Larry Lessig has been posting inspiring views from the World Social Forum in Brazil for the last three days. I was particularly moved by his description of the youth camp.
*ponders* how to develop a project to have millions of “points of culture” around the world.
After lunch, I visited the Youth Camp at the WSF, where 50,000 tents, and 80,000 kids are participating in WSF events. At the core was a Free Software lab, with about 50 machines, all running GNU/Linux, and constant lessons about how to set the systems up, how do to audio, and video editing, how to participate in free software communities. This was organized totally by the kids who ran it. Machines in shacks, hay on the ground, wires and boxes everywhere.
I got to talk to the organizers of at least one part of the lab for about an hour. JP Barlow and I peppered them with questions as they described their “Thousand points of culture” project — to build a thousand places around Brazil where free software tools exist for people to make, and remix, culture. The focus is video and audio; no one’s much worried about Office applications, or the like. It is an extraordinary, grass roots movement devoted first to an ideal (free software) and second to a practice (making it real).
They have the culture to do it. Again, there were geeks, but not only. There were men, but plenty of women (and lots of kids). They were instructing each other — some about code, some about culture, some about organizing, some about dealing with the government — as they built this infrastructure out. Think Woodstock, without the mud, and where the audience makes the music.