On leaving the politics out of hacking Show more
So I guess that sufficient time has passed that I'll tell the story.
At a company I once worked at one of the managers sent out an email. Could anyone volunteer to give some programming classes at one of the local schools? It sounded ok: a bit of outreach and a chance to educate the next generation. Until I looked up what school it was. Turned out it was one of the elite private schools for rich kids only.
One of my co-workers replied, saying that they had also looked up the school and that they were affluent enough that they could just hire a hacker for a few evenings. There are plenty of hackers around who could use a bit of extra income. They also said that volunteering for this would merely help to perpetuate special privileged access to skills or knowledge by the rich, and I agreed. I said it's not a feedback loop that we should be helping to reinforce. If it were a state school it would be a different proposition.
It later turned out that the school in question was where the manager was sending their own children, and this pulled the rug out from their previous often repeated statements about "believing in meritocracy". It made them look like a hypocrite - claiming that anyone could rise while trying to give an already over-privileged class yet more advantages.
In a later meeting when the hypocrisy was pointed out the manager went on a rant about "there will be no more politics at this company". Everyone just looked at them as if they had just said something really unintelligent. Which of course they had.
There is always politics in hacking. Many of the hackers of my generation didn't come from elite schools. They were not "toffs" with special tutors. Most attended state schools and were self-taught on home computers. The "apolitical hacker" is just someone who thinks that their own politics should be hegemonic.