Community Articles from 2018
Mainstream Media vs. the Age of Information
by Ethan Indigo Smith
Posted July 12, 2018
The world is on the precipice of change. The information age has the power to challenge the structures of the status quo. It even has the potential to eliminate the influence of money over the election of our leaders, since all candidates can be offered equal communication platforms which enable them all (and their policies) equally, so that those with the best ideas are elected and not the wealthiest corporate-funded noisemaker who can buy support and advertising time on corporate media.
Indeed, there are so many ways that the information age could completely shift the oligarchical collectivism of the power structures of the world in favor of individuals instead of institutions. So, instead of expanding our reach of information – instead of inspiring individuals to dig for truth and research for realness – the institutional powers-that-be are constricting the field of information.
This is particularly obvious with recent challenges to net neutrality — a neutrality that 87% of average Americans support, but which institutions are nonetheless seeking to destroy. More…
At Power Plant Approval Meeting, Paid Actors Spoke While Residents Were Locked Out
By Emilie Karrick Surrusco
Posted July 11, 2018
We’ve asked the Louisiana attorney general to investigate a New Orleans City Council meeting where actors were paid to speak in favor of placing a gas plant in a neighborhood that didn’t want it there.
Observe and participate. Two very important words to the people of New Orleans East.
A news report this week revealed that their constitutional right to observe and participate in public meetings—specifically, meetings where the New Orleans City Council approved the building of a dirty gas-fired power plant in their neighborhood—had been put up for sale.
The price? 60 to 200 “dollarydoos.” More…
Chase Says It’s Fighting Climate Change. So Why Is It Financing the Fossil Fuel Industry?
By Kate Aronoff
Posted July 11, 2018
JPMorgan Chase (“Chase”) talks a big game on climate change. The Wall Street bank has committed to becoming entirely reliant on renewable energy by 2020, and facilitating $200 billion in clean financing—of low-carbon fuel sources—by 2025. “Business must play a leadership role in creating solutions that protect the environment and grow the economy,” CEO Jamie Dimon said in a statement announcing the pledge last summer.
As protesters at the company’s Texas shareholder meeting last week pointed out, Chase is leading on an entirely different front: financing fossil fuel infrastructure. There have been ongoing efforts over the last several years for universities and pension funds to drop their investments in fossil fuels. Activists fighting mountaintop removal coal mining successfully targeted banks like PNC to stop financing the practice, and the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline spawned its own push against Bank of America.
This most recent wave of energy in the fossil fuel divestment movement—targeting banks’ financing of fossil fuel infrastructure, in particular—was spurred by the momentum generated in the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). More…
Why Public Banking is the End Goal of the Divestment Movement
by Phoenix Goodman
Posted July 10, 2018
Something big is starting to happen in the world of activism. Grassroots campaigns are beginning to coalesce into coherent, focused missions with definable outcomes.
The Divest campaign is a classic example of how the People can have a tangible effect on society by speaking the language of the dominating classes: money.
Divestment is what it sounds like: removing public investments from corporate institutions, and repurposing them into organizations which will benefit the common good. This means leveraging the collective will through mass individual actions to force the perpetrators of corrupt and unscrupulous behavior to directly lose profits; in essence, to divest is to boycott. More…
The Fiber Future is Cooperative: Policy Brief On Rural Cooperative Fiber Deployment
by Hannah Trostle
Posted July 7, 2018
Rural communities across the United States are already building the Internet infrastructure of the future. Using a 20th century model, rural America is finding a way to tap into high-speed Internet service: electric and telephone cooperatives are bringing next-generation, Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) networks to their service territories.
Farmers first created utility cooperatives because large private companies did not recognize the importance of connecting rural America to electricity or telephone service. Now, these cooperatives are building fiber infrastructure.
Almost all of the 260 telephone cooperatives and 60 electric cooperatives are involved in fiber network projects. As of June 2016, 87 cooperatives offer residential gigabit service (1,000 Mbps) to their members. More…
We’re All Trespassers Now in the Face of the Government’s Land Grabs
By John W. Whitehead
Posted June 30, 2018
Here’s what one resident of Roanoke, Va., wrote to me about the manner in which the Mountain Valley Pipeline is being inflicted on his community:
“Our small community has been invaded by private security and a fully militarized local police department. Mountain Valley Pipeline has begun cutting trees and has brought in private military contractors similar to what was used in North Dakota. They are basically using the power of government to steal this land for private profit. The residents and land owners of Bent Mountain now find themselves subject to arrest for walking in their own driveway, taking pictures of the pipeline companies ever-changing survey lines and path of destruction, or in more than one case, for confronting MASKED ARMED MEN ON THEIR PROPERTY IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT. One of my neighbors was accosted on his own back porch by police for photographing the MVP surveyors continually moving the corridor of their easement. I have even had armed private security trespassing on my property miles away in neighboring Floyd County”. More…
‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Game of Thrones’ Actors Join Shakespeare’s Rallying Cry to Stand With Refugees
By Imogen Calderwood
Posted June 27, 2018
This 400-year-old speech is still scarily relevant.
Actors from “Harry Potter”, “Game of Thrones”, and “Sex in the City” have joined together with refugees to perform a rallying cry in defence of a compassionate refugee policy.
In a short film, created to mark World Refugee Day today, the actors and refugees perform a previously banned speech widely believed to have been written by William Shakespeare, from the collaborative 16th-century play “Sir Thomas More”.
And even though it’s over 400 years old, it literally couldn’t be more relevant today. More…
A Cashless Society Looms: Cui Bono?
by Virginia Fidler
Posted June 27, 2018
The government, of course, is extremely interested in your spending habits. The taxing authorities use an electronic money trail to monitor your spending and ensure against tax evasion. In addition, cards save the government the cost and trouble of printing and storing additional currency.
Your electronic purchase trail is nirvana to large corporations. Knowing your spending habits allows them to customize their ads to an ever-larger consumer base. They know what you need before you do and are ready to entice you with specials, sales and “act now” deals. More…
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