The ‘Define Dignity Initiative’ by Matt DeHart

By Matt DeHart, originally published in The Gad About Town.

This is the fourth article in a series of prison essays by Matt DeHart published on Mark Aldrich’s site. The first: “You don’t act like an American,” the second: “Hospitality in Mexico,” and Matt’s third: “Shattered.”

Matt DeHart’s voice is one worth listening to. In “Defining Dignity,” he challenges us all to put meaning—and action—behind that commandment that is so often expressed and so little heeded: “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” which of course is found in the Book of Matthew.

The essay published below is one of the few public statements he has made. It was sent to me by his mother, Leann DeHart, with the request that it is published as written.
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Activists, Pirates team up with Barrett Brown’s Pursuance Project


The Pursuance Project – Impactful, agile, secure civic collaboration

The pursuance system is the world’s first comprehensive framework for process democracy. That is, it allows individuals with no prior relationship to self-organize into robust, agile entities governed via a “proceduralism of agreement.” These entities, called pursuances, in turn engage and collaborate among themselves to whatever extent they choose, leading ultimately to a vast and formidable ecosystem of opposition to institutionalized injustice. (Excerpt from Project description)

This system will be populated on an invitation basis, beginning towards the end of 2017. But Barrett has initiated a collaboration with Pirate Parties InternationalRaymond Johansen, activist and member of the board of PPI is now in the process of populating several rooms in Mattermost, soon to begin onboarding people into an alpha version of the Pursuance System. PPI’s usage of and feedback on the software will help Pursuance’s software developers optimize it for our use cases. In the coming weeks activists, designers, artists, FOIA experts, investigative journalists, coders and developers will be invited to take part. In fact, at the time of writing projects have already started inside PPI’s Team.

To get an invitation you may contact Ray directly. Twitter or Facebook is fine. If you have his email address feel free to send him a request. Now lets hear from the main people themselves.

The framework described by Brown is quite extraordinary in that the vision is to empower people to create their own ‘pursuance’ and provide a platform to use their abilities in collaboration with others to attain specific outcomes. By doing so, they have the opportunity to scale up and potentially have a greater impact using the collaborative network.

Steve Phillips explains how he got involved with the Pursuance Project

Hi everyone! I’m Steve Phillips, lead developer and project manager of the Pursuance Project, started by Barrett Brown.

In March I learned that Barrett was out of jail and wanted to build an end-to-end encrypted environment to help make activists, journalists, and other groups more impactful by enabling them to coordinate effectively online, which sounded not just awesome but has a ton in common with what I’d been building for the last year and a half, including what I presented at DEF CON 2 years ago.

So I reached out to him, flew to Texas to meet him, and 2 days later he put me in charge of building the Pursuance System (which you can read about here; somewhat more technical intro here)!

As Barrett wrote at, our ultimate goal is to produce “a vast and formidable ecosystem of opposition to institutionalized injustice.”

I’ve been programming for 8 years, have been using Linux for almost 16 years, and I have extensive experience both building user-friendly, high-quality software and managing small teams of developers.

I am VERY excited to be working with Pirate Party folks and would love for you all to be among the first people in the world to use the Pursuance System as we build it. Let me know what tools you need to change the world and I will do whatever I can to provide them.

Right now we’ve launched an early version of the Pursuance chat feature as a standalone app — LeapChat, which anyone can use by visiting and inviting people to the secure room you get redirected to, resulting in an end-to-end encrypted chat session. Any feedback you have for which features should next be added to LeapChat would be very helpful!

The core of the first version of Pursuance that we’ll be launching is essentially a task management system built for large groups that will do things like allow you to specify which skills are necessary to complete a task, then have the software automatically find people with all the skills necessary to complete that task and ask them if they’d like to do it! This enables Pursuance scale to large groups better than anything else that currently exists.

We believe that the Internet should be amazing at enabling large groups of like-minded people to join forces to combat injustice… but it isn’t. We’re here to change that.

Barrett Brown’s vision for the Pursuance Project

Extracts from: Barrett Brown’s Pursuance Project by v4vapid

When asked about his future projects, Brown outlines a vision for journalists and bloggers to better share information by creating what he calls a ‘process democracy platform’. This project has been in the works since 2009, before his incarceration, and with the help of trusted collaborators Brown continues to work towards creating a revolutionary crowd sourcing collaboration. Collaborations will occur between institutions, non-profits , academics and even citizen journalists.

“The way [the pursuance] system works, it doesn’t matter if on the margins quality declines, because on the margins, these people are free to bring on people, but they still have to handle them. So if it’s data gathering, for instance, if you’re a journalist or you’re running a crowd-sourced project, and you bring on a few people, each person who’s bringing on people obviously has an impetus to bring on actual quality people to the best of their ability because they have to deal with them, and bad information, useless information, that comes out of these distant [peripheries] on the system are not going to make it up the submission, and there’s a whole mechanism for all of that.” – Barrett Brown

“So that was the original impetus. There are a lot of other features that make this work for different things. There’s a great mass of people out there who are tweeting and commenting, and they’re upset, and there’s some portion who are very honest people who are capable, who are knowledgeable, but who are not being provided with (a) the ability to help and (b) the ability to rise. If you present people the ability to do things correctly, and by doing things correctly, rise to a position where they have the ability to do things on a larger scale, and if you make it apparent that that ability is there, and if we provide examples of it working and provide a degree of leadership, and frankly, propaganda as to why the time has come for this kind of thing, then it will work.” – Barrett Brown

To get updates on the progress of the overall project you can sign up on this page The Pursuance Project

by Kitty Hundal


Press Release: Activists Launch Campaign for Resistance Mobile Response Unit

Not Part Of Your System

For Release: September 30, 2015

Let’s get together and Hack the Planet!

Activists combining independent journalism and helping hands will break free from stationary constraints to serve as a nomadic support system for groups nationwide.

The Resistance Mobile Response Unit Project!

Activists, including Fifth Column journalist Alex Freeman are initiating a campaigns to raise funds towards the purchase of a mobile command center, the Resistance Mobile Response Unit.

The purpose of this unit will be to promote sustainable agriculture, energy, and community building as well as to facilitate on the ground, direct coverage of events as they occur, from a trusted independent news outlet.

Freeman and other activists plan to lend direct support to activists in need of transportation as well as communities in need of support to care for the homeless develop enclaves for off the grid living, in between protest and event stops.

The Press Release states:

“Having a movement is one thing. But the problem with movements is that most people don’t move. The Resistance Mobile Response Unit will take steps to move many movements forward with real alternatives and solutions to the social problems that we all face daily.

MRUAs the reach of the global police and surveillance state and corporatocracy continues to extend and permeate all aspects of living, these activists decided that more can be achieved to reestablish respect for individual liberty through the acquisition of a low cost RV. Itself a model for a possible solution to many of the major issues angering activists across the country, the Resistance Mobile Response Unit will be able to further unite local activist groups by strengthening the networks of solidarity and communication between them with more secure methods of communication than exist online.

In order to demonstrate this solidarity, the Resistance Mobile Response Unit will feature the signatures of groups it works with to achieve law enforcement and political accountability locally, as well as corporate and political accountability nationally. Already endorsed by The Fifth Column News, The Pontiac Tribune, The Free Thought Project, Unite Ohio, Awakened Cincinnatians, Houston Free Thinkers, The Chicago Anonymous and the Coffee Party USA, Freeman anticipates this idea will inspire many across the country.

“This is going to revolutionize activism, the way we connect and the way we communicate,” said Jeremy Deeter of Unite Ohio.

One member of the III% Militia expressed “so much like” for the idea.

Several others in Colorado, Texas, Ohio, Oregon and New Hampshire have expressed a desire to follow suit, making this campaign a beta-test for nomadic activists in the internet age.

When asked about comparisons to the Anon Mobile project, Freeman laughs, “Well this one certainly won’t be funded by the government!”

With more composure he adds:
“This campaign isn’t about one group or one person’s name. We flood the phones of Congress. We flood social media. We flood the streets in protest, but little changes. We can’t wait for someone to change how we live breathe and operate for us [SIC]. If we are going to regain control of our lives, and take back the power, the freedom and the rights that have been and are being stolen from us, then we have to have a workable solution. We have to reduce our consumption and increase our production sustainably. And I don’t mean producing Nike’s or IPhones. I mean natural foods, clean energies, and cooperative communities. If you look at how much remains in a consumer society, versus how much remains in a society built around supporting each other, it’s amazing how much is available when we share with each other and give where we can. The thing about helping people is that there is always more to pay forward than ever received.”

Freeman is optimistic that the goal of $7,500 can be reached relatively quickly. “Small contributions add up quickly. It takes fewer than 500 people to reach that goal if those few chipped in 15 or 20 bucks.” He also states that by going through, supporters can assist one time only, monthly or towards specific projects within the idea.

As for the renovations, the Resistance Mobile Response Unit will become a moving billboard for activist and community groups, as well as trusted independent media outlets, powered in small part by solar cells and in large part by the love of communities and individuals the world over. If ultimately successful, the renovations to the Resistance Mobile Response Unit will pale in comparison to the renovations done to rebuild American communities and societies without a police state, surveillance state, or corporatocracy, not by attacking it head on, but by proving that there is another way.”

Supporters of the Resistance Mobile Response Unit Project can contribute on the YouCaring site, and follow its progress and travels on Facebook.

Alternatively we ask you to visit Patreon to support the project.



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Press Release modified by Kitty Hundal.