Worldchanging Retro Archives

August 23, 2005

Retro: Winning the Great Wager

Although WorldChanging is sometimes labeled an "optimistic" site, it's not, really; optimism, these days at least, implies an almost Panglossian willingness to ignore problems. Instead of optimistic, I'd argue that WorldChanging is a resolute site. We recognize the scale of the danger that the planet faces, and have focused on seeking out the ways in which that danger can be faced and beaten. Alex's essay from February of 2005, Winning the Great Wager, is an attempt to lay out in clear, unflinching terms precisely why the situation we're in is so dire -- and why hope is still not just possible, but required.

We don't say it in public, but we've placed a giant wager here on the future of the human race. The terms of the bet are this: we can move to a new model, a model based on a standard of sustainability higher even than that which we'd need today to fit within our 1.9 hectares per person, but which provides prosperity to billions more, a prosperity equal to or greater than what today costs 10 hectares per person. And we need to do it in 25 years. And we need to get it right the first time. And the cost of failure is the planet.

Retro: Beyond Relief

Written shortly after the Southeast Asia tsunami, Alex's Beyond Relief quickly became the standard articulation of a bright green approach to disasters. Not only did it spur much conversation on the site, references to the ideas it presented quickly appeared all over the web.

A primary goal of the first couple year's of relief and reconstruction work should be to help arm these communities with the expertise, technology and capital to "leapfrog" over older, out-moded, costly and centralized technologies and start right in on building lives of sustainable prosperity.

This process should start the moment boots hit the ground. Relief is not simply about saving lives (though that is of course the top priority) -- relief is also the first step in the reconstruction. In the next months, vast efforts will go into building roads, air strips, water and power systems, emergency clinics and other infrastructure to support relief efforts. With that in mind, big international NGOs ought to be thinking, whenever possible, about the long-term utility of that infrastructure to the local communities. Can these huge investments be structured in ways that not only save lives today, but improve the community tomorrow.

August 24, 2005

Retro: The Latest on Brazil

Brazil is a nation that we find particularly fascinating here, in part because it exists on that razor's edge between building the future and falling apart. Several of today's Retrospective posts concern Brazil, but each comes at the subject from a different perspective. Last December, Alex did something of an overview of stories that seemed to popping up all over about the country's potential, The Latest on Brazil.

Lula: "Brazil Is More Than Carnaval and Street Kids." It's also a growing economy, running a massive and successful microcredit program, investing in biodiesel as a strategic priority, making a big move into wind energy and opening its carbon emissions trading program. [...]

Lula's still the darling of the global Left for his serious diplomatic and trade mojo. The Left in Brazil is less enamored of the austerity measures he's put in place to keep the Real stable and the IMF from doing an Argentina on their butts.

Retro: The Brasilia Consensus, Free Software and Gilberto Gil's Dreadlocks

Of all of the Brazil-related issues we discuss, probably the one we get the most excited about is their strong and growing emphasis on the adoption of free -- as in libre -- software. There's a bit of standing up to the superpower in their love of the penguin (as shown by Lula's notorious snubbing of Bill Gates at the recent World Economic Forum), but also a recognition (especially shown by Brazilian Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil) that the ability to see and change the source code for software changes people from being solely consumers to being potential producers: at its root, the value of free software is more economic and political than it is technological. In The Brasilia Consensus, Free Software and Gilberto Gil's Dreadlocks, Alex ties this all together particularly elegantly:

The idea that you can "take the politics" out of subjects like technology, development, trade regimes and intellectual property systems is, of course, patently absurd. There's practically nothing but politics involved here -- the technical issues, the innovation, are practically trivial in comparison to the political challenges involved in creating South-South science or fashioning the Brasilia Consensus. Our entire global system is a political construct, and Brazil is doing its best to hack that system to make it work better for the billions of people on this planet who don't own Microsoft stock. Technology is only a means to an end in that fight.

Brazil isn't engaged in a science project, it's declaring a revolution.

Retro: Thomas P.M. Barnett: The WorldChanging Interview

We're always looking for opportunities to talk with interesting and provocative worldchangers. These interviews tend not to be the run-of-the-mill rehash of the same talking points one could find elsewhere; we really try to get people to talk about the ways in which their work and ideas are worldchanging. This is particularly important when the person being interviewed is not someone who might immediately spring to mind as having a "WorldChanging" perspective. Alex's December, 2004, conversation with Thomas P.M. Barnett is an excellent example of this. Barnett is a military strategist, and his views on the role the United States should play internationally often get him lumped in -- incorrectly -- with the "neocon" movement. In reality, his views are much more complex than that, and over the course of the lengthy discussion, we begin to see why he is the perfect subject of a WorldChanging Interview.

We need to rethink the connections between security and developmental economics. We need to stop having an antagonistic relationship between military people and the development community, because the fact is, we're not succeeding at all in these failed states. Insecure places are desperately poor places. Desperate poverty breeds insecurity. We need a new approach, a more comprehensive and integrated approach that sees these problems as two sides of the same coin and thinks differently about how to solve them.

Retro: Members Unite! You Have Nothing To Lose But Your Newsletter And Crappy Coffee Cup Premiums...

This September, 2004, post from Alex ranks as having the longest title of any WorldChanging post (at least until this one). More importantly, Members Unite!... was a sharp and controversial declaration that the world of advocacy had changed, and that very few of the big, established advocacy NGOs had changed along with it. A new model is being born, one that's more collaborative, informed and hands-on -- and has the potential to change the world.

I have no doubt that such a shift will drive some NGOs out of business. This is a good thing. NGOs were never intended to be perpetual. They should exist at the sufferance of the world's need to change, not stumble on, zombie-like, until the heat death of the universe. We could use some house-cleaning. But I also have no doubt than many more NGOs would thrive and become more effective in a world of advocacy networks.

For groups which excell at including members in their activities, advocacy networks will be like horse steroids: they'll get bigger, leaner, faster, stronger. For groups with an extremely specific focus and the humility to take the time to explain why that focus is important, advocacy networks will be incredible boons, providing the most effective way for small groups to find focused allies. For groups willing to learn how to collaborate on the fly, and work from a campaign-centric model, advocacy networks will be transformative.

August 25, 2005

Retro: The Post-Oil Megacity

Will the inevitable (and potentially quite near) end of the oil era mean disaster? A growing number of pundits say yes -- that we are all far too dependent upon petroleum to fuel our economies, and we cannot adapt swiftly nor sufficiently to a world with limited or no oil. Urban theorist James Howard Kunstler has become the foremost voice in this movement, and in The Post-Oil Megacity, Alex takes on Kunstler's doom-laden vision. Not only is it possible to move beyond the oil era, Alex argues, doing so is well within our grasp, and the results will be living conditions better than we we have now. We can see the pieces already: smart growth, renewable energy production, green buildings, sustainable transportation, new technologies of production, innovations in the urban form...

The list could go on and on. The point being: this is all stuff we know how to do now. We can rebuild it. We have the technology... or at least the ability to create the technologies. There are hundreds of examples on this site alone. And what we can do today is only the beginning. Yes, the situation is serious and the consequences of failure grave, but we're also growing more and more able to deal with that situation.

Retro: The Kaya Identity and the "Conservation Bomb"

The interplay between energy use, carbon emissions and global warming is one of the cornerstone issues we discuss. One of our main arguments about climate disruption is that there won't be a single, "silver bullet" solution. Instead, in order to avoid the worst effects of global warming, we will need to address energy production, carbon mitigation and -- critically -- efficient consumption of power. In June, I took a look at the "Kaya Identity," a formula showing the carbon results of changes to population, GDP per capita, watts per dollar, and CO2 per watt. Both efficiency -- decreasing the watts required per dollar of GDP -- and clean energy -- decreasing the CO2 per watt -- are good ways of avoiding disastrous scenarios. The effects of shifting to non-carbon energy sources are pretty well understood, but the value of greater efficiency can be quite surprising. Efficiency is, in a word, worldchanging.

So -- without changing any other values -- if we alter the Watt/$ reduction box in the Kaya Calculator from -1% to -2%, something very interesting happens. Instead of needing 17 terawatts of carbon-free power to stabilize at 450ppm in 2100, we'd need 4 TW. That's not 4 terawatts out of ~50, either; that's 4 TW out of about 18 TW, because the boosted efficiency has reduced the overall consumption.

Retro: Restoring Mangroves

In the aftermath of the December tsunami, we made a point of trying to look at some of the bigger-picture issues that weren't getting substantive mainstream media attention. One such issue was the strong correlation between those parts of South and Southeast Asia that had managed to preserve their mangrove forests and those places that best withstood the ravages of the tsunami. Emily Gertz's Restoring Mangroves was a terrific distillation of the benefits of mangroves in the region, and a look at just what it would take to bring those mangroves back to the regional ecosystem.

Mangrove Action Project documents sustainable management alternatives already in practice in the region that can both protect mangroves and provide solid livelihoods for the people who live near them. Silvofishery combines mangrove reforestation (or retention) with low-input aquaculture techniques. And Yad Fon's Community Forest Project in southwestern Thailand has successfully pioneered techniques for "community-managed forests" that combine grassroots organizing, democratic decision making, local economic development, micro-lending, and, restoration and protection of mangroves and local fish populations. [...]

Preservation of human life as well as biodiversity, restoration of a vital ecosystem, and just economic development - clearly interwoven in the wake of a disaster that defies words.

Retro: The Map Is Not The Terrain, The Sim Is Not The City

Models and simulations are wonderful tools for helping us understand complex systems, and often show us relationships between components and actors that are not normally visible. It's possible to rely too heavily upon simulations, however, as even the best-constructed ones will leave out parts of the modeled system. One way of improving the capability of simulations to reflect reality is to open up their underlying engine, allowing users to get in and change the rules to better fit new information and previously-unrecognized conditions. In The Map Is Not The Terrain, The Sim Is Not The City, I took a look at how the popular computer game SimCity is used in the eduction of urban planners, and what might be accomplished if its proprietary code were opened up.

[While some] complaints arise from the fact that SimCity is built as a game -- the "God Mode," for example -- most derive from inability to modify the underlying model, whether to include mixed-use development (the ground-floor commercial/upper-floor residential buildings which help to make dense urban environments livable), to vary the demand ratings for various services, to make pedestrian travel more acceptable, or to alter the efficiency and availability of renewable power generation. As a result, some models of urban development, such as the "New Urbanism" movement of the mid-late 1990s, fall outside the scope of the simulation, and become invisible to developers-in-training. While a free/open-source version of the software would be the ideal (if highly unlikely) solution, format information and tools for altering the model would be sufficient. They have tools for changing the appearance of buildings and props, why not tools for the parts of the sim that really matter?

Retro: The Bogotá Experiment

Innovative solutions to urban and social problems sometimes take unexpected forms. It's always fun to learn about ideas that both challenge our perceptions of what solutions can entail and come from places outside familiar Western locations. The efforts of former Bogotá mayor Antanas Mockus to change the way his beleaguered city works were particularly interesting, as he adopted unusual methods such as mimes as traffic monitors (resulting in a significant decline in vehicle accidents) along with more traditional ideas such as car-free days. The Bogotá Experiment was a brief but popular post, giving readers a reminder that success can take unusual forms.

Mimes on streetcorners and occasional men-only curfews may not work in every city, but Mockus's success in Bogotá is a good example of the value of trying innovative approaches to solving seemingly intractible problems. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different outcome. It's a good thing, then, to try something new, even if it looks a little crazy.

Retro: Urban Sustainability, Mega-City Leapfrogging

The future of the city is a fundamental concern at WorldChanging, and is a topic we return to regularly, and for good reason: the planet as a whole is on the verge of becoming a majority-urbanized world. The question of the city's future takes two primary forms: How can the cities in the developed world become centers of sustainability, reducing the citizens' environmental footprint with smarter transit, energy and resource options? At the same time, how can the rapidly-growing cities of the developing world become both sources of sustainable economic growth and engines for ethical, democratic development? Alex's Urban Sustainability, Mega-city Leapfrogging brings these issues into focus, and shows how they are tightly linked.

Ninety percent of population growth by 2030 is expected to concentrate in cities. The megacities of Asia, Africa, the Mideast and Latin America are expected to swell by almost another two billion people. That translates to over four billion developing world megacity-dwellers, the equivalent of building another Los Angeles every three months for the next 25 years.

...Redistributing the future to create bright green urban prosperity is a job of mind-bending complexity. It can only be done through innovation and collaboration of a scale and speed never seen before.

Retro: Goa's RUrbanism

The contributors to WorldChanging do many important and interesting projects beyond their terrific posts here. Some, like Alan AtKisson, are consultants, working closely with other leaders around the world on the application of worldchanging ideas. In April of 2005, Alan posted an extended presentation about the work of friends and colleagues in India on a project called Goa 2100, which seeks to transform Goa's capital city, Panjim, into an urban sustainability showcase.Goa's RUrbanism went into tremendous detail about the project and its potential; the term RUrbanism is meant to be suggestive of the project's goal to integrate urban and rural needs.

One of most innovative features of the Goa 2100 project was its analysis of the entire "temporal economy" of the city and region. Using comparative time-use studies from around the world, and adapting assumptions to the South Asian context, the team modeled the time-use of Greater Panjim and created a "Time-use Budget" for both the present day's citizens, and for the citizens of a post-transition, sustainable Panjim, one hundred years from now. This analysis led to a key discovery: that time should be considered as an additional resource when considering the financing of a transition. ...It also calls attention to the fact that how people spend their time is a key element of both their quality of life, and the sustainability of a society. The Goa 2100 model — which allows for more than adequate personal, leisure, household, and community time, in addition to the needs of work, childcare, education and many other factors — appears to be the first sustainability analysis of the time-use of an entire city.

August 26, 2005

Retro: What Would Radical Longevity Mean?

In the developed world and in much of the developing world, human beings are living longer, healthier lives. But how long can human lives truly be? People older than 100 years are becoming increasingly commonplace; some medical scientists suggest that the natural human span, if everything goes just right, may be up to around 140 years. But others argue that the natural span is no limit -- that we may be on the verge of a world where people could live for much longer than that. In What Would Radical Longevity Mean?, I take a look at several scenarios of what the world might look like if -- or when -- we figure out how to cure aging.

What about relationships? While many marriages end in divorce, not all do. What does "til death do we part" mean when death may be centuries off? Can you imagine being with your current partner for another fifty years? Hundred years? Three hundred years? What if one of you wants the treatment and the other doesn't? [...]

How does it change people's behavior if they know that they could live for centuries? Do they become more conservative? More adventurous? Are they less likely to have kids? How do they treat people who won't be living extremely long lives? Do they start thinking long term? Does society stagnate, or is the concept of "stagnation" itself an artifact of short-term thinking?

Retro: Bruce Sterling is WorldChanging

Bruce Sterling is WorldChanging Ally #1, and an inspiration for many of us here at WorldChanging Central. He has given us terrific support from the outset, and remains a good friend. In October of 2004, in celebration of our one year anniversary, Bruce (along with many others) agreed to write a piece for us. The result (which we published under the less-than-descriptive title, Bruce Sterling is WorldChanging) proved rather controversial: he suggested that the World Summit for the Information Society -- the WSIS -- could be seen as a marriage between the Internet and the United Nations, bringing together the strengths of both in a worldchanging way. As you'll see in the comments, not everyone agreed.

Logically, there ought to be some inventive way to cross-breed the grass-rootsy cheapness, energy and immediacy of the Net with the magisterial though cumbersome, crotchety, crooked and opaque United Nations. Then bride and groom would unite their virtues and overcome those gloomy vices gnawing at their vitals. The global worldchanging multitudes could beat back the darkness of the gathering New World Disorder while swiftly improving the cramped lives of the planet's majority in a beneficent orgy of networked interdependence! Wow!

Retro: Greens in Space

What does space travel have to do with making the Earth a better place? A lot more than you might think. In Greens in Space, I lay out just why space exploration is so important to the long-term environmental agenda. I've returned to the topic a few times in the subsequent months, and while not every reader is convinced, I still strongly believe that we have a much better chance of understanding and repairing the damage done to the planetary ecosystem in part through the wise use of space exploration.

Over the past few decades, notions of environmental sustainability moved from a focus on cleaning up pollution to a focus on understanding (and, where needed, responding to) global environmental systems. Picking up litter and reducing smog are easy concepts to understand; the dynamics between climate cycles, insolation, CO2 emissions from natural and artificial sources, and solar cycles are a bit more complex. Simply put, we can't understand the details of how our environment functions without a better understanding of the larger environment in which our planet exists, along with additional examples of planetary development. Turning our backs on space exploration means cutting ourselves off from a wealth of potentially-critical knowledge about our planet and solar system.

Retro: Redistributing the Future

There are a few pieces on WorldChanging we consider to be our primary texts, the articles that sum up core principles in a way that we end up referencing over and over again. Alex's Redistributing the Future is one of those posts. It was our earliest best articulation of why the open source model (which we've come to call "free/libre/open source," on the suggestion of people working on such software) is so valuable and liberating for the developing world. The title comes from a William Gibson quote, one that we hold dear here: "The future is here, it's just not well-distributed yet."

The greatest strength of the open source model is that it is explicitly non-proprietary. It is a direct antidote to legacy ownership of key ideas, because the core concept is that no one should own core concepts. No corporation, no nation, no person can claim ownership over the core concepts in an open source project in order to demand royalties or restrict its use. No one using open source-built medicines, for example, would ever die of AIDS because some Big Pharma executive in New York or Berlin decided that distributing cheap drugs was too great a risk to their patents.

Ultimately, that is the point: the 20th Century's model of development - the "Washington consensus," proprietary technological diffusion, the whole ball of wax - has completely failed a billion people and left another four billion falling farther and farther behind, while trashing the planet at an astounding rate.

Retro: Rise of the Participatory Panopticon

One of the issues I've been exploring over the last 22 months at WorldChanging is the question of what happens when large numbers of people have in their hands devices that can capture the sounds and images of the world and send them effortlessly (and wirelessly) across the Internet. Early versions of such tools are already here -- we call them cameraphones. But as these technologies get more sophisticated, the implications of the technology grow more dramatic. The Rise of the Participatory Panopticon is the edited transcript of a talk I gave at the MeshForum 2005 conference in early May; I knew the talk was successful when a listener came up to me later and told me that the world I had described was both attractive and very, very disturbing.

...the world of the participatory panopticon is not as interested in privacy, or even secrecy, as it is in lies. A police officer lying about hitting a protestor, a politician lying about human rights abuses, a potential new partner lying about past indiscretions -- all of these are harder in a world where everything might be on the record. The participatory panopticon is a world where accusations can easily be documented, where corporations will become more transparent to stakeholders as a matter of course, where officials may even be required to wear a recorder while on duty, simply to avoid situations where they are discovered to have been lying. It's a world where we can all be witnesses with perfect recall. Ironically, it’s a world where trust is easy, because lying is hard.

Retro: The Tech Bloom

The Tech Bloom is another of the WorldChanging ur-texts. Alex wrote it as an editorial for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer around the same time we were starting WorldChanging, and it captured beautifully an idea that has come to inform much of what we do: we are in the midst of an explosion of collaboration fueled in part by technology and in part by a growing recognition that bottom-up solutions can have the deepest impact.

The conventional wisdom, during the Tech Boom, was that what drove innovation was the lure of giant piles of cash. That idea now rubs shoulders with the Berlin Wall. What makes creative people tingle are interesting problems, the chance to impress their friends and caffeine. Freed from the pursuit of paper millions, geeks are doing what geeks, by nature, really want to be doing: making cool stuff.

Retro: Human Changing

A growing number of very smart people argue that we are on the edge of a massive transformation of what it means to be human. Three excellent books about this transformation came out in the past year, James Hughes' Citizen Cyborg, Ramez Naam's More Than Human, and journalist Joel Garreau's Radical Evolution. The three authors have varied but complementary ideas about what human augmentation might entail, and (much to my pleasure) all three agreed to a collective interview. Human Changing is the result of that interview, and it remains the longest article we've ever published. It's so long that it actually exceeded the maximum length for the software, so be sure to read the "part II" linked at the bottom of the article.

I think we're going to see that path with any enhancement and I think what freaks people out is the idea that it's going to be used by people who simply want to have advantage over their competitors. If you buy that path, then you're looking in the very near term at a potential division of the species between the Enhanced, the Naturals, and the Rest. The Enhanced are the people who have the interest and the money to embrace all of these enhancements. The Naturals are the ones who could do it if they wanted to, but they're like today's vegetarians or today's fundamentalists, and they eschew these enhancements for either aesthetic or political or religious reasons. The third group is the Rest and either for reasons of geography or money, they don't have access to these enhancements and they hate and envy the people who do. That division could get pretty exciting pretty fast in terms of conflict.

August 27, 2005

Retro: Terriblisma

As much as we try to focus on solutions and the possibility of success in dealing with global problems, we have to acknowledge the perverse attraction of disaster. Along those lines, Alex managed to dig up a word that was almost lost to the depths of time, and give it new resonance: terriblisma.

The Renaissance Italians had a term, "terriblisma," by which they meant the strange, gratified awe one feels when beholding dreadful disasters and acts of God from afar. The term may be six hundred years old, but the sentiment could not be more contemporary. In fact, terriblisma is a quite native 21st Century aesthetic.

Retro: Swades: NRIs, Leapfrogging and the Indian Future

Non-Resident Indians -- NRIs -- represent a remarkable diaspora. Leaving India largely for reasons of economic opportunity, some NRIs are returning to their home. In Swades: NRIs, Leapfrogging and the Indian Future, Dina Mehta gives us an insightful review of the movie Swades (which means "our country"), discussing not just the story of the film, but the larger question of what is driving the return of the non-resident Indians.

I’ve spoken to many returning NRI’s about their reasons for coming back to India. Very few speak of wanting to give back to the country. Typically they speak of today's opportunities in India -- of great salaries and a good standard of living. Supporting these is a certain global lifestyle now easily accessible in our towns – schools for kids, malls, recreation, communication, utilities, entertainment etc. There are bold plans to revamp direct and indirect taxes, e-governance in several states with the lead coming from Southern states, e-medicine, a new metro rail system in Delhi built in record time, a huge plan to wire up the whole country in the next few years. Just some examples. And when coupled with the lure of familial and community ties “back home” it’s a very attractive proposition.

I am not really sure how many are returning to help India progress or give back to the country – many may just be recognizing that India is indeed a nation that is leapfrogging ahead and hence the opportunities are here, now.

Retro: Walking Barefoot With Gandhi

In Walking Barefoot With Gandhi, Rohit Gupta gives us a lyrical discussion of the Barefoot College, an educational institution in India that teaches rural citizens (often women) to be engineers, architects, even solar power technicians. The College was founded in 1972, but proceeds from a set of ideas described by Mahatma Gandhi decades earlier. In many ways ahead of his time, Gandhi combined promotion of the welfare of the poor -- the "barefoot" -- with deep ecological principles.

The Gandhian model is somewhere between the ideal and the fantastic, for someone as wasteful as me, and if I come even close to emulating anything like that it would be a major personal success. I feel nowadays as if material objects I think I own, they own me. They make me spend more than I should, on more objects and devices that I don't need.

To explore this further, I have recently started taking long walks on the noisy streets of Bombay, although not barefoot. Traffic being what it is, I have found walking a faster medium of getting from place a to place B, provided the distance D is not too much for my feet and faster traversed with a train. Then again, I find that getting anywhere faster, unless in an emergency, helps me to no particular end.

Retro: The Culture of Extinction

We are undergoing the Sixth Extinction, a wave of species death that has few comparisons across the breadth of Earth's history. As we become more aware of our impact and our responsibilities, a growing number of us attempt to tread lightly; nonetheless, more creatures will go extinct. In The Culture of Extinction, Alex makes a powerful and moving suggestion: the creation of a living archive of the dead:

So, here's my modest proposal: I propose that we start wearing the dead on our skin.

Images exist of a great many extinct species, and I expect the proportion of well-documented extinctions to increase in the next couple decades. I propose that we assemble and maintain a database of names, pictures and information on species which have gone or are clearly soon to go extinct. I propose we make it possible for people to "adopt" a dead species, on one condition.

That condition? That you have an image of that species tattooed on your body in a visible place, with the Linnaean name underneath.

Retro: Natalie Jeremijenko: The WorldChanging Interview

Natalie Jeremijenko is an amazingly creative, brilliant designer. Her projects include the creation of "feral robotic dogs" for sniffing out toxic pollution, pollution-detecting Clear Skies Masks for bicycle riders, and novel, non-violent tools for protestors. Emily Gertz sat down with Jeremijenko for an excellent, wide-ranging interview in October of 2004, wherein the designer describes her work as an engineering teacher, leading the "DARPA of dissent," and the intersection of art, design and politics.

There are Italian and Spanish direct action groups, very well trained in direct action. They’re doing marvelous actions using blow up pool toys, big happy smiley faces on the strike zones [parts of the body would be likely to be hit by police] so they can protect themselves. Putting pockets into these bright clownish costumes they wear, both mediagenic and highly visual, but also with room for putting in an empty two-liter soda container, with their tops on. These make good protection in the strike zone.

Nonviolent defense is a long tradition. Profoundly misplaced, but necessary. I wish our energies could be better spent. Nonetheless, their threat has to be answered. And systematically, we have to answer every threat of this abuse power, of criminalizing political process, the political right to gather with a nonviolent method.

About Worldchanging Retro

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to WC Archive in the Worldchanging Retro category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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