Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A little help from the Ultras, sports fans and revolution


  This is an interesting article on what role sports clubs played in the Arab Spring revolutions.  I've heard that from the beginnings of watching the revolutions in Algeria, Egypt and elsewhere that the anarchic, physical soccer fan clubs played an important role in the uprisings. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Free secure wifi for everyone? could be


"A section of Detroit will be the proving ground for a new open source wireless networking technology called Commotion. Commotion is a mesh networking technology that creates a wireless local area network for devices. The network can connect users to each other and with an Internet connection and can connect them to the greater web.
The network is being built by the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute (OTI), which has completed the first phase of construction of this network in the Cass Corridor section of Detroit. It plans to publicly release Commotion in early 2013 so other places can experiment with the technology. We’ve covered Commotion and the OIT’s efforts before in our story detailing the technology stack for an open wireless network. The stack contains technologies such as Serval, which would enable the handsets to recognize the Commotion network, Tor, a program that can hide where a user is coming from and OpenBTS, an open source base station that runs software that can interface between VoIP networks and GSM radios."

This looks promising both in providing Internet connection to even the poor, and providing a secure network. I hope the idea spreads.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Occupy Sandy credited with keeping crime down


"Hold on to your riot gear, ladies and gentlemen, because police in New York City are saying that Occupy Wall Street activists deserve credit for helping keep the city safe after Hurricane Sandy. They're not saying that publicly, of course. That would just be too much.
In case you haven't been paying attention, Sandy recovery efforts are on-going in many parts of New York City. In areas like Coney Island and the Rockaways, crime has spiked, mostly from burglaries as the communities have struggled to get back on their feet, but things have been remarkably civil in Red Hook. The New York Post reported why on Wednesday night: 'Police sources have credited the drop in crime to an unlikely coalition that included the NYPD, Occupy Wall Street activists, and local nonprofits working together to keep storm victims safe.' Said one of these unnamed sources,'"This crisis allowed us all to remove the politics and differences we had to do our job, and come to the aid of the people. We all rose to the occasion.'"

There is much to learn from Occupy Sandy.  I read that in some ways they've done even better than the Red Cross.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Can a group get too large or formal for ICA to work?


"The old way of doing things, you could think of it as there are three steps in the campaign process," Ruben said. "Step one, listen hard to what members want. Step two, figure out what we can do on that. Step three, turn around and kick that back out to folks and say, 'Ok, if everybody stands on their head on Thursday, we'll get health care,' or whatever the strategy is that we've come up with. So the game here is to take that middle step, which is really the leadership step, and hand as much of it over to members as possible."
MoveOn will still weigh in on elections and other national issues, said Ruben, but the new bottom-up approach will mean much more attention on local issues.
"It's a huge shift and definitely a risk, but it's doable and we feel like it has the potential ... to dramatically increase the number of successful progressive campaigns and projects around the country and to give us a much more clout in these big national fights that have already been our focus, like a big election or the fiscal showdown," Ruben said.
Ruben cited a grassroots-driven campaign that originated with a Pittsburgh member who used the group's new petitions software, called SignOn, to urge local elections officials not to implement an illegal voter suppression law. Campaigners working for MoveOn latched onto the idea and helped spread it across Pennsylvania, running paid media and a traditional campaign against the law, which was ultimately overturned. MoveOn's campaign team, Ruben said, would have never thought to urge local officials to oppose the law, but breaking out of the Washington box allows more creative thinking.

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    ICA only works with a simple goal and no leadership.  So when does a group last so long that ICA should be tossed for more formal organizing?  Can a group be too big or diverse for ICA to work?  What exactly are the boundaries where ICA can be successful?  These questions I hope will be studied.  In the Case of Moveon.org, they appear to believe that they can more closer to ICA than they have been. That's pretty interesting.