media watch / media consolidation

Here’s a very interesting graphic that shows how the media is
consolidated within just a few companies. Of course, we all know that
these few companies wouldn’t let business interests and desires for
deregulation (that allowed the consolidation in the first place, and
promise to allow it to continue) self-censor their content.

Anyhow, here ya go!

http://www.mediachannel.org/ownership/chart.shtml

Thomas Metron quote on peace/love and cause of violence

Interesting, again with the hate/fight for peace idea, but it’s relevant
to our Wall of Violence project in other ways too. I thought I’d share
this since it caught my eye:

“So, instead of loving what you think is peace, love others and love god
above all. And, instead of hating the people you think are warmongers,
hate the appetite and the disorder in your own soul, which are the
causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny,
hate greed – but hate these things in yourself, not in another.” –
Thomas Merton quoted in The Catholic Worker, Oct-Nov ’02

comment about what the US needs from “Canada NOW”

I’m sorry if this is going too far, but I heard an interesting comment
just now while watching a “Canada NOW” report about the pending war with
Iraq.

The correspondent, Adrienne Arsenault, said,

“Military contributions like the ones being made by Australia won’t
change the landscape much. [speaking of how the US will do most of the
fighting] But the United States needs broad support to help pay for a
conflict like this, to deal with the cost of both occupying and
rebuilding Iraq.”

The reason this struck me is in relation to some of the talk we had last
quarter about the military-industrial complex. I haven’t heard many
people talking about this war being a product, of the US
military-industrial complex, that we’re trying to sell to the world. The
idea really struck me that we’re packaging this product of occupation
and rebuilding and attempting to sell it to the world. Essentially, we
go in and do the fighting, as a service to the UN, and then the rest of
the world, through the UN, helps rebuild the infrastructure of Iraq so
that the world carries some of the cost of providing oil to the profit
making multinational and US oil refining companies.

So, the war is being packaged as a world subsidy to the
military-industrial complex, and that doesn’t seem to be something that
many people are saying. Anyhow, thought I’d share that.

example of failed privatization of water

On the topic of privatization, corporations as a tool that can be either
good or bad:

From: Angela Bradbery
Subject: Public Citizen press release
Date: 23 Jan 2003 17:58:02 -0500

Public Citizen issued the following three press releases today:

Jan. 23, 2003

Public Citizen to Mayor Franklin: Reclaim Public Assets

Statement by Wenonah Hauter, Director, Public Citizen’s Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program

In light of the audit of United Water that was released Tuesday, Mayor Shirley Franklin is now faced with one of the most critical decisions of her political life. We strongly encourage Mayor Franklin to pull the plug on this private water firm. If she recognizes that privatization is not right for Atlanta, she will be championed by consumer advocates who have long realized that United Water has failed the 1.5 million customers it purports to serve.

As expected, the city’s audit reveals that United Water has fallen far short of its projected savings since it took over Atlanta’s water and wastewater system in 1999 and has failed to stave off sewer rate increases. Given this latest in a string of revelations exposing United Water as a flop, now is the time for the mayor to loosen the company’s grip on Atlanta.

Atlanta’s residents have suffered under private control: United Water has failed to perform maintenance, billed the city for work it didn’t do and otherwise bungled the administration and delivery of Atlanta’s water service. United Water has abused contract terms, ignored customers’ cries for service, cut staff to dangerously low levels and occasionally delivered filthy brown water. City officials eventually felt compelled to independently monitor United Water’s work because they had so little faith in the company.

United Water now faces a pivotal moment as it stands at the crossroads of a public relations nightmare. For four years, Atlanta has been the international showcase for privatization, extolled by proponents as the wave of the future. Now, the company is drowning in its own errors. The mayor should not bail them out. Instead, the city should return management of the system to public control.

Many communities across the country have addressed waterworks problems without gambling on a private company. They have reviewed their systems from top to bottom, renegotiated costs, provided employee incentives to reward innovation and established clear goals and measurable means of accountability. Phoenix, Nashville, San Diego, Miami and other cities have saved money while maintaining or improving water quality and protecting the environment. Instead of draining money from the community to line corporate coffers, the savings are used to stave off rate increases, hold down system debt and reward employees, or are otherwise re-invested in the community.

Those results stand in stark contrast to United Water’s performance in Atlanta, and should be encouraging to city officials as they look ahead.
###

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.

affinity groups, grassroots dialogue

As you know, I’ve been interested in, what’s probably a cliche by now, a
time and place for dialogue. Along these lines, if there’s going to be
such a thing, that time and place should be part of people’s everyday
lives, or else there’s a disconnect between the ideal and the actual.

So, I started to think about this. There’s real life opportunities to
develop and promote dialogue within normal activities for people
involved in grassroots or progressive movements certainly, but there’s
also opportunities in the labor/union movement. With this in mind I
started to check around.

I have not really compiled the resources for labor/union examples, but
there’s the example of the “Affinity Group” which has been called
various things, like “Cell.” These minimally hierarchical structures
have been amazingly effective at distributing leadership in places like
Palestine and in any of the resistance struggles as well as in the every
day activities of progressive groups like the SOA Watch.

Here’s a couple links:

http://www.starhawk.org/activism/affinitygroups.html
http://www.starhawk.org/activism/cafe-charette.html
http://www.geocities.com/kk_abacus/insurr3.html
http://woomera2002.antimedia.net/affinity.php3

Anyhow, there’s more to this idea, that the need for dialogue training
is like the organization of any other progressive resistance movement.
This was something I kind of started to ask about when I asked Christine
Vernon about whether there was “enclaving” in response to the loss of
the “fifth discipline” support in her group, an enclaving that I’ve
experienced in the past also. That’s the formulation of informal
resistance. Why not make that kind of thing implicit?

For example, why should we not start thinking about dialogue and in fact
all grassroots resistance skills as something that it is our patriotic
duty to learn and teach? Dialogue, consensus and non-violent resistance
tools could be part of our societal citizenship training and brought to
all aspects of our lives.

Okay, so I feel like I’m on the verge of a rant, so I’ll stop there.
Suffice to say that I thought I’d share what I was thinking. As an
example, I’m thinking of suggesting a project to my discussion group on
fridays where we each engage with dialogue in some other setting and
spend time talking in the friday group about how that’s going, a kind of
dialogue check-in.

Anyhow, that’s probably enough said. ;) Time to leave for class!

quote from a recent Utne e-mail

I was struck by this quote. I thought you all might enjoy it also:

“TECHNOLOGIES WHICH ARE environmentally more sustainable are less prone to being hijacked by those intent on harm. No terrorist is going to make governments tremble by threatening to bomb a wind turbine, or release clouds of compost over our cities.”

Jonathon Porritt, English environmentalist, Resurgence (Sept./Oct. 2002)

The Fightin’ Whites

An article that talks about CafePress, which I was reading for other
reasons entirely (on-demand book publishing they will be introducing
soon), mentioned the Fightin’ Whites, which I thought was fun in
relation to our focus last quarter.

“A Native American college intramural basketball team called the
Fightin’ Whites raised a similar amount for its line of products. In an
attempt to point to racist tendencies in U.S. popular culture, the
organization has used the proceeds from its logo-laden items to
establish a scholarship fund.”

Here’s the link to their products:
http://www.cafeshops.com/cp/store.aspx?s=fightinwhite

This is especially interesting in relation to the AF logo’d t-shirt “Two
Wongs can make it white” about a fictitious chinese laundry. Okay, so I
just realized that I think one’s cool and the other’s not and I’m
wondering about that. So I started doing some searching for links on the
internet.

Here’s a link to a PDF document that actually talks about both that I
just found:
http://www.kamergroup.com/pdfs/LKamerKamerGroupTShirtandValues.pdf

Here’s a related article in the seattle PI about the AF shirt:
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/jamieson/68466_robert30.shtml

MLK’s “beyond vietnam” in audio

The other week KAOS or NPR was going to be broadcasting the audio of
MLK’s beyond vietnam speech which I ended up missing, but clued me in to the fact that a recording of the speech existed. I had a moment today
when I was so busy avoiding other things I needed to do, so I have had a
chance to search online for any links to the audio version of the
speech. Here’s a list of some of the items that I’ve found, which you
may find interesting:

Full speech in MP3 audio, from a radio broadcast
http://atlanta.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=11906&group=webcast

Full text of the speech with RealAudio excerpt
http://www.independence.net/mlking/beyondvietnam.php

Full text with audio excerpts
http://www.aavw.org/special_features/speeches_speech_king01.html

National Radio Project, show on MLK and the anti-war movement
http://www.radioproject.org/temp/king.html

The MLK papers project: multimedia page
http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/multimedia.html

Some other speeches, both audio and text
http://www.wmich.edu/library/depts/archives/mlk/audio.html

quote source I’ve been looking for …

I recently read the following powerful quote:

“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But . . . if
you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us
work together”

I’ve been looking for the source of this quote and think I’ve found it.
The quote is from a woman named Lilla Watson, an aboriginal woman living in Australia.

Anyhow, it’s a pretty cool quote and seemed very relevant to a lot of
what we’ve been talking about in class about compassion and shared
intelligence.

Rabbi Arik Ascherman from today’s video on Salon

here’s an article on Salon that includes Rabbi Ark Ascherman who was in
the video we watched today. He was the gentleman that was translating
for the other person that had had his house levelled.

Anyhow, it’s unfortunately a “premium” article and I cancelled my
subscription last month, so I’m not able to forward the whole article to
you all. However, I thought it would be of some interest anyway. Here’s
the link:

http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2003/01/15/shields/index_np.html