Rebel Geeks: Steal from the Capitalists

25 mins, 2015

Evan “Rabble” Henshaw-Plath is a coder, activist, anarchist, and a hacker. He is also one of the original developers of Twitter.

As he returns to activism, his fellow hackers question the techniques he brings from Silicon Valley.

Henshaw-Plath believes that, as a tech activist, his role is to promote social justice, and he is eager to empower civil society to influence politics through the use of software. He explains how TxTMob, a platform that enabled protesters to send text messages to large groups anonymously, formed the basis of Twitter.

But when he came to the realisation that Twitter was not the world-changing idea he had hoped it would be, he sold his share.

Now bridging the worlds of hackers, activists and Silicon Valley start-ups, he’s on a mission: to use techniques he has learned in the world of lean start-ups to support the technology being developed by activist groups. The technologies he’s promoting are all about allowing people to truly have secure communications, and his attempts to use Silicon Valley techniques have provoked resistance from his radical colleagues.

Can Henshaw-Plath convince the activists to steal from the capitalists in the name of efficacy, or is that a political compromise too far?

Produced by Banyak Films for Al Jazeera English ‘Rebel Geeks‘ series. First broadcast on November 23rd, 2015.

Director –Yasmin Fedda / Series Executive Producers -Hugh Hartford, Anson Hartford, Dan Davies / Assistant Producer – Dan Boeden / Production Manager – Priya Biring / Commissioning Executive – Farid Falk / Editor – Adam Thomas / Camera – Hugh Hartford / Series Creator – Dan Davies