Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Monday, 28 January 2013
Apple Inc. is found to be using "child labor" - January 2013
Mood:  accident prone
Now Playing: Child laborers uncovered in Apple's China Factories

Child labour uncovered in Apple's supply chain


Internal audit reveals 106 children employed at 11 factories making Apple products in past year




The Guardian, Friday 25 January 2013 14.22 EST

Juliette Garside, telecoms correspondent


Apple has discovered multiple cases of child labour in its supply chain, including one Chinese company that employed 74 children under the age of 16, in the latest controversy over the technology giant's manufacturing methods.


An internal audit found a flipside to the western consumer's insatiable thirst for innovative and competitively priced gadgets. It uncovered 106 cases of underage labour being used at Apple suppliers last year and 70 cases historically. The report follows a series of worker suicides over working conditions at Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that assembles must-have products such as the iPad and iPhone, and lethal explosions at other plants.


Apple's annual supplier report – which monitors nearly 400 suppliers – found that children were employed at 11 factories involved in making its products. A number of them had been recruited using forged identity papers.

The report uncovered a catalogue of other offences, ranging from mandatory pregnancy tests, to bonded workers whose wages are confiscated to pay off debts imposed by recruitment agencies. They also found cases of juveniles being used to lift heavy goods, workers having their wages docked as a punishment and one factory dumping waste oil in the toilets.

One Chinese supplier, a circuit board component maker called Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics, was axed by Apple after 74 children under the age of 16 were recruited to work on its production lines. According to Apple, the children had been knowingly supplied by one of the region's largest labour agencies, Shenzhen Quanshun Human Resources. Its investigators found that the agency conspired with families to forge identification documents. Apple did not disclose the ages of the children involved, but its code of conduct states it will not employ workers under the age of 15, or under the legal working age in any jurisdiction – which is 16 in China.


Apple's chief executive, Tim Cook, who in a previous role was responsible for building Apple's supply chain, has been under pressure to push through changes after the suicides at Foxconn, whose manufacturing operations are largely based in China. Last September a brawl involving up to 2,000 workers forced Foxconn to close a plant in northern China.

Last year he described the use of underage labour as "abhorrent", saying it was "extremely rare in our supply chain", and stepped up measures to weed out bad practice including hiring an independent auditor, the Fair Labor Association.


"Underage labour is a subject no company wants to be associated with, so as a result I don't believe it gets the attention it deserves, and as a result it doesn't get fixed like it should," said Jeff Williams, senior vice president of operations at Apple. He vowed to eradicate the practice, but said it could take some time.

At Pingzhou, the children were returned to their families and the employer was "required to pay expenses to facilitate their successful return". Although 95% of the facilities scrutinised by Apple complied with child labour laws, transgressors were told to return minors to a school chosen by their family, pay for their education, and give them an income equal to their factory wages.

Bonded labour was discovered at eight factories. In order to find work, some foreign labourers pay fees to a string of recruitment agencies and sub-agencies, amassing huge debts. Their wages are then automatically handed over to pay the debts, tying them to jobs until the balance has been paid off.

Apple ordered its suppliers to reimburse excessive recruitment fees – anything higher than one month's wages – and said $6.4m (£4m) was handed back to contract workers in 2012.

Investigators found 90 facilities that deducted wages to punish workers, prompting Apple to order the reimbursement of employees. Mandatory pregnancy testing was found at 34 places of work, while 25 tested for medical conditions such as hepatitis B. At four facilities, payroll records were falsified to hide information from auditors, and at one, a supplier was found intentionally dumping waste oil "into the restroom receptacle".

Apple said it took measures to protect whistleblowers, and that it made 8,000 calls last year to workers interviewed by auditors in order to find out if they had suffered intimidation. 



Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PST
Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2013 10:19 AM PST
Sunday, 13 January 2013
PDX March - Rally for MLK Day - COUNTDOWN CLOCK
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: Here is a picture of the MLK PDX count down clock with HTML code


I have this posted and running on my website you can view it here:  www.joeanybody.com or check this view of a larger countdown-clock  http://goo.gl/cpnlT 


 (picture) of countdown clock (not running, just a picture)


Here is the HTML embedded code for the "MLK PDX countdown clock"

(include no spaces in your code)


<EMBED SRC="http://games.webgamedesign.com/free/counter2-1.swf?title=PDX%3A%20MARCH%20FOR%20THE%20DREAM%20-%201.19.13&count=down&time=1358647200000&bgc=0xff0033&bgb=3&bgd=0&bc=0xcccccc&bb=1&bd=0&tc=0xcccccc&tb=1&td=4&uc=0x99ccff&ub=1&ud=5&nc=0x333333&nb=1&nd=0" TYPE="application/x-shockwave-flash" NAME="Free Counter" ALIGN=MIDDLE WIDTH=500 HEIGHT=100 quality="high" bgcolor="#ffffff" allowScriptAccess="sameDomain" allowFullScreen="false" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer">

Posted by Joe Anybody at 1:46 PM PST
Updated: Sunday, 13 January 2013 1:51 PM PST
Sunday, 30 December 2012
The End of 2012 - The Begining of 2013
Mood:  celebratory





[and older]
or by



Posted by Joe Anybody at 4:02 PM PST
Thursday, 6 December 2012
Anarchists and Dual Power - Thoughts from the Anarchist Library
Mood:  blue
Now Playing: Active Revolution: Anarchist, Grassroots Duel Power
Topic: Anarchism

Title: Active Revolution

Author(s):An Organizer

Date: 2002


Notes: From The Northeastern Anarchist Issue #4, Spring/Summer 2002


plain PDFA4 imposed PDFLetter imposed PDFEPUBclean HTMLTeXsource

An Organizer

Active Revolution

Part I: Anarchist, Grassroots Dual Power


Dual Power Defined

The term “Dual Power” has been used in several ways since it was first coined. The following definition builds on the previous meanings of Dual Power, most importantly by articulating the equal and necessary relationship between counter-power and counter-institutions. In the original definition, dual power referred to the creation of an alternative, liberatory power to exist alongside and eventually overcome state/capitalist power.

Dual power theorizes a distinct and oppositional relationship between the forces of the state/capitalism and the revolutionary forces of oppressed people. The two can never be peacefully reconciled.

With the theory of dual power is a dual strategy of public resistance to oppression (counter-power) and building cooperative alternatives (counter-institutions). Public resistance to oppression encompasses all of the direct action and protest movements that fight authoritarianism, capitalism, racism, sexism, homophobia, and the other institutionalized oppressions. Building cooperative alternatives recreates the social and economic relationships of society to replace competitive with cooperative structures.

It is critical that these two general modes of action do not become isolated within a given movement. Counter-power and counter-institutional organizations must be in relationship to each other. The value of reconnecting counter-institutional organizations with explicitly oppositional counter-power organizations is a safeguard against the former’s tendency to become less radical over time. As counter-power organizations are reconnected to their base, they ground their political analysis in the concrete experience of counter-institutions — mitigating against the potential political “distance” between their rhetoric and the consciousness of their families, fellow workers and neighbors.

Dual power does not imply a dual set of principles, and therefore processes — one for public resistance and other for building cooperative alternatives. The process used for both strategic directions has the same set of principles at its root. The anarchist principles of direct democracy, cooperation and mutual aid have practical implications which inform the dual power strategies for revolution.

Direct democracy means that people accept the right and responsibility to participate in the decisions which affect their lives.

Cooperation means that our social and economic structure is egalitarian, that we cooperate instead of compete to fulfill our needs and desires.

Mutual aid means that we share our resources between individuals and groups toward universal need and desire fulfillment.

These principles lend us the foundation for creating inclusive, anti-authoritarian relationships as we work in grassroots organizations. Regardless of the strategic direction within dual power that is being pursued, we will follow the same process — building relationships, organizing these relationships into groups, and moving these groups toward collective action.

We organize in order to build power with others — power that gives us the opportunity to participate in the decisions which affect our lives. It is in the conscious construction and use of this power that we find true democracy.

Part II: Defining a Process for Revolutionary Social Change

Liberation is the struggle to be fully present, to have the ability to act — to become powerful, relevant and therefore historical. Liberation through action is one of the ways in which people experience such self-actualizing transformation. Of course, liberation can also take place through other means — chief among these are popular education, cultural work and identity-based activity.

But, in our complex and oppressive society, a holistic strategy for liberation must be multi-faceted and geared toward some measure of action.

Once we get beyond this general agreement on the centrality of action to liberation, the debate on the specifics of action begins. There is a clear distinction between the three most common forms of action in the United States — activism, advocacy and organizing. Their effectiveness as strategies for change is at the heart of this essay. First, a summary of each strategy.

Activism — An activist is a person who is responsible to a defined issue and who helps address that issue through mobilizing a base of people to take collective action. Activists are accountable to themselves as moral actors on a specific issue. Democratic structures are a utilitarian consequence of activities designed to win on the defined issue (my definition).

Advocacy — An advocate is a person who is responsible to a defined issue and who helps address that issue through collective action that uses the instruments of democracy to establish and implement laws and policies that will create a just and equitable society (Advocacy Institute).

Organizing — An organizer is a person who is responsible to a defined constituency and who helps build that constituency through leadership development, collective action and the development of democratic structures (National Organizers Alliance).

To clarify, power is simply the ability to act — and it can be used over or with others. As anarchists, power with others forms the core of our belief system. In each of the above strategies, power is gained through collective action — how each uses that power begins to illuminate considerable differences. The democratic structures created to focus that power also shed light on these differences.

Relationships form the foundation of all collective action. The intentionality of those relationships determines if your primary commitment is to your constituency or to the issue around which a constituency is built.

People participate in collective action because they have a self-interest in doing so. Self-interest is a middle ground between selfishness and self-sacrifice, determined most practically by the activities in which people spend their time, energy and money. Self-interest is the activity of the individual in relation to others. It is in the self-interest of people to participate in social change because such activities resonate with a need or desire within themselves. Thus, people choose issues or organizations because something about them is in their self-interest.

In addition to a shared commitment to collective action — power, relationships and self-interest are all critical elements that the three strategies of action have in common. The differences emerge in the use of power, the degree of intentionality placed on relationship-building, and the emphasis on issue or organization as the point of connection between people.

1. Use of Power

Activists and advocates use power primarily to win on issues. Given that power is currently derived from two sources — people and money — activists and advocates try to mobilize a quantity of each to affect change. More often than not this means mobilizing a lot of people, and a little bit of money. These two strategies differ in that advocacy is explicitly about altering the relations of power in the established institutions of society, while activism doesn’t necessarily place its faith in the perfectibility of American democratic institutions.

Advocates make a serious error in not differentiating power over others and power with others. They try to negotiate for a change in the relations of power between oppressor and oppressed, failing to understand that these two conceptions of power cannot be peacefully reconciled. Advocates end up negotiating to share power over others, and in doing so find themselves transformed.

No longer are they building power with others, but power for others — which is just a lighter shade of power over others. The struggle between these two types of power is a zero sum game — as one wins, the other loses. Only power with others is limitless; power over others always implies a finite amount of power.

Activism’s power is derived first from its ability to affect change on issues and secondly on the potential force for change embodied in organized people. Organizing uses power differently — by first building an organization. For organizers, issues are a means to an end (the development of peoples’ capacity to affect change). Organizers’ use of power with others to alter the relations of power over others inherent in government or capitalist corporations forces such authoritarian groups into a debilitating contradiction. Opening such contradictions creates room for change. Authoritarian institutions may well react with violence to preserve power over others, or these contradictions may result in real social change. Liberation and revolution take place as relationships change from authoritarian to egalitarian.

Too often organizers and their organizations fall prey to the same negative transformation as advocates — in negotiation to alter the relations of power they begin to build power for others rather than power with others. The authoritarian government and capitalist system are frighteningly seductive. They promise to change incrementally, and then slowly lull organizers, advocates and activists into a reformist sleep. However, the strength of organizing lies in the deliberate construction of a constituency that holds itself, its organization and its organizers publicly accountable. A commitment to relationships rather than issues is key to public accountability, and to insuring a lasting dedication to building power with others.

2. Relationship-Building

All action has the potential to be liberatory. However, it is the degree of intentionality placed on relationship-building that determines the quality of the learning that takes place. Organizers differentiate between public and private relationships. Public relationships are those in which there is an agreement between people to act and reflect together in the process of social change. Organizers cultivate deliberate public relationships and bring people together in situations that foster relationship-building among those taking action. Intentional reflection upon action is key to maximizing learning. In organizing, people recognize relationships — not issues — as the foundation of their organizations.

Activism and advocacy use relationships as a means to an end — victory on an issue. Relationships are an end in themselves for organizers. This element of the debate centers on the question of constituency. The constituency of activism is other activists and potential activists, motivated through their individual moral commitments to a given issue. Advocates have no primary constituency. The constituency of an organizer is the universe of people who are potential members of a given organization with a defined geographical area or non-geographical base (through affinity or identity).

3. Issue vs. Organization

Relationships are built between people; only through abstraction can we say that people have relationships with institutions or issues. There is an inherent contradiction in activism’s attempts to mobilize people around an issue, given that issues are conceptual while people actually exist. People are not in relationship with issues — they can only be in relationship with other people.

Organizations provide the context for public relationships. As anarchists we build organizations based on the ‘power with others’, non-hierarchical model. We believe in organization — how much and in what form are the debatable points. But, as anarchists, we know that organization is necessary as a vehicle for collective action.

Multiple dynamic relationships (organizations) are the product of an organizer’s work. For activists, organizations are a utilitarian consequence of their work on a given issue. And for advocates they are a utilitarian tool used to negotiate for power. Organizers trust in the ability of people to define their own issues, a faith that rests in the knowledge that maximizing the quantity and quality of relationships produces dynamic organizations and therefore dynamic change. Advocates synthesize issues from a dialogue between people and dominant institutions, and they struggle for practical changes to the “system.” Activists engage in continuous analysis of issues, producing clear and poignant agendas for social change — and then rally people around those agendas.

The problem of “distance” is primarily one of both activism and advocacy. People who spend a great deal of time developing an issue have a tendency to create an analysis that is significantly different than that of most other people. As the distance increases between the depth of understanding between an activist or advocate and that of other people, we find increasing polarization. Such distance can breed a vicious cycle of isolation.

4. Revolutionary Social Change

Perhaps the greatest difference between these three strategies of action is in their ability over to time to create revolutionary change. In the final analysis — primary commitment to an issue is in contradiction to a primary commitment to power with others. The faith of anarchists lies in the ability of people to govern themselves — on holding power with others. This faith implies a staggering level of trust in others, and a monumental commitment on a personal level to participate publicly in social change. Activism and advocacy have no such trust in others — their faith is in their analysis of, and moral commitment to, an issue. By putting their faith in an issue they are removing their faith from people. Relationships do not form the basis for their action, and therefore they cannot be said to have a primary commitment to power with others. Of the three strategies of action, only organizing has a primary commitment to people — to power with others — and to anarchism.

The modern anarchist conception of dual power encourages us to build liberatory institutions while we fight the oppression of the dominant system. Activism and organizing exist in both arenas, while advocacy exists only in the latter.

There is room to construct and practice a fresh revolutionary organizing process that is relevant to our current historical context. Aspects of such a revolutionary program would certainly incorporate radical social service, counter-institutional economic development, counter-power, educational and cultural dimensions. To maximize our effectiveness, it is important to define our strategy for action clearly across the range of possible activities and organizations.

As a model approach, organizing offers a starting point for a strategic social change process. Advocacy, as a contradictory and liberal strategy, may be necessary in order to keep the system from degenerating at a faster pace but it is insufficient for anarchists interested in revolutionary change. Activism is flawed by its insistence on elevating issues over relationships and its tendency to use organization and people as means to an end.

Organizing begins when we make a commitment to develop the capacity of ourselves and those people with whom we work to affect change. The intensity of conscious action and reflection is the engine that drives organizers to build relationships, construct dynamic organizations, and move those relationships into collective action. As anarchists we must learn the theory and practice of organizing if we are truly committed to revolutionary change.

5. Organizing Theory/Organizing Skills

A holistic framework of effective organizing (through community, labor or issue-based organizations) must include some conception of relationships, self-interest, power, and organization. Again, relationships are the means with which we communicate and regulate our social existence. Relationships are always political, and as such are the foundation of all conceptions of power. Self-interest is the self in relationship to others, and signifies our political bonds and individual priorities for how we spend our time, energy and money. Power is simply the ability to act, and can be used as either power with others or power over others. Organizations are social constructs with which power is exercised.

The skills of effective organizing are all geared toward building relationships, organizing those relationships into groups and moving those groups into collective action. One-on-one meetings are structured conversations that allow each person to share their experiences toward identifying their individual and mutual self-interests. These meetings may be scheduled, or they may take place going door-to-door, house-to-house, or over the phone. A network of one-on-one relationships can be increased exponentially by asking people to hold “house meetings” where people invite their own networks (family, friends, neighbors or co-workers). Through this process we can identify people who are potential leaders — people with a sense of humor, a vision of a better world, a willingness to work with others, and a desire to learn and grow in the context of action. As relationships are built between leaders, organizations are formed which can move into action on collectively defined issues.

This is the critical point — it doesn’t matter what issue people choose to work on. And we shouldn’t steer people in a direction that we think is better or more radical. Organizing is not about identifying an issue and rallying or mobilizing people around it. Organizing is about building organizations that can wield collective power. Action may begin as reform to the existing system, and that is OK. We cannot expect people to take radical action if they have not yet given up on the “system.” It is our job to encourage action in many forms, and to reflect upon that action in order to learn from it. We must trust that such action and reflection will radicalize people over time.

Finally, how do we organize non-anarchists, or more seriously, people with different class, race, cultural backgrounds from ourselves, or do we? We must begin by locating ourselves in the complex matrix of oppression. What is your identity, in what ways do you experience oppression? In this way we can identify the social networks in which we either have relationships, or because of our identity could readily form relationships.

Then we must ask ourselves — where do we want to have an impact? In what communities can we identify a constituency for our organizing efforts? Do we have a common identity with these identified communities? If not, why do we consider them a possible constituency?

It is very important to identify the constituency in which we want to have an impact before we identify issues that we will work on. To do otherwise takes us backward, and initiates an authoritarian process in which we are dictating issues to a constituency.

Getting back to the question — is it wrong for an organizer to define a constituency that is not a part of their history or identity? Should we concentrate on organizing within our own communities? I cannot answer these questions for you — I simply don’t have the answers. But, I do know that they are critical and must be resolved before an organizing or popular education project may begin.

6. Active Participation by Anarchists in Community, Education, Labor and Issue-based Organizations

It is not a concession to liberalism, nor a descent into reformism, for revolutionaries to participate actively in organizations that are not explicitly radical. Neither are we their vanguard. The only realistic way to build a mass movement is to work directly with oppressed people — in essence, we are transformed as we transform others.

We join existing organizations to build our skills in the realm of political action. Through immersion in grassroots struggles we develop an understanding of the process of radicalization — beginning where people are at, using dialogue and research to build our collective analysis, taking action, and reflecting upon that action in an ongoing circular process.

There are some hard learned truths in these ideas. First, your vision of a better world is incomplete and impotent without the participation of grassroots people in its construction.

Second, you cannot impose your ideas, however radical you think they are and however backward you think others’ beliefs are, without compromising anarchist principles. So then, how do we move forward?

Participation in existing organizations allows us to gain experience in political action. We can then use this experience to create new organizations that are based more closely on anarchist principles, but which are still dedicated to a grassroots base. But, you should not presume that you are ready to start a grassroots organization without having a clear idea on how to build and sustain such a group. That is why I encourage you to learn from the many models of organizing and education that are currently operating in the world before you strike out on your own.

Part III: Concrete Directions for Dual Power

1. Current Anarchist Forms of Organization

Anarchists have used a wide array of organizational forms and strategies of action in the past one hundred and fifty years.

Collectives: Cadre organizations (or closed collectives) and open collectives closely resonate with an activist strategy. Infoshops, for example, operate as open collectives. As activist groups, they tend to coalesce around an issue — in this case anarchism itself. Most infoshops of the 1990s who attempted to move beyond the limitations of activism were hampered by theoretical and practical barriers. The Beehive (Washington, DC), Emma Center (Minneapolis, MN)and the A-Zone’s (Chicago, IL) attempts at anti-gentrification organizing have been intermittent and rarely effective. Issues and analysis must be developed in conjunction with the people affected by those given issues, or the separation between people and analysis leads to vanguardist distance. You cannot be an ally without first choosing the method of alliance — what is your relationship to the people affected by an issue, and how will your organizational form contribute to effective work on that issue? These are central questions for anarchists operating on a local level and who are interested in grassroots struggle.

Worker/Consumer Cooperatives: Worker cooperatives are a special category of closed collectives — as consumer cooperatives are of open collectives. As needs-based organizations, they combine elements of activist and organizing strategies. It is critical for grassroots cooperatives to commit themselves to organizing’s participatory model of action, but it is also vital that they are allowed the space to try out new ideas. With a careful eye to the issue of distance, cooperatives are an effective means of organization.

Mass-based Organizations: Mass-based organizations, like the IWW, have the potential to be influential elements of a popular revolutionary movement. There is no effective way to build a mass-based organization except through organizing. A cursory reading of history shows mass-based organizations growing as movements spring up in response to injustice — and then they fade away when justice is met. This conception of history ignores the countless years of work that go into every “spontaneous” movement. Spain had a revolutionary anarchist movement in 1936 because of the incredible organizing that began there in the 1860s.

Intermediary Organizations: Organizations that directly encourage the creation and development of the above forms of organization are necessary adjuncts to a holistic conception of revolutionary organizing. In an anarchist model, intermediary organizations are most effective in the form of a confederation. Intermediaries can provide:

Dialogue and Action — as a political formation, counter-institutional and counter-power organizations would come together to engage in revolutionary praxis (action and reflection).

Training — on the basics of organizing, facilitation, issue analysis, direct action techniques, organizational, issue and membership development, etc.

Technical Assistance — participatory research on issues, access to technology, technical knowledge on the “how-tos” of things like forming economic or housing cooperatives (where to get money, how to get started, etc.).

Financial Assistance — grassroots fundraising, grant writing, and the investigation and implementation of resource pools.

The point is that anarchists must think strategically about their forms of organization and strategies of action within a particular historical context. We must make conscious and informed decisions about the prospects for effective revolutionary social change that are either enhanced or limited by our choices of organization and action.

2. Becoming More Radical and More Grassroots

More than fifteen years of modern anarchist gatherings, conferences and events haven’t led to a coherent anarchist movement — on a continental, regional or local level. This is significant because other groups of people, similarly collected together on the basis of political or issue affinity have developed a higher degree of movement organization. Why? First, anarchists have tended to form organizations that are not integrated with a grassroots base and, second, anarchists have not built effective intermediary organizations.

The lack of a grassroots base is the result of an anti-mass conception of organization among anarchists. Favoring collectives, anarchists have constructed insular groups that are simply not relevant to the lives of their families, neighbors and co-workers. While collective organization is useful under certain conditions, it is not conducive to building a movement, which implies a much higher level of mass participation. Learning organizing and popular education theories and skills is the answer for anarchists interested in building a broad-based and diverse movement.

Additionally, North American anarchists have not developed intermediary organizations to connect locally organized radical groups with each other, and then to regional/national/continental networks. Anarchists seem hellbent on remaining a collection of individual people and their individual groups due to a reluctance to be accountable to a wider constituency through engaging in the process of strategic organizing and popular education. Simply arguing for a network (locally or continentally), presumably for communication and mutual aid, also hasn’t taken off despite numerous tries. And in the case of the Love and Rage Revolutionary Anarchist Federation, it did work for almost a decade, but at the expense of losing the local organizations. This does not have to be the case.

We need to develop massive resources of our own — social and economic — if we want to make similarly massive changes in society. Our forms of organization must infect and transform society away from competition, capitalism and oppression.

The challenge is to initiate broad-based organizing and popular education to build both counter-power and counter-institutional organizations and to construct intermediary confederations to connect them. We must stop trying to build a movement of anarchists and instead fight for an anarchistic movement.

* * * * *

Editor’s Note

Although we welcome the author’s insights and analysis around dual power and grassroots organizing, we reject his final conclusion which claims that anarchists must “stop trying to build a movement of anarchists, and instead fight for an anarchistic movement.” Those of us from NEFAC would argue that both are equally necessary.

We do not believe that an activist strategy based solely on anarchist methods of organizing (self-organization, mutual aid, solidarity and direct action) will inevitably lead us any closer towards anarchism. Such a strategy, on its own, only serves to provide a radical veneer and egalitarian legitimacy for liberal-reformist or authoritarian activist trends.

A successful revolution will require that anarchist ideas become the leading ideas within the social movements and popular struggles of the working class. This will not happen spontaneously. We believe that, if only to wage the battle of ideas, anarchist organizations are necessary. The purpose of such organizations, for us, is to connect local grassroots activism to a larger strategy of social revolution; to create an organizational pole for anarchists to develop theory and practice, share skills and experiences, and agitate for explicitly anarchist demands (in opposition to liberal-reformist or authoritarian trends) within our activism.

toogle ToC

Posted by Joe Anybody at 10:55 PM PST
Monday, 3 December 2012
Slaves to the IMF - Iraq and the slave labor laws
Mood:  down
Now Playing: Iraq Labor Laws and the IMF
Topic: WAR



 {original article found here}


The new Iraqi labour law, a law for a new slavery

We received this request for international protests against the new labour Law being introduced in Iraq under the pressure of the IMF. It is clearly against the interests of workers in Iraq and openly defends the right of capitalists to brutally exploit the workers.

“Dear Sister and Brothers in working class organizations around the World,

“We are sending out this report by Falah Alwan, president of the Federation of Workers' Councils and Unions in Iraq, concerning the new labour law in Iraq. We are calling on all trade unions and leaders around the world to support our struggle against it. Please speak out loudly to stand with us in solidarity. Send your letter to the government of Iraq to respect workers’ rights now. Send us copies of your letters please as we want to publish them among the workers in Iraq. Your support is very important to us always.

“Hand to hand and shoulder to shoulder in working class struggle for freedom and Equality.

“Akram Nadir,

Union Organizer in Iraq and Kurdistan and International Representative of Federation of Workers' Councils and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI).”

[email: akram_nadir_1999@yahoo.com, www.fwcui.org]


More than one hundred serious notes and objections, to the 156 articles which are the components of the draft of the new labour law, were set out. Such issue means that it is an objectionable draft. And these objections are undermining it.

Since 2004 there have been five drafts of the new labour law in Iraq, none of them were presented publicly or to the workers' unions. The Ministry of Labour, coordinating with the government controlled trade union federation, composed the latest draft of the labour law surreptitiously in a conspiratorial manner. The other unions in Iraq received copies of the latest draft, via the Solidarity Centre, only one year ago.

The recent draft of the labour law is not merely the result of a normal development of the economic necessities, or a kind of cure to the economic crisis. It is the direct result of the IMF policies which have been imposed by the US occupation in collaboration with their loyal government, so the struggle against it is part of the struggle against the occupation policies and the neo-liberal agenda.

The spirit of the draft is to legitimize the capitalist interests, and to defend them within an officially authorized framework. The notes are so numerous, that we cannot list them all in detail; here we focus only on the main key points.

The new labour law confirms the laws of the former regime, which consider the workers in the public sector as officials, depriving them of the most basic rights and guarantees, denying them the right to organize and the right to strike.

Most of the articles of the new labour law are to guarantee the interests of the capitalists. More than one article gives the full right to the capitalists to lay off workers for no reason. The dismissals of the workers are up to the owners of the factories or the projects.

In 2004 the Iraqi government had accepted the 6 demands of the IMF as conditions for a compulsory loan of about US$436million. All those conditions are undoubtedly expressions of the neo-liberal policies.

The new labour law reflects clearly and overtly the class interests of the capitalists before the workers' interests. It gives legitimacy to exploitation, while justifying the greed of the capitalists. In a word, the new labour law is a framework within which to intensify and justify the exploitation and the suppression of the workers and to enable the neo-liberal model to control the economy in Iraq.

The preamble of the draft is to facilitate the investment conditions for the capitalists. There is no real confirmation of the rights to strike, to sit-in, to assemble or to demonstrate. There are no guarantees for the workers' rights, such as,
1. Protection against dismissal,
2. Assurances against unemployment,
3. The safety insurance and benefits to the workers.

Finally, we realise it is impossible to end exploitation or to acquire full rights of the working class by simply changing or reforming the labour law. In addition, the implementing of the new labour law will not change the system of property relations or implement a new social state, i.e. socialism.

Actually, our criticism of the new labour law is aimed at implementing many reforms, such as; the right to strike, the right to sit in, unemployment insurance and the full right to organize and join unions, in a word, to strengthen the ability of the working class to struggle against the exploiters, and the whole of capitalism.

Falah Alwan

November 2012


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PST
Wednesday, 28 November 2012
Filming the police - Illinois sticks with the appeal rulling "Yes you Can"
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: Supreme Court rejects plea to ban taping of police in Illinois

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Supreme Court rejects plea to ban taping of police in Illinois


Phone interview with ACLU legal director Harvey Grossman as he reacts to the recent Supreme Court ruling. Content edited for time.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal of a controversial Illinois law prohibiting people from recording police officers on the job.

By passing on the issue, the justices left in place a federal appeals court ruling that found that the state's anti-eavesdropping law violates free-speech rights when used against people who audiotape police officers.

A temporary injunction issued after that June ruling effectively bars Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez from prosecuting anyone under the current statute. On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit against Alvarez, asked a federal judge hearing the case to make the injunction permanent, said Harvey Grossman, legal director of the ACLU of Illinois.

Grossman said he expected that a permanent injunction would set a precedent across Illinois that effectively cripples enforcement of the law.

Alvarez's office will be given a deadline to respond to the ACLU request, but on Monday, Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for Alvarez, said a high court ruling in the case could have provided "prosecutors across Illinois with legal clarification and guidance with respect to the constitutionality and enforcement" of the statute.

Illinois' eavesdropping law is one of the harshest in the country, making audio recording of a law enforcement officer — even while on duty and in public — a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Public debate over the law had been simmering since last year. In August 2011, a Cook County jury acquitted a woman who had been charged with recording Chicago police internal affairs investigators she believed were trying to dissuade her from filing a sexual harassment complaint against a patrol officer.

Judges in Cook and Crawford counties later declared the law unconstitutional, and the McLean County state's attorney cited flaws in the law when he dropped charges in February against a man accused of recording an officer during a traffic stop.

Alvarez argued that allowing the recording of police would discourage civilians from speaking candidly to officers and could cause problems securing crime scenes or conducting sensitive investigations.

But a federal appeals panel ruled that the law "restricts far more speech than necessary to protect legitimate privacy interests."

Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has said he would favor a change allowing citizens to tape the police and vice versa.

Meanwhile, several efforts to amend the statute in Springfield have stalled in committee amid heavy lobbying from law enforcement groups in favor of the current law.

Tribune reporter Liam Ford contributed jmeisner@tribune.com

Posted by Joe Anybody at 7:18 PM PST
Updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2012 7:30 PM PST
Monday, 26 November 2012
Foxconn - Robots on the move - Goal is for replacing 1 million workers
Mood:  loud
Now Playing: Robots for Foxconn moving ahead toward 3 year goal



Foxconn, the largest electronic industry manufacturer in the world, has ranked top of the 200 powerful export enterprises for consecutive nine years. In 2009, it ascended to the 60th of the global top 500 companies. However, Foxconn has gone through hardships in the negative news of employee turbulence, suicide, bad working conditions and employment of students, which, fortunately have been solved.

Early this year, Foxconn announced it had planned to replace one million employees with robots in three years, and now the plan has been implemented. According to relevant report, Foxconn has put into use the first 10 thousand robots and it aims to get in 20 thousand robots by the end of this year.

Those robots, designed by Foxconn itself, are used to conduct simple and repeated actions with high working efficiency.

The cost of those robots are low. The manufacture cost of one Foxconn robot is 20-25 thousand dollars, about three years salary of an ordinary worker, which is very cheap. So we estimate Foxconn will complete its three-year plan in advance if those robots operate well in daily productions.

Allen from Shenzhen Post (original post)






Foxconn  CMMSG Industria de Electronicos Ltda, a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., revealed that it has bought 1.42 million square meters or about 350 acres of land in Brazil from Toulous Incorporacao SPE LTDA Group for a total price of 12,640,000 dollars.

One of Hon Hai’s subsidiaries, Foxconn , is the largest manufacturer of computer fittings in the world and also an internationally well-known enterprise that cooperate with Apple, Sony, Nokia and other multinational companies. Foxconn has exclusively assembled iPhone and iPad tablets for Apple Corporation.

The purchase verifies Hon Hai’s announcement earlier that it would make an investment of total 492 million dollars to establish a new factory in Sao Paulo in Brazil for production of smart phones, tablets and other electronic equipments, according to relevant information.

Hon Hai Group also said, Brazilian government’s tax reduction policy and local market’s preferential policies make the country the best manufactory place except for China. It is also a good opportunity for Foxconn to develop it business. There is no more details in the company’s announcement.


Allen from Shenzhen Post (original post):



Posted by Joe Anybody at 11:33 AM PST
Friday, 23 November 2012
Homeland Security - Accountability is shielded by their badge
Mood:  chatty
Now Playing: Human Trafficking and other crimes - shielded by the DHS badge

Department of Homeland Security’s untouchables: shielded by the badge




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A woman from South Korea is enslaved by the owner of a bar in Queens, New York. As it typically happens in cases of human sex trafficking, the captor takes away the victim’s passport and forces her into prostitution. Terrified, the woman attempts to escape her grim predicament. The bar owner involves two goons to intimidate his prey into submission. One of them speaks Korean, which enables co-conspirators to threaten the captive in her native language. To punish the woman for refusing to prostitute herself, they threaten her with deportation and incarceration in her home country. Taking their threats one step further, the perpetrators shove her into a taxicab and claim that she is being taken to the airport to get deported. Desperate to get away from her tormentors, the woman makes a daring move and escapes.

The criminal plot is finally uncovered. The victim’s passport is found at the residence of Goon No. 1, who is identified as a Customs and Border Protection Officer (CBPO). Goon No. 2 is a Federal Air Marshal (FAM). CBPO pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced to 120 months confinement and 5 years supervised release. The FAM also pleaded guilty to deprivation of civil rights and was sentenced to 4 years probation.

The same disturbing trend runs through the myriad of corruption cases involving the Department of Homeland Security’s employees. Crime doesn’t match the punishment that any civilian would face if they were to commit the same offenses. Here are some astonishing examples:

• CBP technician Thomas Chapman and his friend Paul Brickman stole a Customs declaration form, filled out by the late Astronaut Neil Armstrong. They’ve attempted to sell it at an auction. For stealing and conveying an official record of the United States, the thieves were facing up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the United States Attorney's Office. What was the actual sentence? After pleading guilty to Theft of U.S. Government Property, Chapman was sentenced to 24 months of probation.

• TSA Officer wanted to have some fun, so he called in a fake bomb threat at the Columbus Regional Airport on May 6, 2009, where he was employed. On November 17, 2009, the TSO was sentenced to 24 months of probation.

• Transportation Security Administration manager Bryant Jermaine Livingston had an interesting hobby: he was running a prostitution ring out of a Crowne Plaza Hotel in Maryland. Responding to a hotel manager's complaint about a man who often invited large groups of people into his room, police went in to take a look. Livingston opened the door and proudly introduced himself as the Department of Homeland Security manager, handing the officers his TSA business card. Glancing into the room, police officers observed 11 subjects (male and female), many of whom were naked and trying to get dressed in a hurry. It was later uncovered that males would routinely pay Livingston $100 dollars to enter the room and cavort with the prostitutes he was pimping out. Livingston was charged with four counts of general prostitution. He pleaded guilty, received no prison time and was ordered to pay a $500 dollar fine.

• ICE Agent Taryn Johnston figured out a nifty way to make a living without having to show up to work. All it took is being married to Frank Johnston, Assistant Special Agent in Charge for ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Los Angeles. Taryn Johnson received approximately $582,000 in salary and benefits from ICE and its predecessor agency, Immigration and Naturalization Service, essentially as a gift from the government. She was convicted of making false statements to federal investigators, sentenced to 30 days in federal prison and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.

• U.S. Border Patrol Agent Eduardo Moreno brutally assaulted a Mexican national who was in his custody. Moreno admitted that while he was walking the man through the processing center, he struck him in the stomach with a baton, threw him to the ground, kicked and punched him for no reason whatsoever. The victim suffered severe bodily injuries. Moreno pleaded guilty to a federal criminal civil rights charge, facing 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Outrageously, he won’t serve any time in prison. Moreno was sentenced to 12 months supervised release, 4 months under house arrest and was ordered to pay a miserly restitution of $1,392.25 towards his victim’s medical expenses.

• Jovana Deas, a former special agent with ICE Homeland Security Investigations, ran queries in law enforcement databases, as requested by her sister in Mexico, Dana Maria Samaniego Montes, who had direct ties to violent drug cartels. One of the people Deas looked up using her work computer was later assassinated in Juarez, Mexico, after she provided her sister with the man’s photo and other information. Prosecutor said that Deas may have caused the man’s murder. A copy of the photo was later discovered in the computer of sister’s ex-husband, Miguel Angel Mendoza Estrada, during a drug-trafficking investigation in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Deas pleaded guilty to a 21-count indictment. Instead of spending decades in prison, Deas received a short 2.5-year sentence.

• Border Patrol agent Teofilo Rodarte stole a woman's purse and used her credit cards to buy $231 in merchandise at Walmart. He was charged with fraudulent schemes and artifices, three counts of computer tampering, third-degree burglary, two counts of identity theft, three counts of forgery and three counts of theft. Rodarte was sentenced to 3 years of probation.

• An ICE Special Agent covertly imported banned steroids from China for illegal distribution in the U.S. He pleaded guilty to one count of importation of controlled substances and was sentenced to 24 months of probation.

• CBP Officer Manuel Salazar, an 8-year veteran who was assigned to the Pharr, Texas, Port of Entry, allowed drug smugglers to transport 1,700 pounds of marijuana through his inspection lane in exchange for a bribe of $10,000 dollars. During the course of investigation, Salazar lied to investigators under oath. He was subsequently convicted of providing materially false statements to investigators and accepting bribes. Salazar was sentenced to 24 months of probation.

• Supervisory Detention and Deportation Officer of ICE in Detroit, Michigan decided to single-handedly solve the burglary of a relative’s residence. He kidnapped a man at gunpoint, forcing him into a government-owned vehicle. The ICE officer drove the man to an abandoned house, where he pistol-whipped the victim with his duty weapon. The man was able to escape after the officer fired one round from his duty weapon to intimidate him. On May 25, 2009, the same officer approached another man, threw him to the ground and threatened him at gun point. This ICE Supervisor was convicted in September 2009 for Unlawful Imprisonment; Felonious Assault; and Felony Firearm Possession. He was sentenced to 48 months incarceration and was ordered to pay a $600 fine.

• A CBP Officer was caught red-handed, acting as a “lookout” for a drug trafficker who was transporting narcotics from New York to Cleveland, OH. He also transported the proceeds of illicit drug sales back to New York and was paid $15,000 by the trafficker. The CBP Officer pleaded guilty to distributing and possessing narcotics and was sentenced to 36 months of probation.

• CBP Officer Tori Ferrari (Detroit, MI), pleaded guilty to altering an immigration document. He falsified the status of an Iranian national (Iran is on an official list of “State Sponsors of Terrorism,” designated by the State Department) by forging an F-1 visa into an F-2 visa. Ferrari was sentenced to 24 months of supervised probation.

• Border Patrol Agent (BPA) in Wilcox, AZ, punched a fellow BPA, then pulled his loaded service weapon and pointed it at the victim’s head. Playing their own version of “Fashion Police”, the victim ridiculed the offender’s attire. The BPA was convicted and sentenced to time served (which means that he would not serve any prison time after the sentencing).

• TSA Officer Elliot Iglesias worked at the Orlando, FL, International Airport. Over a three year period, he had stolen more than 80 laptop computers and other electronic devices, valued at $80,000, from passenger luggage. Iglesias admitted that he fenced the items in Osceola County, FL. He pleaded guilty to Federal charges of embezzlement and theft and was sentenced to 24 months of probation.

• FPS Program Analyst entered into a sham marriage that gained unwarranted immigration benefits for his “wife”. He was convicted and sentenced to 12 months of probation and 4 months of home detention.

• A Department of Defense Contract Employee had obtained a Top Secret security clearance, based on her fraudulently obtained immigration status. She pleaded guilty to Immigration Fraud and was sentenced to 24 months of supervised probation.

• Two Department of State contract employees illegally obtained valid immigration documents and sold them for cash. One pleaded guilty to procuring citizenship unlawfully and was sentenced to 36 months probation. His accomplice, who at one time held a Secret-level security clearance, pleaded guilty to fraud and procuring citizenship unlawfully. He was also sentenced to 36 months of probation.

• USCG Auxiliary Member used government fleet credit cards to buy gasoline that he gave to a drug dealer in exchange for cocaine. He also used government fleet cards to purchase gasoline for himself, his friends, and family. He was sentenced to 12 months of unsupervised release.

• DHS Security Specialist William Thorpe (Washington, DC), received over $200,000 from Total Security Products, as kickbacks for contract-rigging. This company was identified as the lowest bidder on a $100,000 DHS security contract. Thorpe pleaded guilty to improperly providing internal DHS documents to a company that was competing for a government contract. He was sentenced to 12 months of probation.

• Pawnshop owner reported a number of laptop computers with DHS property stickers being sold to his store. A DHS Information Technology contractor had stolen more than $8,000 worth of DHS computers and sold them to various pawnshops in Maryland. DHS may not have even noticed that its laptops were missing. According to an OIG report, the agency doesn’t keep an accurate inventory of its laptops containing classified data. In this particular instance, the DHS contractor pleaded guilty to theft of government property and was sentenced to 12 months of probation and $650 in restitution.

• ICE Deportation Officer in Chicago, Illinois, accepted bribes for destroying the U.S. immigration “A” files of two deportable Iraqi alien nationals and preventing their deportation (Iraq is on the State Department’s list of Special Interest Countries with terrorist ties). He also fraudulently issued an Alien Documentation, Identification, and Telecommunication stamp to another deportable alien and arranged an illegal release of an alien in ICE custody. The ICE Officer was charged with one count of Obstruction, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a term of 3 months incarceration and 24 months probation.

• Eric Higgins, CBP Officer at Port Huron, Michigan, used the Internet to communicate sexually explicit messages to underage girls and viewed child pornography on his laptop computer. Search of his laptop computer by the United States Secret Service turned up over 40 images previously identified as child pornography by the National Association for Missing and Exploited Children. On August 31, 2010, Higgins pleaded guilty in Federal Court, Eastern District of Michigan, for violations of Possession of Child Pornography. This crime is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment. Higgins was sentenced to 1 year and 8 months in prison.

• TSA Officer and a Delta Airlines baggage handler were arrested for stealing items from checked luggage. Both offenders were sentenced in May 2010 to 45 days confinement and 60 months probation.

• An ICE Special Agent and two CBP Officers in Tucson, Arizona conspired with two employees of a local car repair garage to scam the government by using DHS fleet cards. They’ve cooked up fraudulent invoices totaling over $55,479, which was then shared amongst co-conspirators. On March 12, 2010, in the District of Arizona, one of the CBP officers was sentenced to 12 months of home confinement and 36 months of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $37,525 restitution. The ICE Special Agent was sentenced to 60 months probation and $6,613 restitution, and the other CBP officer was sentenced to 60 months probation and ordered to pay $6,531 restitution.

• A CBP Officer working at the Houston International Airport in Texas was covertly providing information from a law enforcement database to an individual under investigation by the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). The CBP Officer also ran queries in government databases for the names of his accomplices’ friends, family and other partners in criminal activities. On October 13, 2009 the CBP Officer was sentenced to 36 months probation and ordered to pay a $3,000 fine.

• Background investigator for DHS was caught inventing falsified interviews of persons associated with the background investigations he was supposed to conduct on applicants for employment with the CBP. On May 25, 2010, he pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Michigan and was sentenced to 12 months probation.

• CBP Officer assigned to Field Operations in Tucson, Arizona, misused his official position by running queries in law enforcement and other government databases to obtain information about a person he was suing in a civil case. He was charged with three counts of misdemeanor Misuse of Government Computers. The Officer pleaded guilty and on February 1, 2010, was sentenced in the U.S. District Court of Arizona to 3 years of probation and a fine of $3,000.

• CBPO at a Port of Entry in San Ysidro, California, was assisting a known alien and drug smuggling organization. He had accepted cash bribes from the smuggling organization for allowing vehicles loaded with marijuana and/or illegal aliens to enter the U.S. without inspection. The CBPO laundered his bribe money through a front business and paid bribes of $15,000 to $20,000 a week to Daphiney Caganap, the head of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) intelligence unit and anti-smuggling operations at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. She covered up an illegal alien and drug smuggling operation, allowing it to continue for years. When questioned by the FBI, Caganap lied under oath. Even though the government was well aware of Caganap’s bribery, she continued to receive promotions and was appointed as the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Port Director at the Metro Detroit Airport. After being indicted, Daphiney Caganap was placed on administrative leave (which means that she continued to receive her exorbitant salary, courtesy of American taxpayers). Caganap was facing 36 years in prison. She was sentenced to 3 years of probation and a fine of $3,000. She was allowed to keep all of the bribes she received in the commission of her crimes, as no restitution was ordered.

• U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) District Adjudications Officer (DAO) in San Jose, California was extorting money from immigration applicants, promising to approve citizenship applications for a bribe of $2,000 in cash. The DAO pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 4 years of probation, 100 hours of community service, $3,000 restitution and a $200 fine.

• Immigration Information Officer facilitated the illegal entry of at least 116 aliens from Lebanon and Yemen into U.S. Her scheme included the advance parole of aliens, creation of fictitious alien files and unauthorized approval of applications to replace permanent residence cards. She was charged with alien smuggling, conspiracy and bribery, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 24 months confinement and 12 months probation.

• USCIS employee was stealing money orders received with immigration applications and altering them to make herself the payee. She pocketed $10,527 dollars as a result of this scheme. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 months confinement, but almost all of the sentence was suspended, whereas she served only 45 days in prison. She was ordered to pay $5,137 dollars (only half of the amount she stole) and $100 in court costs.

• ICE Special Agent in Miami, Florida was receiving kickbacks from ICE informants who were paid by the agency for their cooperation. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 months probation.

• Supervisory Transportation Security Officer (STSO) had been communicating via the Internet with an undercover CBI agent whom he believed to be a 13-year-old girl. The STSO’s communications were sexually explicit and as a special treat, included a photograph of him wearing his TSA uniform, with his genitals exposed. The STSO was arrested and charged with sending harmful matter to a minor. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 1 year confinement and 5 years probation.

• Two Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) at the Honolulu, Hawaii, International Airport were stealing large sums of money from the checked luggage of Japanese tourists. Both TSOs pleaded guilty and were each sentenced to three and a half months intermittent confinement (periodically showing up to prison to serve out the sentence at their convenience).

• A TSO in Phoenix, Arizona, attempted to pass narcotics to a prisoner at the Federal Correctional Facility in Tucson, Arizona. The TSO pleaded guilty to unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, was sentenced to 1 year probation and ordered to pay a special assessment of $25. The federal inmate in the same case was charged with the same crime and sentenced to 8 months incarceration. The disparity in sentencing is quite striking.

• DHS Deputy Press Secretary Brian Doyle was using the Internet to solicit a minor for sexual acts. Doyle sent pornographic materials to a person he believed to be an underage girl, who was really a Florida law enforcement officer. Doyle couldn't have been more brazen, giving out his title, calling from his DHS office, even sending a photo showing his Department of Homeland Security identity card along with his genitals. Polk County, Fla., Sheriff Grady Judd said, "It doesn't come any more hard core. He graphically explained to a 14-year old girl what he would like to do to her and what he would like her to do to him." This is not the first time Doyle's lust for pornography landed him in trouble. While working at Time Magazine's Washington bureau prior to his DHS employment, Doyle was caught looking at pornography on a receptionist's computer late at night. He admitted to the incident, was reprimanded, and had to issue a formal apology to staffers. Apparently, the DHS wasn’t bothered by this information in conducting their Deputy Press Secretary’s background check. He was charged with 16 counts of transmission of harmful material to a minor and 7 counts of using a computer to seduce a child. Doyle was sentenced to 5 years incarceration and 10 years probation.

• A United States Secret Service contract employee stole approximately 60 laptop computers from a warehouse at the DHS Headquarters. When interviewed, the contract employee admitted to stealing an estimated 60 computers. He pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government property, was sentenced to 36 months supervised release and directed to pay a $1,000 fine.

The takeaway from all of this – if you’re inclined to be a criminal, join the Department of Homeland Security first. That way, the seriousness of your crimes notwithstanding, you’ll most likely get away with probation and a silly little fine. Those empowered to enforce the law often consider themselves far above it.

Additional sources:

OIG Special Report: Summary of Significant Investigations January 1, 2011, to December 31, 2011

OIG Special Report: Summary of Significant Investigations October 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010

OIG Special Report: Summary of Significant Investigations October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009

Special Report: Summary of Significant Investigations March 1, 2003 - September 30, 2008

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Read more stories by Julia Davis, Los Angeles Homeland Security Examiner

Los Angeles Homeland Security Examiner Julia Davis on Google Blog

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Posted by Joe Anybody at 9:18 AM PST
Updated: Friday, 23 November 2012 9:21 AM PST
Tuesday, 20 November 2012
10,ooo robots - the first of 1 million for Foxconn
Mood:  don't ask
Now Playing: Stupid good for nothing Foxconn brings in 10,ooo robots


to replace workers with 1 million robots


 Foxconn to replace workers with 1 million robots

Singularity Hub - a first batch of 10,000 robots — aptly named Foxbots — appear to have made its way into at least one Foxconn factory, and by the end of 2012, another 20,000 more will be installed. Foxconn is aiming to replace 1 million Foxconn workers with robots within 3 years. According to a translated page from the Chinese site Techweb, each robot costs between $20,000 to $25,000, which is over three times the average salary of one worker. However, amid international pressure, Foxconn continues to increase worker salaries with a 25 percent bump occurring earlier this year.


Foxconn, which has 1.2 million employees in China, has come under scrutiny in the past few years amid reports of employees committing suicide at company facilities. The company has also been accused of employing underage laborers, providing poor living conditions at its dormitory housing, and overworking employees.

Prior to the announcement of the the robot initiative last year, at least 16 workers reportedly committed suicide since the beginning of 2010 at Foxconn's factory in Shenzhen, China, a plant that employs hundreds of thousands of workers. Another three have attempted to suicide at the job site.

Most of the suicides have involved jumping from buildings. In response to the situation, the company promised to install "suicide nets" to discourage employees from jumping, as well as raise salaries by 25 percent.




           Original Article was found here:





Posted by Joe Anybody at 8:58 AM PST
Monday, 19 November 2012
what is open publishing - Archive.org Wayback save
Mood:  happy
Now Playing: Open Publishing - Info save by Archive WAYBACK MACHINE
Topic: MEDIA
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Open publishing is the same as free software


Matthew Arnison <maffew@cat.org.au>
composed March 2001
$Revision: 1.23 $ $Date: 2006/01/21 06:42:39 $
Translations: French, Portuguese

A working definition of open publishing
Open publishing means that the process of creating news is transparent to the readers. They can contribute a story and see it instantly appear in the pool of stories publicly available. Those stories are filtered as little as possible to help the readers find the stories they want. Readers can see editorial decisions being made by others. They can see how to get involved and help make editorial decisions. If they can think of a better way for the software to help shape editorial decisions, they can copy the software because it is free and change it and start their own site. If they want to redistribute the news, they can, preferably on an open publishing site.

The full rave

Open publishing is the same as free software.

They're both (r)evolutionary responses to the privatisation of information by multinational monopolies. For software it's Microsoft. For publishing it's CNN. For both software and publishing it's AOL Time Warner.

Free software is a gift to humanity. If you have a piece of free software, you can give it to someone else for free. You can charge for free software, but once someone else has a copy, they can give away as many copies as they like. So free software often comes at no charge. Let's call it free beer. But this alone is not free software. Free software is also free as in free speech, not just free beer.

It's about software freedom. A software liberation movement. The source code, the genetic blueprint, the internal mechanics are open for others to see (hence free software is also called open source). So others can take it and change it and pass on their changes to other people. The product is freely available, and the process of production is free and transparent.

If someone doesn't like it, they can take it and change it. The one thing they can't change is its freedom. The only strings attached are there to stop people from tying it down. The strings of freedom are called the GNU copyleft, a beautiful subversion of copyright law that guarantees freedom for a piece of code and all its mutations.

The means is the end. The journey is the destination.

You might think this process wouldn't produce anything truly creative, awe-inspiring, staggering, huge, complex, simple, small, pedantic, reliable, random or enjoyable.

If you thought that, you'd be drastically underestimating what humans get up to for fun. Because all of those adjectives apply to free software. Geeks like to joke about what free software needs to do next to achieve world domination.

Microsoft doesn't think this joke is very funny. Microsoft is one of the biggest corporations in the world. Microsoft spends billions of dollars to pay programmers to keep their software closed and internals secret.

Free software is overwhelmingly written by volunteers. Free software runs the internet and Microsoft does not. The number and diversity of people using free software is accelerating.

Microsoft usually responds to such threats by buying them out and assimilating them. But free software cannot be privatised. Free software is not frugal with its genetic code. Free software spreads itself like a benevolent microbe after an evolutionary leap forward.

Microsoft assumes people are stupid and holds focus groups to determine exactly in what way are they stupid. They then pay a small number of people a lot of money to engineer that stupidity into software. Sometimes this works well, because everyone is stupid sometimes. But it doesn't cater well for everyone being smart.

Free software assumes people are smart and creative and can choose for themselves to swim in the shallow or the deep end of the technology pool. Even the geekiest programmer might want to have their feet planted on the bottom sometimes, and the freshest beginner might make the biggest splash diving into the deep end.

Free software programmers still manage to eat despite giving away their code.

Software is information. So are news stories. So are opinion pieces. They can be easily copied and shared. Maybe information wants to be free?

Under the dominant multinational global news system, news is not free, news is not open. It is very expensive. It is highly secretive.

To see the news you need to pay with money or with your time spent watching ads (usually for cars) or both. To create the news you need to pay expensive public relations consultants. To write the news you need to obey corporate news values, making stories on a production line, for maximum advertising impact at minimum cost. To edit the news you need to be a global stock market newswire service or a multinational media company. To distribute the news you need to have one of 6 TV transmission towers in a city of millions.

Media corporations assume the viewers are stupid. In their eyes the total creative potential of the audience is Funniest Home Videos. Creative people do not buy more stuff, they make their own. This is a problem for media multinationals. They do not trust their audience to be creative. It might be bad for profits, bad for executive salaries.

But it's OK. The audience doesn't trust the corporate media either.

This situation has led to rampant confusion and alienation of society. We are disconnected from ourselves and our ecology. Our planet is functioning as a global ecosystem more than ever before due to the global nature of human activity, yet the humans don't have any way of communicating with each other. Systemic problems go unseen and unsolved by billions. Only the issues that are important to sell ads or grease the stock exchange have reliable global news impact.

What we have is a very complex system within which the humans have recently gained enourmous power but as yet they have no correspondingly powerful network of communication infrastructure to support it. We have no neural network to process information. Not so much a global village as a global megaphone.

Then the internet was added to the global communications pool. If you can read the internet, you can also write to it. If someone else has told a story on the internet, you can choose to hear it. Information flows between the net and other communication systems: the phone, the TV, the radio and newspapers, forming a much more balanced web of information transfer. This is a global village where you can climb out of the traffic jam and bump into people on the electronic street and have a chat.

The internet makes possible open publishing on a citywide and global scale. Citizens finally have access to the same cheap and powerful two-way global communication that colonial governments and multinationals have had access to for centuries.

What is open publishing?

Like free software, with open publishing the news is often distributed at no charge. There are no ads to eat up your time and corrupt the content. But that is not the most important thing.

Open publishing means that the process of creating news is transparent to the readers. They can contribute a story and see it instantly appear in the pool of stories publicly available. Those stories are filtered as little as possible to help the readers find the stories they want. Readers can see editorial decisions being made by others. They can see how to get involved and help make editorial decisions. If they can think of a better way for the software to help shape editorial decisions, they can copy the software because it is free and change it and start their own site. If they want to redistribute the news, they can, preferably on an open publishing site.

The working parts of journalism are exposed. Open publishing assumes the reader is smart and creative and might want to be a writer and an editor and a distributor and even a software programmer. Open publishing assumes that the reader can tell a crappy story from a good one. That the reader can find what they're after, and might help other readers looking for the same trail.

We trust the audience and it seems that the audience trusts us in return.

Open publishing is playing at the opposite end of the trust spectrum to the corporate media.

We are not working to convince people that this is a good way to do things. We are providing a space in which people might decide themselves if this is a good way to do things.

The journey is the destination.

Open publishing is not new. It is an electronic reinvention of the ancient art of story telling.

Open publishing is free software. It's freedom of information, freedom for creativity.

Open publishing is overwhelmingly done by volunteers.

Who will do the investigative journalism? How will people give a perspective from overseas? What will provide a sense of overview, connectedness and common identity? Will anyone get paid for their work? What will become of motion pictures? Of musicians? Where will be the sustained efforts by hundreds of people?

I am hoping the above questions about open publishing have already been answered by free software. And partly by indymedia, and thousands of other open publishing websites. Open publishing is merely taking an existing trend and identifying it, amplifying it, and strategically applying it to weak points in the global monopolies on power and information.

The pyramids are awe inspiring. They were also built by slave labour. We've evolved as a species. We can do a lot of amazing things without brutal Egyptian slave handling techniques. We can do without new pyramids.

We are in the middle of a mass extinction of species. We need to figure out how to live in harmony with the ecosystem of this planet before the ecosystem goes into negative feedback and kills lifeforms by the billions. We're not going to get there by sacrificing our lives for the motor car, trading our human rights for shoes, killing our people for drug companies, hiding our creativity for the multinationals.

We can do better. Forget the pyramids. Bypass world domination.

Free software is wiring the globe. Open publishing just might help us use those wires to save the planet.


Examples of open publishing: None of the above meet all the criteria above for open publishing. But they're pretty close. There'd be heaps more out there. Suggestions welcome.

Note that while slashdot.org has many open publishing features, and was an important inspiration for open publishing, I don't think it really is open publishing. Significantly, the stories (as opposed to the comments) are taken from reader contributions, but are processed behind closed doors.

By the way, none of the above four sites would exist without free software. I guess it's one more reason why open publishing is free software.


Obviously I think we can learn a lot from the free software movement. One idea we haven't developed much yet is an open publishing copyleft, similar to the free software copyleft. The copyleft defines how the information can be shared, hijacking the copyright laws to ensure that the free information may only be re-used in a free context. This encourages growth of free spaces, autonomous zones, as the process of sharing information is spread along with the information itself. This may be a key part of what we need to define open publishing to ourselves and potential collaborators. It doesn't have to be legally watertight to be useful. That can be evolved in later, The most useful thing would be to start playing with the definition. This is partly what we are doing with our work on defining the indymedia network. But I think we will also need to define how we share chunks of information smaller than that involved in total membership of the network. And the basic chunk of information is a story and the copyleft license that applies to it.

The most interesting idea to me so far in this area applied to news stories is the idea that a story can be reused anywhere, but only if all readers/viewers exposed to it, can easily identify and reach the source of the news story. For example by a subtitle on the picture with the web address of the indymedia site the story came from. This means the viewer can not only verify the original version of the story, but also add their own creative juices to the flow. This would help ensure that whereever the story goes, there is a solid link back to the working parts, the raw process that made it possible and allows new people to contribute and mutate and evolve.

This does involve giving up the right to demand payment for every copy made. Free software sacrifices the same thing and it turns out there that it really works. We need to try it for news stories and documentaries, and see if it works equally well.

One key point is that yu can still charge for copies of copyleft information. You just can't stop someone else from giving away the copy they bought, including access to the source materials. And the source materials have to be available for no more than the raw cost of distribution.

And it turns out that people still do buy free software. An awful lot of it in fact.

And that in addition, the reputation of free software spreads very quickly if it is good. Which benefits the software project by providing more feedback, more volunteers to help improve it, and in some cases more money.

The analogy for a video documentary would be placing it under copyleft so that anyone could copy it as long as the copy prominently said it was copyleft and any viewer could find a link back to the source (e.g. the indymedia web address for the city it came from). But the video maker could still charge for copies to be made. They could charge especially high rates for multinational TV networks that want copies urgently for example. The TV network would have to pay if they wanted the footage quickly without chasing down someone else who had it and was willing to copy it fast. And regardless of how badly they edited the piece, because of the copyleft license, they would legally have to give over some of the attention of their viewers to a web address for the source. That viewer attention is an extremely valuable resource for the network, because it is extremely powerful. It can also be powerful for us. If they fail to give the web address, they can be sued for the value of that viewer attention. That's quite a liability.

There are ways to play the system. I'm not sure if this would work, but it might be fun and I think it's worth a try!

Update April 2003: I just discovered these great creative commons licenses, which I think could be perfect for the job.


Ideals and reality: many of the things I say above are ideals. They do not match reality exactly. But they are useful as a way of thinking about different approaches.

For example free software and open publishing are not actually free of charge, but the charge is reduced to the bare cost of distribution. This is hundreds of times less than the previous cost of purchase, which tended to include the cost of luxury cars, houses and jets for multinational executives. There is a real difference.

Another important point with free software is that programming is a skill in very high demand, which gives programmers an unusual amount of power as a group of people at this point in history. Historically I think this has lead to great social change. A flaw in this rant might be that programmers may become far less in demand and that story tellers and journalists are already in oversupply in economic thinking.

However, once we turn down various patterns of overconsumption, we can create a virtuous circle that gives us more leisure time, greater quality of life for both us and people living in other countries poorer (financially) than ours (I live in a rich country, this is written for a rich country audience). For example, getting rid of a car creates a huge amount of leisure time because you no longer need to spend all that time earning enough money to sit in traffic jams. Again, this is simplistic, there are urban planning issues to consider, but I believe a lot of it is cultural and information exchange is part of changing our culture to be more responsive to our own needs as well as the planet's.

In other words, with any luck and lots of hard work and fun, things might just start falling into place in time to grow and evolve as a species and a global ecosystem.


It seems many parts of society are being privatised. Health, water, communications, community media. Being owned by the government or a non-profit is no guarantee. Sometimes there are some benefits from privatisation. But I'm not convinced it's the only way to get such benefits, and there are heavy costs. Particularly in poorer countries, where prices for basics (such as water in Bolivia) can become suddenly way out of reach.

Free software can't be privatised.

Especially copyleft free software.

Corporations can use it, improve it, but they can't get an exclusive hold of it, they can't deny others from using it and changing it.

Can open publishing be privatised? I think the right definition will be strong protection against privatisation. But the large effects of the subtle difference in licensing between copyleft and BSD shows how important the definition can be. Let's play with a few and see which ones work best.


All the fuss about sharing music and dotbombs in the mainstream media is hiding an important trend: the most successful internet sites rely on the creativity of their users, not on professional producers as was the tradition with earlier electronic media.

  • geocities.com is a universe of web pages which anyone can add to, and last i heard it's a top-ten website (imagine a TV channel where viewers could contribute whatever they liked, and it having shows in the top-ten: it sounds unlikely, and this is an example of why the net is so different to TV)
  • amazon.com relies heavily on readers for book reviews (and they've bought imdb.com, which is a massive compilation of user data on movies)
  • egroups.com is about people getting together in groups and yakking about whatever they're passionate about
  • ebay.com is about people selling stuff to each other: a bazaar, not a mall full of franchises

These are all sites with very big audiences, and they all facilitate creativity, rather than have their staff create it directly. Of course, when anyone can contribute, you have a problem where users need to figure out what things they can trust. Most of these sites are successful because they've figured out some neat ways of helping that to happen, often using some sort of user-ratings system (user-editorial). So these sites all have some of the spirit of open publishing.

On the old one-way systems, community media was the exception. On the net, community media is very much a part of the mainstream.

Yes, there have been stories showing that AOL users spend most of their time just using AOL services, implying that people are happy to stay in AOL corporate land. However, those stories did not reveal what those users were doing. I reckon they'd be doing email, instant messaging, and just a little browsing. Since they use AOL tools to do email and messaging that counts as AOL time, so in fact a better indication of the diversity of their surfing would be found by looking just at the time spent browsing. The rest of the time they're spending communicating with other users. Every time in the past that a closed network has been tried, it's failed when faced with the internet (the biggest example was compuserve). So AOL may be closer than anyone else to creating a shopping mall version of the net, but they're still a lot further away than they'd like you to believe.

People want to communicate, they want to be creative. TV is a technology that can't handle such things very well, yet we've managed to convince ourselves after decades of TV that we need professionals to do our story telling.

Imagine if you tried to sell phones but they could only dial Pizza Hut or send messages written by Hallmark? Nobody would buy them (it's been tried: a very early marketing idea for the telephone had people using it to listen to opera). People are social animals, we want to use our communication tools to talk to other people. The only reason this didn't happen with TV, is because TV technology is one-way only.

So just because TV didn't live up to idealistic expectations, doesn't mean that the net has to follow the same path. The net is a fully two-way technology, and that makes a very big difference. The reason you mightn't hear about this trend is because a lot of the internet commentary we see is still coming from the old one-way media.

For more on this point, see my rant Is the internet elitist?.


open editing

Jan 2002

Indymedia is struggling to cross a threshold in the size of its audience and in the sheer number of indymedia collectives. Many indymedia groups are also grappling with what to do when they are not covering a major event.

As the size of the audience goes up, so does the number of people posting stories, and therefore the number of stories that are more annoying than useful to most readers. A classic example is the rising tide of american postings on sydney indymedia. The posters don't seem to realise that we are quite capable of clicking on an american indymedia site if we wish to hear american news.

Open publishing I think has been very important in helping us to find new ways of organising media, often taking advantage of what the internet makes possible. A crucial part of Seattle Indymedia's success in Nov 99 was the automated online open-publishing newswire. I think what indymedia needs to get to the next level is automated open-editing.

Just as open publishing allows any readers to also write stories, open editing allows any reader to help sub-edit other people's stories. They might help sort stories by whatever criteria they think are important, or rewrite story summaries, translate to different languages, or compile groups of stories into a feature. Changes would be tracked so that original authors do not get trampled on. Much of this is already happening, but automation would turbo-charge it.

Done well, it will clear a lot of bottlenecks and allow a lot of exta creativity to plug into the network. It will make the sites more approachable for new readers, and more useful for activist media hacks. I think it could have a similar impact to open publishing. All we need is some geeks to implement it.

It's a bit like web search engines. Altavista was much better than all the rest back in the late 90's, but then the web got too big, Altavista's approach became ineffective, and google stepped in with an enhanced method for making sense of the net without imposing entralised order or missing things out. Interestingly, google introduced the idea of weighting search results by the number of pages that link to each other. Which is a bit like the user highlights stuff that some of us have been talking about for indymedia.

Google deals usefully with the explosion of information and diversity on the web in a way that heirachical and even simple raw search methods do not. Expect a similar leap in the impact of indymedia if and when open editing starts to kick in.

For more on open editing see:


I think my rants could do with some open-editing.


What's in the open publishing and open editing toolbox?

June 2002

Hopefully at the bottom of a news story in the near future you'll see tools like these:

  • Open publishing tools:
    • contribute a story
    • add a comment
  • Open editing tools:
    • highlight this story (add this story to your highlights page, which in turn allows you to email newsblasts of your highlights, and to collect stories into a feature for consideration for the front page)
    • choose a topic area for this story (is this story about poverty? human rights? forests? then help us make sense of the flow and pick some keywords. also, what lifespan does this story have? short-term, long term? is it a local story or an international one? does it include local perspective?)
    • check the facts (add sources for facts cited in this story)
    • major revision (make it clearer, tighten the writing, add new points; revisions appear in the sidebar; the contributor or their delegate must approve before it becomes the version displayed by default)
    • cosmetic revision (spelling, grammar, formatting; as above author or delegate approval involved)
    • translate (into another language, into another culture e.g. from english to spanish, or from academic jargon to straight journo style)
    • verify this story (I'm not sure what this really means, maybe if a story has collected enough highlights to be considered for the front page, or keywords have been proposed, or a revision or translation has been proposed and an author has delegated the audience to subedit; then random people will be asked to verify if a proposed action is a good idea; a formula based on audience size and creativity determines the threshhold for action)
    • list other stories needing verification (if the user has been given random votes I guess)
    • flag this story as wildly inappropriate (strict conditions: a verbatim duplicate, summary does not match story, story contains a software virus, spam, or shocking images with no political context - the flagger must provide a short (and optionally additional longer) comment as to why; low karma users can only flag limited numbers of stories, e.g. one per week)
    • ignore this story, show me another one (if the story is boring, then just move on to the next thing, no need to take explicit action)


  • Story status: is it a fresh contribution? is it in the bin? number of comments, highlighted N times, is it proposed for the front page? Link to full log of editorial actions for this story.
  • Highlighters: link to people's highlights pages which have picked this sstory
  • Keywords: list keywords and list recent stories with the same keywords
  • Revisions: list proposed revisions and older versions
  • Translations
  • Fact checking: list sources for information and statistics in this article
  • Comments: show a selection of comments attached to this story; show total number of comments; give tools for diving into discussion (e.g. top rated comments? recent comments?)

Now the tricky part is how to balance the creativity of the audience with the very small percentage of people who want to disrupt a creative space.

There may be different stages to go through. This is because of the ratios of audience participation (see below) change as the audience size increases. A smaller audience might have a more cosy feel, and therefore a higher percentage of creative contributors. A larger audience will tend to cross a threshhold where disruptive people are numerous enough to have a major effect.

There is also the difference between live coverage of a major event, as against ongoing coverage of a place or an issue.

So the default needs to be that people can contribute material that other audience members get to see straight away.

Then take away a small number of posts that are dangerous to the site as a whole. For example spam or viruses or items that attract lawsuits. Individual collectives will have to figure out where to draw the line.

For the rest, it's a matter of priority. For a busy site, a new article would need to go through various checks to get onto the front page. A key tension pops up during live coverage of an event, between the need to check stories and the desire to see news come through quickly. But presumably if there is a big audience for a live event (indymedia's audience usually explodes during such times) and therefore more people to help with open editing, and thus ways for important news to get to the front page more quickly. News junkines will drill down to the latest news, and we need exactly those people to help highlight stuff for wider viewing.

The main thing is that the checks on a story's priority can't involve too many built-in delays (e.g. waiting seven days for votes to come in from a fixed collective) if you want a flexible system. Ideally any ratios used are tied to some sort of rough average of the current audience and the number of stories and contributors.

Another thing to consider is that some stories have a short lifetime, maybe hours or days, and others - considered opinion pieces, deailed issue coverage - might be relevant for much longer.

But what checks do we need? Can we build some sort of rough framework that can stretch to fit these various scenarios?

Let's start by trusting most readers to be able to judge when a story is important and interesting enough to recommend other people look at it. That's when they might choose to highlight it on their personal highlights page. The cool thing about this is there's no need to verify that action, because that page is owned by that user, and any people they choose to share write access with.

Some readers might only highlight stories that many people think are useless. Well, that's still useful in a way, and it doesn't really harm anything at that point.

The next stage is how to use those highlighting choices (or other editorial choices like revisions and translations) to change the priority of a story.

This is where you need to try and weed out abuse of the system. Any such weeding of course needs to be documented in an open way (use free software, show logs of changes to an article's status, list the editorial actions a user has taken, require comments for such actions, and finally allow anyone to rummage through the bin).

A helpful characteristic of abuse is that (almost by definition) it seems to be remain a very small percentage of the audience. So a major tactic is to try and encourage as large a section of the audience as possible to get involved in open publishing and open editing, and for the collective running a site to set a good example using those tools. A healthy plant is less likely to be attacked by parasites.

Another tactic it to require independent and random confirmation. You should not be able to bump up the pirority of a story if you contributed it. You should not be able to (easily) organise a small group of people to bump up each other's stories. Tactics for doing this include handing out votes to random users, and limiting the number of votes (based on some formula tied to the audience and contributor numbers for that day or week).

Another tactic is the idea of karma. People who contribute to the site can build up a reputation within the software, so that they are trusted a bit more, or a bit less. You don't want to go too far with this or it encourages a clique and starts to leach diversity.


formulas for open publishing audience sizes and participation

1%, say, of your audience at an open publishing site will contribute stories

0.2% will help with open editing, including weeding out spam

0.1% will contribute stories with closed publishing

0.1% will contribute spam with open publishing

0.01% will help with closed editing

the figures are guessed, but they give an idea of the ratios, and are roughly based on my experience, e.g. with large mailing lists, and the statistics for www.indymedia.org in early 2002.

open publishing/editing also implies for me that it's encouraged and easy to use and well designed.

so if you only have 10 people in your audience, open editing isn't useful, and on average only 1 person is contributing stories.

if you have 1000 people in your audience (which actualyl translates to a lot of hits) then you have 100 people contributing stories, which is starting to get interesting.

if, say, it turns out you need 100 people doing open editing for it to be useful (no good if only one person is making ratings) then u need an audience of 10,000.

if anything, these percentages are actually a bit high. they probably decay a bit as the audience gets bigger. closed systems will tend to hit a hard limit, beyond which communication amongst the team becomes very tough, or increasingly heirachical, especially if the team is working long distance. lots of other factors of course too. and of course "open" and "closed" are pretty vague, in fact there's a full range between them, so a more open system will tend to push the numbers up, and a more closed one will push them down.


April 2002

The New York Times says communication is making the world less tolerant. But while they mention the internet at the beginning of the story, most of the piece is actually about global television. If anything, this makes the case for open publishing stronger. It's not just whether communications are global, but how they are global.

One of the slashdot comments on the story points out another problem: that viewers are most attracted to conflict.

Conflict is a basic element of good drama. If everyone in a story just gets along, it's a boring story. This is an issue that indymedia must deal with. So far the most popular indymedia coverage is of big conflicts with authorities during large protests. If we want to get away from that, we need to find a way to present the interesting conflict in a story that still presents positive possibilities rather than being all negative. Conflict and creativity. Co-operation and competition. We need to find a good balance between these extremes.


September 2002

Content is not king. I've been saying this for years, but nowhere near as elloquently as Andrew Odlyzko does.

What does this mean for open publishing? Why bother making the process of creating content open if the end product doesn't matter that much?

Because what does matter is communication, social interaction. And open publishing means the process of creating content is opened up for people to engage in. Automated software and the web make this accessible and possible for much greater numbers of people than ever before, despite the best, noble and admirable efforts of community media.

And that process of writing news, publishing it, commenting on it, editing it, that engagement of people in the fundamental task of telling a good story, of sifting through which stories are important, and having a good old chinwag when the storyteller finishes. That process, may turn out to be more important than the story itself. That process is what may open up new opinions, new opportunities, new action for social justice. That the process is open, that more people get in and help do it. That is what would strengthen the fabric of our society, to enable us to repair the wrongs and improve all our lives.

One thing I've been saying for a while is that the net is a communications crutch. Our cities have cut us apart and made it hard for people to come together and communicate. Shared space is all given over to cars and commerce. People don't feel safe meeting other people in public.

So the net is like a crutch, we are leaning on it heavily as we communicate and find each other, helping us to meet people with common ground, and figure out who we humans really are. But there's nothing like meeting in the flesh. So one day with any luck the crutch will fade away to a minor role, when we fix our cities and our lives, and find society in the street and buildings and open spaces of our lives.


indymedia, internet and the global middle class
December 2002
indymedia's third birthday

most of the people I have met through indymedia are white, middle class, from an english speaking background. people like myself.

most, but not all.

a lot of indymedia depends on the internet, and i think the internet is a middle class tool. that still makes a potential audience of hundreds of millions of people around the planet.

and i think many of those people are ignored in the mainstream media, dominated as it is by just 6 corporations. many of those middle class people are ignored in elections, where the president of the USA is voted in by just 1% of the planet's population.

i think when you criticise indymedia and the net, it's important to remember what we had before.

which is better? the corporate media, or indymedia? television or the net?

there are obvious limits to what can be done with a mostly middle class audience. by sheer numbers alone, it cannot be the sole basis for planetwide democracy.

the USA, for all its faults, did a lot of good things by empowering its middle class, rather than leaving all the power with the royal family.

throughout US history, people have been saying that more should have been done to respect all the people's rights. there is a very tragic history of what happened instead, what is still happening. but atleast, atleast they did as much as they did. after all, some people's battles were won. to say otherwise is to write off all the achievements, diversity, and people of the USA. i think we can acknowledge what's good, without ignoring the bad.

nowadays, with power gone global, i feel creating more power among a billion people has got to be better than leaving it in a handful of mega corps.

in fact i think one reason the US government has gotten so crazy over the last hundred years is because power went global, but democracy did not. which means even within the USA, and within other "western democracies", national democracy is meaningless and feels obsolete.

how can we do even better?

i think part of it is teaching people who have resources about the people who have not. and another part is sharing those resources.

many indymedia collectives are consciously working on this. they setup media centres and train people how to use them. they print out stories and distribute free papers. they collaborate with radio stations. there are links to resistance groups in poor countries, collaborations between north and south.

these sorts of things must be done before indymedia can really call itself a people's media. this truly democratic media would be a crucial part of achieving real democracy and human rights for all 6 billion people on the planet.

meanwhile, you can write off the global middle class if you like.

i am more optimistic.


the more i think about what the US and other middle class democracies have done to the poor people of their countries and of the world, the more i worry about global media democracy.

even middle class democracy these days can be a bit of a sham, but that doesn't make it any better to leave out the poor of the planet.

i still think indymedia has got to be a step in the right direction, but it still leaves so far to go.

but being conscious of this dilemma and caring about it is an important step to finding solutions and fixing it. let's atleast not pretend that indymedia is for "everyone" just yet. but make sure we acknowledge what we have done, and keep working to expand the circle of diversities of all kinds.


June 2003

Lots happening in blogspace.

Emergent democracy talks about how to bootstrap our global decision making to a level that can cope with global complexity. And has some details and speculations on how a blog-like communication structure may help to do that.

Key author of that piece, Joi Ito, later blogged that journalism has to change as well as it is part of democracy. That's why I'm linking it in here.


Many ideas in here are shamelessly ripped off from other places. I really should credit those places and people. Or, if you like an idea in here, please assume I ripped it off, and do a web search and find it (actually you might have to wait a few years for search engines that can actually find ideas as opposed to phrases).

The above article describes the first of three crazy ideas for webcasting. For more of my rants, see my home page

You can copy and distribute this article, as long as you include the web address of the original (http://www.cat.org.au/maffew/cat/openpub.html) in a way that the whole audience can see. Please let me know if you do reproduce it somewhere, especially if you make changes to it.

$Id: openpub.html,v 1.23 2006/01/21 06:42:39 maffew Exp $

Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PST

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