About May First

May First Movement Technology is a non-profit membership organization that engages in building movements by advancing the strategic use and collective control of technology for local struggles, global transformation, and emancipation without borders.

We are a democratically-run, not-for-profit cooperative of movement organizations and activists in the United States and Mexico. We've been around since 2005 and our 850 members (mostly organizations and mainly in the U.S. and Mexico) host over 10,000 email address and over 2,000 web sites on our collectively owned and secured hardware that run exclusively on encrypted disks.

Our members run our organization via a race and gender diverse elected body of movement activists, organizers and technologists

Besides hosting that data, our organization participates in networks, coalitions and campaigns organizing around many technology-related issues and has distinguished itself in confronting many legal threats and standing up to subpoenas.

That's what we are. Here's what we're not: we are not a company or a service provider or a collective or a small non-profit. All those things are fine and many of those types of organizations do outstanding work. We just do something else.

We believe that movements for fundamental change must prioritize the use, protection and democratization of technology. We want our movements' leadership to think about those goals and develop a unified plan to make them happen. That's the basis of our work and it makes May First one of the most active and prominent technology organizations in the Left of this country.

We are a leading organization of the Media Justice Network; a founder and leader of the Radical Connections Network; a long-time member of the Association for Progressive Communications; a member of several new economy coalitions and networks and we have been involved in many coalitions and networks set up to deal with specific issues and struggles. We participate in many conferences and major convergences in the course of the year in the U.S., in Mexico and internationally. Our representatives will participate in over 20 such events during any year.

Our unique and unprecedented Technology and Revolution series has brought together over 1500 movement leaders and activists in the U.S. and Mexico in 24 convergences since 2017 to think and talk about the intersection of technology and revolution and to forge a program of work we can do around technology.

That commitment to movement work is also seen in our commitment to the protection of our data. Our members are frequently hit with demands for data from governments, take-down notices from corporations or Denial of Service attacks from political enemies. We resist them all. We have successfully resisted denial of service attacks on members working on reproductive justice, Palestinian rights, and the Black Lives Matter movement. We refused to give the FBI details when it demanded payment information that would have identified the members of an Independent Media Center site in Greece. We have consistently refused to take down satire websites by members such as the Yes Men, which corporations consider trademark violations.

But those are only the most dramatic instances because, day to day, we fiercely protect data through encryption, back-up and monitoring. Our members' data is our movements' tool and our movements are our priority.

All of this - our movement work and our data protection - has a purpose: to help our movements build a new relationship with technology. We want our movement to think about technology, develop a program to protect and expand it and actually work on that program. We want to be a platform for that kind of collaboration: the democratic control and expansion of technology as a tool for human survival and the struggle to make that happen. We want to build that and we want to model it.

Members pay their dues and a yearly service fee. For an individual, dues are $25 a year; $50 for an organization. If the member wants full service (websites, email, etc.) they pay another $75 for individuals and $150 for organizations.

That's it. You can have as many websites, email accounts and other resource usages you need. No extra charge.

Members who want a dedicated server usually pay an extra fee of $50 to $300 a month. The member decides what the fee is and lets us know.

The reason for this policy is simple: your increased use of the organization's resources usually means you're doing more work and your increased work benefits all our members as movement activists and human beings. So, as a political organization, we encourage that rather than charge extra for it.

Our members make our key decisions through meetings.

The yearly Members Meeting usually takes place in the Fall and takes at least three actions:

  • develops and then ranks the priorities which describes the general thrust of our work for the coming year
  • the approval of the organization's yearly financial report
  • the election of members to our 21 - 25 person Board of Directors

The Board meets quarterly. The Board leads May First based on the priorities document and budget by approving work plans, appointing work groups and hiring staff. Those work groups and staff carry on the day to day work plan implementation.

By the way, any May First member can attend a Board meeting or a meeting of any of its work groups. You can't vote at the Board meeting unless you're a Board member but you can participate.

Those social diseases have long plagued technology work and are particularly prevalent in the culture of movement technology. For our entire existence, we have worked to combat both racism and sexism through conscious recruitment, representation, and a member approved statement.

Most Board members are people of color and half are women. All major representation of May First Movement Technology to the U.S. and world movements must include at least one person of color and one woman. Exceptions to this rule should be approved by the appropriate Board working group. The coordinators of each workgroup and standing committee of the Board should include at least one person of color or woman.

We concentrate our outreach and recruitment efforts on organizations of the Global Majority and conduct meetings using popular education methods as a foundation to reflect the diversity of our members. All meetings and public events are conducted in English and Spanish with qualified, professional interpretation.