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Music can unite us, but also divide us. I don’t always enjoy the music at Occupy; I’d sometimes rather listen to Drastik IV, whose video here uses footage from Occupy Austin, than most of the twangy folksinger types — an attitude that might not be popular here on MyFDL. For every person who loves a dubstep-fueled street party, there’s another occupier who’d rather we had a drum circle or a sing-along.
When Tom Morello called for his original May Day Guitarmy march, he invited everyone, regardless of talent or whether they were using a handmade acoustic guitar or a plastic Walmart toy.
I watched as the 99 Mile March of the Guitarmy arrived in Liberty Square and celebrated with song, dance and music. While the voices were sometimes out of key, what mattered was the people are singing together — the real unifying effect of music. Police crack down on drumming (as seen in 2 of today’s arrests) not, in my opinion, because of the noise it makes but because of the way that sound and rhythm can empower the people and lead them to greater acts of civil disobedience. Music inspires.
Real music made by people, for people, rather than a recording company, is a powerful tool of the 99%.
That’s what’s on my mind tonight. How about you?
This is the latest MyFDL open thread.
Been thinking about the state of things, like I often do, and inspired as usual by conversations with my friends.
Look at the example set recently by other countries, like Canada or Mexico, with their vibrant street protests. It’s painful to compare it to the United States sometimes. When our northern neighbors enact new laws against free speech and protest, the people take to the streets nationwide. Here, there hardly seems to be a reaction, or the reaction is one of fear.
At my optimistic moments though, I imagine that a wave of globally connected, technologically-enhanced protest reached our shores in fall of last year, and while it’s at low ebb here in the United States now, its washing over other places. We’re ready here — the channels of connection, communication, and key networks of radical activists — waiting for the return of the wave when the time comes. Will it be a tidal wave next time?
That’s what’s on my mind today. I’m off to the Austin Stonewall protest tonight, though it’ll be over by the time you read these words. I’ll let you know how it goes!
And this is today’s open thread — what’s on your mind? Any more thoughts on today’s healthcare decision (or anything else)?
I’ve been on the Internet longer than most people (since a time when there were only two public Internet Service Providers), and before that used to dial in to bulletin board services.
Since we’ve been able to communicate electronically, the desire to build community and connection online has existed. It seems like there is a lot of speculation about how social media is changing human interactions, and I wonder why the speculative futurists penning those sorts of articles don’t spend more time studying Usenet newsgroups, just to name one example. Most of the behaviors we see today are not new; they just occur on a larger scale than ever before (which, admittedly, is new in its own way).
People connect, share, fall in love or create fast friendships with people they have never met and with whom they may never share the same physical space. Of course, just as often people fight and feud, often despite agreeing on many important fundamental issues. This passion is a lot of how we define our identity, but it can also find us in dispute with potential allies — and the Internet seems to exacerbate this tendency as we’ve all observed; I’m no stranger to the belief that I can’t go to bed yet because someone on the Internet is wrong.
When it comes to activism, of course, this behavior’s been around a long time — long enough to be spoofed by Monty Python in 1979.
Thanks for being part of the MyFDL community with me and for welcoming me here in the time I’ve been editing.
This is today’s open thread. What’s on your mind?
I’ve been part of Occupy Austin since November, and from the start I found myself drawn to social media as a major part of my contribution. I already had an established blog, and a Twitter account with a few followers. My Twitter following has exploded since I began livetweeting events and writing more about the global uprising. I’m also quickly bringing the main @OccupyAustin account towards a personal goal of 10,000 followers.
Hardware like digital cameras, laptops and smartphones paired with software like blogging and social media turn everyone into a potential citizen journalist. A Twitter account might only have a handful of followers, but with the right technique your message can reach hundreds of thousands of people.
I’m happy to answer social media questions in the comments here, or in any watercooler post I write. Happy occupying, citizen journalists!
Yesterday in Oakland, tens of thousands of people took to the streets to speak up for their rights and to participate in a general strike. Marches and actions took place all around the world in solidarity with the activists. I joined Occupy Austin again for their march, and then attended my first general assembly that night.
It is inspiring to watch this movement grow and spread around the world. As police (and the Department of Homeland Security, by some reports) try to shut us down, it seems like each police raid and wave of arrests only makes us bolder. The Port of Oakland, one of the top ports in the US, shut down for a full 24 hours along with major downtown Oakland branches of banks like Bank of America, Chase and Citibank.
My friend Gyesika joined me at this march, and it was immediately clear that something was different from Sunday — there was a spirit there, a sense that we could take on the world. The Spirit of Oakland was in us, undoubtedly. For the first half of the march, we were orderly and obedient protesters, staying to the sidewalks and mostly waiting for lights to change.
We marched again to the County Jail, to remind the government of our presence and because this is a place where all of our activists can gather. Despite reassurances from the city, all our arrested activists are still banned from City Hall, where our occupation is taking place. These political prisoners must gather on a traffic island across the street which has a curfew of 10pm because it is technically a park.
As we gathered at the jail, we heard from one of those prisoners who talked about what he’d realized while in prison: Read the rest of this entry →