Tucson Mesh is an anti-capitalist project. We believe vital services should be distributed on the basis of how they can best serve everyone, not by how they can produce the largest profit for a handful of corporations. Reliable access to the internet has become a necessity, and yet remains financially inaccessible for many.
We are not a charity. Our goal is not simply to "help people in need." We seek to change the underlying conditions that produce unequal access in the first place. We're building a world where the infrastructure to access the internet is held in common, not controlled by multi-billion dollar telecommunications companies. The internet is a paradox; it connects millions of people across distance, but we also know that it contributes to feelings of isolation and despair so common in the modern world. With our project, Tucson Mesh hopes to reduce the isolating effect of internet technology and instead use it to create ways to build and strengthen community ties by connecting participants in-person for neighborhood-scale organizing.
We didn't choose to work on providing internet access because we're tech experts (we're not!), but as a demonstration to ourselves and our community: if complicated technologies such as the internet can be given away at cost by a network of volunteers, what's to stop people in Tucson from doing the same thing with mental health services? Auto repair? Housing? Creating alternative models for internet distribution can also help us to envision numerous possibilities for organizing and restructuring for a post-capitalist world.