The differences are slight: one decade, one president, one letter out of four. “Change the q to an n, don’t use the phrase ‘WMD’ or ‘pre-emptive strike’”; each incoming Press Secretary should just pass out a style guide. It’s so absurd that the first reaction is a feeling of nauseau, surreality, perhaps madness. Nuclear weapons? State sponsored terrorism? Did we fall into a time warp? Do they really think we’ll buy any of this?
Laurence Schechtman is the founder and coordinator for Neighborhood Vegetables in the San Francisco East Bay, which he started four and a half years ago. Neighborhood Vegetables is a grassroots network of 2,500 volunteers who help each other plant urban vegetable gardens in their yards. Laurence is a long-time Bay Area community and political activist known for his tenacity. He helped develop a barter exchange called the “Labor Gift Plan,” was involved in civil rights and anti-war organizing during the 60's, and created food coops called “Food Conspiracies” in the 70's.
For as long as there has been such a thing as money, morality and debt have been intimately intertwined. We see this today in discussions about the debt crisis. Do mortgage debtors, credit card debtors, and student loan borrowers have a moral obligation to pay back their debts? Is it unethical for debtor nations to default on their loans?
Times are tough for American cities. Facing budget shortfalls, municipalities are slashing public programs, reducing staff, and in some cases, barely staying solvent. Ultimately, it’s the city’s residents who feel the pain, particularly ones in low-income communities who rely on public services. As city officials increasingly eye the bottom line, software upgrades and open government initiatives are shuttered or indefinitely delayed out of necessity, even though such efforts could increase efficiency and directly benefit the citizenry.
I like to think of utopia as the space where idealism meets reality. Over the years, I have found few radical social change projects that met reality without failure or conflict, especially within a capitalist economy. Transformative projects often fail to take off and end up disillusioning their founders and volunteers. The Bike Kitchen model is one of those unique exceptions that we can try to learn from.
This interview with JD Moyer by Michel Bauwens and Neal Gorenflo is important to us here at Shareable because it combines two important perspectives. The first one is that JD is an entrepreneur who made a successful transition to operating in an open and participatory music culture, embracing and accepting it, providing lessons on how this might be done.
In the middle of the Bronx in New York City, a community is redefining what family housing can be. Home to over 150 residents, the PSS/WSF Grandparent Family Apartments provides parenting workshops, after-school programs, counseling, community get-togethers, legal services, job training, summer camp and more. The catch is that you have to be a grandparent raising a grandchild to live here.
It seemed obvious that someone was coordinating the national crackdown on occupations, but I always figured it was the FBI or the Department of Homeland Security. The revelation of the truth – that a non-governmental organization called the Police Executive Research Forum has been hosting calls between mayors and providing advice based on anti-protest tactics from the last twenty years – is even more disturbing. PERF issued a hasty and unconvincing denial, but it was too late.