!!! All this is a quick hack, so pleas fell free to change it and bring it in a more accurate form !!!
Free networks are essential to grant the liberty of Free speech!
The idea is to use consumer hardware like WLAN technology to provide ad-hoc routing to the common. This leads to huge local free networks, some nodes provide conventional up-links to the internet. As the free networks grow lager and larger, less and less convetional up-links will be neccessary.
A good article is at http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/wireless/2004/01/22/wirelessmesh.html. The authors maintain a wireless wiki with several links related to mesh network.
http://www.freifunk.net/ - german