[oclug] Should we invite Microsoft to an OCLUG Meeting
Francis J. A. Pinteric
linuxdoctor at linuxdoctor.biz
Tue May 11 07:49:02 EDT 2004
On Tue, 11 May 2004 06:22:23 -0400
Mike Roy <mjroy2416 at rogers.com> wrote:
> Hello Everyone:
> If we, collectively, are supporters of free speech, then we
> really don't have
> a choice but to allow Microsoft to speak at the OCLUG meeting
> (assuming they express a desire to address the club). Free speech is
> not limited to supporting those that share a common point of view.
> The real test of free speech is demonstrating a tolerance for those
> that disagree with us. Because we listen to a different point of view
> is not an automatic acceptance of that point of view. We can listen
> and still disagree.
Corporations are not people. They have no right to free speech. Only
people have those rights. The term "corporate citizen" is a misnomer
proposed by the corporations themselves.
However, look at it form another angle. Corporations have far more power
and influence than the average person does. In fact, corporations have
often used that power to intimidate and silence critics through the
courts in what has become known as "legal chill." Merely the threat of a
large corporation suing a person or other corporation has caused
stunning silence on all sorts of issues out of fear that they would be
bankrupted if they had to defend themselves in court.
Despite the fact that corporations have no rights beyond what is
explicitly laid out by statute, they have far more power than we do,
and growing all the time. We must use every avenue available to us to
curb and even put to a halt the power that they have to control us and
It is even more imperative when we are dealing with organizations like
Microsoft who, through their wealth and power, are able to intimidate
governements into giving them preferential treatment, not prosecute them
(or at least mitigate some of the damage) and even pass laws favourable
This is not a free speech issue at all. It is one about fighting for and
protecting OUR rights which Microsoft and other corporations are eroding
Ideology is the starting point in the march to power, not the end.
Ideology fuels the revolution once victory has been achieved.
But ideology cannot be relied upon to sustain the new order
once the revolutionary phase has been completed.
Here the hard and fast realities of life and politics take over,
and this is when a bankrupt ideology will fail.
More information about the OCLUG