My license to speak about this comes from the fact I’ve been involved in organizing work since 1979 when I joined the Pan-Africanist Secretariat (Brother Oba T’Shaka for those that know) at 17 years old. In 1984, I heard Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) speak and I joined the All African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP). I’ve been an organizer/member of the A-APRP ever since. That means decades of working with people, all types of people. I’ve worked in organizing efforts in Africa. In Europe. In the Caribbean.Continue reading
Venezuela: Community Organization Key To Fighting COVID-19
Venezuela has been under a nationwide quarantine since mid-March as the government battles to quash the coronavirus before it overwhelms its health system.
In this endeavour, the government of President Nicolas Maduro faces many challenges, not least of which is the state of its embattled health system that has suffered from years of economic sanctions and the return of thousands of Venezuelans from neighbouring countries fleeing the horrors the pandemic has inflicted in the region.
While, by April 9, Brazil to its east had registered more than 16,000 cases and 822 deaths and Colombia to its west, had seen its tally climb above 2000 cases and 54 deaths, Venezuela had only recorded 167 cases and 9 deaths.
Key to this success are the existing community organisations, in particular the communes, that permeate Venezuelan society.Continue reading
How Artists Are Exploring Radical Economies
There are many proposals for radical economies from progressive economists, activists and think tanks. Artists are increasingly joining these debates with speculative proposals and unconventional methodologies. I will explore three art projects here that approach the economies of caring labor, agricultural and social production on farms, and forests, with an artistic spin. Driven by artistic curiosity but not shying away from addressing systemic issues, these projects help us open the scope of our discussions by engaging with diverse social actors. The ReUnion network is a design prototype for a socio-economic ecosystem that helps people organize bottom-up social support through long-term P2P (peer to peer) care agreements.Continue reading
Dodging Bullets On The Path To A Decentralized Future: 2019 In Review
The Internet’s decentralized nature has historically been its greatest super-power, granting it the ability to shrug off censors and spies and redistribute power away from corruptible gatekeepers out to the creators and innovators on its edges. But it’s only been in the last few years that the Net’s own corporate children—Google, Amazon, Facebook, and the rest—have started to defeat that innate ability to re-route around such choke-holds.Continue reading
A Decentralized Participatory Planning Proposal
Political scientist, author, and activist, Marta Harnecker devoted her life to collaborating in building radical democracy in Latin American communities where people have, for generations, experienced crushing poverty and a near complete loss of control over their lives. In South America and the Caribbean, but especially in Cuba and Venezuela, Harnecker has worked directly with disenfranchised workers and peasants. From the ground up, she has helped to build new structures and methods that bring to virtually unknown towns and provinces the full meaning of the Bolivarian revolution. In this latest work, Harnecker, with Spanish economist José Bartolomé, shares some of her wisdom on how this is being done, and how communities everywhere can gain empowerment.Continue reading
An Internet For Everyone
By Devin Coldewey for Tech Crunch. The imagination is a powerful thing, and what it creates may in fact be powerful beyond our imagining.
That was certainly the case with Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web, the creation of which is documented in a new short film, “Foreveryone.net,” which was directed by Jessica Yu and is currently showing at the Seattle International Film Festival. I sat down ahead of the film’s debut with Yu and Berners-Lee, who, in his inimitable manner, held forth on topics from encryption and social media to the need to, as he called it, “re-decentralize the web.”
The film traces the story of the web from its prehistory as a twinkle in Berners-Lee’s eye to the various dangers it faces today: surveillance, the loss of net neutrality and an excess of commercialization and centralization.Continue reading
Post-Capitalism: Rise Of The Collaborative Commons
Ironically, the operating principles of the capitalist marketplace are bringing us ever closer to this very state, while simultaneously the relevance of the competitive market is progressively undermined by the same emerging paradigm. Capitalist logic dictates that the entrepreneurial spirit of a competitive market will continually drive productivity increases and marginal cost decreases. Marginal cost — the cost of producing additional units of product — is the focus, as this is where entrepreneurs and businesses make their profits in a market-exchange economy (at the margin); and when marginal cost approaches zero, so too does profit. The effects of near zero marginal cost can already be seen wreaking havoc across several media industries such as entertainment, communications and publishing, as more and more content continues to be shared and made freely available across digital, collaborative networks.Continue reading