long
training and education is a prerequisite for the new workplace. Gone
is the day that workers could be educated in a few years, trained in
a few months, and then be expected to be employable the rest of their
lives. Workers will become l<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>earners
- people who earn a living by learning.</font></font></span></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">Computer
communications, which will force the need for life-long education,
will at the same time provide the tools to meet the need. 
Computer-based distance education could provide workers with the
means to keep their skill sets relevant and ways of continuing their
life-long education. But who will provide this training and
education?  There is no doubt that much of the educational activity
will come from the private, commercial  sector. That is not the
problem. The problem is <i>how much</i> of this educational activity
will be commercially-based. Primary and secondary education - for now
- seems safely in the hands of the public sector (despite growing
pressure to commercialize the schools).  But much of post-secondary
education could be privatized if public educational institutes do not
move quickly to take advantage of computer communications for
education. A bricks-and-mortar attitude on the part of university or
community college educators will result in the closing of many 
public educational organisations. Workers will vote with their
keyboards to stay on the job or in the home and learn at institutes
which provide online courses. Those public institutes which pay
attention to this phenomena will continue to exist. Those who ignore
it will be shutting themselves down. </font></font></span>
      </p>




      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center;" lang="en-GB"><font color="#000000"><font size="3"><b>Predicting
the Changes</b></font></font></p>


      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB"><font color="#000000"><font size="3">	Understanding
the changes which are about to hit our workplaces involves not only
understanding the general tendencies of computer communications and
studying the direct effects, but predicting  what technologies will
come into play in the near future. This predicting is by necessity
hazy and imprecise but it does not have to involve chicken entrails
(or worse, futurists.)  You can learn to see what is coming in
technology, at least in the short term (say five years) by following
a few rules:</font></font></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <br>


      </p>


      
      <ul>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;"><span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">Pay
	attention to technologies being introduced in your sector by reading
	trade magazines or web sites. It always takes time for organisations
	to make decisions and re-write the budgets. You can think about what
	<i>currently available</i> technologies are likely to be introduced
	into your particular workplace. That is  not futurism; that is
	paying attention to the present.</font></font></span></p>


        </li>

      
      </ul>



      
      <ul>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB"><font color="#000000"><font size="3">Look
	at the entertainment industry, especially toy production. Most new
	technologies make their way into the market for entertainment or
	play. That is because new technologies are creative endeavours and
	the entertainment-toy world is geared for play.  The telescope was
	first introduced as a toy. So was the personal computer. What are
	the new toys coming into the market? </font></font>
	</p>


        </li>

      
      </ul>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <br>


      </p>


      
      <ul>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB"><font color="#000000"><font size="3">Look
	to corporate practice. Corporations will adopt technologies which
	will help them do their work. Notice this does not mean that
	technologies will help them make a profit. There is no evidence at
	all that the introduction of the microcomputer helped the bottom
	line. Instead, it seems to have helped companies do the old things
	faster (leaving room for new things to be done) or created whole new
	corporations such as Microsoft.</font></font></p>


        </li>

      
      </ul>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <br>


      </p>


      
      <ul>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB"><font color="#000000"><font size="3">Pay
	attention to democratic communities using new technologies. The
	Internet took off not because it enabled scientists to
	electronically enter far-away computers.  It took off because those
	scientists (and later their students) used it to send personal
	messages. Soon millions were using it for email. As another example
	consider Linux, a new operating system which could rival Windows 
	and still be free of charge. It is being developed by programmers
	all over the world who are volunteering their work because they see
	a global community creating a new and useful product and they want
	to be contributing members of that community. The Open Source, free,
	software movement (which is what produced Linux and other software)
	is the democratic technological community's answer to globalization
	and monopoly software.</font></font></p>


        </li>

      
      </ul>





      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;"></p>

      
      <div style="text-align: center;"><font color="#000000"><font size="3"><b>Creating
Technological Effects</b></font></font><br>

      </div>

      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;"><span lang="en-GB"></span><br>

      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">There are other
thinking tools which can be used to predict what technologies will
hit your workplace or the workplaces of others in the next few years.
But what is important to understand here is <i>why</i> we must
develop more of these tools and change our ways of confronting the
future. </font></font></span>
      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">Why? Because of the enormous speed
at which the changes are coming and will continue to come.  We will
have increasingly less time to think through the consequences of our
adoption of new technologies and the changes they will promote.  If
we do not  consider how we can predict technological change,  how we
can react to its effects, and how to create the technological effects
we want,  we could end up falling into societal design driven mainly
by corporate interests. That is what is happening to the design of
the new global economy which is in turn putting pressure on local
societies and economies to adopt its practices.</font></font></p>




      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">Unlike a static
society mired  in traditional ways, a rapidly changing society is
more easily deflected towards a new mixture of institutions and
goals.  Today, as in another fast changing time  - the Industrial
Revolution -  corporate interests are taking advantage of social flux
to promote  the institutions and goals they want (plus get rid of the
institutions they don<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>t
want).  And they are using the same arguments: less government
intervention lest the wondrous technological advance be stymied; no
worker organisations which could impede workplace flexibility; raw
competition between workers - this time on a global basis - for lower
and lower wages in the name of progress; and so on and so on.  It all
has a such a familiar ring to it.  But just because it is all so
wearily familiar does not allow complacency.  If we do not act now to
      <i>affect</i> the technological changes coming at us, we will be
handing the </font></font></span><font color="#000000"><font size="3">creation
of our new electronic societies to corporate leaders who may have
different ideas about what constitutes a just and equitable society
than most people.</font></font></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">The first - and most crucial step
- to understanding the technological changes coming at us,  and be
able to plan for them,  is to build a greater appreciation of the
enormity of the changes headed our way.  The simple truth is that
most of the wondrous new technologies you see being applied, or hear
about, are just hazy prototypes of what will appear tomorrow. The
Internet may seem an awesome technological wonder. But it will soon
disappear.</font></font></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">The Internet
will disappear in two ways: First, it will be built into the material
world. If you think the jerk at the next table talking into his cell
phone is irritating just wait until your fridge says: <font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>There<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s
a call waiting for you and by the way you need more butter<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>.
We are going to build the Internet into all sorts of common place
products and consequently it will become common place - something to
be paid less attention to as we marvel at the next technological
wonder.  Secondly, the Internet will cease to be a focus of societal
attention in the same way radio and TV did. Both radio and TV seemed
to be the ultimate in communication when they were first introduced.
And both had very powerful effects on our social and political
doings. But both were eventually obsolesced: radio by TV; TV by the
Internet.  If you think the Internet is the ultimate communication
tool, then all your navigating through the next few years of
technological change will head  you off in wrong directions.</font></font></span></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">We are <i>not</i>
building the Internet - we are building a New Electronic Society.
Computer communications (of which the Internet is merely a part) will
change our industrial societies radically - so much so that to call
them <i>industrial</i> societies condemns us to erroneous thinking
about how they will develop. The rich parts of the world are creating
      <i>electronic</i> societies which will be as different from
industrial  societies as industrial society was to feudalism.
Meanwhile the so-called <font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>developing"
countries  will be cast the industrial dregs and many of them  will
find themselves even further behind the richer countries (despite one
or two golden exceptions). </font></font></span>
      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">The secret to
understanding what the Internet is (in social, economic and political
terms) is understanding that it is an <i>enabling, multi-purpose
technology</i>.  It will promote the creation of many radically new
technologies in much the same way the book did after its introduction
in the 15<sup>th</sup> century and electricity did after it was
introduced in the 19<sup>th</sup> century.  There are interesting
times ahead.</font></font></span></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">Book production induced many
radical changes. Because books became available, higher literacy
levels developed. Because people could see their language in print,
grammar and spelling became important. Because the Bible was
translated into the vernacular and distributed widely, the
Reformation was sparked.  Because printed language helped define
national groupings,  nation states were created. Because nation
states with middle classes were developed,  local capital markets
were started. Because the mechanics of print (with its repeatable
parts used over again to create new products) provided an industrial
model, and there were capital markets, and there were books teaching
people how to produce things, the Industrial Revolution was born. And
out of the Industrial Revolution came unions.</font></font></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">The advent of electricity also
provoked many societal-changing technologies, not least of which
were: the telegraph, the light bulb, the phonograph, the telephone,
movies, radio and television - all of which prompted many
far-reaching changes.  </font></font>
      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">The Internet will enable the
introduction and development of many new technologies which will be
just as revolutionary as the ones mentioned above. Each will have
profound effects on  how we organise our economies, social lives and
workplaces.   What is important to pay attention to is not the
Internet, but what technologies the Internet will, and could, spawn 
- and develop those technologies which enhance the human condition. </font></font>
      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">(There are
other very noble ideas about not being involved in <i>any</i> new
technology because they are <i>all</i> tainted with the original sin
of corporate capitalism and cannot be used for democratic,
human-enhancing activities. This stance condemns its adherents to be
continually reacting to the technological applications being promoted
by the very corporate interests they decry.  It closes the mental
doors to understanding what radical new technologies and applications
of new technologies could be developed.) </font></font></span>
      </p>



      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center;" lang="en-GB"><font color="#000000"><font size="3"><b>Designing
Technology</b></font></font></p>


      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;"><span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">	How
can we be involved in the design of the new technologies headed our
way? Here's how: We should use our talents as people organisers to
build a popular Technology Organizing movement as powerful as today<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s
environmental movement. This movement (which would include organised
labour, non-governmental organisations, political parties and other
organisations) would promote new people-oriented technological
designs; suggest legislative initiatives; lobby for
publicly-controlled technological inquiries and regulatory bodies;
encourage people in technological communities (such as workplaces) to
find their group technological  power; condemn technological
applications which degrade the human condition; and, eventually, 
point to a radically different civilization which is  based on the
use of technologies which promote economic and technological activity
linked directly to social well-being.  Those who would quickly scoff
at this idea and declare it fantasy forget that the environmental
movement faced the same sort of derision when it started.  But now,
after only 40 years and after the development of organisations such
as Greenpeace, and  the rise of political parties like the Greens,
environmental ideas are at the very heart of our political and
economic debates. The same could happen with a technology organizing
movement and its ideas.</font></font></span></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">At the core of
a technology organizing movement must be a people-inclusive
definition of  technology.  The engineer<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s
definition (the one most prevalent today) is:</font></font></span></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3"><b>A technology is a tool
(hardware, software or mental) which is used to solve problems.</b></font></font></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">The great
difficulty with this definition is that it excludes people. It is as
if technologies were not to be used by or for people. By omitting men
and women in the design of use of tools the definition excludes
public debate, corporate interests, governmental action, cultural
imperatives, psychological orientations, fun, love, sex  and more. 
It portrays technologies  as entities developed as part of an
unfolding of what capital <font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>T<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>
Technology must be.  We do not design technologies, according to this
definition, as much as participate in a process of discovering the
neutral laws of Technology.  But this is a false extension of the
scientific process to technological development. Pure science needs
to be built on strict observation of life and materials in order to
inoculate itself from human-produced error. A chromosome is a
chromosome. But as soon as a science (such as DNA analysis) leaves
the lab and becomes a technology it enters the messiness of human
activity.  It becomes moulded by the prevailing power patterns,
cultural activities, economic institutions and other human-built
entities and processes.  Or it dies an early death, even as an idea,
by not being supported once it is outside the lab.</font></font></span></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <br>


      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <br>


      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <br>


      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">Here is a  more people-inclusive
definition of technology: </font></font>
      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <b><span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">A technology
is a tool (hardware, software or mental) which is used <i>by groups
of people </i>to solve problems.</font></font></span></b></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">This definition
has the advantage of being closer to the truth, as well as providing
an entry point for thinking about how people involved in technologies
can be organised. Technologies become technologies once they come
into use by people.  And they are used by <i>groups</i> of people
because that is how we organise ourselves (technologies are rarely
designed by or for one person.)</font></font></span></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">This way of
thinking about technology opens the possibilities of seeing
technological design and application almost like community
organizing.  Community organisers bring together people who share a
common sense of community (geographical, institutional, interest,
age, etc.) and facilitate the community<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s
understanding of its power to get things done.  A neighbourhood group
for example might lobby city hall for speed bumps on roads (a
technological rather than political solution). A group of workers
might organise through their union for the creation of a new
workplace technology or influence the use of a technology being
introduced into the workplace.  In both instances the groups come to
a sense of their power by combined action. And they both face
powerful, often overpowering, opponents: city hall or the employer.
But the power of their opponents does not stop them from organizing
and winning what victories they can. In the end, they hope to create
a society which is more responsive to the needs of its citizens,
especially in whatever community they are organizing. </font></font></span>
      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">This sense of continuing to
struggle in the face of overpowering odds is especially pertinent in
thinking through a theory of technology organizing.  Technology is
too often seen as an all-powerful force which produces entities which
appear as they do because that is the natural course of the unfolding
of technology.  But, in reality, technologies are the result of
numerous decisions made by people working in groups (such as
corporations or other institutions).  The technologies look and act
they way they do because groups of people have made choices all along
the path of their development.  </font></font>
      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">The intriguing possibility is
that, subject to other choices being made, it is possible that
radically different technological forms could be developed - maybe
even forms which could promote a global civilization better aimed at
developing the social well-being of its people.</font></font></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">A small
example: for years the radio was assumed to have a particular design
- transistors, speakers, antennas, batteries, etc.  It was what we
knew to be a <font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>radio<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>.
 But a few years ago an inventor in England made an important change
to the basic design of the radio which is now helping many people in
developing countries where batteries are expensive or difficult to
find. He designed a radio which can be cranked up to provide an
hour<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s worth of play time.
No batteries are needed.  This idea seems logical now, but for years
the inventor could not interest anybody enough to get  financial
backing.  A radio was a radio; it needed batteries - which in the
rich parts of the world are cheap and easily obtainable. It was only
after an entrepreneur in South Africa was intrigued by the idea that
production  started. And now there are villages in the developing
world with a <font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>crank-radio<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>
that is designed for their circumstances. (Should we be thinking of
crank PCs?)</font></font></span></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">As another
example, the first national bilingual computer conferencing system in
Canada - SoliNet - was not developed by one of the big telephone or
computer companies. It was developed by a union, the Canadian Union
of Public Employees (CUPE), using technology developed at the
University of Guelph.  CUPE was also the first organisation in Canada
to build a Local Area Network (a LAN) of computers, ahead of even the
computer companies.  SoliNet and CUPE<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s
early use of a LAN  proved that unions <i>can </i>be involved in the
design of new technologies, and at the cutting edge.</font></font></span></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">These are small examples in the
big scheme of technological things. But what if more attention were
paid to encouraging people to be involved in the design and
application of  new technologies?  What if more people were trained
in computer system design principles or participatory software
creation? What if people had access to public funds to create new
technologies?  What if they could sit on public boards which
monitored the introduction of new technologies? What if workers were
allowed to democratically participate in the creation of new,
worker-oriented technologies?  Might we develop different sorts of
technologies which, by their very existence, could point to the great
possibilities inherent in letting thousands, maybe millions, of
people participate in technology design?</font></font></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">Andrew
Feenberg, a professor at Simon Fraser University and one of the first
online teachers, has written extensively on this subject in books
such as <u>The Critical Theory of Technology</u> (Oxford University
Press, 1991). He argues that technologies have many <font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>potentialities<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>
which can lead in many different directions according to the people
making the choices.  These potentialities, correctly acted upon,
could lead to a radically different civilization than the ones in
which we currently exist,  a civilization based on broader democratic
participation.  Labour unions, he argues, could be a part of the
movement which encourages these various potentialities to be
explored.</font></font></span></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">The central lesson is that within
the technological world is an array of possibilities. The existing
technological world is not the result of technological imperatives
which determine how a particular technology evolves or what new
technologies appear. It is the result of many choices made by people
working with tools to address problems and fulfil aspirations. Other
choices could produce radically different technologies.</font></font></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">Of course, the
problem is that most of the people with resources to produce new
technologies are mainly working for large corporations which have
their own agendas for the world.  The result is a technological world
(produced by a corporate mind set) which looks <font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>natural<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>
and <font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>inevitable<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>
- something we object to only at the risk of being <font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>unreasonable",
      <font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>inefficient<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>
or worse <font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>Luddite<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">"</font>.
But that does not mean, however, that those outside of the corporate
world should reject the practice of technology design.  Rather, we
should work hard to show how democratic, people-oriented technologies
can be built, even with meagre resources, in order to point towards
the possibility of a radically different technological civilization.</font></font></span></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">In order to do
this, we need to organise communities to understand and use their
group  power to design and influence technology, much in the same way
 urban groups, organised by community organisers, influence city
governments.  We could train activists in the principles of
democratic technology design and people-organising skills. These
activists could work in organisations, workplaces, unions and
communities -  anywhere people are using technologies.  Generically,
we could call these people <i>technology organisers</i>, but they
could have different titles within different communities, such as
technology stewards. </font></font></span>
      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">Technology
organisers would not be limited to working only in the advanced
electronic societies. In fact, it is possible that the most fertile
work could be produced in the developing countries where technologies
have to be designed to meet local circumstances.  Technology
organisers could work with people in developing countries to create
system designs (technical descriptions) of  electronic technologies
which take into account factors such as undependable telephone
connections, expensive Internet connections or costly electricity. We
should not assume that the way a technology appears in an advance
electronic society is its ultimate form. Like the crank radio, a
technology could be designed to operate <i>as effectively</i> while
adopting a different form to meet the different circumstances of the
developing world.  Funding for producing the technologies could be
sought after the system designs were produced. Clearly thought out
and written ideas are the necessary prerequisites for finding money. 
      </font></font></span>
      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">The immediate
goal of a technology organising movement facilitated by technology
organisers would be to show that groups  can influence the creation
and design of technologies. The intermediate goal would be to build
an international technology organizing  movement as powerful as
today<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s environmental
movement to influence governments, corporations and other
institutions in their use and creation of technology. The long-term
goal would be to point towards a new global technologically-based
civilization which ties economic activity to social well-being and
practices democracy in all its important activities. </font></font></span>
      </p>



      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; text-align: center; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;" lang="en-GB"><font color="#000000"><font size="3"><b>Training
Technology Organisers</b></font></font></p>


      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%;"><span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">	The
key to the successful development of a technology organizing movement
would  be the training of the technology organisers <font face="WP TypographicSymbols">-
      </font> the people who work within the technological communities. 
They would  need training in the basic organizing principles of a
technology organizing movement and in the goals such as movement
would promote.</font></font></span></p>


      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">	A basic course for a technology
organiser would include:</font></font></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;">
      <font color="#000000"> <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3">1)   An
introduction to technological change,  which would include discussion
of a people-inclusive definition of technology and the concept of
various potentialities within technologies.</font></span></font></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">2)  An overview of  technologies
affecting the community in which the organiser is working, with 
special attention paid to the technology which is most affecting the
community.</font></font></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">3)  Discussions on the basics of
technological forecasting which would include how to predict what
technologies will be introduced into particular communities.</font></font></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">4)  A module on the principles of
participatory design, which is a method (originally developed in the
Nordic countries) to effectively involve users in the development of
computer programs.  Participatory design principles can be  learned
by anybody; they do not involve extensive knowledge of computer
programming.</font></font></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">5)  An introduction to the basic
strategies and tactics of organizing people within technological
communities such as: </font></font>
      </p>


      
      <ul>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
	<font color="#000000"><font size="3">Pick an  initial project which is
	almost sure of victory to build confidence within the group.</font></font></p>


	</li>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
	<font color="#000000"><font size="3">Let potential solutions come out
	of facilitated group discussions and not the  organiser.</font></font></p>


	</li>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
	<font color="#000000"><font size="3">Find the natural leaders within a
	group and train them as technology organisers.</font></font></p>


        </li>

      
      </ul>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">6)  A basic technology organiser
course would also include a section on how to organise a computer
project including sections on:</font></font></p>


      
      <ul>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
	<font color="#000000"><font size="3">Needs analysis (to determine the
	needs of the participants).</font></font></p>


	</li>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
	<font color="#000000"><font size="3">System design (a process leading
	to a document which describes the technical design of the software
	to be produced).</font></font></p>


	</li>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
	<font color="#000000"><font size="3">Prototyping (to provide a
	prototype for the participants to react to, and change, before the
	whole program is written).</font></font></p>


	</li>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
	<font color="#000000"><font size="3">Programming ( the basic concepts
	only; technology organisers do not have to know how to program).</font></font></p>


	</li>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
	<font color="#000000"><font size="3">Training (how to design a
	training program).</font></font></p>


	</li>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
	<font color="#000000"><font size="3">Scheduling (how to establish a
	schedule for a computer project).</font></font></p>


	</li>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
	<font color="#000000"><font size="3">Parallel runs (operating the new
	and old system for a period of time in order to find errors in the
	new program and have time to fix them).</font></font></p>


	</li>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
	<font color="#000000"><font size="3">Evaluation (not only of the
	program produced, but of the whole process of the
	technology-organizing involved in the project).</font></font></p>


        </li>

      
      </ul>



      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">This last point
is crucial.  It is not enough to have successfully involved a
community in the design of a new technology because we know that more
new technologies will appear. What we also have to do, while involved
in a technology organizing project,  is to pay attention to what
      <i>general lessons </i>could be learned about how to organise
technology.  Then we can apply those lessons to our technology
organizing when the next new technology comes along.   </font></font></span>
      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">In terms of
technology organizing it matters little that you learned how to work
with a particular technology (like computers or the Web). What really
matters are the lessons you learned in organising the people who were
involved with it.  By building our stock of lessons we can
continually improve the basic principles of technology organizing and
strengthen the movement<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s
ability to confront the next wave of technological change.</font></font></span></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">Technology organisers will also
need to be trained in articulating the rights the movement would
fight for.  A listing of rights might vary from community to
community. A list of rights for a workplace community might include:</font></font></p>


      
      <ul>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
	<font color="#000000"><font size="3">Being involved in the design of
	technologies in the workplace</font></font></p>


	</li>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
	<font color="#000000"><font size="3">Privacy - no email or telephone
	monitoring</font></font></p>


	</li>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;">
	<font color="#000000"> <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3">Health and
	Safety protection, especially for stress-related problems</font></span></font></p>


        </li>

      
      </ul>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
      <br>


      </p>



      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3"><b>Electronic Unions</b></font></font></p>


      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">	Each technological community 
will use the principles of technology organizing in their own way.
They will develop novel ways of reacting to technological change. And
(hopefully) they will develop new technologies.  By adopting the same
major goal (to uncover democratic potentialities in technologies) and
sharing organizing lessons, they can learn from each other and
together build a powerful, global movement.</font></font></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;">
      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">As for the
specific case of employee unions: they will need to radically
reorganise themselves because their employers are in the process of
radically re-organizing themselves. If they do not, they run the risk
of being 19<sup>th</sup> century organisations facing 21st century
employers.   That is a risk which could very well result in the
extinction of unions.</font></font></span></p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">To help ensure the re-creation of
industrial unions into electronic unions we need to begin
wide-ranging discussions with creative ideas.  Members have to be
involved in a campaign of re-thinking their institutions. Some ideas
which might be introduced into these discussions include:</font></font></p>


      
      <ul>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;">
	<span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">Temporary
	local unions created for temporary projects. If employers are going
	to create temporary entities for their projects (possible via
	contracting out and other ways) unions may have to make it easy for
	groups of workers to come together during the life of the  project
	to form their own local union or branch.  This may mean addressing
	the legislation which creates and protects unions.  Maybe we should
	be looking at the example of actors<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'
	</font>unions which protect members working on temporary projects
	(plays).</font></font></span></p>


	</li>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
	<font color="#000000"><font size="3">Organise information and
	knowledge workers.  Information workers are people such as insurance
	clerks who work with data that has been shaped into information. 
	Knowledge workers are people who create new knowledge, such as
	university  professors, scientists, computer system designers and
	others.  Both fields of employment will expand in electronic
	societies.  Unions have to begin organizing these people by
	understanding who they are, hiring some of them as organisers and
	most importantly, using the same tools they do (such as computer
	communications).</font></font></p>


	</li>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;">
	<span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">Develop
	customized information.  The key to working with people (either as
	clients, customers or union members) in an electronic society will
	be to address them in customized ways.  Abundant computing power
	allows for the tracking of minute pieces of information such as: how
	many times a member sent an email to the union; what are the
	member<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s interests; what
	family grouping do they live with; and so on. By tracking disparate
	bits of information on members a profile could be built so that
	union organisers (or intelligent computer systems) could react to
	members as individuals (or individuals within particular groups). 
	If companies are going to do this to build and maintain their
	customer bases why shouldn<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>t
	unions?   Unions should give away customized information (such as:
	retirement plans, or  wage analyses  linked to financial plans) as
	an enticement for the worker to join the union in order to get more
	customized information.</font></font></span></p>


	</li>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;">
	<span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">Organise
	workers<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font> help desks. 
	Information and knowledge workers are used to dealing electronically
	with computer companies for software help. They should also be able
	to communicate with union help desks. These union help desks could
	provide information on labour legislation, retirement plans, layoff
	provisions, etc., without charging.  In order to get to a higher
	level of customized help people would have to join the union.</font></font></span></p>


	</li>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
	<font color="#000000"><font size="3">Lobby for truly universal pension
	and maternity/paternity  plans.  Computers allow employers to manage
	the payrolls of large numbers of temporary workers (in fact, this is
	one of the reasons for the rise in the number of casual employees).
	There is no reason why these very systems could not also track
	hourly employment periods in order to calculate pension, maternity
	and other benefits. If a worker is employed by a company a total of
	52 hours in a year that employee should be able to have 52 hours
	counted towards a pension plan or other benefit plan.  Then it would
	be a matter of legislation to make the plans portable between
	employers.</font></font></p>


	</li>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
	<font color="#000000"><font size="3">Union education departments are
	usually under-staffed and under-resourced. However, with the
	introduction of computer communications, unions could share their
	educational staff, or other experts amongst themselves.  A health
	and safety officer based in one city could teach members of many
	unions who may be scattered throughout the country or international
	region. These activities could be coordinated by national and
	international labour bodies.</font></font></p>


	</li>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;">
	<span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">Create
	databases of employers.  Unions could use computers to build
	databases of information on employers to share with other unions
	(perhaps internationally) but also to track the linkage between
	companies (such as primary companies and suppliers). This
	information could help build the union<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s
	strength in bargaining, public campaigns (such as boycotts) and, if
	necessary, strikes.</font></font></span></p>


	</li>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
	<font color="#000000"><font size="3">A union activist database could
	be created. This database could hold profiles of labour activists
	according to their interests and capabilities. For example, if a
	union were looking for a person with experience handling a
	particular health and safety problem (such as asbestosis) the
	database could be search and the person contacted via email.</font></font></p>


	</li>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;">
	<span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">Hypertext
	contracts could be posted online.  Every contract clause could have
	a hypertext link to an explanation of why the clause exists, why it
	might need improving and what its history is. As well, clauses which
	do not currently exist (but the union would like to add)  could be
	annexed with explanations.  In this way members could gain a better
	understanding of their contracts and be informed about possible
	improvements. A better informed membership always strengthens the
	union<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s bargaining
	committee.</font></font></span></p>


        </li>

      
      </ul>



      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB"></p>

      
      <div style="text-align: center;">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3"><b><span style="font-family: Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;">Grand Projects for the Labour
Movement</span> </b></font></font></div>



      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">	 The labour movement needs some
grand projects to give it focus and enthusiasm as it develops
electronically.  These projects might include:</font></font></p>



      
      <ul>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;">
	<span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">An Online
	International Labour College. The creation of an International
	Labour College, which uses computer conferencing to conduct online
	classes, would be a very important step in developing the labour
	movement<font face="WP TypographicSymbols">'</font>s reactions to
	globalisation.  An online College would not only train unionists in
	the characteristics of the global economy being created (and we
	desperately need more unionists informed on this topic) but also
	build linkages between individuals and organisations
	internationally.&nbsp;  </font></font></span>
	</p>


        </li>

      
      </ul>



      
      <ul>

        <li>
          
          <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
	<font color="#000000"><font size="3">A Crystal Labour Encyclopaedia. 
	If you drop a crystal into a supersaturated solution it becomes a
	much larger, even more beautiful crystal.  If we created a labour
	encyclopaedia with little articles (like little crystals) to which
	people around the world could attach information or comments we
	could create an international encyclopaedia of enormous scope and
	diversity.  The Crystal Labour Encyclopaedia could become a very
	important tool in the development of a global labour movement
	consciousness.(* This paragraph was written in 2000 long before the
	introduction of wikies and the Wikipedia. Today of course we would
	use those technologies and models)</font></font></p>


	
        </li>

      
      </ul>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3">These are just a few ideas thrown
into the wind for discussion.  They, and others suggested by more
unionists, could  spark even better ideas. And it is ideas by the
millions we need in order to make sure our unions make the transition
to the new electronic societies that are emerging.  Maybe, by
adopting a program of training technology organisers and
participating in an international technology-organizing movement, we
can ensure the continued existence of our unions, extend our efforts
to protect working people and participate in a global movement which
promotes the appropriate use of technology to celebrate the human
spirit in all its manifestations. </font></font>
      </p>


      
      <p style="text-indent: 1.27cm; margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
      <br>


      </p>


      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3"><b>Marc B&eacute;langer</b></font></font></p>




      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 150%; widows: 2; orphans: 2; font-weight: bold;" lang="en-GB">
      <font color="#000000"><font size="3"><b>Turin, Italy,&nbsp;&nbsp;
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; </b></font></font>marc@solicomm.net<br>

2000


      </p>



      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 0.18cm; widows: 2; orphans: 2;">
      </p>

      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 0.18cm; widows: 2; orphans: 2;"><font color="#000000"><font size="3"></font></font></p>

      
      <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm; line-height: 0.18cm; widows: 2; orphans: 2;"><font color="#000000"><font size="3">First published:</font></font><br>

      <span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000"></font></font></span></p>

      
      <p><span lang="en-GB"><font size="3"><font color="#000000">B&eacute;langer,
M. (2001). Technology organizing and unions. In M. Moll &amp; L.
Shade, (Eds.), <i>E-commerce vs. e-commons</i> (pp. 129-151). Ottawa,
Ontario, Canada:&nbsp; Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. </font></font></span>
      </p>


      



      </p>


      



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