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FSFE Newsletter May 2019

Written by admin and  on  

This newsletter edition gives special attention to the upcoming EU Elections. We are telling the story of the Spanish Pica Pica Hacklab who successfully used our "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign to influence the Parliament of Asturias. Pica Pica's story takes us to the upcoming EU Elections that will bring in new MEPs into the European Parliament and so we provide advice and tips on how you can get active in promoting Free Software to them. As always, you will also read about the events the FSFE is going to be part of this month, as well as a retrospective of what has happened in the past month.

EU Elections 2019 and Free Software

"The Parliament of Asturias commits itself to the international Public Money? Public Code! campaign" - this is a quote from the first demand in a recent proposal brought in by the Parliament of Asturias towards its government and it marks the happy end of continuous lobbying efforts from Oviedo's local hackerspace "Pica Pica Hacklab".

Pica Pica Hacklab team in front of the Parliament of Asturias
Pica Pica Hacklab team in front of the Parliament of Asturias after the Parliament's decision to support Public Money? Public Code! (Picture by Marcos Suárez, CC BY-SA 3.0)

This was already the second attempt of Pica Pica to lobby the Parliament of Asturias and demand the use of Free Software within public administrations. However, in contrast to their first attempt in 2015, this time Pica Pica had "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign materials at hand and used them extensively, together with their self-developed social hacking skills, to convince the politicians.

Pica Pica's success story is highly motivating for local activists and so we interviewed Iyán Méndez Veiga, member of Pica Pica, to highlight key elements of their activities, the usage of our campaign material and their lobbying. Read how Pica Pica successfully emphasised different benefits of Free Software depending on the agenda of the political party they were talking to respectively, how they turned emails into face-to-face meetings and how they finally landed even more meetings with officials from different parties by simply walking through the Parliament's building.

Pica Pica's story is not only motivating but it also clearly shows how local engagement by a small single group can influence even the highest political levels. Still, it is one story out of many, happening continuously in many parts of Europe. Be it a group of people or individuals: every talk, explanation or sometimes even the mere handing out of a well-formulated and informative leaflet can make the difference and convince a decision-maker to care about Free Software.

That brings us to this year's EU Elections of the European Parliament taking place next week throughout Europe, from May 23rd to 26th. Let us follow the recent example of Pica Pica and make sure that as many candidates as possible are aware of Free Software and its benefits, and convince them to join us in empowering users to control technology.

This is even more important now, as forecasts predict that half of the Members in the current European Parliament will not be back in the next term. That means that there will be new members appearing on the scene that do not yet know about Free Software.

Help let them know about the benefits of technologies that respect users freedom. Help us establish new contacts with advocates for Free Software in the next European Parliament's term. Seek out the candidates in your region and get in contact with them. Use our "Public Money?Public Code!" campaign as a source for arguments. Find more general hints and tips in our wiki.

And then get out there and vote for the candidate that convinced you most concerning the topics and values that matter to you!

The Parliament's hemicycle (debating chamber) during a plenary session in Strasbourg
The European Parliament during a plenary session in Strasbourg. (Picture by Diliff, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Vote for freedom and join our community: https://my.fsfe.org/support

Do not miss: upcoming events with the FSFE

Save the Date:

This year we are running the FSFE community meeting on November 15th and 16th in cooperation with the SFSCon in Bolzano, Italy. The FSFE country team Italy will use this occasion to prepare and run a dedicated FSFE track during the conference and the conference day will be followed by a dedicated community day. The general Call for Participation of the SFSCon is already up and running, while the one for the FSFE track in particular will be published soon. If you are interested in the publication of the call, follow our news (RSS feed)

What have we done? Inside and Outside the FSFE

FSFE booth at Linuxwochen Wien
FSFE booth at Linuxwochen Wien

Get Active

As already brought up in the beginning of the Newsletter, the European Parliament's Elections are ahead and forecasts predict that many new members will be part of the next term. If you want Free Software to catch on with these Parliamentary freshmen, then you can seek out the candidates in your region and get in contact with them. We prepared a short list of actions you can take and other tips in our wiki.

Contribute to our newsletter

If you would like to share any thoughts, pictures, or news, send them to us. As always, the address is newsletter@fsfe.org. We're looking forward to hearing from you!

Thanks to our community, all the volunteers, supporters and donors who make our work possible. And thanks to our translators, who enable you to read this newsletter in your mother tongue.

Your editors,

Erik Albers and Galia Mancheva

Vote for freedom and join our community: https://my.fsfe.org/support