Saturday, November 30, 2013

Why did OWS choose to be leaderless? Comparing it to Civil Rights movement

"Roughly speaking, the CRM deployed 'big organizations' in the pursuit of a clearly defined mission. The organizations were Black churches, political groups (e.g., the NAACP), and various labor and student groups. While there was no single leader, the CRM clearly has a leadership class that set the agenda and worked in a fairly top-down manner. It was also highly bureaucratic in that that they set a vast apparatus (the SCLC) to collect funds, conduct litigation, and distribute resources.
In contrast Occupy works on an explicitly decentralized plan. The movement strives to have a horizontal structure and leadership, in the traditional sense, is discouraged. There is no analog to the NAACP or CORE. It also has a very vague set of goals, at least in comparison to the CRM’s demands for voting rights and equality in housing and education."

I tried to deal with this regarding Anonymous' Project Chanology against Scientology in 2008.  They also did not allow "leader fagging."  One reason is that no one should receive more credit than any other person for the action, since it is a group action.  Another is that there is simply less need for designated leaders, since communication is so much simpler and cheaper now.  So I wouldn't say OWS rejected a method of organizing. I would say they utilized tools unavailable to the Civil Rights movement that made a leadership structure mute.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Crowd sourcing your civic duty

"'We didn't just 'angry tweet,' we actually did something,' Soto, a 28-year-old IT engineer and social entrepreneur, said at the time.' Citizens need to understand democracy beyond voting every few years, and government needs to understand that we're willing to participate.'
Seven months later, Mexico's president appears to have heard them, hiring Soto and nine others to launch one of the world's first federal civic innovation offices, part of a broader national digital agenda to be formally unveiled today [Monday, 11/25, 1PM ET]. Building on a model pioneered in a handful of U.S. cities since 2010, Mexico's civic innovation team aims to integrate so-called 'civic hackers' with policy experts already inside government -- to not only build better technology, but to seed a more tech-minded approach to problem-solving across federal processes and policy. What began as outside activism is slowly starting to creep into government."

Making your tax dollars go further, one hack at a time.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

collective action helps Philippines typhoon survivors

"Through a web-based platform, interactive maps created at headquarters are shared with local chapters who can then download the maps, turn layers of data on/off, and add additional data to tailor maps to their own needs.
'The American Red Cross has been utilising mobile data collection domestically in medium-scale disasters since 2007,' Banick said.
'Equipping and training field staff and volunteers to use GPS-enabled devices with pre-loaded damage assessment survey questions has enabled the production of digital maps that display survey results and photos of damaged areas.
'These maps can be updated in real-time as assessments are ongoing.'"

Volunteers, NGO's, and governmental bodies can work together to create helpful maps to show where help is needed most.  This saves on effort and helps with overall understanding of the facts on the ground.  Win-win for everybody!