Archive for February, 2009

Critical Pedagogy Heritage

February 25, 2009

Norm Friesen’s “Heritage of Edupunk” February 2009

Gramsci says everyone:

contributes to sustain a conception of the world or to modify it, that is, to bring into being new modes of thought.

Benjamin:

…the distinction between author and public is about to lose its basic character.

Friere:

The answer does not lie in the rejection of the machine, but in the humanization of man.

“No fue fácil. Nos costó.”

February 18, 2009

John Gibler presented his work, Mexico Unconquered: Chronicles of Power and Revolt at SFU, Monday February 16, on his North American book tour. Howard Zinn has this to say about Gibler’s book:

Gibler shares the voices, stories, and communal dignity of the ordinary Mexicans who are putting their lives at risk by challenging corrupt power as they build social movements for basic rights, justice, and autonomy. An exciting first book by emerging young writer.

It was a pretty good multi-media presentation.  I came away with a couple new feelings/ideas.

One, came after seeing a documentary on the women’s takeover of the state television station. The way the women used the station, turned it into a twenty-one day conversation about their lives, was eye-opening. They showed the power of media to create and promote a connecting dialogue. It’s an inspiring idea.

The second moment of deep education came when Erika Del Carmen Fuchs responded to a comment in a small discussion on the possibilities of creating social change here in Vancouver. She made a distinction between the presentation and organizing, “What we are doing here is not organizing. I want to make it clear that this is not organizing.” In the moment, it was a powerful statement. The dialogue had turned to the difficulty of changing minds, getting messages out. The more-or-less-like-minded audience, was working this idea thoroughly. There was a strong pessimistic flavour to the conversation, and then Erika Del Carmen Fuchs stopped the conversation to make the distinction. For me, she turned what was a defeatist tone completely around. It was a reminder that making social change is hard. It doesn’t happen through consciousness alone, but through consciously organized action. The question then changes from “How do we get people to care about X?” to “What can we do to change X?” It’s easy to care, but organizing a change, that’s hard.  Erika Del Carmen Fuchs also pointed out that 10 years of organizing went into the Zapatista uprising. The reminder that it’s possible, that it’s not easy, and that it takes organization, real work that actually changes something, was inspiring.

Ending the War on Sharing

February 17, 2009

Richard Stallman spoke on the issue of community and copyright law. After Kate Milberry asked if the practice of software development and sharing he’d been talking about can be applied in the wider world. Stallman replied that his whole talk has been about that very question. Stallman refused to make the links between his issue and larger liberatory movements. He is pushing one issue. There are other issues, but he will leave those to the interested parties.

Some ideas Stallman dropped – Don’t use their terms. Once you take on the terms of the status quo you reproduce dominant meaning. The terms themselves contain meaning that limits our freedoms. We need to develop a language of freedom. The concept of an alternative language.

Fighting the war on sharing. Sharing is anti-capitalist. Sharing is socialist. Sharing removes the price fetish of capitalist imaginary.

Vancouver, BC

(Here’s a liveblog of one of Stallman’s talks in Vancouver: humminbird604)

Another software related presentation: Jim Andrews spoke in the New Media Building. The talk is well blogged here. After hearing Stallman, Andrews was a disappointment. (Here’s my cut and pasted review of the presentation, originally from gmail chat)

me: The presentation wasn’t that interesting, in and of itself, but there were a number of moments when the philosophical deficiencies in the room became the interest.
social foundation of intelligence.

me: the fear of AI
is the fear of an asocial intelligence
the development of a psychopath
Capitalism does a very similar thing, when people say “makes sense”
what they mean sometimes is “it makes financial sense”
which is a bit asocial and as a result psychopathic
me: I asked the guy if the software he was developing was open source
he said it wasn’t for financial reasons
he wanted to be the only one… but if you’d have seen how derivative his software was…
I didn’t push it for fear of confrontation, telling an artist his work is derivative…
them’s fighting words

Net Neutrality Campaign

February 9, 2009

Net Neutrality - Net Tuesday

Here’s Steve Anderson and Kris Krug (sitting) at January’s Net Tuesday. They’re letting Vancouver’s social net scene in on the issue of Net Neutrality. (You can read all about it on humminbird604’s blog.) The two of them are also in an informative video about Net Neutrality at Vancouver I Am.

Net Neutrality is important for anyone concerned about Canadian democracy, and that’s pretty much everyone, so let the CRTC’s decision makers know what you think. You can send a letter from here to make your voice heard.

Canadians must seize this opportunity to tell the CRTC that it must ensure we have an open, fast and accessible Internet in this country.

Where do we stand?

February 7, 2009

New illegal signage bylaw may silence free speech. See Changes to …

“Add clause 17 that states none of the above applies to protests, demonstrations, political picketing or political theatre,” said Shaw. “Then we will all know where we stand.”