Jerry Conner got a Stay for DNA testing!

Mark Kleinschmidt, a lawyer at The Center for Death Penalty Litigation, just emailed to tell me Jerry Conner got a stay of execution to perform DNA testing! THIS IS HUGE! A man’s life could be saved! BIG props to the lawyers working hard for little pay to make this world a better place. Yay!

Read more about this case in my post North Carolina Obstructs DNA Testing for Condemned Man and podcast Save Jerry Conner. Its possible that our grassroots blogging and podcasting mission could have helped bring the attention this case deserved. I’m not going to celebrate this fact just yet. The important thing is Mr. Conner gets another DNA test. More details soon.

Drinking Liberaly Chapel Hill Style!

The Chapel Hill chapter of Drinking Liberally will be meeting this Thursday, April 6, at Tyler’s (back in the Speakeasy) from 7pm until 10pm. To keep up with goings-on, you can sign up for the chapter mailing list here. A word or two about DL:

An informal, inclusive progressive drinking club. Raise your spirits while you raise your glass, and share ideas while you share a pitcher. Drinking Liberally gives like-minded, left-leaning individuals a place to talk politics. You don’t need to be a policy expert and this isn’t a book club – just come and learn from peers, trade jokes, vent frustration and hang out in an environment where it’s not taboo to talk politics.

Bars are democratic spaces – you talk to strangers, you share booths, you feel the bond of common ground. Bring democratic discourse to your local democratic space – build democracy one drink at a time.

Via: OrangePolitics, BlueNC

National Change Starts Locally

I’ve been reading Emergence by Steven Johnson. Part of it is about organized complexity and discusses how global/national change happens when we interact with our neighbors locally. It’s confirming evidence I already have in the form of Ruby and

If you know me even just a little bit you might be thinking I’m biased on this. (I’m getting married to Ruby in July. The best decision I ever made.) Hell yes I am! But that is beside the point. Really!

In this day and age, when our national government is run by money hungry religious fanatics with no space for people who are different than them and will stop at nothing to retain control, you start looking around you for options. Really close around you. Options for positive change that you think have a chance.

One good example of the national-local phenomena is municipal internet networks. (WiFi) Network World writer Susan Briedenbach in her article Building boom for Wi-Fi networks says,

This ripple in the pond of municipal infrastructure advancements quickly became a tsunami. By the middle of last year, noted that it was “raining RFPs,” and The Yankee Group analyst Lindsay Schroth estimates there are some 320 U.S. municipalities that have or are planning to cover themselves with broadband wireless networks.

When you have access to the entire worlds worth of information – not a big exaggeration – you pull the power of global politics to you. When power is near you it’s local. When your local government can empower it’s citizens – and our guest non-citizens that work so very hard for us – the balance of power shifts. This is only one example of real change happening locally.

Ruby was just on a panel at SXSW (South by Southwest Interactive) called Revenge of the Blogs. She was joined by national blogers Markos Moulitsas (Daily Kos – US Liberal) and Mike Krempasky (Right March Red State – US Conservative). In her post Revenge of the panelists she shared some of what happened,

We struck a good balance between talking about the influence of local and national blogs, and some people even began to draw a connection between the two. Judging by the people who came up to talk with me afterward, I think I must have said some interesting and useful things.

She’s been modest I’m sure. She’s been trying to convince liberal activists for years that if you mobilize your neighbors electronically you’re activating the real grassroots. These people are the ones that cause actual change to happen in national politics. The people who are very close to you.

I think that some US national politicians understand this. But they already have their piece of the power pie and are afraid of sharing. Many other circumstances prevent them from really listening to their grassroots. This is not democracy. This is not how the US should exist.

Work with your neighbors online and in person to take over national and local politics.

Local Blogging Community

Last night we held our regular Chapel Hill Bloggers meetup. Usually 3 to 5 people show up. Last night sixteen (by my count) people showed up. One person in town to do research, one person just moved here, one person from Dook :), one Chapel Hill Town Council member, and many regulars. Such a diverse group of people. Bora has pictures up already. Awesome conversation.

I wish Ruby could have been there. But I don’t feel too bad for her. She was in Montevideo, Uruguay, is going to Austin for SXSW today, and then off to Seatle for NTEN. I’m jealous. (only a little bit) 😀 Thanks to Bora for emailing us about the guests and Anton for his steadfast community building. We owe Anton a lot!

Side note:
Q: What the hell does this post have to do with Activism?
A: Everything! Community building is EXTREMLY important in movement building. True these folks I met with last night aren’t all part of some movement. But we are all creative people who blog. Creativity is a political act. Viva La Blogs!

The Stories of Experienced Radicals

Anton Zuiker is gearing up to work on his next project called NC Storyblogging aka Narratives of Your Life. It’s based on his interests in blogging, genealogy, storytelling and oral history. This is such a good idea!

It could be a wonderful way to transmit knowledge from generation to generation to generation. This project seems especially important, to me, because the technical illiteracy of some seniors can separate them and their knowledge from younger people who are on the Internet. Shouldn’t all knowledge, emotion, and experiences of adults be passed on to future generations? If we don’t document this information and put it on the Internet it may completely disappear in the future. Books of information will hopefully always be around. But because searching the Internet is so easy and discovering metadata from it is so great having your knowledge on the net is a necessity, IMHO.

A lot of my interest are in radical left politics and the activism that comes from struggle. Sadly many of these struggles are not new to human kind. It seems we’re always taking three steps forward and two steps back. We have traditional methods of passing on information about radical activism knowledge. Great books, teach-ins, consensus groups, fairs, bookstores, etc. But wouldn’t it be great to hear about how-to conduct a sit-in straight from men and women who’ve done it? Wouldn’t it be incredible to listen to instructions on organizing a strike? What about watching experienced radicals discuss movement building? There are so many more possibilities. I wish we had recordings of Bob Sheldon who founded the Internationalist Bookstore in 1981. (maybe we do… ?)

I suppose my recordings of Stan Goff reading his writing about Marxist economic theory counts. But the NC Storyblogging project may be looking for any content gathered. I’m sure rambling story telling is just as welcomed.

But because all knowledge is important I’m interested in documenting many things. Not just politically left concepts from experienced radicals. So I’m sure I’ll be helping Anton record all kinds of stuff. And to be perfectly clear Anton is interested in many story topics. So don’t assume my interest are a limitation of his wonderful project. Respect.

Triangle Blogger’s Bash, Durham, November 15

Blogging isn’t just a faceless virtual activity reserved for geeks. All kinds of bloggers actually meet in person the old fashioned way. These get-togethers known as Blogger Meetups can be a safe and fun way to meet the people who live near you. And no it really isn’t a new dating scene. 🙂

Before I went to the Triangle Bloggers Conference last year I only knew a few people in Chapel Hill. But now thanks to Anton Zuiker a.k.a. MisterSugar, the conference organizer, several neighbors meet every other week. These folks have become a very important part of my local community. Their blogs have become an important way for me to stay in touch and learn new things from them. (See for details.)

On Tuesday, November 15 from 7-9 p.m we’re having a Triangle Blogger’s Bash at Durham’s American Tobacco Historic District. The event will include a walking tour of WUNC’s new studios, a catered reception, talking about podcasting, and drinks at Tyler’s Speakeasy next door. Everyone is invited. Come to learn about blogging, podcasting, and meet your neighbors who have those cool blogs you read all the time.