There’s a video I shared on Facebook. Its purpose: to explain to the world the real purpose behind the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) movement in France. The speaker in the video calls it “the revolution”. We live in a revolutionary age. It’s not something we can escape. Marshall McLuhan, writing long ago, observed that when […]
Read more "The NEW age of revolution"
From the podcast 99% Invisible (NOT WRITTEN BY ME)
On the border of Virginia and North Carolina stretches a great, dismal swamp. The Great Dismal Swamp, actually — that’s the name British colonists gave it centuries ago. The swamp covers about 190 square miles today, but at its peak, before parts of it were drained and developed, it was around ten times bigger, spanning roughly 2,000 square miles of Virginia and North Carolina.
And it’s understandable why people called the swamp “dismal.” Temperatures can reach over 100 degrees. It’s humid and soggy, filled with thorns and thickets, teeming with all sorts of dangerous and unpleasant wildlife. The panthers that used to live there are now gone, but even today there are black bears, poisonous snakes, and swarms of yellow flies and mosquitoes.
But hundreds of years ago, before the Civil War, the dangers of the swamp and its seeming impenetrability actually attracted people to it. The land was so untamed that horses and boats couldn’t enter, and the colonists who were filing into the region detested it. William Byrd II, a Virginia planter, called it “a miserable morass where nothing can inhabit.” But people did inhabit the swamp, including thousands of enslaved Africans and African Americans who escaped their captors and formed communities in the swamp. This “dismal” landscape was the site of one of the most remarkable and least told stories of resistance to slavery in American history.
via The Great Dismal Swamp – 99% Invisible
Read more "The Great Dismal Swamp. Worth reading. Worth listening. Really."
I accept that the twenty-first century is a century of revolution. That our print-based, elites-centred models of representative democracy have run their historical course. That the model of society which gives a small group the exclusive right to rule over a large one, with minimal checks and balances which can be activated by the large group, needs to be re-examined and remodelled. That the tools we now have at our disposal—tools for public education and public participation—have opened the door for more participatory forms of governance, and that we must move with the world in that direction.
And so this election, I do not consent to participate in this old, flawed model. I know it’s a crazy idea. I know it’s illogical. But I don’t believe it’s wrong.
Read more "Spoiling the Ballot: Spreading the Revolution"
People ask me the same questions again and again. Why go out of your way to spoil the ballot—why not stay home/go to the beach? What is spoiling the ballot going to achieve? Why aren’t you looking at the candidates on offer and considering voting for a person rather than a party? If you’re so […]
Read more "Seeding the Revolution: Methods & Madness"
Educated Foolishness Last Thursday, the Out Da Box movement introduced itself to The Bahamas. Ian Strachan, Alicia Wallace and I began the discussion about spoiling the ballot as an option in the upcoming general election on Guardian Talk Radio, and (to my considerable surprise, but not to the others’) the discussion took off. What madness […]
Read more "Seeding the Revolution: Withdrawing Consent"
I am not American. However, I recognize the United States of America for providing a model for democracy around the world. No, its democracy is not perfect, but it is earnest. In principle, it seeks on numerous levels to work against tyranny, to empower its citizenry. The execution of these has been far from perfect, […]
Read more "A shift into the dark?"
No, it’s not your typical discussion of numbers, etc. I’m sharing this link (I’ve pored over many!) because it uses the techniques we use as anthropologists to understand the perspectives of people considered to be “other”. It looks at how engagement itself can become a road to empowerment. The end of the article, which quotes […]
Read more "Ethnography, the view from the ground, The Washington Post, & Trump voters"