While Comcast focuses on increasing its market power rather than improving services in the communities it monopolizes, no one should be surprised that we are seeing a surge in interest for building community owned networks. We've heard from many people who want to learn how they can start - more than we can always respond to, unfortunately. We are working on a resource to answer many of those questions, but it always boils down to 2 things: building a supportive network of people and getting informed. Get the word out - especially to local business leaders and anyone else who may be supportive. There are many potential business models and financing opportunities, but some will work better than others in each community. That said, there are some basics that every community should be immediately considering.
Shami, a militant who American officials say is living in the barren mountains of northwestern Pakistan, is at the center of a debate inside the government over whether President Obama should once again take the extraordinary step of authorizing the killing of an American citizen overseas. It is a debate that encapsulates some of the thorniest questions raised by the targeted killing program that Mr. Obama has embraced as president: under what circumstances the government may kill American citizens without a trial, whether the battered leadership of Al Qaeda in Pakistan still poses an imminent threat to Americans, and whether the C.I.A. or the Pentagon ought to be the dominant agency running America’s secret wars. . . “Given the significance of the authority the administration is claiming, it’s quite remarkable how little information it’s disclosed,” said Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union, who has been involved in legal challenges to the targeted killing program.
Even as the New York Times and its ilk now use hipster-bashing to delegitimize the new political awareness among the same un- and underemployed twenty- and thirty-somethings — previously taken to task for their avoidance of politics — the same bashers employ this all-purpose dummy to ventriloquize their own refined and slightly ridiculous consumption habits. And while Rupert Murdoch’s reactionary gazetteers at least acknowledge the ongoing, and (in the case of 13 Thames Street) partly political character of the evictions in which they delight, the enlightened New York Times will always opt for the “fucking hipster” show — the 21st century bourgeois liberal’s preferred flavor of minstrelsy — over any ‘hard times’ depiction of downward mobility among artists, anarchists and other riffraff.
European Union Members of Parliament condemned the use of drones in targeted killings in a vote of 534 to 49. The vote proposing a ban referred to the drone strikes as “unlawful.” The United States has used drones in targeted killings in several countries, leaving a death toll in the thousands. The resolution demands that EU member countries "do not perpetrate unlawful targeted killings or facilitate such killings by other states. The United Kingdom and Germany, both suspected of assisting in the drone war, will now come under pressure to disclose their roles in the campaigns and to cease cooperating with the U.S.-led endeavor. Drone strikes that are not consented to by the government in which the strike will take place were determined to be a “violation of international law” according to the resolution.
Maroon’s son, Russell Shoatz III, said, “We are very excited that this day has finally come. My father being released from solitary confinement is proof of the power of people organizing against injustice, and the importance of building strong coalitions. I especially want to thank all of those who have supported the collective struggle to end my father’s solitary confinement, including my siblings and members of the Shoatz family, the Human Rights Coalition, Abolitionist Law Center, Scientific Soul Sessions, the entire legal team, UN Special Rapporteur Juan Mendez, the 5 Nobel Peace Laureates, the National Lawyers Guild, Center for Constitutional Rights, along with the dozens of other organizations and thousands of individuals who have participated in this effort.”
Chilean Socialist senator, Isabel Allende, the daughter of toppled former president Salvador Allende, was appointed head of the Chilean senate on Thursday, making her the first woman to occupy the post. Almost half a century after her father was killed in a violent 1973 coup d’état, the daughter of Salvador Allende is set to become the leader of the Chilean senate following a decision on Thursday by the country’s new centre-left coalition government, which won power in November last year. “My father, as we know, served as senate leader for three years, and for me, it comes as an immense honour and with great pride to be the first woman [leader] in the history of the senate,” Allende told major Chilean radio station, Radio Cooperativa.
Hurricanes are unstoppable, right? Apparently not. An intriguing new computer simulation shows that 78,000 large wind turbines spread across 35,000 square kilometers of ocean outside of New Orleans would have cut Hurricane Katrina’scategory 3 winds at landfall by 129 to 158 kilometers per hour (80 to 98 miles per hour) and reduced the storm surge by 79 percent. The same collection of turbines offshore of New York City would have dropped Hurricane Sandy’s winds by 125 to 140 kph and the surge by up to 34 percent. That sounds impressive. But wait…78,000 turbines? Each one 100 meters high with a blade span 127 meters in diameter spaced about 650 meters apart and spanning a region of ocean 2.5 times the size of Connecticut? The idea sounds crazy, except . . .
What we have in the US today is fundamentally a new mode of politics, one wedded to a notion of “power unaccompanied by accountability of any kind,” and this poses a deep and dire threat to democracy itself, because such power is difficult to understand, analyze and counter. The biggest problem facing the US may not be its repressive institutions, modes of governance and the militarization of everyday life, but the interiority of neoliberal nihilism, the hatred of democratic relations and the embrace of a culture of cruelty. I would suggest that what needs to be addressed is some sense of how this unique authoritarian conjuncture of power and politics came into place.
The revolution owes a lot to the women’s movement. In the early months, Ukrainians outside Kiev thought the resistance was confined to the capital city. It was women’s rights organizations in western and southern regions of Ukraine that helped export the revolution from Kiev to the regions. Women leaders with years of experience working in the region were trusted, so it made it easier for them to mobilize their communities. When the regions stood up, it was a breakthrough...Just because the opposition ousted the president does not mean the work is over. Rather, it has just begun. It’s not about changing one public figure for another. It’s about changing the system and fighting against terrible corruption. We want the rule of law and democracy, and we don’t want our new leaders to lead like Yanukovych. We need a new generation of politicians. We need leaders for whom power is not about money, money, and more money. We need those who can easily enter the power structures and easily leave them.
“Parents of the Revolution” is a feature length documentary that follows a group of activist parents in the Occupy Wall Street movement who believe that it’s their democratic duty to teach their kids to speak out against injustice. The purpose of the film is to create a national conversation about how we can get our kids to be more civically minded. The film premieres in all formats on May 15th. If your organization is interested in having a screening of the film, please visit http://parentsoftherevolution.com/host-a-screening/
Amnesty International's publication of this report coincides with the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference, which runs from March 2 to 4 in Washington, DC, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with President Obama, which is scheduled to take place while Netanyahu is in Washington for the conference. The report documents “mounting bloodshed” in the occupied territories as a result of the Israeli army’s use of “unnecessary, arbitrary and brutal force against Palestinians” over the past three years. In the press release accompanying the report, which is included below, the director Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Programme, Philip Luther, notes: “The frequency and persistence of arbitrary and abusive force against peaceful protesters in the West Bank by Israeli soldiers and police officers – and the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators – suggests that it is carried out as a matter of policy.”
Over the last two decades, the Internet has been a laboratory for social innovation. One of the most unexpected collective discoveries has been the existence of another mode of organization to achieve large-scale co-ordination. This mode relies neither on the market, where price signals perform important co-ordinating functions horizontally (as Friedrich Hayek famously stated), nor on public and private bureaucracies, where commands facilitate vertical co-ordination. Rather, it relies on voluntary co-operation to enhance the use value of a shared resource. Yochai Benkler dubbed this mode "commons-based peer production." While not all forms of co-operation need be beneficial to society at large, the structural experience of co-operation is a key element in the political project of strengthening social solidarity. This solidarity is more than an empty slogan, it is grounded in concrete, everyday experiences, renewed through collective action and guided by the conviction that one's own personal goals and aspirations cannot be achieved against others, but with and through them.
When Pete Seeger died, a sense of the impermanence of life increased my urge to ask Ysaye Maria Barnwell, a Grammy Award winning, 34 year member of Sweet Honey in the Rock, to speak on Occupy Radio about the importance of song in social protest. I had met Ysaye when I attended one of her Building a Vocal Community workshops, where she riveted the room with a warning and an instruction. "Learn the old protest songs and spirituals," she said. "You're going to need them." Ysaye mentioned in our radio interview that when she went to Occupy Wall Street, she found that few people knew the old songs, and there weren't many new ones, either. Chanting and drum circles dominated the vocal space, but these are different than song.
The scene at the undergraduate library one night last week was quite different, as hundreds of students and faculty members gathered for a 12-hour “speak out” to address racial tensions brought to the fore by a party that had been planned for November and then canceled amid protests. The fraternity hosting the party, whose members are mostly Asian and White, had invited “rappers, twerkers, gangsters” and others “back to da hood again.” Beyond the immediate provocation of the party, a sharp decline in Black undergraduate enrollment — to 4.6 percent of the student body in 2013 from 6.2 percent in 2009 — and a general feeling of isolation among Black students on campus have prompted a new wave of student activism, including a social media campaign called “Being Black at the University of Michigan” (or, on Twitter, #BBUM). Members of the university’s Black Student Union have petitioned campus administrators to, among other things, increase enrollment of Black students to 10 percent.