Fan Creates Anthem for Open Source Ecology

It is always immensely encouraging to know that we have supporters world over who are looking for ways to get involved in our mission. Lonnie Ray Atkinson is one such supporter, who personally made and gifted us a song (with accompanying music video by JustUss) about OSE’s work and philosophy. Take a look and do share the video.


Lyrics and Vocals: Lonnie Ray Atkinson
Music Track: ccMixter artist Alex

We invited Lonnie to explain in his own words how he found OSE and what drove him to create this “musical anthem for the DIY and Open Source movement”.

How this song came about

A few years ago, I turned to songwriting as a form of activism. Seeing that a great number of our problems were interconnected with our economic trajectory, my first tunes addressed alternative economics. I thought it was important to try and answer the question, “We know what you’re against, but what are you for?” And while I was excited about the vision participatory economics had to offer, I was still quite confounded as to the steps our society would have to take in order to transform its major economic institutions.

After running across a couple paragraphs describing “Factor e Farm” in Juliet Schor’s book Plenitude, I immediately looked up their Global Village Construction Set (discovering the concept of Open Source Ecology in the process) and felt I had stumbled upon a solution to one of the greatest obstacles we face in the fight for alternative, justice-based economics.

In my opinion, Open Source Ecology has greater potential to circumvent the institutionalized private monopoly over intellectual and productive property than anything ever proposed. And, more importantly, such circumvention could be achieved totally non-violently.

If wealth consolidates at the acceleration it has over the last thirty years and a small number of humans (relative to the entire population) hold all the patents, it is not irrational under free-market thinking to conclude that the majority of workers will find themselves competing (at great disadvantage) with this same emerging technology.

If, on the other hand, there are enough open source designs/products and the replicable infrastructure to make those products, we’ll have a real chance at reorganizing our economy in a way that uses this new technology for the benefit of everyone.

Seeing the promise in OSE, I thought about ways I could help spread the word. Outside of posting on social media and talking all my friends’ ears off about it, I decided to write this song and offer the folks at Factor e Farm another tool in their organizing.

As the lyrics of each respective verse progressed, I wanted to give a brief description of what OSE was in its current state, offer examples of what it could mean for both industrial and developing communities, and make very clear not only the power/resilience of OSE but the threats we face if we do not take full advantage of this game-changing technology and combine it with an equity/solidarity-centered philosophy.

Our movements need culture. I write songs hoping that they might make a meaningful contribution to the activism being done around our most crucial issues. If this song can be effectively utilized in Open Source Ecology organizing, it may be one the most important ones I’ll ever write.

Once a product is open source, it’s open source forever. I truly believe if we’re going to have a shot at a real future (much less forever), the work being done around OSE is laying the foundation for a movement to get us there. I hope you will listen to the song, check out for yourself Open Source Ecology’s amazing progress/potential, and join in building that movement.

Collaborative culture and how you can contribute

After writing the lyrics to “Open Source Ecology,” the task was to find suitable music. As I was not blessed with a gift for playing musical instruments, I’ve had to rely on the generosity and talent of others to bring my songs to fruition. For this particular tune, I recorded vocals over a Creative Commons track by the producer Anitek and then released the a capellas to the online remix community ccMixter. Soon after, I received a remix from ccMixter artist Alex that (although using the same vocal) was totally different than the original Anitek version. A few months later, video remixer JustUss matched Alex’s remix with footage from OSE’s website to produce the current version of this music video.

From the work being done at Factor e Farm (and Juliet Schor’s research) to writing and recording my lyrics/vocals to both Anitek’s and Alex’s Creative Commons music tracks to JustUss’ utilization of OSE footage, you can see a diverse collaborative process that embodies the participatory spirit of Open Source Ecology.

In that spirit, we would like to invite others to contribute to making new versions of this video/song for OSE education. From conceptual representation to instructional imagery to kinetic typography, we encourage you to use your creativity and work with other OSE advocates to make new videos and help spread the word about this exciting moment in open source innovation.

To make a video, download either version of the song here:

Please email music videos to OSE.

To remix the song, download raw vocals here and please email music remixes (please include instrumentals for necessary vocal mixing) to me:

1 Comment

  1. Anon

    Very cool! 🙂