The Leader of the Unfree World

How large is America’s prison problem? More than 2.4 million people are behind bars in the United States today, either awaiting trial or serving a sentence. That’s more than the combined population of 15 states, all but three U.S. cities, and the U.S. armed forces. They’re scattered throughout a constellation of 102 federal prisons, 1,719 state prisons, 2,259 juvenile facilities, 3,283 local jails, and many more military, immigration, territorial, and Indian Country facilities.Compared to the rest of the world, these numbers are staggering.

via The Leader of the Unfree World – Matt Ford – The Atlantic.

Street Art and Social Movements

In most societies, very few people have access to the mechanisms of mainstream media creation and distribution. Most of us have little to no input into the barrage of headlines, advertisements, news briefs and billboards we consume everyday. As such, this visual landscape often feels more like a system of control than a source of useful information. When these “legitimate” systems of communication fail individuals or groups in a society, people often turn to illegal ways of communicating with both each other and the system attempting to control them. Graffiti and street art have long existed as a safety valve for individuals to vent their anger and frustration, whether in the form of scrawling angry messages on bathroom stalls or pasting posters on the windows of government buildings. But it is when the vast majority of people begin to feel that they have no other outlet to communicate, that the media channels open to them are uni-directional and they are on the receiving end of a string of lies and half truths, that street art can act as an antidote to our visual space being used as a social control mechanism. There have been many of these moments, when street art becomes truly democratic and hundreds, or thousands, of people flood the streets with their messages in the form of posters and graffiti. It is at these times that people begin to look to the streets, and to their peers, to find explanations for their condition, not corporate television, state radio, or ruling class newspapers. I’m going to discuss four historical examples here; Paris in May 1968, Nicaragua in the late 1970s, South Africa in the early 1980s, and finally Argentina from 2001-04.

via Justseeds: Blog: Street Art and Social Movements.

NOW THEN

On one hand it’s old politics – digging up the dirt on your opponent. But it is also part of something new – and much bigger than just politics. Throughout the western world new systems have risen up whose job is to constantly record and monitor the present – and then compare that to the recorded past. The aim is to discover patterns, coincidences and correlations, and from that find ways of stopping change. Keeping things the same.We can’t properly see what is happening because these systems are operating in very different areas – from consumerism, to the management of your own body, to predicting future crimes, and even trying to stabilise the global financial system – as well as in politics.But taken together the cumulative effect is that of a giant refrigerator that freezes us, and those who govern us, into a state of immobility, perpetually repeating the past and terrified of change and the future.

via BBC – Blogs – Adam Curtis – NOW THEN.

Youtopia

The machines. The filters. The processors. The calculators. The memory banks.What do they do?

They filter. They process. They compute. And so they reduce. Us. To bits. To surety, predictability, certainty, control. That is their job.

And so. They keep us from seeing; and from being. Ourselves. As they truly are; and as they could be. Limitless with possibility.

via Youtopia — Medium.

The collaborative economy is for everyone

The collaborative economy is largely powered by peer-to-peer marketplace technology. Whether it’s the makers selling their products to their peers in Etsy or Shapeways, the collaborative financers funding each other through Kickstarter or Lending Club, or the collaborative consumers distributing and sharing goods and services via Airbnb, BlaBlaCar, Lyft or RelayRides, all this activity is made possible by online marketplaces.

via The collaborative economy is for everyone – OuiShare.

Mass Surveillance Is Corroding American Democracy, Human Rights Report Concludes

Being a lawyer or a reporter increasingly means adopting the paranoid tactics of a drug dealer, a joint Human Rights Watch and American Civil Liberties Union report released Monday determined, with poisonous results for democracy at home and abroad.

via Mass Surveillance Is Corroding American Democracy, Human Rights Report Concludes.