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MetaReciclagem FAQ (English)

This text is somewhat old. Trust it not.

Written by FelipeFonseca.

English translation: Ian Lawrence.

What is MetaReciclagem

MetaReciclagem is mostly an idea. An idea about the appropriation of technology for social transformation. The concept encompasses various forms of action: the rebirth of donated computers into recycled labs using free software and the creation of environments through the Internet where information circulates freely, as well as every type of experimentation and strategic and operational support for socially engaged projects.

I got it. MetaReciclagem is a nonprofit organization?

Not really. MetaReciclagem is not an NGO. At the end of 2003, when the actions of MetaReciclagem started to gather pace, we thought about creating an NGO. However the obligation to take collective decisions, giving everyone equal voting rights and the right to veto whatever their level of participation in the project, the need to give a 'proper name' to everyone and the requirements to document every little thing we wanted to do made us lose the desire to go formal. Another doubt we had was how could we use a name created collectively by tens of people that did not necessarily want to become formally involved in a organised institution without losing the support of those whose only participation in the project was to send a link a month. The long discussion on this subject was one of the main reasons Projeto Meta:Fora got emptied, and we gave up institutionalizing.

So you're an "independent collective"?

At the beginning, we thought we could be classified as an independent collective. But later we saw independent, anarchist, libertarian collectives, reproduce that typical 20th Century behavior: people uniting around a name and using that name to separate the "us" from "them". The result was the continuation of competitiveness and a political game in a form that is not like us. We rejected this classification also.

So, you are, actually, a group that defends digital inclusion!

This is contraversial. I personally, disapprove the concept of digital inclusion. But, ok, many MetaReciclagem actions can be placed in the context of digital inclusion. However, I don´t think we can state this as our objective. Our objective is the reappropriation of technology for social transformation. This is so vague that it perhaps cannot be called an objective in reality. But that´s life, sometimes we don´t have names for things that do exist.

But you do create telecenters, don't you?

One can say so. But since many telecentre projects can be defined as joining up a load of computers, connecting them to the internet and then thinking the work is done , we prefer to talk about the creation of networks as part of what we've been calling ConecTAZes.

So, what the hell are you?

Actually, the problem lies in that question. It's not that we are MetaReciclagem. We are, instead, people that do MetaReciclagem. This group emerged in a decentralized way from the net. It wasn't like a gathering of wise people that created a group, but people that got together because they had interests and perspectives alike. I mean, MetaReciclagem is a methodology, a name that some people use to define and identify a way of handling technology, and that aims re-appropriation of technology for social transformation. MetaReciclagem, structurally, is more of a 'bottom-up' movement, which means it is open for whoever wants to take part. For this reason MetaReciclagemdoes not have a headquarters, but spores: people who do MetaReciclagemin a place. Other people come to know MetaReciclagem and decide to do it in some another place. It is not necessary to pass through a long process of approval for this, its enough to talk with everyone on the mailing list and you are ready.

Hmm... think I get it. But how do I become a MetaRecycler?

If you are sufficiently interested to have read up to here, it is well possible that you already are a metarecycler. You only need to call the things you do MetaRecycling and tell us. The traditional way of doing this is to subscribe to the mailing list. If you want to go further and create a spore of MetaReciclagem, have a look at the script. That's it.