Tag Archive: community


I feel fine

Image stolen from Strike Debt UK –  http://www.strikedebtuk.com/

My son likes to argue with me that Occupy didn’t achieve anything. That it failed. I try not to engage with him, because who really wins an argument with a 16-year old who has a very black-and-white way of seeing the world? But, really, it seems like everywhere I turn I see ways in which the politics and tactics of the Occupy movement are being carried out in to do good in the world. Partially because Occupy brought so many good-hearted people together, and now we kind of all know each other and know who to call when something needs to get done. But also because the politics and tactics of the Occupy movement were just another iteration of politics and tactics that have been evident in activist/social justice movements forever, and in some ways they are becoming more and more refined.

This weekend in Austin, amidst the ridiculous conspicuous consumption of the F-1 spectacle, a representative of Strike Debt New York paid a visit to help facilitate a Debtor’s Assembly and participate in a Debtor’s Carnival. Both events were aimed at destigmatizing debt and bringing people together to discuss the effects of debt on their lives and what might be done about it. I was unable to attend the assembly, but did attend the carnival today, and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to talk about this project with one of its organizers. In addition to the Rolling Jubilee – which raised money in order to buy huge amounts of debt for pennies on the dollar and forgive the holders of the debt that was bought, the organizers of Strike Debt are trying to find ways to form Debtor’s Unions and some are holding Debt Clinics to empower people who are in debt to get out of debt and/or deal with debt collectors in an informed manner. It’s an amazing movement, and just one of many examples of how the tactic of gathering random people together in a park for weeks on end spawned ambitious ideas and action. I’m really looking forward to working with my activist community to hold debt clinics and work with people on fighting back against debt collectors.

Image Courtesy of Austin Common Ground Relief – https://www.facebook.com/atxcommongroundrelief?directed_target_id=0

I also continue to be impressed with the hard work of the Austin Common Ground Relief. After floods hit the Dove Springs area in Austin, hundreds of people were left homeless, and it took several days/weeks for significant help to arrive. Now, two weeks after the flooding, the agencies that were helping are packing up and leaving. With F-1 racing happening in the city, hotels that were housing displaced residents are putting people back out on the street so they can accommodate wealthy tourists, and the shelter is closing down. Meanwhile, members of Austin Common Ground Relief are still preparing daily meals and distributing them to people who were impacted by the flooding (which is really just a symptom of climate change and environmental racism.) While distributing meals, they are also having people fill out intake applications listing their needs and desires, and providing assistance with cleanup and whatever else the residents are looking for. Because of the work activists have done in Austin to create an infrastructure of support, the infrastructure of information sharing and organizing was quickly put into place. Decentralized planning, volunteer-based assistance, and ubiquitous social media presence enable the Common Ground organizers and participants to be flexible and respond immediately to the needs of the community. The hope is that once there are a sufficient number of community members who are out of crisis, those tools can be provided to the community so they are able to provide mutual aid for their neighbors, and call upon the larger group when necessary. It’s truly a beautiful thing, and another example of the influence of Occupy on local organizing. I couldn’t be more proud of the folks who are doing the really hard work. While I can only spare a couple of hours a week towards the effort, it feels so much better to know that the time I do volunteer is having a direct, positive impact on those who need the help, rather than being filtered through the ranks and red-tape of a large organization like Red Cross.

These are the things that sustain me and help me get through my own struggles. I’m really proud to be part of a community that is invested in doing good things for other people and actively working towards making the world a better place.

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Mornings on the porch

Mornings on the porch

Working from home has been a lot like funemployment, only with slightly less time to waste. I need to make a few adjustments in priority, and maybe rein in some of my slack-time, but I’m amazed at how little “pressed for time” I’m feeling. It’s nice. I mean, I’m attributing it to the fact that I’m now working from home, but it could also be my general attitude about my job. Or maybe it was having 2 months off to really contemplate things. I feel like I know what’s important, and I’m getting that. I’m managing to spend time with friends and family pretty regularly. I’m still managing to do some amount of creative work every day. I’m reading. I’m getting a fair amount of exercise (though I’d prefer to get more)…little adjustments to make here & there, but overall, I can’t complain.

On the fridge

On the fridge

I do still need to get into some sort of time budget, as well as a budget budget. But there’s time for that. There’s time for that. There’s easing into time for that.

And all things, really.

all things, really

all things, really

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After a year-long journey fighting her wrongful foreclosure, Rose McGee has won a settlement with CitiMortgage and Fannie Mae to stay in her home.

“We are working on final details for a settlement resolution, and I will be staying in my home,” said Rose.

70 community members gathered to support Rose in a prayer vigil circling the Government Center water fountain Tuesday afternoon before she went into settlement court, where she finally reached a deal with CitiMortgage and Fannie Mae.

http://www.occupyhomesmn.org/rose_victory

Free Minds, Free People is a national conference convened by the Education for Liberation Network that brings together teachers, high school and college students, researchers, parents and community-based activists/educators from across the country to build a movement to develop and promote education as a tool for liberation. Read more about our mission and goals.

The 2013 conference will take place in Chicago, July 11-14. In the aftermath of a strike that brought teachers and community together to successfully challenge corporate education reform, we are excited to offer people who care about education justice the opportunity to connect, learn, and plan for action in this important city.

http://www.fmfp.org

https://www.facebook.com/events/138976599582671/

 

Blueberry Scones w/Lemon Glaze: http://www.katiescucina.com/2013/05/blueberry-scones-with-lemon-glaze/?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FeVgcK+(Katie’s+Cucina)

University of California, Berkeley police arrested four people Monday morning and a plow turned under crops planted in protest at a makeshift farm encampment set up on university property.

Activists had occupied a tract of farmland — located near the corner of Marin and San Pablo avenues, part of a property they referred to as the Gill Tract — owned by the university on Friday, protesting plans to build senior housing and a grocery store on the site.

http://earthfirstnews.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/four-arrested-crops-removed-from-occupy-the-farm-site/

They reap the profits (and the ridiculous tax breaks) while we pay the cost. Funny how that works:

“Exxon Mobil Corp. is challenging $1.7 million in penalties proposed by federal safety regulators who faulted the oil company over a 63,000-gallon crude oil spill into the Yellowstone River, according to documents released Monday by the U.S. Department of Transportation.In the first formal response to the alleged violations, Exxon attorneys said the company’s workers responded appropriately to warnings that the 12-inch Silvertip pipeline was endangered by erosion along the Yellowstone near the town of Laurel.” http://fuelfix.com/blog/2013/05/14/exxon-challenges-1-7m-yellowstone-spill-penalty/

(File under: Why we need government, or some sort of citizen body, to determine and oversee equitable access to resources)

“Google has tried to put the best face on this by portraying the qualification process as a sort of community kumbaya, “allowing the citizens of City to determine where and when the Project will be deployed.” (The words come from Google’s contract with Kansas City, Mo.)But that’s nonsense. Had the city tried to make that determination through its elected representatives, say by requiring service to underprivileged neighborhoods, Google’s response would have been, “Adios.” The company’s goal was to spend money where it was likeliest to attain a critical mass of customers. The inevitable outcome was an economic one: redlining.Google insists it wants to close the digital divide. But private companies have to make money, and reinvesting in the public interest is always going to be a secondary concern.”http://news.zurichna.com/article/0c4a7a574b7821f4464332bda02e01dd/will-poor-people-get-google-fiber

“Chase, the lawsuit claims, effectively used California’s judicial system like a “mill” to obtain default judgments and garnish borrowers’ wages. The bank filed thousands of lawsuits every month from January 2008 until April 2011, the state claims. On one day alone, Chase lodged 469 such suits.

Chase also sought default judgments against borrowers who were military members on active duty, the suit claims.

“At nearly every stage of the collection process, defendants cut corners in the name of speed, cost savings and their own convenience, providing only the thinnest veneer of legitimacy to their lawsuits,” the complaint says.”

http://legalschnauzer.blogspot.com/2013/05/from-bogus-lawsuits-to-threats-via.html

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“It seems that we have been reduced almost to a state of absolute economics, in which people and all other creatures and things may be considered purely a economic in “units,” or integers of production, and in which a human being may be dealt with, as John Ruskin put it, “merely as a covetous machine.” And the voices bitterest to hear are those saying that all of this destructive work of mindless genius, money, and power is regrettable but cannot be helped.” -Wendell Berry

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