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Re:publica Keynote: The System is Broken – That’s the Good News | ... My heart’s in Accra
"…Ivan Krastev, chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies, in Sofia, Bulgaria. He worries that even if protests like the Indignados or Occupy succeed in ousting a government, much of what protesters are asking for is not possible. “Voters can change governments, yet it is nearly impossible for them to change economic policies.” When Indignados grows into Podemos, Krastev predicts that it’s going to be very hard for them to truly reverse policies on austerity – global financial markets are unlikely to let them do so, punish them by making it impossibly expensive to borrow

Krastev offers the example of how Italy finally got rid of Silvio Berlusconi – wasn’t through popular protest, but through the bond market – the bond market priced italian debt at 6.5%, and Berlusconi resigned, leaving Mario Monti to put austerity measures in place. You may have been glad to see Berlusconi go, but don’t mistake this as a popular revolt that kicked him out – it was a revolt by global lenders, and basically set the tone for what the market would allow an Italian leader to do. As Krastev puts it, “Politics has been reduced to the art of adjusting to the imperatives of the market” – we’ve got an interesting test of whether this theory is right with Syriza, a left-wing party rooted in anti-austerity protests now in power, and facing possible default and exit from the Eurozone this month. What Krastev is saying is really chilling – we can oust bad people through protest and elect the right people and put them in power, we can protest to pressure our leaders to do the right things, and they may not be powerful enough to give us the changes we really want."

"These three approaches – building new institutions, becoming engaged critics of the institutions we’ve got, and looking for ways to build a post-institutional world – all have their flaws. We need the new decentralized systems we build to work as well as the institutions we are replacing, and when Mt. Gox disappears with our money, we’re reminded what a hard task this is. Monitorial citizenship can lead to more responsible institutions, but not to structural change. When we build new companies, codebases and movements, we’ve got to be sure these new institutions we’re creating stay closer to our values than those we mistrust now, and that they’re worthy of the trust of generations to come.

What these approaches have in common is this: instead of letting mistrust of the institutions we have leave us sidelined and ineffective, these approaches make us powerful. Because this is the middle path between the ballot box and the brick – it’s taking the dangerous and corrosive mistrust we now face and using it to build the institutions we deserve. This is the challenge of our generation, to build a better world than the one we inherited, one that’s fairer, more just, one that’s worthy of our trust."
ethanzuckerman  ivankrastev  quinnnorton  zeyneptufekci  democracy  politics  institutions  euope  us  protest  occupywallstreet  ows  voting  decentralization  internet  citizenship  civics  monotorialcitizenship  globalization  finance  capitalism  austerity  markets  indignados  government  power  control 
17 days ago by robertogreco
This Mesh We're In: Why Communities Are Building An Internet That's More Local | Fast Company | Business + Innovation
"Recently, a pair of artists in New York put forward an unusual plan for teaching middle school students about the Internet: specifically, by teaching them how to get off it and build their own.

OurNet will combine two series of lessons: one on building a social network, and the other dedicated to constructing a private network, or "darknet," in the classroom. In the process, write Joanne McNeil and Dan Phiffer in their proposal, students will learn important concepts about how the Internet works. Last week the project was awarded a $35,000 grant from a MacArthur Foundation digital learning initiative.

Unlike the physical networks of Time Warner and Verizon or the virtual networks of Facebook and Instagram, however, the networks they and their students build will be noncommercial, and limited to people in their Wi-Fi range. That’s not just a way to simplify the lesson: It’s a deliberate choice to help students think about alternatives to corporate Internet providers and platforms built around advertising and tracking.

"This is an opportunity for the students to see what kind of middlemen they don’t need to connect—the idea that you can socialize with people without going on Facebook, or the idea that you can actually have a network that’s not through an ISP," says McNeil.

OurNet is part of a growing movement that aims to consider and build alternative computer networks. The wireless network idea adds to a growing number of small, independent, nonprofit wireless community networks, often organized as so-called "mesh networks" for their weblike, decentralized design, in which each node—a phone, for instance, or a sophisticated wireless router—relays the connection onwards to the next node. OurNet, with one central classroom router, will have an even simpler structure, though it shares the mesh networks' philosophy of decentralization.

The ad hoc approach has gained attention for its usefulness in more extreme situations. Various mesh networks have been deployed to improve communication at Occupy Wall Street and at Hong Kong's Occupy Central, for instance, and the State Department has funded their installation in Detroit and Tunisia, where they're thought of as a way to extend Internet service and avoid government surveillance. They've also been used to improve communications after disasters to replace severed communications links.

One network in Red Hook, Brooklyn, built by activists as a way to help the neighborhood stay connected and get emergency updates after superstorm Sandy struck New York in 2012, last week received a grant from one of the city's resiliency initiatives."
joannemcneil  danphiffer  education  internet  ournet  wireless  meshnetworks  ows  occupywallstreet  occupy.here  sarahgrant  subnodes  stevenmelendez  infrastructure  shahselbejerthorpe  guifi  guifi.net  hyperboria  isp  chicagomeshnetjefflunt  nycmesh  history  web  raspberypi  projectideas  edtech 
19 days ago by robertogreco
Eldridge & Co.: Bill Dobbs, on "Occupy Wall Street - YouTube
last tweet thanks to Bill Dobbs, who remains something like my activist guru (here talking about , in Oct, 2011)
OWS  from twitter
11 weeks ago by jameswagner
B-52 Bomber Radicalism | Jacobin
"The discursive world of urban design and planning will always be dominated by masturbatory fantasy until its inhabitants acknowledge that the real target of change must be the commodity form of land itself. Greater equity in urban space, including the basic right to remain in the city of one’s birth or choice, requires radical interference with rights of private property. Reforms — large-scale affordable housing, for example — that once seemed realistically achievable within electoral politics now demand an essentially revolutionary upheaval. Such has been the logic of Reaganite post-liberalism: to convert basic demands into what Trotsky called “transitional demands.”

Certainly, it was inspiring to see Occupiers reading the like of Slavoj Žižek and David Harvey inside their tents in Zuccotti Park, but the cause might have been better served if Progress and Poverty (1879) had been on the reading list as well. In 1890, Henry George, not Karl Marx, was far and away the most popular radical thinker in the English-speaking countries. His concept of a confiscatory tax on unearned increments of income from land ownership was as enthusiastically embraced by urban workers (he almost won the mayoralty of New York in 1886) as by Highland crofters and Irish tenants. Although Engels and Daniel De Leon rightly scourged the “Single Tax” as a universal panacea, George was no crank, especially in the application of his ideas about land reform to urban areas.

The great accomplishment of the Occupy movement — forcing national attention on economic inequality — became its ideological cul-de-sac to the extent that the movement was silent about economic power and the ownership of the commanding heights of the economy. Anyone can enlist in the vague cause of reducing income inequality, but actually attacking (or even acknowledging) the pyramid of economic power required a clarity that Occupy groups largely failed to achieve.

And yet, the historical moment offered the opportunity. After 2008, the American financial and residential real-estate industries were wards of the state, entirely dependent on public investment and government action. It was a prime moment for progressives to demand their conversion into de jure public utilities — nationalized and democratically managed.

An emphasis on public ownership would also have illuminated solutions immediately at hand, such as using the huge housing stock that defaulted to federal ownership to address the lack of shelter and affordable rents. Instead, the Obama administration followed the same path as Bush senior in the savings and loan crisis a generation ago: organizing a fire sale of homes and apartments to speculators.

Let’s be blunt: unregulated real-estate speculation and land inflation and deflation undermine any hope of a democratic urbanism. Land-use reforms in themselves are powerless to stop gentrification without more municipal ownership or at least “demarketization” of urban land.

The public city is engaged in a life-and-death struggle against the private city, and it’s time to identify large-scale private property as the disease. Bombs away."

[via: https://twitter.com/AlJavieera/status/570857618912059392 ]
2015  mikedavis  losangeles  urban  urbanism  urbandesign  architecture  property  capitalism  housing  cities  ownership  land  transitionaldemands  government  trotsky  zizek  davidharvey  occupywallstreet  ows  karlmarx  henrygeorge  danieldeleon  speculation  landinflation  democracy  demarketization 
12 weeks ago by robertogreco
21st Century Populism: A New Us Against Same Old Them
21st Century Populism: The New “Us” Against The Same Old “Them” by
(NEW On )
MyMPN  Podemos  austerity  OWS  from twitter
february 2015 by kitoconnell

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