[iDC] introduction & project

Frank Kashner fkashner at gmail.com
Mon Sep 29 13:51:10 UTC 2014

Greetings to you all.  My name is Frank Kashner.  I am a collaborative,
critical, labor, and community oriented social worker - psychotherapist in
Salem, MA, USA. In 2007, I was fired from a social services agency for
acting like a union steward. I was supporting fellow employees who were
being threatened for under-productivity.  The agency had no union.  Here is
an article from 2012 entitled Can Unions Help with Problems Faced by Agency
Therapists? <http://www.rankandfiler.net/can-unions-help/> 


I am also helping to organize Massachusetts independent mental health
workers who do not have the right to negotiate collectively with insurance
companies, through  Clinicians United  <http://cliniciansunited.org/> - SEIU
Local 509 .  


In the 1960's, I was part of the Wisconsin Draft Resistance Union, Students
for a Democratic Society, and the (successful) Cambridge MA Rent Control
Referendum Campaign.   


In the 1970's I became a machinist at General Electric in Lynn, MA, and an
activist in IUE Local 201 where I participated in successful efforts to end
General Electric practices of open racism, to win greater worker safety, and
to make the union leadership more democratic. For a story about those times
from 1978, please  See
<https://libcom.org/files/Rad%20America%20V12%20I6.pdf> "A Rank & File
Strike at GE" in the 1978 issue of Radical America.


The following 19 years was spent in Massachusetts software engineering
organizations, most of the time as a manager, allowed me to learn and
practice good leadership within a corporate setting, participate in the
development of technology, and witness its liberatory potential.  I
practiced collaborative leadership, which was appreciated by those who
worked for me.


In 2002, I went back to school to become a social worker where I got to see
the underbelly of social services.  In 2010, while researching why there
were so many problems with social service organizations, I was directed to
jobvent.com <http://says-us.net/jobvent/>  (link to story of jobvent's
demise) by an unhappy employee of South Bay Mental Health
<http://says-us.net/southbay/>  (link to some of the actual complaints).  


On jobvent, I saw the passionate complaints of almost 100,000 employees
about almost 10,000 companies. Glassdoor's subsequently betrayed those
employees by buying jobvent, deleting the critical complaints, and not
telling people that they had done that. 


The use and then abuse of jobvent, my activist history, the stories of my
clients, and my belief in the liberatory potential of individual stories and
organizing on the web, led me to conceptualizing and promoting says-us.net.
Says-us is designed to create a site useful for expression, struggle and
change, while avoiding the many problems of commercial social media sites,
like FB, some of which have been described on this email list.


Says-us.net <http://www.says-us.net/>  is a proposal to create a peoples'
web-mobile utility.  Says-us advocates building a describing + whistle
blowing + rating + organizing + action system. In addition to labour, it
will encompass other important domains of human need.  


Informed by the Foucauldian notion that institutions are born through
problematization, says-us will be a vehicle for self-expression,
problematization, and action.  It will facilitate subsequent abolition,
modification, or creation of institutions, from the smallest, to the
largest, including governments.  


It will always bring to the fore the questions, "whose problem?" and "whose
solution?" by giving voice and power to everyone with web / mobile access,
either anonymously, or with attribution.  Here is a link to the Says-Us
project proposal <http://says-us.net/proposal/>  which I am working on with
Orsan Senalp, who has already introduced himself.


We will be giving a presentation at DL14.  Says-us has particular relevance
to digital labor by providing a platform for complaints and a vehicle for
funneling those doing digital labor to activist organizations. 


If you have any questions or desire to help with says-us, please contact me
at info at says-us.net.  I look forward to meeting all of you in November.   -


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