The Paradox of Power

From TV News in a Postmodern World: Chaos at the Door by Terry L. Heaton.
“And the paradox of power is that discontent increases with opportunities for acting on it. The more the bottom is given the tools to make and distribute their own media, the greater their power; the greater their power, the greater their discontent and, along with it, the opportunity for acting on that discontent. This bubbling caldron of energy is profoundly anti-elitist and anti-institution, because the more the bottom surveys the landscape these days, the more they realize that our culture has failed them, and this energy is palpable in the halls of power.”

Thanks to Doc Searls for sharing the link to this article with us. (and to linking to me recently) Man, I need to spend as much time as it takes to read all that Doc writes and links to.

Personal Fabrication

There is most certainly a hardware fabrication divide. When we speak of a digital divide we usually mean lack of access to computers to make more software. (ex. HTML, jpg, CSS, mp3, mov, avi, etc.) What about access to hardware, software, and materials to make more hardware devices? This is a question Neil Gershenfeld, the director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms Fab Lab, asked at the O’Reilly E-Tech (Emerging Technology) Conference. Go download and listen to his amazing speech from IT Conversations describing how they took labs consisting of gear to fabricate “Just about anything” to teens in urban Boston, Costa Rica, Ghana, and Pakistan. What does this have to do with Audio Activism? Imagine the ability not only to make your own media but the resources to MAKE WHAT EVER ELECTRONIC DEVICE YOU WANT? (well just about any) I’d make an audio recording device that would upload the audio file to the web immediately or somehow share it locally…fast. Gershenfeld has a book out called FAB: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop–From Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication that I plan to get soon.

Networks: The Ecology of the Movements Audio

Here is an MP3 recording of the essay Networks: The Ecology of the Movements that I read. The text was CopyLeft so this gave me the oportunity to build upon the work. I’m excited to share it with you and elated to attribute the original text to it’s authors the editors Notes from Nowhere. It first appeared in the book We Are Everywhere. Read the raw text here. The knowledge contained in this essay is POWERFUL!

MP3 35m 47s 16.4MB 64kbps

Networks: The Ecology of the Movements

I just finished reading an EXCELLENT essay called Networks: The Ecology of the Movements. It’s by the Notes From Nowhere Collective. It’s a CopyLeft work that I found in the book We Are Everywhere, edited by Notes from Nowhere. (Find places to buy the book here.)

CopyLeft is a license that permits people to freely copy, modify and redistribute software so long as they do not keep others from also having the right to freely copy, modify, and redistribute the software.

It really struck me as an excellent explanation of network centric activism, emergence, and swarming. One example from the Networks essay is the amazing section called; “Four Ways to Act Like an Ant and Dream Like a Giant“. It says, “If we want to build networks that behave like a swarm, these four rules from the ant world can guide us: More is differentStay smallEncourage randomnessListen to your neighbors…” All of these are examples of advice that a lot of blogers, podcasters, and grassroots journalist are following and may not even know it.

Read the essay in its entirety by clicking MORE bellow. (Thank you for making this work CopyLeft!) Thanks to the Narco News Bulletin for having a copy of this essay online.

Continue reading “Networks: The Ecology of the Movements”

Trimtab: Individuals Exert Great Influence

In a email on the Digital Divide Network mailing list Dave Pentecost brought up the concept of the TRIMTAB. Here’s the definition he presented:

“trimtab” – a small unit that exerts great influence on the course of a large vessel.

I did a bit of google searching and found this page describing trimtab thusly:

So what’s a trimtab?
A trim tab is a tiny flap that controls the rudder on a ship or airplane. When the rudder needs to be moved, this tiny trimtab is adjusted which creates a low pressure area on one side and turns the rudder. Buckminster Fuller used the word to illustrate what an individual can do to turn the great ship of human society. Bucky’s gravestone says simply, “Call me Trimtab.”

The concept of a very small actor on a huge stage with LOTS of other actors having a significant effect on all of the other bodies is very important to grassroots efforts. This is especially true in a world were many of us feel increasingly without power to make a difference or bring about POSITIVE change.

We know now, more than ever, the roll the Internet can play in allowing the trimtab to exist and be empowered in global society. Now we all need to learn how to play the tiny flap, called the trimtab, with great finesse. Much of this seems to be about HOW WE WORK TOGETHER.

How can we “[C]reate a low pressure area on one side and turn the rudder”? If we look at this directive as a allegory for other things what is the rudder? What is the body of water that the rudder flows through?

Could the “rudder” represent politics and the water it flows in is our planet? Fuller believed he was the trimtab that moved the “ship of human society”.

What if the rudder is human communication (like media) and the water the rudder flows though are connections we all have between each of us. By making new media to communicate we strengthen and alter the connections we have between us and alter the direction of the “ship of human society”.