Wednesday, December 31, 2014

making activism a group effort in Russia

"Navalny began to normalize anti-corruption campaigning, turning it into something that ordinary people do in their spare time, rather than the futile quest of lone idealists with high tolerance for risk."

This is a good article about how collective action is stronger than the work of a high-end single player.  The Internet is what makes this collective action possible.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Victory for Arab Spring in Tunisia?

"(Reuters) - Veteran politician Beji Caid Essebsi has won Tunisia's first free presidential election, official results showed on Monday, the final step in a transition to democracy after an uprising that ousted autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.
But rioting broke out in one southern city, with police firing teargas to disperse hundreds of youths who burned tyres and blocked streets to demonstrate against the victory of an official from Ben Ali's old guard.
Essebsi beat rival and incumbent Moncef Marzouki with 55.68 percent of the vote against 44.32 percent, the results showed."

A successful democratic election is a good sign for the country where the Arab Spring started.  I hope this turns out well for all.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

London housing saved

"Having faced the grim prospect of eviction just before the holidays, residents of a housing block in east London are instead toasting an unlikely victory over U.S. property investors.
Multi-billion dollar asset management firm Westbrook Partners said Friday that it would abandon its plan to raise rents to market values — a move that would have tripled the cost to some residents — and instead sell the New Era estate to an affordable housing charity.
In ditching the plan, Westbrook appeared to bow to public and government pressure following a well-orchestrated campaign. New Era residents organized a petition with nearly 350,000 signatures and attracted major media attention to their cause, thanks in large part to the efforts of British actor Russell Brand. On several occasions, the outspoken comedian turned social activist marched in the streets alongside New Era residents and supporters, and demonstrated outside Westbrook’s office holding signs that read, "Social housing, not social cleansing.'”

I would like to know more about how this protest was organized. It appears it was mostly run from the renters themselves.